Trump Tests Limits with Iran Deal

Iran Deal opposition shortsighted - “Nikki Haley laid the Trump administration’s cards on the table this week with a new proposal aimed at sabotaging one of the Obama administration’s most important diplomatic initiatives — the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran,” writes The New York Times Editorial Board. “The whole idea makes no sense to anyone but Mr. Trump’s hard-line advisers, who see Iran as the root of evil in the Persian Gulf… The president would give Iran an excuse to revive what had been a rapidly advancing nuclear capability and confront the world with another intractable nuclear challenge in addition to North Korea.”

--“If Mr. Trump blows up the nuclear deal, then what? None of the original opponents of the deal, in or out of Congress, including Mr. Trump, have offered any plausible alternative for restraining Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Without such an alternative, a reckless decision to honor a reckless campaign promise invites Iran to pursue an unfettered path to a bomb. And if deals with the United States cannot be trusted, North Korea will have one more reason to keep pursuing its nuclear program.” Full article here.

Ploughshares in the News - Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione appeared on NowThis talking nuclear annihilation and U.S. nuclear policy here. He will be on The Diane Rehm Show tomorrow; a preview of the show is here.

Europeans standing by Iran Deal - “Europe has no interest in any further upheaval in the Middle East. Cancellation of the nuclear deal could have the undesired effect of reviving other armament plans, including nuclear arms. It would also fan the flames of violence, and with it, the number of refugees. Without the nuclear deal, Iran would have no reason to restrain itself politically, and could likely embark on an even more aggressive course,” writes Kersten Knipp for Deutsche Welle.

--“And were Iran to resume its nuclear program, this could awaken other regional states' interest in pursuing nuclear weapons. It would take years to put an end to such an arms race, if indeed that were even possible. And that means that in view of the Iran nuclear deal, American and European interests are clearly diverging.” Article here.

See also - “Haley: Trump ‘has grounds’ to say Iran violating nuclear deal” by Nahal Toosi for POLITICO here.

Tweet - @GlobalZero: .@nikkihaley’s attempts to takedown the #IranDeal are predicated on twisting the truth & outright falsehoods.

Rebutting Ambassador Haley’s assertions - “Appearing at a Washington think tank on Tuesday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley laid out what appeared to be a rationale for the Trump administration to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal next month,” writes Barbara Slavin for Atlantic Council’s IranInsight blog. “Such a unilateral US move would… undercut the value of sanctions as a tool of foreign diplomacy – a tool that is needed more than ever to deal with other crises, especially North Korea’s escalating nuclear brinkmanship.”

--“Iran and the United States have clashed directly and indirectly many times since then, but the JCPOA represented a rare mutual victory achieved through intense direct diplomacy. It did not resolve all our differences but it averted further escalation and provided time and space to address those differences… Haley is right to say the JCPOA has flaws, but so do all international accords, which invariably require compromise. The best way to address perceived shortcomings in the JCPOA is through more diplomacy, not by throwing away a hard-won agreement that is working.” For the full article, click here.

Tweet - @EmmaMAshford: Nikki Haley's speech at AEI yesterday was full of 'alternative facts' on Iran. My latest, via @catofp

See also - “Zarif: Europe will stick to nuclear deal if US abandons it” for Al-Monitor here.

Ploughshares in the News - Ploughshares Fund Policy Director Tom Collina appeared on Southern California Public Radio’s AirTalk to talk about North Korea; listen here. He also appeared on BYU Radio with Julie Rose discussing North Korea here.

Dangerous incoherence on North Korea - “The North Korean nuclear threat is worsening by the day,” reports The New York Times Editorial Board. “Mr. Trump’s approach has so far consisted of sanctions, pressure on China — North Korea’s chief ally — and taunts against the government in Pyongyang. These messages have not only produced zero positive results but they have also sowed confusion about his intentions. The president and his team seem unable or unwilling to put together a realistic and coherent strategy that goes beyond pressure tactics and harsh rhetoric to include a serious effort to engage the North Koreans.”

--“North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is certainly playing a dangerous game; Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, warned Monday that Mr. Kim is ‘begging for war.’ But unless he is completely deranged he must know that war with the United States would be suicide. He seems to regard nuclear weapons as his only guarantee of survival in the face of American hostility. It is not at all clear that Mr. Kim is interested in talking. But Mr. Trump needs to test the possibility before design or miscalculation leads to war.” Full article here.

See also - “Feinstein: On North Korea, clarify U.S. won’t initiate strike” by Dianne Feinstein for USA Today here.

