Kissinger: ‘Temptation to deal with North Korea strong’

Senior statesman and former Nixon Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee late last month that he approves of President Trump’s aggressive statements toward North Korea, adding there is a “strong temptation” to preemptively strike the country.

However, Kissinger said the U.S. should not launch any military strike against North Korea, even with the goal of destroying the country’s nuclear capability, without world support because the country borders both Russia and China.

He also discussed a “fork in the road” in which the administration will either opt for pre-emptive military action or increasingly tighter sanctions against Pyongyang.

“We will hit that fork in the road, and the temptation to deal with it with a pre-emptive attack is strong, and the argument is rational, but I have seen no public statement by any leading official,” he said. “But in any event, my own thinking, I would be very concerned by any unilateral American war at the borders of China and Russia, in which we are not supported by a significant part of the world, or at least of the Asian world.”

Kissinger also said he believes if North Korea is allowed to develop a nuclear capability along with the ICBM’s to deliver warheads globally, South Korea and Japan, especially, would also eventually develop a nuclear capability of their own, as a self-defense measure.

“Then we’re living in a new world, in which technically competent countries with adequate command structures are possessing nuclear weapons in an area where there are considerable national disagreements,” Kissinger said. “That is a new world that will require new thinking by us.” [source]

(Analyst comment: There is probably no better geopolitical analyst in America today than Kissinger, who was secretary of state during a dangerous and transformative time (during the Cold War and when Nixon re-engaged China with a historic visit that signaled a thaw in Sino-American relations). His comments to the SASC are more than just sage advice, they are a warning as well: ‘You can’t attack North Korea without first considering possible Russian and Chinese responses.’ While I believe the Trump administration is taking Chinese and Russian concerns into consideration, I also continue to believe the president when he says he won’t allow North Korea to threaten the U.S. with nuclear weapons. — JD)

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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