tv Washington Journal John Delury and Patrick Cronin Discuss Tensions with... CSPAN August 13, 2017 8:06am-8:53am EDT
targeting your community with nuclear attack. host: one more year -- is there any indication of heightened military activity at the naval base or airbase in guam? no.t: has been doing a regular rotation of bombers, i .hink from south dakota they are ongoing. there has been no change to the threat levels at the base this year. no visible buildup. us from guam, dana williams, the executive editor of the "pacific daily news." follow reporting on twitter at @guampdn. thank you for the update. we will continue the conversation on the latest from north korea and the threats from
north korea and u.s. reaction. we are joined by patrick cronin, with the center for a new american security, the asia-pacific security program's senior director. joining us from yonsei university in seoul, south korea, associate professor john delury, associate professor in chinese studies. thank you for being with us this morning. professor guillory -- professor delury, i will start with you. i asked dana williams how things are in guam. what is the mood in seoul in general? hello, thank you for having me. it is interesting to hear that report from guam. there are some similarities in south korea. if you showed up, you would not sign in thetect any united states or globally. there is so much attention now
to north korea pay the fact that office, wellin my within artillery range -- we are in the northern part of seoul. it has been some a quiet on campus, but there are no drills. we are not being told how to duck and cover. at this point, there is certainly no outward sign. when you talk people, there is nothing close to panic. in fact, as the started to unfold, initially, in my experience, south koreans were not paying any attention at all. this is different than guam. south koreans have in through this over and over and over. people are sort of thick skinned to this sort of threat and tension rising. yesterday and today, people are paying more attention and there is more concerned. host: pegida cronin, what would typically the military be doing
at a time like this? we are not seeing outward signs of reaction, but what is the military up to now? the militaries probably making sure that the flow -- forces on standby to react to a crisis are ready to go. there is probably a good deal of and south korea military contingency planning for unintended concert answers and a mere you -- a myriad of unintended consequences beyond while. i think the military is trying to coordinate with our diplomacy, not just the united states but with our allies, including those in the region like china. trying to make sure there is an effort to bring north korea to ward some sort of automatic bargaining agreement -- diplomatic bargaining agreement. host: that has been called channel negotiations.
what would be be selling point to china to get them involved, or more involved, in pressuring the north koreans? guest: the selling point to china is that the united states truly once -- wants to negotiate down the north korea missile program but does not more grand eyes met -- grandisement from backing north korea off of nuclear programs. that is, scare north korea and china, do both of the same time, and reward china by bringing them into northeast asian diplomacy in a way that makes their voice seem central. the incentives are both negative and positive. carrots and sticks for china. kim jong-un is being played here -- and this is where john delury and i may disagree. trump, i believe, is trying to bait kim jong-un to do what kim
jong-un always does. to provoke. by provoking the region and the world, he is gearing beijing, not just americans and those in guam and korea and japan and elsewhere. he is also scaring china. the chinese want stability and peace, so therefore, they may exert greater pressure on kim jong-un to come back to the bargaining table. host: john delury, respond to that, and also give us the source of the north koreans' fear of the united states. what is behind that? guest: sure. i will start with the second part and then comment on patrick's observation. listening to the program before us, you had a gentleman on who was a veteran of the korean war, talking about a different topic to you but that is where it goes back to you. u.s. troops arrived and it
battle on the korean peninsula. they went north and occupied until the chinese process back and never removed our troops from the south. we never went home. it. is the root of victory in war is not something we talk about a lot. it is known as the "forgotten war." you have the exact opposite of that in north korea. part of the regime's way of maintaining but also legitimate imating itself is to remind people endlessly about that war and the fact that americans are a rat. -- are a threat. that is-- to connect typically to guam, there has been misreporting about this. i am not even sure the person
you have in guam, the authorities there, understand what the north koreans said they will do. what this latest cycle, from the north korean perspective, is specific in terms of guam. strategichoned in on bombers, in particular, the b01 -52's,replaced the, b which did a lot of work in the korean war. now there is a new were playing with that squadron. they have been flying out of mom and coming up the southern half of the korean peninsula. the north koreans are always complaining about these kinds of things. complaining about joint military exercises the united states does with south koreans, complaining about this piece of equipment, that piece of the claimant. -- equipment. they have in making a stink about the b-1's coming from
guam. the threat now is a challenge to differentiate from a strike or attack. the north koreans are not saying they will strike or attack obama. they are certainly not saying they will try -- the north koreans are not saying they will strike or attack guam or that they will set off a nuclear attack. what they will do it is more in termsnd problematic of how the united states respond . what they say they will do is fire for missiles to miss guam. they are even avoiding the territorial waters around guam. if they execute this, is to fire missiles as a demonstration of power, a challenge to the united states.
