President Trump’s decision today to leave the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) was the most significant foreign policy decision yet for this administration.
It is no accident that Trump announced it even as he dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. These two engagements will do much to define the Trump administration’s policy toward nuclear proliferators and determine whether Trump’s disruptive approach can produce real results.
Whether Trump’s decision today proves to be the right tonic to finally counter Iran’s multiple threats depends on whether the administration can craft a strategy that is as coherent as today’s action was bold. At the moment, that is not the case.
We are now in uncharted territory. Having abandoned a useful but flawed approach to Iran’s behavior, one that had been painstakingly negotiated alongside allies, requires urgent work on an alternative strategy that better prevents Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, addresses its development of ballistic missiles, and counters Iran’s destabilizing regional actions.