Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Contributor/Getty Images

North Korea launched a series of short-range missile tests in what some consider an attempt to pressure the Trump administration to soften its position on Pyongyang during stalled denuclearization negotiations.

Heritage Senior Research Fellow Bruce Klingner, who specializes in Korean and Japanese affairs, lays out the possible motivations for the missile tests – and how the Trump administration should respond – in The Daily Signal.

On Sunday, the Trump administration announced that it was sending a Navy carrier group to the Middle East in response to reports that Iranian forces and proxies were preparing for a possible attack against U.S. personnel or allies in Syria, Iraq, or at sea.

“If these actions take place, if they do by some third-party proxy, a militia group, Hezbollah, we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Heritage expert on Middle Eastern affairs James Phillips explained the escalating tension between Tehran and Washington: Where the U.S.-Iran Confrontation Is Heading.

National security and foreign expert James Carafano weighed in on why taking action in the Gulf sends the right signal to the international community: Trump Tries Gunboat Diplomacy With Iran – Here’s Why He’s Doing It.

As tensions escalate, do you foresee President Trump finding a peaceful resolution to both Iran and North Korea, or should the United States be preparing for war?

Comments (34)

Ronald Ramos - May 10, 2019

President Trump will only succeed in convincing North Korea to denuclearize by giving them no other alternative AND convincing them that their regime will NOT survive if they stay their course.

Wayne Lynn - May 10, 2019

The United States must always be prepared for war but should never provoke it.

William Coates - May 10, 2019

Iranian leaders believe their deity is on their side.
Kim Jong-un believes there is no deity and that force rules the world.
Both think the U.S. will be increasingly divided as the 2020 election nears.
One or both will strike, probably at our naval fleet. We will have to respond.

David - May 10, 2019

I certainly believe Pres.Trump will carefully evaluate the situation carefully, and not be rushed headlong into a rash
course of action. I also imagine that if
force is needed he will respond in a reasonable manner of force for the provocation. Not Like BUSH did with 9/11.

Lavonne Hunt - May 10, 2019

We are a military family, my husband is retired AF. As military members we are taught to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. North Korea has been acting like a puffer fish for decades. Iran needs to be confronted like this. I think that President Trump and Secretary Pompeo have a good game plan for each and we should trust in the process.

Marilyn Lopiccolo - May 10, 2019

President Trump will try in every way to find a peaceful way to bridge our differences — short of wimping out. Obama did enough of that to last the United States a lifetime. Peace through Strength is the way. and our President will put America first always. He will not choose military intervention unless absolutely necessary and he will ask We The People to provide our thoughts in a survey as he has done in the past.

Jo Ann Baughman - May 10, 2019

Seek peaceful solutions but prepare for war. Use a really big stick when we do use one.

Jim Circle - May 10, 2019

My answer to both questions is:
Yes and Yes.
When they accept, that it will cost them much more to make war with us than make peace, they will blink and make peace.
But only because we are able and willing to make war.

John Olofson - May 10, 2019

As to Iran, I’d suggest sufficient force to bring them, finally and unequivocally, to their knees. Enough is enough.

As to N Korea, I think Trump should play the long game: Trump, Xi Jimping and Kim Jong-un seem to be able to talk to one another. Trump should negotiate a three way deal resulting with a win-win-win. Trump can do it.

Darrell Foell - May 10, 2019

I am satisfied that President Trump is prepared to negotiate a proper peaceful conclusion.

Barbara Chicurel - May 10, 2019

If there is a peace to be worked out, Donald trump is the only one who could deliver it. He is strong and will stick to his principles, He is the only one strong enough to not sell America out as other presidents have done, regardless of what the European world thinks of us. North Korea, Iran and China may not like his policies but they do have to respect him because they know he won’t waver but will stand firm. BJC

June Buongiorno - May 10, 2019

Peaceful solutions always first choice.
But America has to stand protected at all times, therefore we should increase our military strength.
A strong defense always between opposing forces.

Michael Carr - May 10, 2019

My hope is that the U.S. carrier force in the Persian Gulf is on full alert with all loaded & ready means of defense. We do not need another Cole type ship disaster where we were not prepared to stop an attack. The Iranians would love to severely damage one of our carriers from a publicity perspective. If we are not ready & willing to use force if threatened by hostile action, we should not be there. The same goes for North Korea.

Eric S Arechavala - May 10, 2019

I believe that both N Korea and Iran are the real enemies of the entire World but other countries are afraid to move against, letting the US take the lead and the brunt of the responses of these governments that are against even their own people. As a former President had said they’re an evil power and will not prevail.

Dianne Wohletz by - May 10, 2019

Stop the threats from North Korea! I support President Trump’s position. No more money to the North Korean government.

Roger O’Daniel - May 10, 2019

Ryan Shrum has the links to my DropBox folder for submissions to Heritage. Two are about North Korea corroborated with an retired Marine and CIA operative. Two others are about the Middle-East conflict and Iran’s 100-year plan for world conquest. Sometimes, truth is scary. Kim Jong Un is a psychopath. He is just wired that way.

Barbara D. Martin - May 10, 2019

Prepare for war, but seek a righteous peace.

Jim Christison - May 10, 2019

I can’t believe that the United States hasn’t already set in motion, plans for a conflict with Iran and North Korea. They wouldn’t be sending a Carrier Strike Group in without planning a response to any hostile action by those countries.

