tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC August 8, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
this on "fox & friends" today, when asked if the intelligence was real. >> i can't talk about anything that's classified. and if that's in the newspaper, that's a shame. >> is that another leak, i guess? >> you know, it's one of these things. i don't know what's going on. but i will tell you it's incredibly dangerous when things get out into the press like that. you're not only just getting a scoop on something, you're playing with people's lives. >> yes. >> and this has got to stop. wherever the leaks are coming from, if somebody thinks they're getting power or fame from, it all you're doing is putting americans in danger. >> you're playing with people's lives, she said. apparently her boss sees it differently. right before her interview the president not only retweeted fox's story but he added this. "after many years of failure, countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by north korea. we must be tough and decisive." so here's the question. after railing against leaks and with his own justice department investigating leaks within the west wing, why is the president okay with this one?
and what will he say now that we've learned that north korea has crossed a key nuclear milestone? ali velshi picks things up right now. ali velshi, i'm hearing you're going to be potentially hearing from the president a little bit later in your hour. >> we're expecting to hear from the president on opioids. one assumes he's going to touch this topic. but we'll stay on top of it and listen very closely. katy, good to sigh. we'll see you later this afternoon. i'm ali velshi. this hour we're all witness to the beginning of a new era in global tension. an official tells nbc news u.s. spy agencies have assessed that north korea has successfully achieved a crucial milestone of nuclear weapons kuipability. constructing a weapon small enough to vit on a missile. it's something of a chilling culmination after years of tests and threats from north korea. this may end up being the most challenging foreign policy issue the trump administration has ever or will ever face. this afternoon the president is in bridgewater, new jersey.
at any minute we're expecting him to hold a late-scheduled major briefing on the opioid crisis. we'll bring that to you once it begins, and we'll monitor for comments on north korea. let's get to bridgewater immediately. my colleague kristen welker is standing by for us. kristen, let's first start with this breaking news on north korea. have we had a response yet from the white house? >> reporter: no reaction yet from the white house, ali. as you point out, president trump is about to have a briefing with hhs secretary tom price. we are expecting him to make some comments at the top of that briefing, and so i anticipate reporters will try to shout some questions to him about this latest development regarding north korea. it remains to be seen whether he will answer. but we are obviously tracking that very closely. now, all of this comes as we have seen the administration ramp up its tough talk and also actions against north korea after the u.n. voted unanimously to impose an unprecedented billion dollars' worth of sanctions on north korea. and what was really striking
about it and important about it, ali, is that the united states convinced russia and china to sign on with that latest round of sanctions. we also know that secretary of state rex tillerson had an hour-long phone call with president trump yesterday along with the president's new chief of staff. they discussed the threat in north korea and it came as secretary tillerson was traveling in asia, talking about this very issue, trying to press leaders there to choke off north korea and to further isolate it. will those leaders listen? how much action will they take? that remains an unanswered question at this hour. the only thing we have heard from president trump since we got this latest news regarding north korea and its ramping up its nuclear program was this tweet, ali, which says "e-mail show that the amazon "washington post" and the failing "new york times" were reluctant to cover the clinton/lynch secret meeting in plane." of course that's a reference to former president bill clinton having that meeting impromptu on the plane with former attorney general loretta lynch. she later said that that was a
mistake on her part to do it, particularly given the investigation into the e-mail probe. but we're not quite sure which e-mails he's referencing in that specific tweet, ali. he's also tweeted this. "after 200 days rarely has any administration achieved what we have achieved. not even close. don't believe the fake news suppression polls." and of course that came after a new round of polls this morning showed that his approval rating had dropped. so ali, that's the backdrop as we prepare to hopefully hear from the president on these latest developments surrounding north korea. >> don't go too far. we'll keep with you on this story, kristen welker. thanks very much. let's go to that -- continue with the breaking news. u.s. spy agencies have assessed that north korea has constructed a nuclear weapon that's small enough to fit on a missile. for more on this i want to bring in keir simmons in our london bureau and nbc national security reporter ken delaney in washington. ken, you confirmed this for us. tell us what it means. >> it means the north koreans have achieved the ability to
construct a nuclear weapon small enough to fit not only on a missile but an intercontinental ballistic missile that potentially could strike the united states. this comes on the heels of a test last month of such a missile that analysts said had it been shot in a different way could have hit mainland united states. what this doesn't mean, ali is the north koreans have perfected a nuclear capability on an icbm because there's another technological 4urd'll they may have not achieved which is successful re-entry, in other words, getting the weapon to the target in the atmosphere so it doesn't disintegrate. but there's no doubt this is a major milestone along north korea's path to be able to strike the united states with a nuclear weapon and it confronts the trump administration with an incredible dilemma because after all the trump administration's policy is this is intolerable. they have said publicly they would go to war to prevent north korea from having the ability to strike the united states with a nuclear weapon. so we all wait to hear from the trump administration. >> we're staying on top of that. i want to bring hance nichols in as well.
