tv Washington Journal Jonathan Pollack Discusses Tensions with North Korea E CSPAN July 30, 2017 9:32am-10:01am EDT
abandoned in the coming's retreat still miraculously hauling the freight, even though the home office seems reluctant to send replacement parts. ♪ >> and if the man who invented the bicycle could see to what use his toy has been put in the commerce of korea, he might conclude with the justification that his place in history is assured alongside the man who invented the wheel. ♪ host: and you can follow american history tv's reel america this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. on c-span3. joining us for the last segment seniorthan pollack, a fellow at the brookings institution center for east asian studies. the topic is north korea, another icbm launch the other day.
how much of a threat do think the north koreans are becoming to the continental united states? guest: well, it is more of a hypothetical threat rather than something, even though they have demonstrated an ability with a long-range missile to be able to reach the united states, to go from that to what we would call an operational capability may still be some time. it is not at all an easy thing to do, even some of the estimates from the defense intelligence agencies have basically truncated the timeline, so it is a fact. real threat north korea poses are on the peninsula and in the region. this is where we have major u.s. forces already deployed, a very substantial population of american citizens in south korea every day, so even though north korea sees it as part of its
needterm aspirations, the to determine possible threats has not changed significantly. it is more an accomplishment for north korea as they want to claim they can punch above their weight. tracking a from missile launched, how does the u.s. get intelligence on what north korea is doing and how close they may be to developing a nuclear tipped warhead? in fact one of the toughest things to analyze because unless and until north korea actually would be prepared , if it would be prepared, to demonstrate that kind of cap capability, that is launch a missile with a warhead on top, something that has not been done in 37 years, but what north korea is trying to do instead
and what the intelligence community analyzes, as you look at information they publicize, photographs and the like, simulations of tests on the ground, and simply look to their , you have tohere evaluate and assume they are getting closer to the ability to put a warhead on a missile, but they would like us to believe they have that capability, but in some sense it remains unproven except by their claims. host: the u.s. response has included military response. this morning, the u.s. conducted d successful test of the thaa missile in alaska by launching a ballistic missile over the pacific ocean, the weapon was fired by a u.s. plane and intercepted by the system. agency described the test as successful why is this thaad
system important? guest: it is the primary means by which the course of any ballistic missile launch, it can be detected with the radars and based on the ground capabilities that are are there. perfectly, butk thaad now in korea, one that in the aftermath of this test is likely to increase in numbers and sophistication, but again, it is to intercept th, the ability to intercept a missile at a higher altitude before it comes into final descent. host: the new president of south korea, president moon, had been reluctant to endorse this thaad
system. the headline from the washington post saying the south korean angles for more firepower against the north. what is your take on how the new government is responding to the north koreans? >> there are a lot of ironies here because resident moon was brought in because he would seek avenues that the previous president of south begun and which had been shut down by the subsequent conservative presidents, but the jong-un and north korea overall is not giving moon any breathing room at all, so rather than moon distancing decisionrom the thaad
in particular, which was made quickly in the last year of the invious president, he was effect saying we will need more of that capability redder than even think about the possibility of shifting course on it, so the irony here is a left of center president finds himself more closely aligned with the united want to sayi don't that's thanks to north korea, but given north korea behavior, ais is where he recognizes threat to his own country and the threat to american forces. host: what does the north korean leader want? guest: the north korean leader, unusual regime, the only dynastic system that has ever existed in the marxist-leninist world. whoucceeded his father, succeeded his father, so it has been a kim dynasty from its
origins. he wants is subject to a lot of questions because north korea remains on the whole a very isolated from the outside world, except for some economic relations with china and others. indeed, it is my own belief that he tries to keep it that way because if the outside world were permitted in in terms of ideas, information, technology, significant foreign presence, these would represent remarkable dangers to this very idiosyncratic regime, which has a manufactured history for its entire existence, which now approaches 70 years, so the ung-un ise with kim jon he has greatly accelerated the missile development programs in the north in the last 2-3 years,
and to be frank it has in a surprise to me and other specialists the kind of progress he has been able to make in quick order, now including dismissal with the hypothetical ability to reach the united states. he claims this is to protect north korea against the threat of american invasion and decapitation, but the united states has avoided war with north korea ever since the korean armistice, even in situations where north korea had engaged in egregious conduct against the united states. and it hasretaliate, to do with conditions on the peninsula, the fact of that war would be a disastrous outcome. this is well understood by military planners and secretary of defense james mattis, who has made it clear that korea is the last place in the world he would want to go to war, so the question is if this is something