they call it the "enveloping fire," and shooting around guam, not at guam. host: let's get our viewers in the conversation. professor john delury joining us from seoul and patrick cronin from the center for a new american security. the number is (202) 748-8001 for republicans. (202) 748-8000 for democrats. independents and others, (202) 748-8002. we welcome your tweets at @cspanwj. what do you think about this challenge john delury is talking about? guest: john is right. what the north korean leadership is trying to do is find a way to leverage its fear to threaten the united states and its allies without actually triggering war. guam wouldtriking trigger war. but the threat of missiles in waters well off the waters of guam tells trump and the united can't stop me from
doing what i want to do." b-1 bombers were flown by the obama administration and now the trump administration to make sure that kim remembers that if he actually tries to kill someone, there will be legal repercussions immediately and that we are more powerful than north korea. we are in a stalemate. we are not actually try to jockey for position. tim johnson wants to show he has antsr -- kim jong-un w to show he has power. host: is there any sense of what kim jong-un once in negotiation? guest: no and yes. yes because practically speaking, there may be more diplomatic opportunities short of our objective on the peninsula and therefore a possible -- wards
coming in the threat at the same time. this will take a multinational approach, though. of callshave plenty waiting. let's go to danny from ohio, republican line. caller: good morning. i would like to state that this could have been avoided years harry truman not fired douglas macarthur when the red chinese came across the river and attack american troops and murdered them. crossed into china. at that point, harry s truman -- truman told him to get out. by the way, macarthur was a military genius. host: back to history a little bit.
john delury, if you want to comment on that historical reference. guest: it is actually not the case that macarthur moved into china. macarthur did have some plans sus ofould scare the bejee listeners, to light up the border with nuclear weapons. there is a historical debate about the mental competency of douglas macarthur at that point. t that do track -- detrac he was one of the great military commanders, but there were serious, compelling reasons that harry made the decision to relieve macarthur of his duties. he never moved troops into china, that he was very aggressive about what he wanted to do. he essentially wanted to start and moved u.s. troops into china. that would have been a cataclysmic disaster.
host: you are perspective as a former naval intelligence officer? guest: it is the basic strategy here. what ourtical -- political objectives trying to achieve an are you surpassing them, doing more harm than good, by pursuing a nuclear war? we have to be humble when dealing with the use of force abroad. it does not mean we have to be weak. we can be strong. but we are strong because we know we are in the right and we are trying to defend our interests and values. that is when strength matters. i do not want to replay the unclery" card -- my parachuted behind north korean lines, lost all but one of his troop, and came back a damaged man. war is hell. do not start war unless you are ready to fight to the end.
