For those wishing to understand the emerging role of the United States in the Middle East, especially regarding the ever-expanding role of Iran, watch North Korea. The long-term effects of U.S. President Donald Trump’s aggressive posture toward the Hermit Kingdom are not yet clear, but change has occurred. For the first time in 68 years, a leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, walked across the border to South Korea. In a region of the world where maintaining face is paramount, this was possibly seen as a sign of submission.
Insights on how President Trump will deal with Iran and its nuclear weapons program can be gained from examining how he dealt with North Korea. North Korea and Iran have exchanged technology programs and have actively sought to assist each other in weapons programs.
President Trump, throughout his administration, has been focussed on North Korea and has expended considerable financial and political capital on the issue. This effort is aimed at three North Korean programs that create regional and global instability: nuclear weapons, an electromagnetic pulse weapons capability and the missile programs that make delivery of these weapons possible. A host of other international actors would also undoubtedly love to see these programs dismantled.