Ret. Navy Adm. James Stavridis, calling for a de-escalation of the rhetoric between North Korea and President Donald Trump, said we’re in “an upward spiral” of military readiness and hopes we can “internationalize this problem” and find a “diplomatic” solution on the Korean Peninsula this week, he said Sunday.
“Let me start with the bad news: We’re in an upward spiral – very aggressive rhetoric both from Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, and President Trump,” Stavridis told “The Cats Roundtable” on 970 AM-N.Y. “That rhetoric is driving both militaries to a higher level of readiness to conduct operations.”
The most pressing issue currently “is the possibility of North Korea launching four missiles at the island of Guam,” the former supreme allied commander of NATO told radio host John Catsimatidis.
“So, the bad news is we’re in an upward trend of rhetoric and also military readiness,” Stavridis added. “Now, the good news is, we still have a diplomatic path to play here, and I’m hopeful as the week unfolds we’ll see cooler heads prevail both in Washington and Pyongyang.”
Stavridis, author of “Sea Power, The History of Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans” spoke of a four-pronged approach to the standoff.
- “Increase our missile defense capability.”
- “Internationalize this problem.”
- “Enforce the new United Nations sanctions.”
- “Get China using their leverage against North Korea.”
“We need to internationalize this problem, instead of treating it as though it’s the United States versus North Korea,” Stavridis said. “This should be about the world versus North Korea.”
China is the key early this week, he concluded.
“We need to get China using their leverage against North Korea, because they control 90 percent of that economy, and they have zero interest in a war on the Korean Peninsula,” he said.
“It will require Chinese muscle economically against North Korea. That is the most important factor to watch as this week unfolds.”
Stavridis echoed the nonpartisan refrain of this not being the fault of President Trump – it is not a fight he started, but it will be one he will have to finish.
“The other presidents had the luxury of kicking the can down the road; however, President Trump will have to deal with this,” Stavridis said. “I think over the next few weeks we’ll get the outline of how he intends to go. Whether it’s use military force, or it’s try and use diplomacy and economic levers. I hope he chooses the latter course.”
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