Putting the public on notice that a war with North Korea is a growing possibility, 62-year-old Sen. Lindsey Grham (R-S.C.) told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that North Korea poses an urgent national security threat. After North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s Nov. 29 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile [ICBM] test, the Pentagon has been on high alert, waiting for 71-year-old President Donald Trump’s order to attack Pyongyang. Preemptive war with North Korea is “becoming more likely” because of Kim’s recent ICBM test. Flying higher-and-farther than any prior ballistic missile test, Graham warned of a grave danger to the U.S. homeland. “We’re getting close to a military conflict because North Korea’s marching toward marrying up the technology of and ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top that cannot only get to America but deliver the weapon. We’re running out of time,” Graham told “Face the Nation.”
Once one of Trump’s biggest GOP critics on Capitol Hill, Graham’s done a one-eighty, now firmly behind Trump’s North Korea policy. Graham sees North Korea as an existential threat to the United States, now that it’s getting dangerously close to developing a nuclear-tipped ICBM. No matter how the Defense Department deploys the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense [THAAD] missiles batteries, Graham knows flaws in the system. North Korea’s large Hwasong-15 ICBM looks capable of circumventing U.S. missile defense systems. Graham, a key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, isn’t comfortable allowing missile defense systems to guard against a nuclear attack. Graham let the public know that the Trump administration isn’t content with “containing” North Korea’s nukes and ballistic missile program, it seeks to deny the regime a nuke-ready ICBM.
Graham’s statements on “Face the Nation” put the public on notice that preemptive war with North Korea has become imminent. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov labeled the U.S. yesterday “bloodthirsty” seeking to neutralize North Korea’s nuclear-tipped ICBM. North Korea told NATO Nov. 8 not to worry about its nukes and ballistic missiles because they’re intended for the United States. North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho’s too blind to understand the U.S. is the biggest part of NATO. NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stotenberg responded to Ri that North Korean nukes threaten Europe and the world. Unlike the U.S., Russia accepts North Korea as a nuclear state, expecting the U.S. to do the same. Trump has made clear that, no matter how advanced North Korea’s nukes and ballistic missiles, the U.S. does not accept Pyongyang as nuclear state.
Lavrov’s comments about U.S. hope to rally pressure in the U.N. Security Council against the U.S. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, faced with her own problems cobbling together a government, seeks a diplomatic solution to the Korean crisis. Like Russia, Merkel wants the U.S. to accept North Korea as a nuclear state, avoiding a military conflict. Graham doesn’t give Chinese efforts to resolve the crisis much stock, expecting the U.S. to do what’s necessary for U.S. national security. No other world power has been threatened with nuclear war, other than the United States. North Korea’s Foreign Minster at the U.N. said Sept. 23 that it was “inevitable” Kim’s ballistic missiles would hit the U.S. Threatening the U.S., Japan and South Korea with nuclear war, Lavrov should get his facts straight before calling the U.S. a “bloodthirsty” war monger.
Graham urged the Pentagon to begin evacuating families of military personnel in South Korea. Saying Trump’s national security team is the best of his career in Congress, Graham sees the growing possibility of war with North Korea. Even Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a rare moment of candor, admitted Sept. 5 that North Korea would rather “eat grass” than disarm its nukes and ballistic missiles. Graham wants the Pentagon to stop sending dependents to South Korea and begin evacuating next-of-kin from harm’s way. Trump’s gone to the nth degree with diplomacy, letting U.N. Amb. Nikki Haley tell the Security Council Nov. 30 that the U.S., would destroy Kim’s regime if he doesn’t disarm. All signs point to a military confrontation with North Korea to disarm its nuke and ballistic missile program. Graham reminded Trump that time is no longer on his side.
With the clock ticking on diplomacy in North Korea, Graham wants to alert the public and Capitol Hill colleagues that Trump has the authority as commander-in-chief to launch preemptive war in North Korea. What Graham didn’t say on “Face the Nation” today was that, unlike Iraq, North Korea really has weapons of mass destruction now aimed at the U.S. West Coast, maybe the whole nation. “If there’s an underground nuclear test, then you need to get ready for a very serious response by the United States,” said Graham, serving notice that preemptive war is imminent. Letting Kim get an operational nuke-tipped ICBM would endanger the U.S. homeland far more than anything President John F. Kennedy faced in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Unlike the old Soviet Union or today’s Russia, Kim has far less to lose given the mass poverty and starvation in North Korea.