Please Don’t Worry About World War III

An American EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush on deployment in the Mediterranean Sea, June 9, 2017
An American EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush on deployment in the Mediterranean Sea, June 9, 2017 (USN/Matt Matlage)

It’s been a while.

As balances become clearer, life is better sorted and all that jazz, I find myself pulled, like the United States in the Middle East, back to the fray. Read more

Trump Drives European Allies into Arms of China and Russia

British prime minister Theresa May and American president Donald Trump speak in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, January 27
British prime minister Theresa May and American president Donald Trump speak in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC, January 27 (The Prime Minister’s Office/Jay Allen)

European allies warned Donald Trump he could drive them into the arms of China and Russia if he decertified the Iran nuclear deal — and that is exactly what’s happening.

In a rare joint statement, the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom reiterate their commitment to the 2015 agreement:

The nuclear deal was the culmination of thirteen years of diplomacy and was a major step toward ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program is not diverted for military purposes.

European foreign-policy coordinator Federica Mogherini is even more adamant:

The deal has prevented, continues to prevent and will continue to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Trump nevertheless refuses to confirm Iran’s compliance and has threatened to withdraw from the agreement altogether unless it is somehow improved.

China and Russia, the other two signatories, have made common cause with the Europeans, virtually isolating the United States. Only Israel and the Arab Gulf states support Trump. Read more

Trump Leaves Iran Nuclear Deal in Limbo

American president Donald Trump speaks with his defense secretary, James Mattis, outside the Pentagon in Washington DC, January 27
American president Donald Trump speaks with his defense secretary, James Mattis, outside the Pentagon in Washington DC, January 27 (DoD/Jette Carr)

Count on Donald Trump to find a worse way than outright cancel the Iran nuclear deal.

The American president announced on Friday that he will no longer certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement but not withdraw from it either.

The compromise is unlikely to please Iran, which has kept its end of the bargain, nor other world powers, which want to keep the deal in place. Read more

Rebutting Trump’s Arguments for Canceling the Iran Nuclear Deal

American president Donald Trump attends a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, January 19
American president Donald Trump attends a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, January 19 (US Army/Alicia Brand)

Fred Kaplan rebuts the arguments President Donald Trump and his underlings have made for repealing the Iran nuclear deal in Slate: Read more

Worry More About Iran Than North Korea

An Iranian woman walks by a mural of the Statue of Liberty painted on the wall of the former American embassy in Tehran, June 27, 2006
An Iranian woman walks by a mural of the Statue of Liberty painted on the wall of the former American embassy in Tehran, June 27, 2006 (Pooyan Tabatabaei)

North Korea’s nuclear program is more advanced than Iran’s yet it is not the one that should keep Americans up at night, argues Adam Garfinkle, a foreign-policy expert.

President Donald Trump has threatened “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if North Korea continues to provoke the United States.

Garfinkle doesn’t share his sense of alarm. Read more

Donald Trump Wants Conflict with Iran

American president Donald Trump gives a speech in Paris, France, July 12
American president Donald Trump gives a speech in Paris, France, July 12 (DoD/Dominique A. Pineiro)

By all accounts, Iran is complying with the 2015 multilateral agreement that curtailed its nuclear program. The country is giving full access to inspectors, who have found no violations.

The only person upset by this is Donald Trump.

The New York Times revealed earlier this month that the American president had only reluctantly certified Iran’s compliance with the deal.

Now the same newspaper reports that he has instructed his team to find a way to declare Iran noncompliant — whether it is or not.

Congress requires the president to certify every three months that Iran is meeting its obligations under the agreement. If Trump doesn’t, then lawmakers have sixty days to restore sanctions that were rescinded in 2015. Read more

Trump Discovers That Bluster Is Not a Foreign Policy

American president Donald Trump attends a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, January 19
American president Donald Trump attends a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, January 19 (US Army/Alicia Brand)

Donald Trump is finding out that tough talk doesn’t get you anywhere in the real world.

He tweeted in January, before taking office, that he would not allow North Korea to develop a nuclear weapon that could reach the United States.

As president, he pressured China to rein in the nuclear ambitions of its client state, threatening commercial reprisals if it didn’t.

Neither appears to have been impressed. Read more