John Kerry: Trump’s bellicose rhetoric is giving North Korea a reason to say, “We need a bomb”
They’ve had a bomb since 2006, a full decade before Trump got elected. The bulk of the work they did to develop miniaturized weapons, the key step to building nuclear ICBMs, was performed during the Obama administration, half of which was spent with Kerry as secretary of state. Of the last three presidents, Trump bears by far — by far — the least amount of blame for North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. What is Kerry talking about?
What he means, I guess, is that Trump’s saber-rattling will make it that much harder to convince North Korea diplomatically to give up the 60 or so nuclear weapons they already have. But that’s never going to happen, no matter how much Trump softens his tone. Know why? Because the NorKs learned from Barack Obama never to trust America’s promises of better relations in return for disarmament.
In recent talks, when Americans have asked whether any combination of economic and diplomatic benefits, or security guarantees, could induce Pyongyang to give up nuclear weapons, the answer has been no. North Koreans invariably mention the former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. In 2003, when Qaddafi agreed to surrender his nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, Bush promised others who might do the same that they would have an “open path to better relations with the United States.” Eight years later, the U.S. and nato helped to overthrow Qaddafi, who was captured, humiliated, and killed by rebels. At the time, North Korea said that Qaddafi’s fall was “a grave lesson” that persuading other nations to give up weapons was “an invasion tactic.”
The Libyan intervention was a Clinton project at State, not a Kerry project, but he cheered it from the Senate, insisting in early 2011 that a no-fly zone to protect the rebels from Qaddafi was a “moral imperative.” North Korea was watching, which explains why Kerry’s own diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang when he took over at State in 2012 went nowhere. Trump actually did try a softer touch with the NorKs in his first few months as president, saying at one point that he’d be “honored” to meet with Kim Jong Un, but the missile tests proceeded apace thanks to the distrust bred by the short-sighted Obama/Clinton/Kerry Libyan mission. Now Trump has to manage the fallout from that. And here’s Kerry hooting at him for intemperate rhetoric.
It’s one thing for Joy Behar to ignore Obama’s policy of malign neglect of North Korea during his second term but how does the guy who helped shape that policy find the balls to do it? Unbelievable.