in a nuclear age, that is not tenable. host: in new york, on our democrat line. caller: hello. my standing is why can't we find peace within the united states side, and why, can't north korea. if trump brought better negotiators, i think we would be better off. one toatrick cronin, take that -- want to take that first? guest: peace has been elusive since the arm assist -- armistice. it is a difficult effort. a lot of countries are involved. john delury explained pretty
northhe guerrilla war korea is still fighting. we have some pretty good negotiators. the north korean envoy served well in democratic administrations and is serving well in the trump administration. we do not like in negotiators. we lack time to coordinate high across withcraft japan, south korea, china, and others. host: when the new korean president came in, moon jae-in, he reached across the border, so to speak, he had a softened stance from his predecessor. where is that stance now? guest: poor president moon jae-in, he is boxed in. he is coming after a little less than 10 years two conservative
south korean presidents. in south korean terms, conservative means more or less a hard line on north korea. not interested in dialogue like peace. especially when moving pickup -- moon picked up the ball, now hes were high, and is dealing with spiraling tensions with the united states. he is boxed in. it is like the dog that has not barked in the last couple of days. there has barely been a statement from moon in the blue house. he is watching and waiting and looking for a moment where he can get in. to the point about peace, i would echo about what patrick said and also, strongly, affirm the view that trump has a good team in the state department all the way up to rex tillerson.
would support something like a peace process with north korea and say to the north koreans, you have been asking for a peace treaty for a long time -- i am donald trump, and my predecessors were not that interested, but i am. let's see where that goes. secretary tillerson is not quite using that language, but he is using a lot of other language sending those positive signals to the north koreans. i actually do not think we are headed towards nuclear armageddon. i think we are headed towards diplomacy. peace regime, this concept could be a central part of it. despite the fact north korea positions itself as taking on the americans, they have a whole other way they talk, where they thethe americans are
hostile ones, and if only the americans would engage in peace process two end the korean war, we are ready to sit across from americans. it legitimates them to sit across the table from do not trump -- from donlald trump. host: on diplomatic efforts, do you see a different tone coming from the secretary of state and the president? guest: it is part of a dual track policy. i am convinced the white house fresher defense and sanctions on one hand and diplomacy and engagement on the other hand. the u.s. government is trying to empower rex tillerson at the pinnacle of that effort to try to have forceful diplomacy to try to get some sort of look -- some sort of diplomatic framework. host: let's get to colorado springs. brian on the democratic line. caller: good morning.
the question i have is -- thatng the doves north korea will not actually hit guam. ofme, that is an act aggression, especially when trying to establish diplomatic ties to solve this incident going on. four north korea -- for north korea to threaten a ring of fire around guam, where you keep ofr bombers, is a sign aggression. if they do that, we should retaliate in some form. not necessarily the nuclear option, but there are conventional bombs that are just as impressive. host: is this a different approach than north koreans have used in the past in terms of specifically saying what they
plan to do? guest: it is complicated. a lot of us who watch north korea are going over our notes and looking at the president -- cedents to see what it most matches. north korea is like a boy who cried wolf. they make a lot of threats, some of which are vague and scary, some of which are more specific at less scary. i would agree that the united states cannot really just let it go. if we got to the point where they carry that out. -- where they carried that out. from the north korean 1's, whiche, the b- overup and make dry runs
the southern half of the peninsula that they claim is still their territory, theoretically -- this is hostile. we call it a deterrent. they consider it provocation. essentially, we are both right. if they go through with this, they are stepping it up significantly. the united states would have to figure out a way to respond in kind. i would argue in the most restrained and yet still strong way possible. i do not think we want to get to that point, though. let's say we fire a couple of coast of thethe north korean, essentially do the same thing of and then pulling -- of enveloping fire. both sides can pretend we are not at war yet, but where do we go from there? i think we want to head this off.
not get to the point where they go through with the bomb plan -- and move on with a kind of diplomacy that i am happy to hear patrick cronin is saying is a central component of what the white house is interested in. host: this dual track approach, does the increased rhetoric make it possible? be necessaryit may to ratchet up tensions before we get more serious about the need or diplomacy and represent the need to beijing as well, so they can lean on pyongyang. if they fire these missiles at guam, they will fly over japan. 2" will have a so-called " 2+ meeting with the japanese this week -- host: here in washington? guest: i do not know. but prime minister abe re-shuf
fled the cabinet. they will talk about missile defense and the need to strengthen and be ready to shoot down missiles, possibly. defense is a big part of the pressure strategy, and we will continue to work with united north allies in case korea do something different. host: here is jerry in baltimore on our democrat line. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i do not trust this president. don't like him. i really question what is going on. before his election, the north upean missiles were blowing or failing in one way or another. since his election, now they can hit alaska. he is threatening guam.