he is our pentagon correspondent. he's on the phone. hans, because you've been following all the incremental developments on this weaponry, tell me for somebody who's watching this who doesn't have the inside knowledge about what the significance of this milestone is, what it is. >> the significance of this is a consensus among intelligence agencies. before we've been talking to a lot of officials inside the pentagon, and every now and again you'd find someone that says i think they have achieved miniaturization. this is the ability to shrink a warhead, make it small enough so it can fit in the cone of an intercontinental ballistic missile. so that's both good news and bad news. the good snuz news is there's b planning long-term for this that they were very close. some inside the pentagon already thought they had achieved it. the scary news -- i shouldn't put it in good and bad terms. the scary news is now there's a consensus and consensus at this level, consensi i should say, force policy decisions. there's no longer am big yooutd. that means there will be a
policy decision, likely a policy memo, presented to the president on just what his options are. one other quick thing we should note is they have achieved re-entry with an intercontinental ballistic missile. they have an cheefd maneuverable re-entry. there's a distinction between controlled re-entry and maneuverable re-entry. when they have maneuverable re-entry, that means they'll be able to pinpoint an icbm. and we know rangewise or we think rangewise intelligence officials think that most of the west coast is in range. the big caveat is the two missiles they have tested recently, the july 4th one and the one at the end of july, we don't know how big that payload was, how much, how big the warhead they were tossing way up in the air, the term you hear at the pentagon is high loss. we don't know how -- we do know how high they were lofting it. we just don't know the weight of it. and that's the one other critical piece of information the intelligence agencies are trying to figure out. >> so hans, before i let you go,
one other set of technical questions. we talk about range and we talk about ma nufability a abilimane controllability. what degree are we talking about? can they aim at a u.s. city and generally hit it? >> probably not. when you look at sort of the ballistics of it. what they're doing right now is shooting a big piece of artillery. basically across the ocean, potentially across the ocean. you don't have -- when you get that far away, you're not going to have that much accuracy. the thing to watch for on those pictures and officials inside the pentagon when kim jong un put pictures out, one of the first things they look at is the nose of the missile. and they want to see if they're thin on that nose. because fins on a missile nose technically and typically mean that you have maneuverability when you re-enter back into the atmosphere. so yes, they have range. they have some controlled
re-entry. but they don't have a great degree of accuracy until they get fins on the tips of those missiles and then crucially get them working because there's a whole different set of -- if you see them on the way up, but whether or not they survive re-entry on the way down, that's another thing that officials are very keen to know about. >> hans, thanks very much for giving us a breakdown on that. may need you a little bit later, though. hans nichols on the phone for us. let's go to keir simmons in london. let me ask you about this. this is all incremental. in other words, we knew this is the road the north koreans were going down. they have a tendency to brag about their success in these areas prior to when u.s. intelligence can confirm that they're actually there. but it's not going to come as a major surprise to anyone that they've got this capability. the timing is the element of surprise. so to hans's point, the options for president trump have been established already. it's not like the intelligence and defense community are struggling to figure out what
the options are. they should know that by now. >> yeah, ali, look, washington knows what the options are. the u.s. allies in the region know what the options are. russia, china, both of which of course border north korea, know what the options are. the issue is not what the options are. the issue is what will the outcome be of those options? and that is the great unknown. this is a diplomatic chess game in which there are multiple players and in which the stakes potentially are the deaths of large numbers of people at least on the korean peninsula because in north korea, for example, you're talking about a country with more than a million troops. with artillery ranged along its border with the capacity to strike seoul, the kacapital of south korea, and potentially perhaps with the capacity to hit almost the 30,000 u.s. servicemen and women who are based in south korea. there is a suspicion, a very strong and good suspicion that, for example, the north koreans
have special forces in south korea able to act and attack if you like from within that country. and one of the reasons why this is such a dangerous game, and it's not a game, it's such a slippery slope if you like, is once north korea begins to do that, if it begins to fire artillery, if it begins to activate special forces the u.s. and its allies won't know if that, for example, is the beginning of a greater offensive by north korea and potentially washington gets pulled into taking more action. so what we're talking about is the real fear. and this has been the problem for d.c. for many, many years. is is that if the u.s. takes action to try to strike those north korean nuclear capability and missiles then north korea responds and it really escalates. >> all right. keir and ken, don't go too far because this is now a breaking situation. i want to bring in admiral james davridas. he's snx's chief international security and diplomacy analyst
