Former Republican congressman and Army Lt. Colonel Allen West discussed the situation in North Korea on Breitbart News radio with host Curt Schilling on Friday’s edition of Whatever It Takes.
West said North Korea’s Fourth of July missile launch should be viewed from the perspective of the 1930s when dark forces were gathering strength in what would become the Axis powers.
“You had someone that rose to power in Germany by the name of Adolf Hitler. People saw him developing new war machines, restoring the German military, which was something he was not supposed to do,” West recalled. “The fact that Hitler tested out some of these new war machines in the Spanish Civil War, and then all of a sudden when Hitler launched an attack to take over the Rhineland against France, there was nothing that was done.”
“We can sit back and say this is crazy, this is irrational, this will never happen, we don’t need to get involved because there will be millions of people that will end up losing their lives. Look what happened in the four years after Hitler first made that incursion into the Rhineland,” he warned. “Interestingly enough, this month, there will be a movie that comes out called ‘Dunkirk’ that shows what happened when Hitler and the German forces drove all the way through France.”
West also made note of President Trump’s visit to Poland, which had to deal with Nazi Germany’s infamous Blitzkrieg.
“I think that we cannot try to put Kim Jong-un in any type of Western civilizational-type of eyes. This is a psychopath,” he said.
West noted that Kim Jong-un’s father and grandfather conducted 16 and 15 missile tests, respectively, while the current North Korean dictator has launched 83 missiles since 2011 and 17 since President Donald Trump took office.
“This is a very serious situation. We need to take this guy at face value,” he advised.
West recommended avoiding a “Neville Chamberlain-Barack Obama strategic patience” approach to the North Korean crisis.
“It doesn’t have to be that they actually detonate an ICBM on the continental United States of America. Everyone now has come to learn about the EMP threat, electromagnetic pulse. You could take an ICBM such as that, and if it detonates at a certain altitude above a land mass, it completely shuts down that power grid over that land mass, everything in the line of sight,” West warned.
He assured listeners that the results of such an attack will not seem like a minor inconvenience should it ever occur and later noted that evidence has been discovered of Iran formulating strategies for using EMP weapons against the United States.
He talked about North Korean cooperation with Iran on nuclear weapons, noting that the Syrian nuclear facility destroyed by Israel in a 2007 raid bore a “stark resemblance” to the North Korean nuclear facility at Yongbyon.
“No one said a peep after the Israelis took that preemptive strike because they knew exactly what was there and what was going on,” said West. “We have to start thinking, do we want someone to get to a point where they have that capability? Because it’s a complete game-changer.”
For the present, he recommended increasing diplomatic and economic pressure against North Korea, perhaps all the way up to imposing a blockade against their ports. “We have got to strangle this guy into not being able to do what he is capable of doing,” he said.
“The biggest thing is, China should take over the situation, even though they have failed,” he added. “They have promised and not delivered on the promises because they could take him out without any heartbeat. The most important thing is that those old generals that you see with all those medals and stuff out there, they’ve got to realize that time is running out for them, and this guy has gone too far.”
Schilling revealed that he personally knows a young man who enlisted in the military and has been posted to Korea, a posting that seems much more dangerous in the current environment.
“In 1995, I was stationed up along the DMZ with the 2nd Infantry Division,” West said. “The big thing for us, we had the North Korean special operating forces who would infiltrate across the border and try to create havoc. Most times, working with the South Korean military, we’d hunt those guys down. You had the little mini-subs that were coming along the coast and dropping these infiltrators off along the coast, and again you were able to take them out.”
“That was more of a low-intensity type of threat. But now we’re looking at something completely different. This is high intensity, technologically based warfare that we’re looking at – the cyberwarfare of North Korea, these ICBMs, the threat of an EMP attack. I think that we’re going to have to start looking at what do we do against some of these launch sites?” he said.
“The key lynchpin to this is the South Korean president,” West suggested. “President Moon, who wants to have more open dialogue with Kim Jong-un, has to understand that Kim Jong-un sunk a South Korean naval vessel. They fired artillery onto a South Korean town. These are not a rational set of leaders that are up there in North Korea, that he can sit down and have some discussion about Kumbaya and what have you.”
West also stressed the importance of considering the “thousands of artillery tubes” pointing at South Korea’s cities, giving North Korea the ability to threaten massive civilian casualties without using weapons of mass destruction.
“They’re called HART sites, hardened artillery sites, that are dug into mountains and what have you, behind blast doors that are impenetrable. That is the concern because Seoul, Korea, is within the artillery range of those tubes,” he said.
“Now, I don’t know if those tubes are effective,” he added. “I don’t know when was the last time they’ve ever been fired so that they can be trustworthy, but that is a consideration. It is so important to have the anti-artillery radar systems that are there, the THAAD systems that are there for any type of missiles that could be launched. The threats of Saddam with his SCUDs pale in comparison to what North Korea could do.”
West said it was also important not to overestimate North Korea’s capabilities. He recalled how quickly the idea that Soviet-made T-72 tanks were superior to American armor and invulnerable to American airpower evaporated during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, along with Saddam Hussein’s rhetoric about deploying a “million-man army” to fight the “mother of all battles.”
Schilling thought the response from Japan, which is almost as vulnerable to North Korean attack as South Korea, was unusually muted. West responded that Japan is constrained by its postwar constitutional commitment to maintain only defensive forces and may need to consider relaxing those restrictions.
“They do work with the United States Pacific Fleet, but we need them to take a different stance,” he said.
West also expressed concern over Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, describing the construction of artificial islands and military bases as a “huge” problem.
“This leads to what China is doing strategically,” he said. “China is happy to have Kim Jong-un and North Korea there because everyone’s attention is focused on him and really not what China is doing.”
“China is trying to expand its regional hegemonic dominance in the Pacific Rim,” he explained. “They are building these man-made islands. They are fortifying them with military airfields, military weaponry, the most dangerous being surface-to-ship anti-ship missile systems. That’s meant, of course, for our Pacific Fleet.”
“That South China Sea area they are occupying with these man-made islands are so important for international trade routes. I believe 35 or 40 percent of global trade transits through the South China Sea lanes where they are building these islands,” he pointed out.
West said militarizing the South China Sea was part of China’s plan to recreate the fabled “Silk Road” trade route, “a chain of economic opportunity and trade that goes from the Middle East back over to China.”
“They are focusing on making themselves a very strong economic and military power. That is how they are keeping us distracted with North Korea while they continue to do these things,” he said.
“Xi Jinping is not going to do anything to reign in Kim Jong-un. We know their trade has increased over the last few months, I think 31 to 34 percent. So we’re going to have to look at another Coalition of the Willing,” he advised, recalling the Bush administration’s term for the nations supporting the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
West agreed with Schilling that China’s ownership of vast amounts of U.S. debt was troubling, recommending economic growth and restoration of the job market to remove some of China’s leverage. He argued that a robust and deregulated U.S. economy would also lure capital back from overseas, while reviving the American manufacturing sector would boost exports.
Also, West said that exporting American energy resources would “help to undermine Vladimir Putin and his designs and global goals and objectives.”
“Our economy has to be strong. We have to leverage our energy resources because it doesn’t have to come to the military option preeminently,” he advised. “If we could do those first two, that puts us in a better position.”
“Our military has to be a credible deterrent, so when you do have these despots and dictators like a Kim Jong-un that pops up, you’re ready to deter any type of designs that he may have,” he added.