personally, i think america is weak. we do not really have the technology to shoot them down. if we did, i would like to see our navy, or whoever, prove it by shooting them down as they enter the airspace of japan. host: what has the u.s. on to demonstrate our defensive capabilities in terms of the ability to shoot down rockets? guest: there was a test earlier this year out of hawaii to shoot down an icbm. this would be the fastest flying missile we would possibly be taxed to shoot down. it was just a test, a single missile, and they knew all of the parameters ahead of time, but it aid succeed. there are technologies in place. but you are talking about layered missile defense. , fromd missile defense
the very last point of defense. you can introduce a boost phase, together when they are first getting fired off, but that comes close to preventive war, which could be more dangerous. there could be a lot of things over time, if north korea is going up a nuclear missile arsenal. headline in the "wall street journal" yesterday. the status of forces -- how north korea's military muscle compares with the u.s. and south korea. in south korea, statistics 625,000 troops. korea, 1.28 million troops, according to a report in the "wall street journal." let's hear from gary on the democrat line. caller: good morning. let's go back in history for a moment. i know we cannot turn back the
clock, but i think we can learn from history. for example in vietnam, we refused to allow an election, because we knew the north were heroes for throwing out the hated french, would have won. priorstion is, going back against where we we againston -- were reunification of the korean peninsula because we were afraid the north, with the communist regime, would take over the korean peninsula? host: let's go to john delury, joining us from seoul. guest: i love that question. i am trained as a historian, so you will have to cut me off. absolutely. prehistory to the korean war, in 1950, is exactly
as your caller guest. the division, which is still there not far from my office, the division of the korean toninsula, was agreed between the united states and the soviet union. it is not like south koreans wake up and are mad about it, but if they had had enough to drink at night, there can be bitterness that comes out over the fact that here, japan, which was the aggressor and enemy of the united states, comes out of andwar united and rebuilt formidable, at least in economic terms. ofreas korea, a victim japanese aggression and colonial occupation, ends up divided still to this day. i am not saying it is the united fault exactly.
it is complicated. it is the beginning of what the americans and soviets did on a global level. but the division of korea is a direct result of a power decision. cronin, you shared some of your personal history with the korean war. any other thoughts? guest: the founder of north korea, kim il-sung, had to lobby the soviets to back off of the deal they made with united states to partition the peninsula they made after world war ii. it is interesting, when stalin and mao gave the green light for kim il-sung to attack -- i would encourage listeners to go to and listen to this report. there is a great report a couple of months ago talking about how china continues the historical fiction today that the united
states invited -- invaded the north. i agree with john totally. history matters a lot. but it is complicated. you have to fight for preserving a truthful narrative of history. and we certainly need to know more history in this country. host: let's say hello to illinois. mike on the independent line. caller: i would say that hiller's chief propagandist -- hitler's chief propagandist said tell a lie and people will start believing it. douglas macarthur did not want to start a war. he wanted to bomb the supply line and destroy them coming from china to korea. one other point. remember -- russia declared war on japan a week before they surrendered. it was the appeasement of the roosevelt
administration that give north korea to the russians and the communists. host: a tweet from michael online at @cspanwj. "korea was the first cold war on conflict." another call from aaron in washington state, republican line. caller: i think you have to understand that when you are negotiating, you have to have two people who are willing to negotiate in good faith. what i see in the korean str ucture, it reminds me of chamberlin's -- chamberlain's great victory after the germans -- "peace inrussia our time." i do not think the north koreans have kept to anything they have ever agreed to with anybody except the chinese.
