Sanctions

Expert Voices

How Trump’s push to end Iran oil exports could backfire

Mike Pompeo at a lectern during State Department press conference
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department press conference on April 22. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration Monday dramatically escalated its campaign of economic warfare against Iran, announcing that it would not renew any waivers for countries to import Iranian oil after May 2.

The big picture: Per Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the goal is for Iran to reverse its foreign and domestic policies and accede to 12 demands he set out in a speech last year. But the plan is certain to face pushback from importers of Iranian oil, raise prices for consumers and further erode the value of sanctions as a tool of diplomacy.

Expert Voices

While nuclear testing paused, North Korean cyber threat still looms

Kim Jong-un standing outside near a stone wall
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi on March 2, 2019. Photo: Jorge Silva/AFP/Getty Images

Prohibitive risks may have deterred further nuclear and ballistic missile tests by North Korea, even as it has continued expanding its arsenal. While that freeze remains in place, the regime may opt to accelerate its use of cyber weapons.

The big picture: A nuke test would infuriate China, and launching an ICBM could precipitate a U.S. military strike. But cyberattacks offer a high-impact, low-cost and comparatively low-risk way to generate cash and intimidate other countries.