Maximum pressure was supposed to induce the regime of Kim Jong Un to surrender its entire arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Three years in, it is still building them — and it has now publicly sworn off any further negotiations with the Trump administration. Whether Kim will order a return to the testing of long-range missiles or nuclear warheads in the next few months, thereby provoking an election-year crisis for Trump, remains uncertain. What’s certain is that North Korea will end Trump’s first term with a dozen or so more nukes than it had when he took office.
Maximum pressure was going to force Iran to renegotiate the curbs on its nuclear program — and maybe cause the regime to collapse. Instead, by the end of this year, the regime of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is likely to have enough enriched uranium to build a bomb, according to the latest Israeli intelligence assessment. The previous deal, which Trump shredded, ensured that Tehran would remain at least a year away.
Iran’s economy has contracted by 10 percent, many of its people are rebellious, and Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the architect of its foreign adventurism, is dead. But this regime, like Kim’s, has ruled out negotiations with Trump, and so far its willingness to ruthlessly gun down protesters has kept domestic dissent at bay.