Friedman's idea is that Soleimani was the dumbest man in Iran, because he and Iran took Obama's deal and then--instead of simply accepting all the benefits for the good of their country--tried to push the regional expansionist envelope, "freak[ing] out U.S. allies in the Sunni Arab world and Israel." And that led to Soleimani's own assassination.
Mirengoff's response is that that doesn't prove that Soleimani was dumb, just that he's a hardcore ideologue. Which, of course, leads people to do dumb things.
I liked this quote from Friedman that Mirengoff includes (but there's more at the link):
Today’s Iran is the heir to a great civilization and the home of an enormously talented people and significant culture. Wherever Iranians go in the world today, they thrive as scientists, doctors, artists, writers and filmmakers — except in the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose most famous exports are suicide bombing, cyberterrorism and proxy militia leaders. The very fact that Suleimani was probably the most famous Iranian in the region speaks to the utter emptiness of this regime, and how it has wasted the lives of two generations of Iranians by looking for dignity in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways.
Of course, the reality is that a regime reflects a culture and a society. This is true in Iran as much as it's true in America.
Richard Fernandez has an excellent article at PJ Media that focuses on what a difficult position Iran finds itself in in terms of responding to the Soleimani assassination: The Low Chance of War with Iran. In particular, Fernandez believes the unprecedented nature of Trump's action accomplished a strategic game change. What Trump did, says Ferdandez, was to bring a hidden, 40 year old, undeclared war out into the open. And that means this:
Suddenly Iran can no longer pick and choose when to engage. Suddenly politicians can no longer indefinitely fight this "forever war" without accountability. Pressure will mount in Congress to vote on what to do about it: win, surrender or initiate a negotiated settlement. If nothing else, it will force them to articulate the alternatives. But they can't hide it under the fold anymore.
This puts enormous pressure on Tehran to either open another front against America or negotiate a ceasefire in its secret war against the U.S. As Shadi Hamid of The Atlantic put it, nobody really wants open war, but Iran can stand it least of all.
The choice of whether to side with America or with Iran should be a no-brainer for most of the world.
Fernandez close with this:
That's because the Middle East experts know how thinly the Islamic Republic is stretched. There may have been enough resources to launch covert ops against America, but there is way too little to confront it openly.