Tuesday, August 29, 2017

North Korea and Iran

With North Korea sending a ballistic missile over Hokkaido, Trump has opted for the tried and true “all options are on the table” over the incendiary rhetoric he used earlier this month.

North Korea continues to launch test missiles in response to ongoing U.S.-South Korean war games. The U.S. mainstream media downplays the importance of the war games, usually burying them far down in any story about the North Korean missile tests. Most stories emphasize the irrational, aggressive nature of North Korean leadership, when in fact it is the United States that continually acts in an aggressive and contradictory fashion.

This will be on full display shortly when Trump attempts to scuttle the Iranian nuclear accord. The IAEA is set to report that Iran is in compliance with the agreement. The Trump administration is casting about for a way to end the deal without risking international isolation for the United States. The Israelis have floated the idea of de-certification without withdrawal. The Iranians will likely not be bated. Europe will honor the agreement. With trade restricted with Russia thanks to the U.S.-launched New Cold War, economic expansion in Persia looks particularly appetizing to Berlin and Paris.

There is linkage between North Korea and Iran as Gardiner Harris reported yesterday in "If Report Says Iran Is Abiding by Nuclear Deal, Will Trump Heed It?":
[Senator Richard J. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat] said that scrapping the deal without any evidence that Iran was seriously violating its terms would damage American credibility around the world and all but guarantee that North Korea would refuse to undergo a similar set of negotiations to end its own nuclear program, now Mr. Tillerson’s top goal.
“If the president voids this without any evidence of a breach, it calls into question the credibility of the United States not just on Iran but North Korea and everything else,” Mr. Durbin said. “That cannot be in the interests of the United States.”
American credibility is already mortally wounded.

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