Tags: North Korea | Trump Administration | william cohen | trump | weakness | north korea

Ex-Defense Sec. Cohen: Trump Showing Weakness While NKorea Tests Missiles


By    |   Friday, 28 July 2017 02:14 PM

Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen Friday chided President Donald Trump for dealing with issues through the use of Twitter and acting "TV tough" at a time when North Korea is testing intercontinental ballistic missiles. 

"The president shouldn't be dealing with these minor issues sending out tweets," Cohen, who served under President Bill Clinton, told NBC's Andrea Mitchell on her MSNBC noon program. 

"He knows more than the generals, according to what he said during the campaign. Yet, he bypassed the generals, sends out a tweet saying transgender people can't serve. He's doing those things while North Korea is testing missiles. "

The United States needs to get "serious and disciplined," said Cohen and that means Trump needs to start "acting presidentially."

This includes him "making decisions in the best interest of our country and not engage in setting people one against the other, so he can enjoy the spectacle, because it looks like we're sending in the clowns," said Cohen.

"I want more from him," said Cohen, a Republican who also served in both the House and Senate. "I want the country to succeed. I want the president to be strong. I don't see that right now."

Cohen, however, said he thinks what is going on in the White House is "shameful," including the infighting between members of Trump's administration.

"We are seeing the kind of disarray take place in public, that the president appears to be TV tough, but not really tough," said Cohen, pointing out that Trump wants people to respond to him in the way he wants, which is a "sign of weakness."

"Don't be TV tough," said Cohen. "If you really don't want these people to be saying these things or representing you in the way they are, get rid of them."

Meanwhile, Cohen said the United States has to assume that North Korea is further ahead than was believed to a timeline of militarizing a warhead that can reach the American mainland, and if he were still secretary of defense, he'd be intensifying sanctions and helping Japan bolster its military options.

"I would build up the defense capability on the South Korean Peninsula," Cohen said. "I'd be doing the same thing with Japan and perhaps even talking about giving them offensive capability in the region in order to have a really strong deterrent in addition to ours."

As for the sanctions, Cohen said he'd intensify them to the point that the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime would be in fear of seeing the country's economy collapse.

"It may not be possible," he conceded. "We won't have the support of the Chinese or Russians, so it will have to be unilateral, or as many friends as we can get to shut down their ability to generate revenue."

A preemptive strike, though, "doesn't make sense," said Cohen.

"It's not rational, and it would precipitate a situation where thousands would die," he told Mitchell. "Our posture is reactive. We have had successful tests recently of missile defenses based in the Kodiak region in Alaska off the coast of Alaska, but they can't be 100 percent certain."

While there have been reports coming from the White House about the potential for a preemptive strike, North Korea's missile facilities are underground, continued Cohen.

"They have mobile launchers now," he said. "We don't know if this was a mobile launcher. It may be solid state fueling, which gives us less time to spot them overhead from satellites. We don't know where their stuff is."

North Korea, though, is not interested in handling the situation diplomatically, Cohen also said, because "they want to have nuclear weapons capability which can threaten the United States."

Cohen also commented on Sen. John McCain's decision to vote against the "skinny repeal" of Obamacare, saying the former POW is his "hero."

"He's my hero, he will always be my hero," Cohen said of the Arizona Republican. "I think the nation owes him a debt of gratitude."

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Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen Friday chided President Donald Trump for dealing with issues through the use of Twitter and acting "TV tough" at a time when North Korea is testing intercontinental ballistic missiles.
william cohen, trump, weakness, north korea
Friday, 28 July 2017 02:14 PM
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