President Trump is facing two of the most important challenges of his administration. One is the impending meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea. The second is the decision whether to abrogate the Iran nuclear treaty. Both involve nuclear proliferation in rogue countries.
For years, during the latter part of the 20th Century, fellow presidents had to deal with an existential nuclear challenge from the Soviet Union. But, it was very different because the US and its foe, to a great extent, acted with restraint based upon the reality of mutually assured destruction. If one party launched a nuclear attack, the other would respond resulting in compete annihilation of both attacker and defender.
The US is the only superpower in the current day drama. The other principals are relatively insignificant nations, military, who have, or are about to possess, a nuclear capability. A nuclear device makes any two-bit despot a force to be reckoned with.
Several former presidents kicked the can down the road in negotiations with North Korea. Ironically three generations of the same family cheated and lied over the years enabling their scientists to develop a nuclear capability. Who would have ever thought a nation that can barely feed its people and is completely dependent on China for its very survival would be able to build a nuclear weapon, put it atop a ballistic missile and launch it thousands of miles to strike the American homeland?
Well it is now a reality, and Americans are depending upon President Trump to negotiate a treaty to rein in North Korea. There is only one satisfactory end to this saga- the denuclearization of North Korea.
Kim has promised not to launch any more missiles and end his nuclear research. But, he has not agreed to give up his nukes. They are the reason his country is relevant in the global community. Americans should manage their expectations about this ending peacefully.
Iran is a slightly different situation, but the end game should be the same- denuclearization of the country. The ayatollahs that rule Iran sanctioned the development of nuclear weapons and missiles to transport them hundreds and thousands of miles. Fortunately the crisis with Iran is at an early stage, much like North Korea 10 years ago.
Iran supposedly is close to being able to build a nuclear bomb, but it will be years before it develops the technology to launch them great distances. Nevertheless its enemies in the Middle East that include Israel and all Sunni countries are at risk existentially.
Complicating the situation is Iran’s aggressive behavior towards its neighbors. It has destabilized a number of states in the Middle East including Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria.
Considering all this and the well-established fact that Iran’s leaders are untrustworthy, Barrack Obama signed a treaty that gives Iran a pathway to a nuclear capability. In this regard Trump has repeatedly said the Iran nuclear is good for Iran and terrible for the rest of the world.
To make matters worse Obama eased sanctions that were beginning to cripple the country economically and sent Iran a boatload of money ($150 billion), which is mostly being used to build more armaments, including nuclear apparatus, and to create havoc in its region. But most important is the fact that Iran will have a bomb that it can use to threaten its enemies in less than ten years.
Trump should not allow this treaty to continue no matter how much France, Germany and other European countries scream. They have significant commercial business with Iran, so their judgment is clouded. America must protect its allies in the Middle East that includes Israel and Saudi Arabia from Iranian aggression.
Trump’s mission is clear- denuclearization of North Korea and Iran. There should be no negotiation of these terms. If the two rogue countries are allowed to plow ahead, our world will become exponentially more dangerous.