American presidents have long found double-trouble in managing Iran and North Korea. The two countries are separated by four thousand miles and starkly different histories, but they share similarly antagonistic relationships with the United States, made only more tense by nuclear threats. For U.S. decisionmakers, North Korea and Iran pose the same broad foreign-policy challenge: how to manage down the risks with acceptable concessions.
In the span of a month, President Donald Trump faces crucial opportunities to respond to this challenge with both countries, first in his Iran nuclear-deal decision earlier this month and then in his meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un on June 12. So far, Trump’s penchant for throwing away convention shows promise for one of these cases (North Korea) but portends disaster for the other (Iran).
Trump explicitly connected his recent decision to pull out of the Iran deal to his upcoming meeting with Kim. Exiting the “disastrous” Iran deal, Trumpdeclared at the White House, “sends a critical message”—that “the United States no longer makes empty threats.” Trump was quick to add that the decision also spoke to his own character: “When I make promises, I keep them,” he said. “In fact, at this very moment, Secretary Pompeo is on his way to North Korea in preparation for my upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un. . . . Hopefully, a deal will happen, and with the help of China, South Korea, and Japan, a future of great prosperity and security can be achieved for everyone.
Read the Full Article at The National Interest
More from CNAS
CommentaryThe Nonintervention Delusion
Richard Fontaine addresses the most frequently expressed concerns about U.S. military interventions and concludes that the use of military force will remain a key component of...
By Richard Fontaine
CommentaryWhy Huawei Isn’t So Scary
5G may have become a buzzword, but the notion that countries must rush to be first to deploy it is mistaken and reckless—and increases the odds of security breaches. There’s n...
By Elsa B. Kania & Lindsey R. Sheppard
CommentaryTime for Congress to Establish a U.S. Digital Development Fund
As impeachment deliberations roil Washington, Congress will be tempted to look inward and dial back on efforts to address the challenge China poses to American security, prosp...
By Daniel Kliman
CommentaryWhy the United States Needs a Digital Development Fund
What the executive branch and Congress can do to counter China’s expanding digital footprint across the developing world....
By Daniel Kliman