Washington, D.C. — Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger warned members of the Senate Armed Services Committee about the dangers of a potential military conflict so close to the Russian and Chinese borders without international support during testimony about global challenges and U.S. national security strategy.
While the White House has previously implied that any development of a nuclear capable ICBM would be a potential red line, some geopolitical experts claim that North Korea has already achieved a nuclear armed ICBM, or is very close to achieving this capability.
As PJ Media reported, Kissinger detailed his perspective on an imminent “fork in the road,” where the Trump administration will be forced to consider whether to engage in a “pre-emptive attack” or tighten the current sanctions regime.
“We will hit that fork in the road, and the temptation to deal with it with a pre-emptive attack is strong, and the argument is rational, but I have seen no public statement by any leading official,” Kissinger told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on January 25. “But in any event, my own thinking, I would be very concerned by any unilateral American war at the borders of China and Russia, in which we are not supported by a significant part of the world, or at least of the Asian world.”
The refusal of North Korea to denuclearize, according to Kissinger, could potentially lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Asia. The former Secretary of State under the administrations of Presidents Nixon and Ford told the committee that he believes South Korea will eventually seek to develop nuclear arms if North Korea continues its program unabated— with Japan likely following suit.
“Then we’re living in a new world, in which technically competent countries with adequate command structures are possessing nuclear weapons in an area where there are considerable national disagreements,” Kissinger said. “That is a new world that will require new thinking by us.”
Kissinger presciently noted that such a turn of events would require a dramatic overhaul of the entire U.S. nuclear posture, as it would require strategic planners to mitigate multiple nuclear threats instead of one as currently assumed. Kissinger pointed out that the situation has the capability of devolving into a global nuclear proliferation nightmare.
The geopolitical thought leader also chimed in on the proposed “freeze for freeze” agreement, which calls for North Korean to halt missile tests in return for abandoning defined Allied military exercises, noting that such a plan would not fulfill or advance the goal of denuclearization of North Korea. In fact, Kissinger says that such a move would only “equate legitimate security operations with activities which have been condemned by the UN Security Council for decades,” and serve to potentially “dismantle American alliances in the region”— while simultaneously “legitimizing North Korea’s nuclear establishment.”
“Interim steps towards full denuclearization may well be part of an eventual negotiation. But they need to be steps towards this ultimate goal: the dismantlement of Pyongyang’s existing arsenal. They must not repeat the experience of the Vietnamese and Korean negotiations, which were used as means to buy time to further pursue their adversarial objectives,” Kissinger told the committee.