Stories by Vali Nasr

Expert Voices

Trump administration's foreign policy hampered by internal divisions

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens as President Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House on June 21, 2018. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

President Trump’s favorite hot-and-cold deal-making strategy appears to be losing steam. Trump ratcheted up tensions with North Korea to get Kim to the Singapore summit, and is following the same script with Iran: scuttling the nuclear deal, increasing economic pressure but then proposing talks. But North Korea has been dragging its feet on denuclearization since the summit, and Iran has for now rejected Trump's offer.

The big picture: Both Pyongyang and Tehran have suspected Trump's administration of harboring internal resistance to him, an impression that's been bolstered by Bob Woodward and a senior official's anonymous op-ed. It's clear now that there's a rift between Trump's own foreign policy and the recommendations of much of his national security team, as well as the default positions of the Republican (not to mention American) foreign policy establishment, and that his administration is thwarting his efforts to implement it.

Expert Voices

Scrapping the Iran deal and North Korea summit harms U.S. credibility

Activists gather in front of the U.S. embassy to demand peace for the Korean peninsula after the cancellation of the U.S. and North Korea summit on May 25, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea.
Activists gather in front of the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, to demand peace after the cancellation of the U.S.–North Korea summit, on May 25, 2018. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun via Getty Images

In the span of a month, President Trump has managed to create two nuclear crises. First, he walked away from the Iran nuclear deal, and then he scrapped the North Korea summit. Now, the world faces both the prospect of Iran restarting its nuclear program and the far-more menacing threat of a full-blown nuclear-capable North Korea.

The big picture: Gone is American credibility to manage complex global issues. In fact, rather than acting as the bulwark against dangers to world order, the U.S. is now seen as the country inflaming them.

Expert Voices

Trump's North Korea strategy won't go far with Iran

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

As much as President Trump would like credit for solving the Iran nuclear problem, he will not get far trying to replicate the approach his administration has taken toward North Korea. The facts on the ground in each country are simply too different.

The bottom line: Torpedoing the nuclear deal will not intimidate Iran into talks. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reiterated the country's position Thursday morning: "We will neither outsource our security nor will we renegotiate or add onto a deal we have already implemented in good faith."