who served as supreme allied commander at nato. admiral, good to see you under difficult circumstances. you said last hour this is the biggest crisis to hit the trump administration. what's the first thing the white house needs to do? >> number one, circle the wagons, get the team together, and craft a strategy for approaching the problem. number two, reassure the american people with don't need to see this thing turn into a ripple effect of gosh, there's going to be a nuclear burst over seattle in the next couple of weeks because that is not where this is headed in my view. number three, have a constructive series of points that we want to undertake, ali. so that's increased intelligence gathering and surveillance. number two would be increased missile defense. so you can defend south korea, japan, and our allies. number three, look at the military options. have the pentagon come over and brief them. number four, work on our allies
in the region to work together with us. number five, continue the effort well u.n. security counsel toll even increase those successes working off a couple of days ago. and number 6 at the end of the day all roads to pyongyang lead through beijing. >> right. >> we've got to put more pressure on china to help us solve this diplomatically. >> let's just talk militarily for a moment. the ability for north korea to wage conventional war on our allies in the south pacific exists already. particularly to hit pyongyang, to hit those 28,000 u.s. troops that are based in south carolina -- south korea. to hit japan. this concept of being able to hit the united states with a nuclear weapon, kim jong un has got to know that that will end in his destruction. so what is the escalation useful for for him, and what is the diplomacy that then can be used to counter that?
>> yeah, basically we have three options here. one is a massive military strike or a subset of that, ali, would be a precision strike to decapitate kim jong un. that's a bad option because it will lead to a sea of fire on the korean peninsula. option number two, the diplomacy we just talked about. option number three, your point, we need to increase kim jong un's understanding of the fact that if he begins to manifest anything that resembles a use of one of these nuclear weapons including the miniaturization, the deterrent will be massive, overwhelming and immediate. so i think at the end of the day we're going to end up where we were when russia and china first got nuclear weapons, which is building a strong deterrent regime while we try and let diplomacy work. they're all suboptimal options. but the combination of those two i think is where the administration will end up going. >> admiral, you're a navy guy.
tell us what we have in the region. what is the response every now and then you see when north korea does something is that we fly some planes over or close to the demilitarized zone. but we've got a lot of presence in the region. >> we have enormous military presence. this is all under the command of a four-star admiral, admiral harry harris, who is home-ported in honolulu, hawaii. he commands army, navy, air force, marine corps. we have hundreds of thousands of troops that are deployed throughout that area. we have dozens and dozens of ships. we have four big carrier battle groups. the air force has long-range air that you're correct, ali, we do fly occasionally to make a statement. the marines have a full military -- excuse me, marine expeditionary force. it is an extremely capable military. the bad news is it's deployed
across the largest ocean in the world. you could take all the land in the world and it would fit inside the pacific ocean. this is one of the largest regions on the planet. so it's a very large force but it's very deployed. sought key is for admiral harris in hawaii how quickly can he concentrate those forces and bring them to bear? and the answer is very quickly if he needs to. >> admiral, always good to talk to you. thanks for helping us out. this is something that's really very worrisome to a lot of our viewers. so getting that clarity from you is very helpful. admiral james stavridis -- go ahead, sir. >> biggest crisis of this young administration. stay tuned. >> and we're going to be tuned in to how the white house is responding to that. we've got our people on the ground in bedminster, new jersey. admiral james stavridis is the msnbc chief international security and diplomacy analyst. he is the former supreme allied commander at nato. any moment now we'ring expecting to hear from the president, who's getting briefed on the devastating opioid epidemic that's sweeping across america. after the break we're going to look at how we got to this
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wisdom at the time was pain was being undertreated. now, in response a number of medical and pain management associations began issuing guidelines to doctors and hospitals to aggressively assess and treat pain, ultimately requiring pain to be seen as a vital sign among other vital signs that patients have. now, the opioid manufacturers, the pharmaceutical industry, took this information and expectedly ran with it. opioid manufacturers aggressively marketed their pills to treat pain. they downplayed the concerns about addiction in the beginning. and sales of painkillers skyrocketed, increasing four times from 1999 to 2010. now, of course as we know these drugs are remarkably addictive, with as many as 1 in 4 long-term users who don't suffer from cancer becoming addicted to these drugs. now, as prescription rates, as doctors prescribed this more, prescription rates rose over the years, the rates of opioid misuse, that could be addiction,
but misuse doubled between 1998 and 2008. and as those abuse rates increased, so did black market prices for the drugs that were being prescribed. people were wanting more of these drugs than their doctors would prescribe or would not be able to do it. so they turned to similar drugs that did similar things like heroin, which is much cheaper, or fentanyl, which is much stronger. 2 million americans abuse or are dependent on opioids. now, i'm going to continue this conversation in just a moment because the president is going to be speaking about it. but i do want to go back to where the president is in bedminster, new jersey. kristen welker is nearby, and she now has a response from the administration about the north korean -- the information that we have about north korea being able to miniaturize a nuclear weapon and put it on a warhead. kristen, what have you got? >> reporter: ali, the president just spoke with reporters and answered a question about north korea. i'm going to read this to you.
