16 July 2019   Leave a comment

Vali Nasr has written a short article for The Atlantic on how China is filling the vacuum in Iran created by the Trump Administration. As many companies, both in the US and Europe, pull out of their investments in Iran to avoid US sanctions, China and its companies are moving in. Moreover, the US strategy is pressuring India, which has cultivated many economic ties to Iran, to leave the country. China’s strategy is risky because it runs the risk of additional US sanctions, but it seems clear that China believes that Iran is worth the risk. Iran has a large, well-educated population and sits in one of the most strategic locations in the Middle East. It is an open question whether the Trump Administration itself can risk alienating China even more given that the trade war has made the US-China relationship quite fragile.

The US and South Korea have announced that they will be conducting joint military exercises in August. North Korea regards this move as a violation of the agreement reached by US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim last year in Singapore in which North Korea agreed to suspend bomb and missile testing in exchange for a cessation in military exercises. The US is in a very difficult situation. North Korea has made no steps toward denuclearization, but suspending the military exercises places the US-South Korea in jeopardy. How long can the US leave the South Korean alliance hanging before there are some tangible results from the cessation? If, however, North Korea resumes testing, President Trump will feel obliged to respond somehow. President Trump may think that he is not bound by his statements to US citizens, but he may find out that leaders of other states have a different understanding of how important credibility actually is.

Posted July 16, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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