Radical Islam, unchecked Illegal Immigration, Iran, Socialism, and North Korea… of these issues most of us probably rate North Korea at the bottom of the “Totem Pole of Evil.” However, it seems that the leaders within the Trump administration don’t put these dangers in the same order that we might.
From the way the Trump team talks, it sure seems like North Korea may be the biggest foreign policy problem that we currently face.
The President even saw fit to mention the hermit nation in his remarks before the United Nations earlier this week, calling the rogue nation a “band of criminals” led by a “rocket man on a suicide mission.”
“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, explained on CNN that the North Koreans were playing with fire with their continued insistence at bucking international law.
It was not an empty threat.
What we were doing was being responsible. Where North Korea is being irresponsible and reckless, we were being responsible by trying to use every diplomatic possibility that we could possibly do. We have pretty much exhausted all the things that we could do at the Security Council at this point.
Now, I said yesterday I am perfectly happy kicking this over to General Mattis, because he has plenty of military options.
So, I think that the fire and fury, while he says this is what we can do to North Korea, we wanted to be responsible and go through all diplomatic means to get their attention first.
If that doesn’t work, General Mattis will take care of it.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also explained that while we are using every peaceful option at our disposal, the North Koreans were making a peaceful resolution all but impossible.
I think it’s important to understand the policy of the United States, John, towards North Korea is to deny North Korea possession of a nuclear weapon and the ability to deliver that weapon. Our strategy has been to undertake this peaceful pressure campaign we call it enabled by the four no’s.The four no’s being that we do not seek regime change, we do not seek a regime collapse, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, and we do not seek a reason to send our forces north of the demilitarized zone. So the peaceful pressure campaign is built around enabling–putting together the largest and strongest international coalition we can to send the same message to North Korea and to North Korea’s neighbors, China and Russia, that this is the policy of the rest of the world.
And you’ve seen that expressed now in two unanimous security council resolutions to impose the strictest sanctions ever. All of that designed to bring North Korea to the table for constructive, productive dialogue. If our diplomatic efforts fail though, our military option will be the only one left. So all of this is backed up by a very strong and resolute military option. But to be clear, we seek a peaceful solution to this.
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster explained on Sunday that North Korea would have to forfeit their nuclear weapons for any hope of peace with the world.
H.R. McMaster: Well, he’s going to have to give up his nuclear weapons, because the president has said that he is not going to tolerate this regime threatening the United States and our citizens with a nuclear weapon.
George Stephanopoulos: So you’re saying that if he doesn’t give up those nuclear weapons, the president will strike?
H.R. McMaster: He’s been very clear about that, that all options are on the table.
Finally, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) explained to CBS’ John Dickerson that the current threat we face from North Korea may be the most grave and disconcerting that we’ve faced in a very long time.
This is one of the longest standing crises that we have faced. Three previous administrations have tried to make deals with North Korea in order to stop the steady progress they’ve been making towards the acquisition of nuclear power– excuse me, nuclear weapons, and the means to deliver them. And I’m – I’m all for us going back to the table. But I – I’m not sure that we aren’t facing a serious situation here of two options: 1) a nuclear-armed North Korea, or war with North Korea as, as – so we would prevent them from the further acquisition.
So it seems to me China is very important, and yet we can’t revisit that same old scenario we have before. So we’re going to have to do a number of things, including incredible emphasis on missile defense in South Korea. And our own missile defense system, since there is the scenario and you, you never know exactly where it is, where they could strike the United States of America and Alaska. That is – both of those are unacceptable options. So, I think missile defense, I think trying to influence China to rein in their behavior, which China has never done, is – this is probably one of the most serious international crises, national security – security crises we’ve faced.
Apparently, the North Korean threat is currently at the forefront of the minds of our national leaders. I hope that their focus on this threat does not mean that other threats, perhaps just as significant, are not being addressed.