kim jong-un is doing to legitimate himself and make the threats of this regime in the realce of any kind of design of the united states of going to war with the north. that would only happen under the most dire circumstances or if north korea initiated an attack. host: we welcome your calls. our guest is jonathan pollack. we welcome your calls at 202-748-8000, democrats. 202-748-8001, republicans. , 202-748-8002. send us a tweet at @cspanwj. our first call. you are on the air. go ahead. caller: my comment, my question to the guy is which is more
likely to happen, an attack on the u.s. continent or a u.s. military installation in that region? view, the farmy more likely circumstance is one in themerican assets region and on the peninsula could be threatened. kimwe believe that believes the possession of this hypothetical ability to reach the united states with a nuclear weapon gives him latitude, gives him breathing room, gives them more flexibility, on the assumption or expectation the united states would not respond under circumstances where the u.s. itself could be potentially at risk. needs tod states significantly reinforce the kinds of deterrence strategies we have, make abundantly clear
to the leader of the north that any contemplated attack or initiated attack on the south or u.s. forces would need an overwhelming response from the united states, not because the united states wants to go to war, but because it must underscore that it cannot accept a situation where it's armed forces and its allies would he subject to coercion or outright attacks. so bottom line is an attack on the united states, which would be utterly suicidal and the end of the regime, it is where kim may be looking for advantage on the peninsula and the region, and that is where we should have the focus in discussions with south korea and japan, and china. host: hollywood, florida. comment, it is
beginning to look a lot like the u.s. should not have allowed , takenorea to continue it and control it to him about my question is we have to do something with this gentleman who appears to be a sociopath, at least mentally unbalanced, willing to kill anybody. he has murdered people. how do we mitigate this problem? there are at know least one-to nuclear submarines in his general area, and he can't really win, but sometimes madness has no logic to it, but does have a goal. how can we mitigate this problem without the help of china, if it appear so far they have been haveling, and they should recognized this problem and probably eliminated it themselves when they saw he was escalating his missile program.
host: thanks. guest: my quick answer is we really don't know all that much about kim jung-un. there are only three americans who have met him. that would be dennis rodman and visitsrodman's aides on to north korea. cruel,ion that he is manipulative, prepared to kill people, but that does not mean he is necessarily mad. beyond this, americans often have an expectation that we can snap our fingers or china can snap their fingers and make us all better overnight. china was a major participant in the korean war when their own interests were at risk, when macarthur was advancing and china saw the threat to its own security, but china on the insistence of kim
jung-un's grandfather withdrew all its remaining personnel from north korea in 1958. there has been no meaningful, large-scale foreign presence in north korea since 1958. this is how north korea tries to maintain control of its own destiny, if it can. this is a problem that has eluded a number of american presidents. it has now gotten a lot worse. ifcan ask a lot of questions there would have been a way to do it differently, but very frankly, stark, coercive options have just really never been on the table in any real sense, and we are living with some of the consequences of that. host: the president wage income of degree on china, on twitter saying, i am very disappointed in china.
our foolish leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars in trade and they do nothing with north korea. just talk. we will not allow this to continue. china could easily solve this problem! guest: we don't try to solve problems. try to manage them. the fundamental goal is the avoidance of war. that is shared by china. we are frustrated because president trump thinks china could be doing much more because of their disproportionate role in the north korean economy, and to some extent that is true, so what he is imagining i suppose sharplychina could break off economic contact, but china's argument is different. china is arguing that if there is real of people and mayhem on the peninsula, it lands on them, not on us. china has an 850 mile border
with north korea. thatcale of the problems might follow if indeed there were some kind of internal , if north korea frankly were to direct some of its hostility not towards the united states, but china. let's remember that these missiles north korea possesses easily put almost all of china in range as well, and there has been a lot of back-and-forth between china and north korea, accusations from one or the other about north koreans are very unhappy about any cooperation with the united states, and the chinese are very, very reluctant, very risk-averse here. itcan ask why, but a lot of is they don't want to see themselves drawn into a conflict again on the peninsula that they believe is avoidable, but it may be of voidable, but the question is what you trying to buy in the
interim? where in a situation now north korea which has persisted with its programs not just for a few years, but a dream of their leadership going back to kim il-sung 450-60 years. kim was frustrated when their invasion of south korea ground to a halt in the fall of 1950. that has always been on their radar screen. that is frankly something that obviously we cannot in any way, shape, or form prevent, and that is one of the reasons we maintain such a major military presence there. dealing with china on this is not easy, but frankly the only way we are going to have some measure of control over these circumstances is if we can get be on what i like to call the outsourcing of the problem. china blames the united states.
