National Security Advisor John Bolton may have said it best when he was talking about the ongoing peace talks in Korea and said, “I wouldn’t look for economic aid from us. I think what the prospect of — for North Korea is to become a normal nation, to behave and interact with the rest of the world, the way South Korea does…”
North Korea could one day, and soon, be a “normal” nation that interacts in “normal” ways with the other nations of the world. Wouldn’t that be amazing.
Now, Bolton discounts the idea that the United States would render financial aid in an effort to pull North Korea into the 21st Century more quickly, but i’m not sure he’s right about that. Just a few days ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it sound as if the Trump administration was indeed ready to help fix North Korea’s financial woes.
Here’s more from Bolton on North Korea’s “nomalization.”
John Bolton: I wouldn’t look for economic aid from us. I think what the prospect of — for North Korea is to become a normal nation, to behave and interact with the rest of the world, the way South Korea does.
And, if you’ve ever looked at a map of the Korean Peninsula at night or a picture of the North Korean Peninsula at night, the contrast between North and South Korea is the most stark of any…
Jake Tapper: Lights. Darkness.
John Bolton: Exactly. You can’t tell North Korea from the Yellow Sea or the Sea of Japan on either side of it. So the prospect for North Korea is unbelievably strong, if they’ll commit to denuclearization. That’s — that’s what — that’s what the president is going to say. I think the vision is clear. And we’ll whether Kim Jong-un is up to it.
NSA Bolton also spent quite some time talking with Tapper about the situation in the Middle East, particularly in regards to growing Iranian aggression in the region.
Jake Tapper: Can you explain to me how you’re going to be able to get Iran to agree to a new tougher deal without the participation in sanctions of China and Russia and Europe?
John Bolton: Well, I think you have to start first with the fundamental deficiencies of the deal itself.
It would not stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Quite the contrary, it provided cover for Iran to continue its efforts. And if it continued, it would have given Iran extraordinary economic benefits, without any guarantees of Iranian performance.
So, the rationale for getting out of the deal is that it was contrary to American national security interests when we entered into it, and it hadn’t gotten any better with age.
Jake Tapper: Can I just — can I just — for one second?
When you saying it provided cover for them to create an — a nuclear program, you’re talking about the sunset provisions that allow Iran — I’m just seeking clarity here — that allow Iran in seven or eight years to commence again a nuclear energy program?
John Bolton: Well, I think the sunset provisions were clearly a mistake.
But I think Iran had never made a strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons. I think it was testing the limits of the deal’s provisions, exceeding them in some cases. Its ballistic missile program, which continued essentially unchecked, was proof that what they were seeking was delivery systems for the nuclear weapons.
So, the president has to make a decision where America’s national interests lie. And it did not lie in continuing this deal.
Now, the consequence of the United States getting out of it is to reimpose all American sanctions as they were before the deal came into effect. And I think what we’ve seen is that Iran’s economic condition is really quite shaky, so that the effect here could be dramatic.
And I think there’s another important point here that the president has made. Because of the deal, Iran was able to take advantage of turmoil in the region to advance its interests all across the Middle East, in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen, so that the consequences of being able to sell Iranian oil without restriction on the international market were providing them resources not just for their nuclear program, not just as the world’s central banker of international terrorism, but conventional hostilities across the region as well.
Here’s the full interview:
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