Lindsey Graham was on CBS’s This Morning a little earlier and he talked about North Korea.
Lindsey Graham on North Korea: Trump "is not going to contain the threat, he's going to stop the threat." pic.twitter.com/xo70MM34GB
— Axios (@axios) August 9, 2017
“President Trump has basically drawn a red line saying he’ll never allow North Korea to have an ICBM missile that can hit America with a nuclear weapon on top, he’s not going to let that happen, he’s not going to contain the threat, he’s going to stop the threat,” Graham told “CBS This Morning” on Thursday.
Speaking from Clemson, South Carolina, the Republican said two scenarios in which the U.S. would act with force would be if “they attack Guam or some other American interest or our allies, or if they try to keep developing an ICBM.”
He added that he feels the U.S. will head toward war with the North “unless the world can stop North Korea”, saying Mr. Trump will “pick homeland defense over regional stability and he has to.”
“China should have two options: deal with the nut job in your back yard or realize there will be a war in your backyard,” Graham said.
While the Republican lawmaker did not waver over the threat of war, he said he still had hope for a more diplomatic resolution.
“I hope diplomacy will work, sanctions haven’t worked before, maybe they will now,” he said. “But if there’s going to be a war, it’s going to be in the region, not in America.”
Two thoughts on this.
First, this marks a huge change in Graham’s usual role in playing Minime to John McCain on foreign policy. McCain, who has rarely met a war he didn’t want to get involved in, criticized Trump’s statement on North Korea. Graham seems not only supportive of the statement but he’s fully in sync with the statements coming out of the JSC and NSC: we can’t let Kim have the ability to actually hit US cities with a nuke.
Second, I posted last night about war having its own logic. If you parse what Graham is saying it seems to be that he doesn’t think sanctions or talks are going to work and that leaves one tool in our toolbox: the big hammer.