Robert Taylor - May 11, 2019

If the Iranian fanatics are involved it will be foolish not to prepare for war. Until these religious zealots are removed from both religious and political power the world must be on alert 24 X7!

North Korea might be averted from war by benefit cost analysis. But most definitely not Iran.

William Smith - May 11, 2019

The opportunity was purposfully missed by BHO in ’09 when the Iranian people rose up to toss out the evil, demented regime in Iran, allowing the mullas to win again, just a Jimmy the jerk Carter tossed out the Shaw in the 1970’s. Now Trump needs to pick up their mess. Same in Venezuela when Jimmy the jerk Carter certified the election of the first bum there Chavez. Again a democrat mess to clean up. There is little reasoning ability in N. Korea and a very tough (not like now) South Korea is the key. Expect the most trouble from Iran and have us be ready and willing, unlike BHO, to assist Iranians who rise up.

James H. Sloan, Jr.COL,USA(ret.) - May 11, 2019

The “TRUISMS” are true! Pray for peace, but prepare for war! “TRUST BUT VERIFY”! We all know that with these two actors, they are dangerous and certainly demonstrably unpredictable and probably even potentially irrational.

John W. Marson - May 11, 2019

I would be preparing for war!

Peter and Eileen Hewett - May 11, 2019

I certainly hope President Trump is successful in achieving a peaceful resolution and a lasting one with Iran and North Korea. He is certainly proceeding on a much more aggressive process to accomplish that end, which I hope even his most strident critics and haters would welcome. As for whether we should be preparing for war, I can only say that we should always be prepared for that possible eventuality. We live in a troubled country with a divided population and a very trouble world.

Frank Blue - May 11, 2019

Max sanctions, support opposition to government in Iran , military operations ,if used, must crush totally ruling governments military and civil power; then do not try to make a new America.

Robert - May 11, 2019

President Trump is dealing with foreign leaders differently then past presidents and its going to take some time to be accepted. President Trumps reelection will help move the process along more than anything right now.

Joan O. King - May 11, 2019

Trump is egotistic Klutz. Wars kill people but make money for big corporations. Sorry I can’t be more moderate than this. The people who accept war as an answer to our problems, are unlikely to have their families on the firing line. Trump and his family never di.

JR - May 11, 2019

Iran only understands strong and powerful resistance and will back down unless the weird beards start losing control abroad or at home. Keep the pressure on and be ready to take overpowering action if need be. Their leaders could be faced with internal turmoil at home and potential civil unrest leading to their demise. I do wish President Trump would not deploy the aircraft carrier and strike force in the Persian Gulf as they are a potential sitting duck in a limited space or even a closure of the Strait of Hormuz. They might be better off positioning in the Gulf of Oman. They can be just as effective and have better options for maneuvering.

Sheils - May 11, 2019

The Iranian people are really nice. Women are given complete freedom unlike Saudi Arabia. The people are somewhat oppressed regarding clothing, music ( no western music allowed), no alcohol, no badmouthing of the regime, gay lifestyle not allowed. Minority religions are allowed including Christian and Jewish (hard to believe) Baha’i (but the gov doesn’t like them at all so they have to be careful. They and Christians are allowed one seat in Parliament. They pretty much leave these minorities alone along with all of their other minorities. It’s still not the ideal situation to be non-muslim in Iran.

riceinwa - May 12, 2019

We should always desire peace and always prepare for war. Our greatest deterrent force is our military’s ability to devastate any adversary, either through subtle, but deliberate advances made by our Special Forces, or through the brilliant flash of a 750 kiloton thermonuclear weapon.

Lee Lehrer - May 12, 2019

We should always be prepared for war and hope and pray that we don’t have to use our might.

Bill Clark - May 13, 2019

Given the players, a peaceful solution will only come from preparing for war and Trump can’t do it alone. The world stage is not unlike the school playground (or at least the one I experienced as a child). Bullies rule until met with the realization they can’t win. Then, they will try to find another way to win unless they can measure the overwhelming resolve of everyone around them (whatever form that takes). Once the bully is stymied, it remains to the peacemakers to do the hard work of teaching the bully there is a better way to behave and a place at the cafeteria table waiting for them.

Troy Smith, - May 13, 2019

We should be prepared for war. Hope for a peaceful solution, but be prepared for winning a war.

Gary W Magelssen - May 15, 2019

I feel that these threats could lead to war, and that preparing for that is the best thing to do. If preparing for war does lead to war, we will be ready, however a strong show of force could prevent war or limit it to something small.

Chris Milord - May 16, 2019

A diplomatic solution to these two troublemaking regimes would be preferable to armed conflict, but free nations must always be prepared to defend liberty and the rule of law. The primary way to stop aggression is to project economic and military power. Tough sanctions might bring these renegade regimes to the bargaining table, but if any nuclear agreements are hammered out, inspections and verification methods must be applied to ensure compliance. Iran and N. Korea will not willingly denuclearize or cease from cyberwarfare, so pressures must come to bear with a carrot and stick approach. If these two states dismantle their nuclear weapons programs and halt their sponsorship of terrorism, then they can receive economic development. However, if they persist in destabilizing their regions and attack any of our allies, then we must be prepared to use military force to stall their lawless ambitions. Autocratic nations often do not respect UN resolutions, but they do respect force.

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