this is from a pool note. so we'll still wait to hear the exact verbatim from the president when we play the tape. but this is what he said to the pool reporter. "north korea best not make any more threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen. so very firm talk from president trump responding to the latest developments you that just mentioned out of north korea. and of course we have seen not only the talking escalate but the actions as well. the u.n. agreeing to unanimously vote to impose a new round of sanctions against north korea. north korea responding to retaliate a thousandfold. so president trump's comments coming in the wake of all of that. again, ali, we're waiting to actually hear those comments, and we expect that will happen within the hour once we're able to play back that tape. ali. >> kristen, we'll get back with
you. kristen welker in bridgewater, new jersey near bedminster, where the president's golf club is. i want to welcome gary mandel. he's the ceo of shatterproof, a national non-profit organization that's dedicated to ending the devastation that addiction causes families. he is someone who lost his son to addiction in 2011. also here to help us out is nbc medical contributor dr. natalie azar. gary, let me start with you. i think the speed with which this has become an issue and the depth and pervasiveness of it, if it's not in your family, if you haven't known somebody with this, it seems quite foreign to you. but it takes people who you wouldn't have thought would have been susceptible to it. >> absolutely. it's across all demographics right now. and the problem is that -- one of the problems is most people don't talk about it when it's in their family because it's so stigmatized. so there are so many people that their family is touched and people don't realize it.
the real data is there's approximately 25 million people with a substance use disorder today, which is 1 in 10 above the age of 12. 1 in 10 across all dem dravgz. and if you put a typical family around them, a family of four, you're talking 100 million americans, you round down because some families have more than one, you're talking 80 to 85 million americans have someone in their family, mother, father, son, or daughter, who has a substance issue disorder. and that's 1/4 of american families. >> what is the thing that you didn't know that you know now about how someone should deal with this if they discover it in their family? >> a lot, unfortunately. and i wrestle with that every day. number one, that it truly is a disease. no different than someone with diabetes. the brain scans definitively prove that someone who has this
disease, two regions of their brain have been chemically changed, making that person -- making it very difficult for that person to control urges or make decisions and follow through with them. like the decision not to take a drug. and so i did what many people do, which was wrong. constantly asked my son why wasn't he trying hard enough. and constantly beating up on myself, what was wrong with me as a father. it wasn't a question of me as a father or brian not trying hard enough. there's 2.8 million people today addicted to opioids. i guarantee you won't find one that says they raise their hand to the sky one day and said please addict me. it happened. and when it happened, because they did nothing else than some of their friends but they became addicted and their friends didn't, regions of their brain changed. and they need health care just like someone with diabetes. >> and do you think that health care's available to most americans for the asking?
>> not at all. and it's not even available to anybody with means. it doesn't exist today broadly speaking for any americans. and i just had lunch with someone that -- they're an extremely wealthy person who was asking me for help, what do i do with my son. this is someone with all the means in the world. in 2006 the institute of medicine published a report, laid out step by step by step over 300 or 400 pages how to build a quality infrastructure in this country for substance use disorders and mental health. it has not been acted upon. it's been sitting there on the shelf for 11 years. >> so we have studied this. we do know how to address -- >> absolutely. that is the good and the bad news. the good news is that there's simple, methodical ways to substantially reduce this. the tragic part, it's not being done.
