The Atlantic

What the Iran Deal Can Teach America About North Korea

If credibility depends in part on a country’s willingness to follow through on military threats, surely it also depends on whether it abides by diplomatic commitments.
Source: Joe Penney / Reuters

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said something particularly telling on Tuesday, in a speech on the Iran deal that seemed designed to discredit it. Broadly speaking, under the agreement the United States and other world powers struck with Iran, Tehran agreed to suspend its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief; it’s an arrangement President Trump seems anxious to reconsider, and Haley’s speech detailed some of the thinking. “Judging any international agreement begins and ends with the nature of the government that signed it,” she said. “Can it be trusted to abide by its commitments?”

She was, of course, talking about the nature of the Iranian government, but the question of commitment could apply equally well to the administration in which she serves. If, as Obama’s critics argued in the context of the Syrian red-line crisis, American credibility depends in part on its willingness to follow through on military threats, surely it also depends on whether it abides by

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