Secretary of State John Kerry Doesn’t Know that North Korea Has Nuclear Weapons
In which the United States secretary of State discloses that he really isn’t all that up to speed on what’s going on in the world.
ABC News journalist Martha Raddatz asked Kerry, who was in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, about the execution of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s uncle.
“I mean it really reminded me of — of a video that we saw of Saddam Hussein doing the same thing, having people plucked out of an audience and people sitting there sweating and nobody daring to move or do anything,” said Kerry, according to the transcript provided by ABC News. “Um, this is the nature of this ruthless, horrendous dictatorship and of his insecurities. And — and I think we — we need to factor that into the urgency of getting China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, all of us, uh, to stay on the same page and to put as much effort into the denuclearization as possible. To have a nuclear weapon, potentially, in the hands of somebody like Kim Jong In — Jun — just becomes even more unacceptable.”
First, I yield to no one in my low regard for John Kerry. However, in his own bumbling way, Kerry seems to be restating the US position on North Korea, which rejects accepting them as a nuclear state, and reprising a past intelligence assessment he offered while in Seoul last April:
Nuclear missile capability?
Kerry addressed a report by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, which was disclosed in a congressional hearing on Thursday, that said the agency has “moderate confidence” that North Korea is capable of mounting a nuclear weapon on a missile, but that such a weapon would likely not be reliable.
Kerry said Friday that while North Korea has tested a nuclear device, they have not yet shown the capability to build a weapon small enough to be mounted on a ballistic missile.
“It is inaccurate to suggest that the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- North Korea's official name] has fully tested, developed, and demonstrated capabilities that are articulated in that report,” Kerry said. “But obviously they have conducted a nuclear test so there is some kind of device. But that is very different from miniaturization and delivery and from tested delivery and other things. Does it get you closer to a line that is more dangerous? Yes.”
So the US position is that North Korea has nuclear devices which are probably not missile-ready but we want them to agree to roll back their programs. I am not sure Mr. Nuance quite burbled that out, but he is surely aware of their nuclear threat. And obviously, one of these devices may easily be small enough to be placed on a naval vessel, so worries about their possession of a nuclear "weapon" are not premature.
And what, by the way, is his point in making the Saddam Hussein comparison? Surely he is not hinting that the removal of Saddam had some beneficial consequences. Is he suggesting that the North Korean leader is awful but should be left in place indefinitely while we chat him up ineffectually? I can hardly imagine he is suggesting that a coalition of the willing might need to act. This is over ten years old but I doubt the mountains have moved in that time:
Seoul, with a population of 10 million, is so close to the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas that it is in range of thousands of North Korean artillery pieces. The possible chain reaction set off by an attack could have catastrophic consequences.
More bafflegab. Open mikes are not Kerry's friend.