Here is a timetable for the most important events during the dissolution of the nuclear agreement: the decision of European nations to trigger a dispute settlement mechanism in the Iran nuclear deal marks the final step in breaking the agreement, which began when President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement and began to re-establish sanctions against Iran. Lebanese political sectarianism was refined and adopted by the independence movement in November 1943 by the so-called National Pact, an unwritten agreement that laid the foundations for a sectarian system in the post-independence Republic. Surprisingly, the pact survived the civil war from 1975 to 1990. The conflict began in part because of calls for the abolition of political bigotry. Nevertheless, political sectarianism was reaffirmed and even consolidated in the 1989 agreement on the Taif, also known as the document of national unification. In this regard, Lebanon has the illustrious privilege of having been a pioneer in the creation of a system based on sectarianism, and also a laboratory that emphasizes its dysfunctions and limitations. Across the Middle East, the political systems of a number of countries are eroding today and states themselves are consolidating as their societies fragment, perhaps irretrievably. This is particularly true in the Levant, where identity politics prevails and where, until recently, different sectarian, ethnic and tribal groups coexisted in mosaic social environments, largely in highly centralized and highly nationalistic state systems. Over the past three years, U.S. President Donald Trump has held three summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and has yet to reach a denuclearization agreement. John Bolton, former U.S. National Security Adviser, offers In his new memoir The Room Where It Happened a high-level window on these cases.

In Bolton`s account, the President of the United States was more interested in how his peace efforts would be played out in the media – and whether he could claim that they were a “huge success” – than in eliminating North Korea`s weapons of mass destruction. He made no effort to understand the problems or to investigate why U.S. approaches to North Korea had failed in three previous presidencies. Instead, he relied on his own instincts when he tried to enchant Kim for a deal that was never realistic from a distance. If Pyongyang continues to degenerate in this way, Washington and Seoul will find it increasingly difficult to maintain a North-oriented policy. The United States and South Korea have always had differences, including whether normalization of relations between the two Koreas should precede denuclearization, as Seoul believes, or follow, as Washington does. But the growing pressure on U.S.-South Korean relations risks putting pressure on Moon to improve inter-Korean relations, even if that means separating from Washington. For example, Moon could decide to reopen the ICCs, which once generated between 25 and 30 percent of North Korea`s export earnings, as a gesture of good faith towards the North. Such a move would put Seoul in conflict with Washington, which aims to starve Pyongyang in revenue as long as its nuclear program continues. If South Korea reopened the ICCs because of Trump`s objections, it would be a serious rift between the two allies.

Of course, it is possible that Trump will have another summit with Kim before the U.S. election and that he will reach an 11-hour agreement that grants generous concessions to Kim, including the reopening of ICCs and other sanctions. Moon spoke out this week in favor of such an initiative, but whether it fits Trump`s current mood is a guess of everyone.