>> i just want to check with my control room because i know we are waiting to go to the president. natalie -- they'll tell me they're doing it. natalie, i want to ask you. there's something i hear from people when we have this conversation on tv. because we really try to cover this well on msnbc. from people who are on pain medication, who really need it, and they say you're going to change the world for us in that there are some people who require pain medication and they're all getting swept up in this whole idea that we need to reverse the issuance of prescriptions to people with pain. there was a shift in how doctors thought about pain several years ago which did contribute to this. >> absolutely. i mean, we all speak about it. i trained in the '90s, and i still remember seeing on my hospital wall the patient's bill of rights. and one of the first things is that you have a right to not be in pain. but your point, which is not made enough, ali, is that we're telling -- i can imagine if you're a chronic pain patient. and i take care of these patients. who perhaps are on a narcotic. and they are terrified that their pills are going to be taken away from them.
because you can't just say to a person who is reliant, i'm going to use that word, as well as addicted on narcotics, you know, we have a problem in this country, i'm going to cut down, i'm not going to prescribe this anymore, and not offer them an alternative, which brings to the draft report, let's get more non-narcotic analgesia training to our doctors and stuff like, that but also so we can found physical therapy and acupuncture. those things aren't covered. it's actually cheaper and easier for a prescriber to write a prescription for percocet than it is o'get somebody acupuncture in many cases. >> this is gary's approach, there is an infrastructure approach to say we've got some people who need these medications, some people who are adictate who'd may not need them but bottom line we've got to have a system. i want to go to nj fj. moments ago as kristen welker told us president trump was asked about the threat from north korea. here's what he had to say. >> north korea best not make any more threats to the united
states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. he has been very threatening, beyond a normal statement. and as i said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before. thank you. >> okay. that gathering, by the way, is about the opioid crisis. that is what this is meant to be about. and kristen welker is there. we'll ask her in a moment whether we're going to get more on the opioid situation. but kristen, with respect to that, it's a little non-specific and remarkably chilling because as i was talking to admiral stavridis about, the concept of war, military engagement with north korea, is a very, very serious matter given that there are 28,000 u.s. troops in south
korea, given that south korea is an ally, that seoul is in the range of conventional artillery, let alone nuclear war, and that the united states has a mutual defense agreement with south korea. what did you make of those comments? >> well, that's right. i think it underscores what we are hearing more from top officials, including u.n. ambassador nikki haley, which is that all options are on the table. including a potential military option. but it is an absolute last resort, ali, for all of those reasons that you just mapped out because there are so many tens of thousands of people in harm's way. and officials have been very clear. the destruction could be devastating. if there is any type of military engagement with north korea. so it's a last resort, but it's on the table. i think that's what president trump was referencing. and it comes after, as we have been reporting throughout the day, the intelligence community has assessed that north korea was able to develop a weapon that was miniaturized that can
be put on the edge of a nuclear missile, and of course we reported several weeks ago that they successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that's capable of reaching as far as chicago. so this is a threat that continues to growing with urgency and that the administration is increasingly dealing with. now, president trump had an hour-long meeting with his secretary of state as well as his chief of staff yesterday to deal with this crisis. we know that of course the u.n. decided to impose a round of sanctions on north korea, an unprecedented billion dollars. north korea vowing to retaliate a thousand fold. >> and a billion dollars may not seem like much in this context, but north korea is a small, highly controlled economy in which pretty much everything they sell goes to china. if these sanctions are actually upheld, that would be a serious matter. kristen, thanks very much. we'll talk to you later. gary mendell and natalie, our thanks for your time as well. coming up, reports that the president is considering
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three u.s. defense officials tell nbc news that more marines are being deployed to afghanistan to assist in what is becoming the longest war in united states history. this as "usa today" is reporting that the trump administration is actively considering a plan from eric prince, the former founder and ceo of blackwater, to privatize much of that war. "usa today" reports under the proposal 5,500 private contractors, primarily former special operations troops, would advise afghan combat forces. the plan also includes a 90-plane private air force that would provide air support. i spoke to eric prince earlier today about his plan, which also includes appointing a federal official with broad powers to conduct the war in afghanistan. >> i think left, right or center, anybody in america would want to say how do we end this
thing? afghanistan? it's the longest war in our history. and americans are still dying. so you go through a rationalization. people say a viceroy? no, it's not as a colonial figure. it's really to do unity of command. since we've had nothing like that in the last 16 years. you've had 17 commanders in those years. plus different ambassadors, cia station chiefs. you have to have one person that is in charge of all u.s. government policy, spending, rules of engagement for afghanistan and pakistan since they are linked. we haven't had that. view that person almost as a bankruptcy trustee that can scale away some of the bad decision making and bad spending that we have and scale down. what is the goal for america in afghanistan? to deny terror sanctuary. that's it. let's not worry about the full-on nation-building exercise. but if we strengthen the afghan forces from the battalion level up, right now the u.s. isn't doing anything really below the core level, which are the biggest units of the afghan army, but the battalion is 600 people.
