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Ret. Gen. Clark: Dialogue Not Rhetoric Key to NKorea Threat

Newsmax TV's "The Schnitt Show"

By    |   Monday, 14 August 2017 05:25 PM

There is no easy answer to North Korea's growing nuclear threat – but "heated rhetoric" and "threats from either side" are not the answer, because they could have serious consequences, Wesley Clark, the retired four-star U.S. Army general and former NATO supreme allied commander, told Newsmax TV.

"I think there's not any really easy simple military option . . . We've never had a peace agreement with North Korea," Clark told guest host Rita Cosby of Monday's "The Schnitt Show."

"We've told the North repeatedly if they cross that line, it'll be the end of that regime. Every American administration has said the same thing. We've come close to conflict a couple of times in the past. We haven't done it because, honestly, the north is poised to extract huge damages on the south . . ."

"They also have biological weapons, chemical weapons, as well as these nuclear weapons. So a conflict there would inevitably be incredibly costly."

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That weaponry, combined with the saber-rattling of leader Kim Jong Un, has raised the stakes considerably, according to Clark.

"You have the grandson of the founder of North Korea there," Clark told Cosby. "This guy has been pretty brutal. He killed his uncle. He had his brother killed overseas. He's had some purges. Apparently he does executions with anti-aircraft artillery guns just to make sure that the point is made.

"So he's been very zealous about maintaining control in North Korea. He's pushed the advancement of these tests. Now, I don't know what he thinks he's going to get because the United States is not going to back off our alliance with South Korea. We're not going to start a war with North Korea.

"So the only way this is ever going to be resolved is through dialogue and . . . Kim Jong Un has to come to the table prepared to talk."

Clark said North Korea has consistently had clear objectives.

"They want to survive as a government and as a regime," he said. "They want the United States to leave the peninsula, and they want to take over South Korea.

"So, we're probably prepared to accept the survival of the regime – we're not prepared to leave the peninsula. We're certainly not prepared for them to take over South Korea. And they do have a nuclear capability now, and President [Donald] Trump has said he won't permit that to continue.

"Somewhere in these competing objectives there has to be a dialogue . . . otherwise there's just a continuing standoff and . . . risks of conflict through accident or miscalculation. So, heated rhetoric, threats from either side, these generate tensions, and these tensions can lead to misunderstandings."

Last week, Trump said North Korea should not continue to threaten the U.S. with nuclear strikes or it will be "met with fire, fury, and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before."

Clark does not know whether that message had any effect on Kim.

"I'm sure that when President Trump uttered those words he meant them to be effective and convey to North Korea that the United States has overwhelming military power that can be brought to bear against them," Clark said.

"I don't have any means of judging whether North Korea was frightened more by the rhetoric that President Trump used or whether they in fact appreciated it.

"But one thing that we do know about the North is in the past is they liked to be threatened by the U.S. because that lets them demand more sacrifices from their own people. And, in that sense, maybe what President Trump said helped the North rather than hurt them."

Clark added there has never been a "shortage of tough talk" by the U.S. toward North Korea.

"Every American president has made it unequivocally clear that the United States is fully committed with all the resources at our disposal to make sure the North doesn't survive if they cross that DMZ," he said.

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There is no easy answer to North Korea's growing nuclear threat, but "heated rhetoric" and "threats from either side" are not the answer, because they could have serious consequences, retired four-star Army Gen. Wesley Clark told Newsmax TV.
nuclear, weapons, korean pennisula, wesley clark, diplomacy
Monday, 14 August 2017 05:25 PM
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