Tweet - @nukestrat: Great review by @Joshua_Pollack of past diplomatic efforts to interact with North Korea

A Second Korean War - “A war with North Korea would probably be a combination of both types of conflict [prolonged and bloody], played out in phases, according to former generals who served in Korea and military specialists,” writes Robin Wright for The New Yorker. “In the first scenario, the United States could engage in what is known as a left-of-launch strike just before a North Korean missile liftoff, or in the first seconds of its flight. The second possible scenario would be North Korea initiating military action because of fears or signals that the United States is close to an attack.”

--“Fiery rhetoric from both sides has escalated tensions over the past month. As a result, brokering any compromise on Pyongyang’s nuclear reality seems more distant, especially given its rapid pace of weapons and delivery-system development, exceeding all intelligence estimates. In the end, North Korea would lose a war, the generals and military analysts say. The regime of Kim Jong Un would probably collapse. But the Second Korean War could be deadly—producing tens of thousands of deaths just in Seoul, and possibly a million casualties in the South alone. It would almost certainly be devastating physically in both the North and South, military experts say.” For the full article, click here.

See also - “North Korea may already be able to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S.” by Michael Morell for The Washington Post here.

Tweet - @ipsnews: #NorthKorea’s nuclear test explosion marks new & more dangerous era in East Asia, an oped by @ArmsControlNow chief

Quick Hits

--“How To Win A Nuclear Standoff” by Oliver Roeder for FiveThirtyEight here.

--“Haley’s Dishonest Speech About the Iran Nuclear Agreement” by Paul R. Pillar for The National Interest here.

--“5 Lies Nikki Haley Just Told About The Iran Deal” by Ryan Costello for HuffPost here.

--“What War With North Korea Would Look Like: 20K NK Dead A Day” by Rob Givens for Breaking Defense here.

--“US Missile Defense Funding Could Get Boost Amid North Korean Threats” by Hope Hodge Seck for DoD Buzz here.

--“US suspends discussion of ending South Korea trade deal -official” by Steve Holland for Thomson Reuters Foundation News here.

--“North Korea Doesn’t Actually Want a Nuclear War” by Sharon Squassoni for Fortune here.

--“Trump Admin. Seeks U.N. Authorization to Use Military Force Against North Korean Smuggling Vessels” by Colum Lynch for Foreign Policy here.

--“Defanging North Korea will be harder with broken diplomacy” by Nic Robertson for CNN here.

--“How Did North Korea’s Missile and Nuclear Tech Get So Good So Fast?” by Krishnadev Calamur for The Atlantic here.

--“China agrees U.N. action, and talk, needed to end North Korea crisis” by Christian Shepherd and Katya Golubkova for Reuters here.

--“History shows us how calamitous the North Korea crisis could become” by David Ignatius for The Washington Post here.

--“North Korea may already be able to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S.” by Michael Morell for The Washington Post here.

--“U.S. Desire for North Korea Oil Cutoff Puts China in a Tight Spot” by Jane Perlez for The New York Times here.

--“How to Make a Bad Situation in North Korea Worse” by the Bloomberg View Editorial Board here.

--“How can US stop North Korea nukes? 3 experts have ideas” by Eric Talmadge for The Washington Post here.


--“Science Exchanges with Iran: Mutually Beneficial but Uncertain Future.” Hosted by Atlantic Council, moderated by Barbara Slavin. Featuring David Laylin, John Limbert and Glenn Schweitzer. Friday, September 8, 2017. 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Atlantic Council, 1030 15th St NW, 12th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005. Details here.

--“Losing an Enemy -- Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy.” Hosted by the University of Maryland Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland and cosponsored by the UMD Roshan Institute for Persian Studies. Featuring Trita Parsi. Thursday, September 14, 2017. 12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland, 1203 Van Munching Hall College Park, MD 20742. Details here.

--“How Europe and Iran’s Neighbors View the Nuclear Deal Future.” Hosted by Atlantic Council, moderated by Barbara Slavin. Featuring David O’Sullivan, Sir Kim Darroch, Hussein Ibish, and more. Monday, September 25, 2017. 12:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Atlantic Council, 1030 15th St NW, 12th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005. Details here.

--“Debate: Future of the INF Treaty.” Hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, co-sponsored by Ploughshares Fund. Featuring Thomas Countryman, Alexandra Bell, Franklin C. Miller and Rebeccah Heinrichs. Wednesday, September 27, 2017. 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Details here.

--“How Do You Solve a Problem Like North Korea?” Hosted by CATO Institute. Speakers include: Joe Cirincione, Bill Richardson, Suzanne DiMaggio, Joshua Pollack, John Glaser and more. Monday, November 6, 2017. 9 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001. Details and registration here.