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John Bolton: U.S. Should Suggest to China the Reunification of the Korean Peninsula

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton proposed reunification as the solution to the North Korean nuclear missile crisis on Friday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow.

Bolton said President Trump has “made it clear that this is a different president than the one that North Korea and China have faced for the last eight years.”

“I don’t think people should underestimate the importance of making that distinction,” he advised. “We in America see great differences among our various presidents. A lot of foreigners don’t see the differences that we see. For many years, people have talked about all options being on the table, to the point where it’s just like a verbal tic. Nobody pays any attention to it. I think to get China’s attention in particular, tough talk has been warranted.”

“Now, I do think there’s a limit to it,” he added. “I think it’s very important as well that the president understands that as he makes these kinds of remarks, it gets harder and harder to back away from a very tough stance without risking grave damage to his credibility.”

“Nobody wants to see the military option employed, but the choice that Americans face is very stark,” Bolton warned. “This is a crisis we’re in, and the choice is: Are you prepared from now until infinity to see North Korea have the capability to hit targets in the United States with nuclear weapons? Because if we allow things to proceed as they are, that’s what is going to happen.”

“No amount of negotiation is going to talk North Korea out of it. We’ve tried that, mistakenly in my view, for 25 years. It’s failed. That’s why we’re in the position we are in now. Either we do something dramatically different diplomatically – my proposal is to convince China to reunite the Korean Peninsula – then you’re down to military action. Nobody wants it, but nobody wants to be in the position Trump finds himself in after 25 years of failure,” he said.

Bolton noted that North Korea is a “dependency of China,” which “supplies 90 percent of their oil, supplies enormous amounts of food and other humanitarian assistance – not because of the milk of human kindness, but because they want to keep the North Koreans in North Korea.”

“China could put enormous pressure on the regime,” he said. “One reason they haven’t over the years is that they fear that the pressure would bring the regime down. They’re very worried about the consequences of catastrophic collapse.”

This is why Bolton favors telling China, “Look, we don’t want a catastrophic collapse either, but we don’t want North Korea with nuclear weapons. Therefore, the answer is to merge the two Koreas, and, in effect, have a South Korean takeover. In exchange for that, we will commit that American troops will not be on the border with China. They’ll be at the end of the peninsula near Pusan, where they can be deployed around Asia more rapidly.”

“Now, China may not buy that deal. It’s a hard argument. But I do think it is in China’s interest. If they don’t buy the deal, our options suddenly become much more limited,” he said.

Marlow said the obvious lunacy of the North Korean regime makes it difficult to see them as anything less than a constant threat to the civilized world. Bolton agreed and lamented the inability of many Americans to appreciate that threat.

“The danger that we face inside the United States we can already see visibly,” he said. “Susan Rice, the former National Security adviser, yesterday in the New York Times said we should tolerate North Korea with nuclear weapons. Of course, under her administration, they argued we can talk North Korea out of these nuclear weapons, so they’ve been wrong on this for 25 years, going back to the Clinton administration.”

“As I say, if you’re prepared to live with a nuclear North Korea, then, of course, you’re not in favor of the use of force. If you don’t want to see our children held hostage as far as the eye can see, then you’re going to look at it differently,” said Bolton.

“What kind of regime is North Korea?” he asked. “You know, I’m not a shrink. I’m not going to say they’re psychotic. That’s not the issue. They’re an authoritarian government that has its own rationality. The problem is, it’s not rational in our terms.”

“The idea that Susan Rice and others are promulgating is the fallacy of mirror imaging. That is to say, we’re a pretty reasonable group of people in the United States. We want to solve this problem. We assume that the people on the other side of the table are equally reasonable and working for a solution. That’s not necessarily true of Kim Jong-un or the ayatollahs in Iran. That’s what the problem is,” he said.

Bolton denounced the mainstream media for “having the attention span of a fruit fly.”

“The fact is, we’ve had 25 years of failure across Democratic and Republican administrations alike. There were obvious variations among the policies of Clinton, Bush, and Obama, but conceptually, with respect to North Korea, they were all very similar, all based on the notion that by alternating the prospect of carrots and sticks, incentives and disincentives, you could affect North Korean behavior to the point they’d give up the nuclear program,” he recalled.

“Variations on that theme were tried for 25 years, and they have all failed. That’s why we’re in the desperate situation we are now. It’s why it is properly called a ‘crisis.’ If you don’t understand that history, then you can come into this new administration – still relatively new administration – and say, ‘Why don’t we negotiate with North Korea?’ like it’s some brilliant new idea. It’s not. It’s got a 25-year history of failure and no evidence that in Year 26 it’s going to succeed,” said Bolton.

He said media coverage of the crisis “reflects the inability of the press to see the bigger picture” and their inclination to “focus inevitably on the political horse race aspects of any issue in the United States, as opposed to the important substantive aspects.”

“I don’t expect any more of the press,” he admitted. “My hope – and I can’t say it’s any more than a hope – is that the rest of the world understands that. If they don’t, then it’s a problem that complicates Trump’s decision-making, but fundamentally, he can’t really waste his time with what the press are saying. He’s got to focus on this critical strategic question of North Korea with the capability to deliver weapons on target in the United States.”

John Bolton is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and head of his own political action committee, BoltonPAC.

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern.

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