aaron in washington state. a headline at cnbc. the u.s.-south korean wargames provide trigger that could further inflame pyongyang. kim delury in seoul, jong-un has often used in these occasions, whether they are those sorts of things, to boost up the rhetoric. are othertion there dates coming up like this that we should be mindful and watchful of? guest: i am glad you asked, and it is critical. i would really like to hear what patrick cronin things as well. i mentioned earlier we want to find an offramp before we get to the point where they do this firing around guam and we have to figure out whether to shoot them down or fireback or whatnot. there is a way for both sides to back off. there is something the united states and south koreans could
do to get us through august. that would be to simply not send the b1b's up to the korean peninsula. that would be a piece of scaling down the imminent wargames and military exercises. those start august 21. aboutenario i worry most is around the middle of august is when the north koreans -- so in a few days -- is when the north koreans said their military would finalize this plan and submit it to kim jong-un. they gave themselves a little room. kim jong-un can sit on it, can not order it, can say run the plan again. but alsobuy us time strings everything out. if kim jong-un sees, even in theic signaling, that while
exercises go through, they are happening in a low-key way and guam,1b's don't leave then we could put off this thing and we would not hear about the guam plan, and people would forget because of a new news cycle. host: patrick cronin, what is your thought on the scale of these exercises, the thoughts john delury had about not using be bombers? guest: let me give you a tactical and then strategic response to this. the tactical answer is there is a lot of different ways to maintain deterrents. there is negotiating room to modify your force structure or the duration of exercises without necessarily reducing your readiness and capability or deterrence level. a couple months ago, we were talking about thaad. now we are talking about b-1b
bombers. there is no one system that preserves the u.s.-south korean alliance and deters north korea. the strategic response comes from henryed kissinger, who says there is no technical fix for what is a geo-strategical problem. note is a lack of trust just with north korea but north korea and the outside world. there's a difficult process for ,etting success in negotiations because of this lack of trust. that is why the united states' dual track policy is meant to win, even if it is unsuccessful at diplomacy. by winning, i do not mean fighting a war, i mean preserving the peace and keeping our prosperity and democraci
es together. that might be the best we could do -- muddle through a cold war with north korea. we want to find those off france, but if it does not work, we want to be stronger at the end of it. from on that, the op-ed henry kissinger in yesterday's "wall street journal." part of it saying that china would also have a stake in the medical revolution of north korea, whether it is a reification or -- a reunification or a two state union. north korea is kind of a subcontractor to achieve american perspectives.
i will let both of you respond to that in a moment. let's get a call from cedar rapids from edward on our republican line. gentlemen.d morning, my question was for the professor. what i am understanding from what you were saying, basically, this is a show to the rest of the world that north korea, if they wanted to, can hit guam with icbm's. us if they want to, they can. host: thanks. --st: again, i do not think the way the north koreans are crafting this, i do not think that is the goal. it would also not be an icbm, from what i understand. it would be an intermediate range missile.
uam key point here is the g plan, as i interpret it from what the north koreans are saying explicitly, is different from a lot of things we have been seeing, especially from the icbm tests. they are testing capabilities and trying to demonstrate those things work. guam is different. it ass why i distinguish a challenge. it is not a strike or attack, but it is not in the same category of a test. patrick cronin, comments on what the caller had to say and any further comments on henry kissinger's piece. guest: if north korea succeeds in launching multiple intermediate range missiles in the vicinity of guam, they demonstrate they have the capability to reach u.s.
