Vali Nasr predicts that the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaigns against North Korea and Iran won’t succeed:
What North Korea is looking for is a step-by-step diplomatic process in which the United States offers concessions ranging from a declaration of peace on the Korean Peninsula to the lifting of economic sanctions. Instead, Trump’s national-security team is demanding full denuclearization before offering anything up in return. That looks to be what Washington has in mind for Iran as well.
Faced with this reality, Pyongyang or Tehran could see a benefit in resisting Washington’s pressure strategy.
The main flaw in the Trump administration’s approach to both states is that it pairs maximalist demands that the other side will never accept with “maximum pressure” tactics that depend on broad international support that doesn’t exist. Our government demands things that are politically impossible for any self-respecting government to agree to, and then sets out to punish the other side when it refuses to meet Washington’s absurd expectations.
The International Court of Justice, a UN body tasked with settling disputes, has ruled that parts of new US sanctions on Iran are illegal. Specifically, sanctions on humanitarian items, food, and spare parts for civil aviation. Washington has condemned the unanimous ruling and vows to ignore it. On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Frustrated by the Saudi refusal to increase oil production by two million barrels per day, President Trump said at a rally yesterday that absent US military protection the Saudi government would not last two weeks. He said the Saudis should “pay up” if they want to remain in charge. Why are oil prices going up? Who’s to blame? The best answer comes from a surprising source. Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
As often happens, the US trade war with China is heating up and spilling over to the military realm. Recent skirmishes in the South China Sea are just part of the increasing militarization of the dispute. How hot will the dispute get? Is there anyone in the Trump Administration who will cool it down? Watch today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel told the United Nations on Thursday that his intelligence agents had discovered a “secret atomic warehouse” in downtown Tehran, escalating a growing confrontation with Iran and setting up a direct challenge to its government to open the facility to inspectors and prove it is not in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran denied the accusation, and Netanyahu’s claim was subjected to widespread ridicule in Iran. The location of the facility that he identified was in a remote village whose name, Torquzabad, called to mind the Farsi expression for “nowhere land,” and the building that he identified as the warehouse is a former carpeting cleaning site. Holly Dagres describes the reaction from Iranians:
A group of young Iranian men wasted no time and visited this so-called nowhere land right after Netanyahu’s speech. “Don’t bother coming here – there’s nothing here,” they laugh in a video popularly shared on social media. Since the video, Iranians are now using the Persian carpet cleaning facility site as an opportunity to post selfies. At least two were featured on the frontpage of Iranian newspapers. Even the Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, weighed-in on the speech on Twitter with the Persian hashtag #Torquzabad and a photo of himself and other high ranking officials laughing.