Trump may believe he is sending a strong message to North Korea that he will not hesitate to reimpose sanctions and walk away from a deal if he has to, but the reality is that he has actually sent a very destructive message to both North Korea and Iran that the U.S. can’t be trusted.
United States President Donald Trump’s recent decision to completely pull the plug on the 2015 Iranian nuclear accord, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will likely have a major effect on the upcoming summit between North Korea and the United States. Even as the president was making his announcement, newly appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was reportedly on his way to North Korea to prepare for Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un.
Bloomberg reported prior to the decision that North Korea was watching Trump’s announcement on Iran, with China’s current envoy to the U.K. warning that if Trump walked away it would “set a bad example.”
However, according to a report by TIME, Trump is hoping his decision to walk away from the JCPOA combined with the decision to up the ante on economic sanctions will send a strong message to North Korea that he wants a “real deal.” However, other notable analysts are not convinced of the efficacy of this strategy.
“Trump has a very simple political program: ME, ME, ME,” public intellectual Professor Noam Chomsky told Anti-Media via email. “It follows that if Obama did something, it has to be overturned by the Great Trump. Obama made the deal with Iran, so it has to go.”
Obama didn’t get anywhere with North Korea, so Trump has to do something – and if he and his advisers have at least half a brain still functioning, they will prance around in public proclaiming their magnificence and accept the plea of the Koreans to just go away and let them work things out in peace.”
Unsurprisingly, prominent Iranian-Americans have also voiced their frustration with Trump’s ill-advised decision to abandon the JCPOA, a move they believe sends a very clear message to the North Korean leadership.
“Trump’s reckless decision to withdraw from the Iran deal undermines the United State’s national interests, isolates us and further deteriorates our credibility with both allies and foes,” Executive Board Member of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Saïd Amin told Anti-Media via email. “And on that last point, Kim Jong-un would be a fool to believe any promises made by the Trump administration. Today’s announcement to withdraw from the nuclear deal has all but rendered America’s word as worthless and sadly the damage will persist even after he’s gone.”
For reference, the NIAC was heavily influential in having the JCPOA implemented in the first place. According to Amin, though Trump’s decision purports to confront Iran’s hardliners, it will actually empower those hardliners while silencing progressive moderates.
“Many were hopeful that the nuclear deal would facilitate broader change in Iranian society by empowering moderate forces in their demand for social and economic justice,” he said. “Trump just slammed that door shut. This will give hardliners an opportunity to ‘rally around the flag’ with the threat of US sanctions and war.”
Amin also added:
Iranian Americans may not like Iran’s rulers, but a majority of us do not want a war or a violent regime change led by the US. In the lead up to the Iraq war, Bush propped up Iraqi exiles who claimed the invasion would be easy and Iraqis would greet US troops as liberators. We can’t let that happen to our community.”
In an official release, which was also sent to Anti-Media via email, Iranian-American congressional candidate Kia Hamadanchy (CA) stated:
With one stroke of a pen, Donald Trump has thrown away a chance to pursue real change in the Middle East. Instead of a path to peace he has made war much more likely. He has empowered hardliners in Iran and the economic sanctions he has re-imposed will do more to hurt everyday working people in Iran than the ruling regime. This withdrawal also makes it significantly less likely that North Korea will ever agree to a deal with the United States when they know just how easily it can be undone. It is a sad day for the United States, it is a sad day for those who truly want a peaceful Middle East, and it is a sad day for a world that has always expected the United States to help lead the way.”
Anyone who understands history knows North Korea is justified in having a major problem trusting the United States. In the early 1950s, the U.S. bombed North Korea into complete devastation, destroying over 8,700 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, and 600,000 homes. The U.S. military eventually killed off 20 percent of the country’s population. As noted by the Asia Pacific Journal, the U.S. dropped so many bombs in North Korea they eventually ran out of targets to hit.
The decision to invade Iraq in 2003 – coupled with Barack Obama’s decision to bomb Libya in 2011— also taught North Korea a very valuable lesson about what can happen to a nemesis state if they give up their nuclear weapons program. This lesson has come straight from the horse’s mouth.
“The Libyan crisis is teaching the international community a grave lesson” — that Libya’s decision to abandon its weapons programs in 2003, applauded by George W. Bush, was “an invasion tactic to disarm the country,” according to a statement from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry in 2011.
Trump may believe he is sending a strong message to North Korea that he will not hesitate to reimpose sanctions and walk away from a deal if he has to, but the reality is that he has actually sent a very destructive message to both North Korea and Iran that the United States cannot be trusted. It bears mentioning that Iran never actually did anything wrong – they have been certified as compliant quite consistently even under the Trump administration. On that note, North Korea will be grappling with the idea that at any given time, the U.S. could turn its back on them without warning.
Such decisions only empower these two nations’ hardliners, who have warned against cutting a deal with the United States in the first place, and Trump’s approach is likely edging the world that much closer to the brink of an eruption of this international powderkeg.
Top Photo | A frontal view of four B-61 nuclear free-fall bombs on a bomb cart. (DoD photo)
Darius Shahtahmasebi is a practicing attorney with an interest in human rights, international law, and journalism. He is a graduate of the University of Otago, where he obtained degrees in Law and Japanese. Follow him on Twitter at @TVsLeaking.
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