(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Lindsey Graham said on ABC News’s “This Week” today that the United States should go to war against North Korea if North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un does not agree to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
“There’s really only two options: peace or war,” Graham said.
Graham indicated that he has already prepared an Authorization for the Use of Military Force that would authorize the president to go to war against North Korea if they do not give up their nuclear program and that he is hoping Senate Democrats will join him in backing that AUMF if President Trump’s efforts to negotiate an end to North Korea’s program fail.
“But here is what I would say to my Democratic colleagues: I appreciate you telling the president what a good deal would look like, but the country needs you to back the president up to get that deal,” said Graham.
“So, here’s the question for my Democratic colleagues: If diplomacy fails, will you support my efforts to authorize the use of military force as a last resort to convince North Korea and China things are going to be different this time,” said Graham. “A bipartisan AUMF would really make that letter much more credible. And if diplomacy fails, as a last resort, Democrats and Republicans need to put the military option on the table or we will never get a good deal.”
Here is the full transcript of Graham’s exchange with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in which Graham explains his call for the use of military force in North Korea if North Korea does not agree to complete nuclear disarmament:
Stephanopoulos: “I know you’ve spoken to the president several times about this summit. What’s your counsel? Is he ready? Does he know what he wants to get out of this meeting?”
Graham: “Yeah, I think he is very much ready. I think what he is going to convey to North Korea is he wants a peaceful resolution to the nuclear threat as well as to end the Korean War. But the goal is to eliminate their nuclear missile program, not contain it. Do it in a win-win fashion. There’s three outcomes here: Peace, where we have a win-win solution. Military force, where we devastate the North Korean regime and stop their program by force. Or to capitulate like we have done in the past, and Donald Trump is not going to capitulate. So, there’s really only two options: peace or war.”
Stephanopoulos: “And, as you know, several of your Democratic colleagues in the Senate have sent the president a letter designed, I guess, to stiffen his spine. Very tough letter, saying that the outcome has to be complete denuclearization. No more testing, weapons dismantled. Here is what they write: ‘Any deal that explicitly or implicitly gives North Korea sanctions relief for anything other than verifiable performance of its obligation to dismantle its nuclear and missile arsenal is a bad deal.’ Do you agree?”
Graham: “A hundred percent. And I think they will be getting a call from the president. I wish they had sent such a deal—letter—to Barack Obama regarding the Iranian nuclear efforts. But I embrace this letter. It is a very tough thing to accomplish. But here is what I would say to my Democratic colleagues: I appreciate you telling the president what a good deal would look like, but the country needs you to back the president up to get that deal. So, here’s the question for my Democratic colleagues: If diplomacy fails, will you support my efforts to authorize the use of military force as a last resort to convince North Korea and China things are going to be different this time. A bipartisan AUMF would really make that letter much more credible. And if diplomacy fails, as a last resort, Democrats and Republicans need to put the military option on the table or we will never get a good deal.”
Stephanopoulos: “So, if you’re ready to move forward on that what would you need to see on Tuesday to prevent you from moving forward to that use of force authorization?”
Graham: “We’ll know diplomatic failure when we see it. I don’t expect a deal next Tuesday. I expect a process to be started next Tuesday. Here is what I expect: North Korea will try to run out the clock. It is not if they have to give up their nuclear missile program, it is how and when. The how is a win-win peace agreement where they get security in return for giving up their program when. I think the president wants this to come to an end in his first term. They understand electoral politics in North Korea of the United States. They always try to run out a president in terms of the time on his watch. That’s not going to happen here. So, we’ll find out in about a year if this is going to work, and I have an AUMF already drafted. I hope I never have to use it. But if you want to convince North Korea and China that things are different with Trump, then the Congress needs to have his back.”
Stephanopoulos: “But, Senator Graham, as you know, the top expert in the United States on the North Korean nuclear weapons program says it’s going to take 15 years to fully dismantle that North Korean program.”
Graham: “Yeah, what I am saying here is that you’ll have a deal one way or another in his first term that can be implemented in a way that we all believe. I don’t know how long it took them to get where they are at. I don’t think fifteen years is on the table, but I don’t expect it to be done in one year. But, what I do expect to be done in a year from now is an agreement that does dismantle their nuclear weapons programs, their missiles, removes all plutonium and uranium, anytime, anywhere inspections. And we’re not going to let them run out the clock again. They talk about giving up, but they end up building up. It’s as old as time itself as to what North Korea does. They promise a bunch of things and then they back out. Trump is going to call the question on North Korea while he is president of the United States. He’s not going to pass this on to the next president of the United States. There is no reason they can’t give up their nuclear weapons program within fifteen years.”