the u.s. blames china. if you are blaming one another, the one who wins and that is north korea. host: let's hear from montana. the independent line. go ahead. .aller: good morning, y'all i don't think there's any way we will solve this. china has us over a barrel on trade. it is pretty bad. if you look at the way the world is set up over there, you have china building these bases in the pacific. they are not supposed to be doing that, and everybody knows it, but they would do it anyway. they flexed their muscles at us, and we don't have an answer for them. we need them, and we know that. i think trump realize that. that's why we will not be able to do anything. yeah, everybody calls kim jung-un crazy, this guy is
pretty damn smart. he has the most profanation in the world powerful nation in the world -- ofst: you raise a lot questions beyond korea, but i think everybody is stymied on the peninsula, including china. there was a point where china was an ally of north korea. those days are long since over. internala lot of debate in china because increasingly many chinese recognized that north korea is not an asset to china, but a significant liability. it does not seem to have any real wisdom on how to deal with this either, so i don't want to say it is satisfying, but what you have to hope for is a conflict can be avoided. north korea can continue to be deterred through sanctions,
either from the united nations security council are ones we do on our own and others do on our way, shape, or form to constrain north korea's ability to make steady advances in his progress. there is no question china could be doing much more on this. a lot of north korean agents and businessmen operate undercover in china. informationg that to the chinese because we understand that phenomenon much better. the north koreans have survived for very long time, and people, mainly americans, predicted they would be out of is this real soon. every day when i wake up and turn on my laptop, they are still there, and that is something we need to ask ourselves about. grim,s it that makes his unbelievably repressive regime able to endure and power and control its own people?
here again, i want to emphasize, north korea is not an economically powerful nation. it puts an enormous amount of efforts and assets into its weapons programs. tore are cumulative costs that. i don't want to say at some point the system breaks, but this is a choice they have made, and in view of that choice, we have to be clear about what we do in response. host: and the united nations, cbs reporting this morning that the u.s. wants an emergency security council meeting on the north korean icbm test and are hoping to set an emergency meeting on monday, according to cbs. a couple of more calls. douglas on the republican line. caller: hello. i have a question. the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, we were all
worried about the cold war and russia and nuclear war, bombs, what ever. why hasn't someone thought of fording an infrastructure conventional weapons in south korea so they had a place to at least, you know, save as many lives as possible when this happens, that they would be prepared more than just saying, we can't do anything because of south korea. i just won his opinion. thanks. guest: it is a real good question. south korea does a lot. they contribute more to their own defense than just about any other american ally in the role with the united states. they have been under threat for a long time and have not been averse to spending a lot of money and maintain a large military force. if you look at the -- that is one of the risk factors.
highly a very, very weapons-intensive and manpower -intensive location on a very small peninsula, so we have worked with our allies in south korea for a very long time. andollaborate militarily maintain a presence of almost 30,000 military personnel on the peninsula, but south korea is the one that bears the brunt of the defense relationship. they are increasingly more the ones who are more forward deployed, because it is after all the korean peninsula, and we believe, and i believe the south koreans even amidst their political differences, recognized that they need to protect themselves, that they need help to do that, and that is what the united states has done ever since it intervened in the korean war in the summer of 1950. host: a quick comment from twitter. a tweet from danny, alluding to
richard nixon. why isn't the answer to north korea ping-pong, anyone? john in illinois. democrat line. go ahead. caller: hey, thanks for working this sunday. a beautiful sunday and america. -- this morning in america. i am a big proponent of deterrence. i'm just throwing this out there, jonathan. an interceptor. we have a volunteer service and have the americans out there who would volunteer. i'm going to get off the line and listen to you. thank you, sir. guest: thank you. if you were to visit south korea, you would be exceedingly and pressed with the
caliber, motivation, and training of american military personnel the point on the peninsula. they are serious about what they do and serious about deterrence. we have major exercises every year with south korea, ones the north koreans object to. of course they object to it and let because it suggests we are not wavering and those commitments. again, we never signed a peace treaty here. it was an armistice signed in 1953. it has kept the piece, not perfectly at all times, but there i has been no major resumption of warfare. south korea has gone from being a backward and underdeveloped country with a gross to mr. product of less than $100 to the 12th biggest economy in the world. by contrast, the south korean economy compared to the north is 35 times 240 times the size of the north, so the north having
double down on all its bets on nuclear weapons and missiles is paying a terrible, terrible price for it, but the goal there has always been protection of the dynasty, the protection of the regime, and that is their highest priority. that is a choice they made. what we need to do in that context is everything we can to under no they are illusions whatsoever about what would happen in the event they were to again initiate force. host: jonathan pollack with the brookings institution, the east asia policy studies center, a senior fellow there, keeping an ion the latest on north korea and their missile launches. thank you for joining us here on "washington journal" this morning. that will do it. we are back on c-span and c-span radio tomorrow morning with another addition of "washington journal." we will talk about social, political aspects of the
democrats and campaign 2018. we will hear from bill archer tomorrow morning, talking about republican efforts on health care and other issues. jagoda talks about tax proposals put out by the president and capitol hill. all that tomorrow morning 7:00 eastern. i hope you have a great sunday afternoon. we will see her tomorrow morning. thanks. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] 7] ♪ announcer: president trump's be to law enforcement officers in new
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