by putting in effectively a structural support mechanism of those mentors that live with, train with, and operate with that afghan unit, by even the u.n. definition they would not be mers married. those would be contracted people that can go in for a few months and home and they go back into the same unit again. >> let me just ask you a couple questions here. afghanistan and pakistan don't work together. pakistan's not interested in having a viceroy of america's choosing involved in it. and again, i know you're not interested in nation building, nor is president trump, but the fact is you can't just be in a country that's not your country. like at some point -- >> the afghans can say get out, we don't want an occupier here. >> of course. but the afghans -- here's the thing. the president could pull everybody out. okay? the united states leaves. if that's what you think is a good idea. i don't agree with that necessarily because i think you have the taliban or isis battle flag flying over the u.s. embassy in six months or a year. that becomes a rallying cry for
every jihadi wannabe around the world. you can deny them sanctuary in syria but if they feel like they beat america -- >> they've got space in libya at the moment. they've got space in yemen. i agree with you. >> they want america out. that's one consideration. the other thing is if we just keep doing what we're doing, secretary mattis said we're not winning in afghanistan. this is a scaled down rational approach that puts unrelenting pressure on the terrorist groups, that strengthens the afghans doing it. it doesn't require american soldiers out there driving around getting killed like they did last week. >> another point that price made was cost. he said his plan would cost less than $10 billion a year, compared with the $45 billion the u.s. is expected to spend in afghanistan in 2017. he actually said that the 45 billion is just for military. his plan would take over yet more of those expenses. for more on this i want to in christine warmouth. she's a former undersecretary for policy at the department of
defense in the atlantic council's arch center for resilience. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> there are a number of issues. i want to dispense with a exult of them. he talked about having a governor or somebody who's in charge of this for afghanistan and pakistan. that's not even in the realm of possibility. afghanistan and pakistan are two separate independent countries who actually don't cooperate on a lot of matters. >> that's right. and frankly, you know, we do have good leaders that are working in partnership with the government of afghanistan. we have our military commander, now general nicholson, and typically we have our ambassador there. in my experience they work very closely together. so i don't quite see the problem that mr. prince seems to see there. >> so let's talk about where he could be getting to something interesting. and that is that we have been in this for 16 years. for decades major world powers have had some presence in afghanistan, none of whom have met with any success, the brits, the russians, the americans. and for centuries there have been people who have been trying to deal with afghanistan, not
with any success. so i don't know that erik prince's suggestion is correct, but there is something to the idea that our afghanistan strategy's not working particularly well. >> it's definitely a very complicated problem. and i think part of the reason that mr. prince's ideas are getting some time with the administration is a reflection of how frustrated they are with the lack of good options. you know, i think the key issue for the united states really is what is our vital interest in afghanistan. and i would agree with mr. prince there that the issue is we don't want it to become a safe haven anymore. if you you think that's important enough, then we need to do what it takes to protect that. and i think we may need to just reconcile ourselves to the fact that the united states military and our overall national security apparatus needs to be there for a long time, enough time to find a way to bring resolution to the situation and maybe bring the taliban back to the peace table. you know, we've had american troops on the korean peninsula, another area that's getting a
lot of time in the news today, for decades. and maybe that's how we need to be thinking about afghanistan. >> all right. and general mccaffrey said afterwards we need to play a bigger role in nation building. this is something the trump administration has said they don't want to do. right? there's a whole contingent here who said it's not our business, we're good at taking out dictators or leaders or bad people, we're not really good at the second part of this. and what we're seeing in libya, in syria, in iraq, in yemen and in afghanistan is our failure to be able to direct that part of the process when you go into a place where there are bad leaders. >> yeah, i don't think we should be trying to remake afghanistan into some sort of a jeffersonian democracy. but i think we can help them battle corruption. i think we can help the ghani government become more effective in governing the country. i don't think our goal should be nation building. again, what's at stake for the united states is making sure it doesn't become a safe haven for al qaeda and the taliban. but i think we can help the
afghan government become more effective. it's going to take a long time. it's a hard job. >> christine, thanks very much for your time. christine wormuth is a former undersecretary for defense and policy at the department of defense under president obama. we're still following the breaking news on north korea's nuclear program. moments ago president trump responded to the news that north korea has constructed a nuclear weapon small enough to fit on a missile. >> north korea best not make any more threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. he has been very threatening, beyond a normal statement. and as i said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before. thank you. thank you. >> let's go right to the
