How Trump’s Iran Threats Could Backfire—in North Korea
How Trump’s Iran Threats Could Backfire—in North Korea
Interpreting North Korea’s Failed Satellite Launch
Interpreting North Korea’s Failed Satellite Launch
Op-Ed / Asia 1 minutes

How Trump’s Iran Threats Could Backfire—in North Korea

Walking away from the deal with Tehran could leave us with a nuclear crisis on two fronts.

If, as he has clearly signaled, President Donald Trump chooses in the coming months to hold Iran in noncompliance of the nuclear accord, the impact will be felt in Tehran and the already volatile Middle East.

But the more serious casualty could be both more widespread and more distant—thousands of miles away, on the Korean Peninsula. And the Trump administration needs to begin connecting the dots now.

The United States has few options for dealing with the North Korean nuclear challenge, and no good ones. A pre-emptive strike risks an unspeakable catastrophe. Sanctions have not worked, and tightening them further is no more likely to. Diplomatic talks will be difficult for the United States because an agreement would involve a compromise that would allow North Korea to keep its nuclear weapons. Nonetheless, if the goal is to prevent Pyongyang from developing an accurate nuclear-tipped ICBM, then negotiating with Pyongyang may well be the only way to try to defuse a looming crisis.

Even under current conditions, such talks would be fraught, the odds tilted against success. But if the U.S. thrusts aside the nuclear deal with Iran—and uses contrived evidence to do so—the message to North Korea and others will be that America’s word is disposable and the U.S. cannot be trusted to honor its commitments. This would deal a possibly fatal blow to any chance of a diplomatic effort to, if not halt or reverse, at a minimum slow down North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Read the full article at Politico.


Former President & CEO
Aaron David Miller
Vice President, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Richard Sokolsky
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Russia and Eurasia Program

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