The military tension the Trump administration is putting on North Korea has already been one of the biggest changes we’ve seen since the new president took office. Now, Sen. John McCain wants Trump to take the option off the table.
In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, the Arizona Republican reaffirmed his RINO status by insisting that North Korea’s nuclear program and missile tests be dealt with only by diplomatic means.
“To prevent North Korea from having a missile with a nuclear weapon that could strike the United States and we would have to rely on our ability to intercept it, and by the way I am told that we do have that ability, is still awfully risky business,” McCain told host Chuck Todd.
“So this is really very serious. This guy in North Korea is not rational. His father and his grandfather were much more rational than he is.”
Asked if he thought that this meant the military option was “something you don’t want to deal with,” McCain said yes.
“I think you never want to do that, again, because of this proximity of North Korean artillery to Seoul, a city of how many million people,” McCain said.
“But, at the same time, to risk a situation where they have that ability and we rely on our ability to intercept, this could be the first test, real test, of the Trump presidency. And by the way, I believe that he’ll get very good advice from Mattis and from McMaster.”
There are a few reasons why what McCain is proposing would really help North Korea. First, the strictly diplomatic route espoused by McCain has gotten us what? A nuclear North Korea, weapons tests that seem to happen almost weekly, and a fat kid who threatens to use all of that to plunge his target du jour into a “lake of fire.” And while it may be true, as McCain argued earlier in the interview, that diplomacy with China’s help “is the key,” diplomacy and military readiness are not mutually exclusive.
Perhaps most troubling, though, is the fact that John McCain trusts we should take the military option off the table because Kim Jong Un is “not rational.” In other words, we’re teaching not just North Korea but the rest of the world’s dictators that the less rationally they behave, the more deference we’ll give them. All they have to do to forestall military intervention by the United States and its allies is have some military capability and promise to use it irrationally.
Talk about perverse incentives.
RINO that he may be, I still believe Sen. McCain is an incredibly honorable man. This is a Vietnam POW who’s given more for his country than probably anyone in the House or Senate. That said, it’s clear that he’s reached the point of diminishing returns.
Continuing the same tired policy of “strategic patience” without a military option on the table is futile, and everyone ought to realize that. All it does is take pressure off of North Korea — the last thing we need at a time like this.