territory in the pacific, they will not stop there. they will eventually demonstrate they have an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental united states. that is where they continue to go. evenis a fraught moment, if they are not striking anything. that is why diplomacy has a chance. people realize this would lead to war. it could be inadvertent or accidental. henry kissinger's idea of merging with china is at the center of what trump is trying to do. but it is a lot harder to do in reality and implement it than it is to talk about it. one facet of this is china benefits, potentially, militarily by north korea demonstrating intermediate ballistic missiles can reach guam.because china has been working on
precision guided missiles and sufferings that can keep u.s. s away --air force keeples and submarines can the united states away from the asian mainland. this is a point of competition. it does not mean we cannot negotiate. we have common ground, but we also have competition. host: the headline in this "buzzfeed" piece says that trump has not appointed a ambassador to korea, and now it is a problem. ambassador in south korea to straighten things out. is that a big deal? guest: i am not sure. there should be an ambassador
here. i do not get what the holdup is. patrick probably has a better insight on that. but when you put that position along with a number of other positions that are not filled, especially related to asia or the acting individuals have not been made permanent individuals, collectively, that is a problem. the second problem with not having appointed an abbasid are in the new government here not having appointed and abbasid are -- an am sends a bad message, maybe inadvertently to our allies in south korea. commentsnoxious are from senator lindsey graham, where he reported comments he had with trump, where the two are sitting back and talking about how we may have to just do this war now because it is the
people over there who die and not us. that is a level of calais disregard-- callous of the life of your allies. guys, my students, south korean men, who would fight a war. we have a tiny garrison, in terms of the army. if we are serious, even rhetorically, about rattling this threat, we have to work on the messaging about whether we are doing this together with the south koreans or doing this on our own. in context with that, not having out whout -- figured you want to have as ambassador, while other countries, including china and japan, have, that is a bad message. is morehe reason it important in south korea than
elsewhere is we have a crisis and we also have different governments that have just come to power. the fact that moon jae-in is looking for his own traction and does not have a good handle across to the united states and the americans do not have a good feel of moon jae-in's administration yet, we need a trusted ambassador with a voice to the state department. host: a couple more calls. bill is in south carolina on the independent line. caller: mr. delury stated the whicheplaced the b-52, was in the korean war. the b-52 did not, online until two or three years after the korean war was finished he the bombers they used in korea was ,he b-29, or perhaps the b-50,
a juiced up b-29. host: so corrected. any thoughts on that? guest: i will double check. i may be wrong. [laughter] host: let's get ken on our democratic line. caller: i'm ken from new york. i am a democrat. however, i have complete faith in what donald trump is doing. i'm not afraid of north korea in the slightest. i know our boys of the andersen air force base, 254th air crew, 46th wing, they are not a force to be reckoned with. the b-52 may be old, but it works. it wins wars. kept up at night by
north korea. host: patrick cronin, as we wrap up, your final thoughts and where you see this conflict going. accommodatingat point. whether it leads to a diplomatic offramp soon or later, we will see shortly. it is likely to keep intensifying until we reach some -- of some callers were worried about not trusting the president. the message from the president may be attacking the messenger rather than the policy. the president has delegated response abilities. he has the secretary of defense, general h.r. mcmaster, and he leaves in these institutions to work with our allies in the region to find the diplomatic offramp. but he wants to use as much pressure as possible on pyongyang, and even china, if
necessary, to get there. host: john delury in seoul, your thoughts on the crisis and what may dial it back. guest: i would maybe come back to china, which i did not get a chance to talk about much, and the highway -- kissinger argument. china being a core piece to the trump strategy. ironically, you would think a china expert would advocate that -- i think this is one of the real blind spots and misunderstandings and strategic miscalculations. in terms of diplomacy, if that is where we are heading, we do not need china much to do our deal with north korea. the more we try to run our diplomatic offramp through beijing, the less traction we will get. a direct wants
relationship with washington, with donald trump. if donald trump is willing to engage them, and i am more hopeful about that, i think he has shown those signs, then he can get the north koreans to move. he will be able to get things that he can then say back to the american people, "i got you a good deal." you will not get that if you try to orchestrate everything through beijing. beijing does that have the channel with pyongyang. we can open up that channel. that is what the administration should focus on doing. host: professor john delury joining us from seoul, south korea, and here in washington, patrick cronin from the center for a new american security. thank you to both of you for joining us. guest: thank you. host: in a moment here, we will continue with your calls and reaction to yesterday's violence in charlottesville, virginia. republicans,