pentagon. nbc's courtney kubi's been tracking the day's developments from there. courtney, i know this is asking a lot because the statement's just been made and it's somewhat lacking in specificity. but north korea is threatening to attack the united states and president trump says he means fight fire with fire. have you had any chance to get any response as to what that actually means? >> no. so so far the pentagon is not getting any specific response to either this new intelligence assessment that came out in the "washington post" today or to president trump's most recent comments about meeting fire with fire and fury. i would say that, you know, after every one of these more recent tests, particularly the icbms in july, the u.s. military has actually had a response and they have been somewhat escalating. we saw oftentimes after a more medium-range missile test earlier in the year they would fly some bombers, the u.s. would fly some bombers near the korean peninsula or over the korean
peninsula. the u.s. moved some additional ships into the sea of japan off the coast of the korean peninsula. what we saw after the icbm test were some things that were slightly more kinetic. they had a joint u.s.-japanese and south korean air exercise that included in one case dropping some dummy bombs not too far from the north korean and south korean border. so we have seen a military response to this. what we've also heard is if there were to be any kind of a real confrontation, a military confrontation between north korea and south korea and the united states it would be a devastating result. north korea has hundreds or thousands of artillery pieces that are buried in rock along the dmz. and the assessments, the military and intelligence assessments that we've seen have been that they would just unleash a fury of artillery on seoul, south korea, which is just across the border, leading to tens of thousands of deaths
in the initial volley. >> i'm going to ask my control room if they can to put up a map of that so that people can see the proximity of seoul to the demilitarized zone and the boundary between north and south korea. seoul is a city of more than 20 million people. and in addition to that, there are 28,000 american service members who are located in south korea. and that is all within the realm of traditional conventional military activity. so that's not even talking about nuclear stuff. >> exactly. that's just talking about the most basic traditional artillery that the north koreans would presumably be able to fire across. all afternoon since we started talking about this we keep hearing about how this is this hermetic nation, that we just know very little about them. so this is all based on the best possible intelligence assessments of what they might do in the case of some sort of a confrontation. but the real concern is just that initial volley would be so dramatic and it would be just devastating to south korea. and not just the tens of thousands of u.s. military who are there, stationed there, but
there are also tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of american ex-pats who are living in and around seoul as well. >> all right, courtney. thanks very much for this. we will stay close to you as this continues to develop. i've got hans nichols back on the phone. hans, just to continue with the conversation we were having with courtney about conventional military assets that america has along with the south koreans and the north koreans, let's talk about two very different types of military assets. one is the thaad missile system and the other is a missile system the united states has been testing to intercept an icbm if one is sent. tell me a little bit about these missile systems. >> well, the thaad missile system is operational in south korea. this is a defensive system. it's meant to knock out incoming missiles. they just have one battery i believe that's up and running in south korea. they plan to bring more. but the initial stages are it's operational. the thaad is posted around the united states in lags lass. i believe it's also in california. and it's 4 a pretty good success
rate. i believe it's 14 for 14 or 15 for 15. it's able to knock down incoming missiles. it doesn't do it as far out, way out in the pacific, and for that missile system it's something called the ground-based interceptor. they just launched one i believe at the end of may from vandenberg air force base in california. and that intercepted a missile that was coming in. they launched it from the marshall islands, i believe. and that hit somewhere to the northeast of hawaii. so the difference between the thaad and the gbi is really where the intercept takes place. and the gbi is really what you have in the united states and california and alaska, and that intercepts the missile as they always say the pentagon hitting a bullet with a bullet, far out at sea. the thaad is in a little bit closer to the coastline. >> and talk a little bit about the idea that the united states, i think this is important for people to understand. north korea has not made an aggressive move toward south korea at the moment. but if it did do that, the
united states has a mutual defense agreement with south korea. does that mean the united states would be compelled to have a military response? >> in a lot of ways, ali, i think that's academic. it seems to me from administration, if north korea were threatened the united states would, the united states and the armed forces korea would respond very quickly. and that seems to be clear from the president's tweets. and a lot of ways, in my understanding, i have to go back and look at the actual, you know, military to military status of forces agreement, is that if south korea -- if there is a military engage that time takes place, general in charge in south korea, that's general brooks head of armed forces korea, he would take control and have command and control of all the south korean assets as well. so the 28, 29,000 american troops, in addition, to the entire south korean army and it has to be said, there's a great deal of coordination between the south korean military and the south korean army and the u.s. forces there, constantly working
a lot of exchanges, training, back and forth. and as we know, they do a lot of joint exercises. shows a force, but also it shows a coordination. >> courtney was just telling us about, we see this every time north korea launches a missile, something happens, and it involves a bombing nearby or something that happens in the sea or these bombers that are either japanese or south korean or american or in concert flying close to the demilitarized zone. what's that meant to say? because clearly the north koreans have no doubt about what the american and south korean and japanese military capabilities are. >> well, it speaks -- it's a message to let the north koreans know that force will be matched with force. and as they're doing tests, right, as they're conducting tests, the u.s. will conduct training tests, it will be an indication that they can visit a great deal of violence possible the country of north korea. the important thing that the u.s. always likes to stress and likes to focus when they have
these responses is the tripar tied nature of them. make sure the japanese are involved. make sure the koreans are involved as well so you remember when they flew from guam, they flew some bombers up there, they made sure they were escorted by japanese fighters, they were also escorted by south korean fighters. they want to loet the north koreans know. if the international community. those three countries, those three allies stand united and they will be working in concert should things escalate. >> bill kneely is standing by, our chief global correspondent. bill, sorry, i'm asking my control room, kiir, kiir is in london, kiir, obviously at this point with this type of escalation there's some level of coordination that has to be take within other world powers. we saw that at the united nations over the weekend, but when trump makes a general
comment like fight fire with fire, fury, and power, the fact is, this won't be an independent activity. america's got to be talking to it's allies both in the region and around the world to bring to bear as much deterrent power as possible. >> you've got to assume that's the case. and also that this message is not just directed at north korea, but also the chinese and the russians, those who are also have large forces in the region and are active in this chess game that is playing out in the korean peninsula. i mean, the question -- the difficulty with all of this is that as each side if you want to put it that way, inches forward as the tension ratchets up, does it get more and more difficult to back away from? so what the president it talking about, if north korea, the north
korea best not make anymore threats to the united states, that begins to kind of, you know -- i want to call it a red line necessarily, but it puts a line in the sand then where does the u.s. get to if the north koreans as you suspect they might do go ahead and make more threats. perhaps do test more missiles, perhaps even carry out a sixth nuclear test. how does the u.s. react to that, having said that, what you need to do in this situation plainly is threaten and negotiate, play good cop, bad cop if you'd like, and the best read of this would be that this is the president playing the bad cop whooils at the same time potentially talks are still being suggested the north koreans are still being told we want to talk to you. it is very, very difficult, but that that perhaps is the way that this is being seen by the u.s. and by it's allies in the region. >> kiir simmons, thanks for your
help on the ongoing coverage on this. i want to take tow yacht stock market. the dow spent most of the day hitting another record high, that has changed, markets have turned lower with only moments to go until the closing bell, the dow now down about 50 points and that means it is not likely to have an 11th straight record close. this is as a result of the news that we've had this afternoon. we'll be right back. oves a road trip like your furry sidekick! so when your "side glass" gets damaged... [dog barks] trust safelite autoglass to fix it fast. it's easy! just bring it to us, or let us come to you, and we'll get you back on the road! >> woman: thank you so much. >> safelite tech: my pleasure. >> announcer: 'cause we care about you... and your co-pilot. [dog barks] ♪safelite repair, safelite replace.♪
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we have confirmed, nbc news, that north korea has been able to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to put on top of missile. we know that they've been testing intercontinental that they have the capability of reaching the continental united states. so now when you take that information and combine it with the fact that they're able to miniaturize a nuclear weapon, donald trump has now responded from bedminister, nrgew jersey, saying that north korea will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen before, fire, fury, and frankly power. that is the information we have right now on that news. markets have turned lower. they were in fact headed for their 11th straight record day. that is no longer the case. the dow is down about 37 points. this isn't a serious drop, but it does indicate that markets are taking this news very seriously. that does it for me this busy hour, i'll see you back here tomorrow 11:00 a.m. eastern with stephanie rule and again at 3:00 p.m. eastern.
you can always find me on twitter and instagram on snapchat. nicole wallace is here right now. hi everyone, it's 4:00, fire and fury like the world has never seen. that was president trump's warning to north korea. reacting in the last hour to news that north korea is one step closer to putting a nuclear weapon on a missile. u.s. intelligence officials confirm today that north korea has produce adminturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside their missiles. the news was first reported by the washington post and has since been confirmed by nbc news. u.s. officials believe north korean leader kim jong-un possesses as many as 60 nuclear weapons. no one believes that there are good options for dealing with this rogue regime and everyone agrees that this will be the focus of intense concern and alarm by american national security officials. president trump just reacted to