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
PodcastUS-China: Hong Kong and Uighurs
Daniel Kliman and Dean Cheng, Senior Research Fellow in the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation, talk with host Carol Castiel about Beijing’s reaction to the “The ...
By Daniel Kliman
CommentaryTrump has three options with North Korea to avoid a dangerous perfect storm in Asia
In the next few weeks, the Korean Peninsula will face a watershed moment -- one which could upend the United States' alliances in northeast Asia and regional stability as a wh...
By Duyeon Kim
CommentaryA fresh approach to peace in Afghanistan
An effective peace process is possible and desirable in Afghanistan. Success, however, will require a careful, step-by-step course to test bona fides, build confidence, reduce...
By Earl Anthony Wayne & Christopher D. Kolenda
CommentaryTrump was right to abandon the Taliban peace deal. Here’s what a good one would look like.
Two months after President Trump declared U.S.-Taliban peace talks “dead,” diplomacy with the Afghan insurgents is reviving. With the administration already having negotiated ...
By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk