US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley went on CNN’s “State of the Union” to do some PR prep work for US President Trump’s upcoming speech to the United Nations.
Haley doubled down Trump’s famous “fire and fury” military option against Kim Jong Un, after she told CNN that the United Nations Security Council has reached the limit of its ability to economically punish North Korea.
War hawk Haley told CNN that as diplomatic solutions reach an end (even though the US has, to date, never engaged in a diplomatic meeting with North Korea), she would be “perfectly happy” handing the situation off to Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“What we’re doing is being responsible where North Korea is being irresponsible and reckless. We were being responsible by trying to use every diplomatic possibility that we could possibly do. We’ve pretty much exhausted all the things that we could do at the Security Council at this point.”
“I said yesterday I’m perfectly happy kicking this over to General Mattis because he has plenty of military options. So, I think that the fire and fury – while he said this is what we can do to North Korea – we want to be responsible and go through all diplomatic means to get their attention first. If that doesn’t work, General Mattis will take care of it.”
Haley once again said that if North Korea strikes the US or US allies, North Korea “will be destroyed.”
“You’d have to ask the President what ‘fire and fury’ meant. If the US has to defend itself, or defend its allies in any way, North Korea will be destroyed. We don’t want that. Something is going to have to be done. We’re trying every other possibility that we have but there are a whole lot of military options on the table.”
According to Zerohedge, Haley did praise the latest round of UN sanctions, ignoring the fact that the US had to capitulate on several of its demand – including cutting off the North’s oil supply and its trading partners – to win the support of Russia and China.
“The facts are the facts. The first sanctions bill that was the largest ever that we had done to North Korea was $1 billion and was a punch in the gut. This one, which we passed in a week, was $1.3 billion and that didn’t count the reduction of 30% of the oil which was made up of 55% reducing their diesel and gasoline that they use to move the missiles. You take that with the elimination of joint ventures and the laborers which we consider modern day slavery that total 90% of North Korea’s, it is being cut off. We have economically strangled North Korea at this point.”
“I think everybody in the international community sees what a big deal it is and the biggest deal is enforcement. North Korea is already feeling the pinch. It’s the reason you see them reacting the way they are. This wasn’t just a hit to North Korea, it was a hit to China – they have to take a hit when they do 90% of North Korea’s trade.”
The administration has been repeating the same line for months, yet nothing has been done. Of course, the North Korean conflict has the dynamics of a geopolitical Mexican standoff – that’s what makes it so difficult. At least the regime knows that if it were to strike the US or one of its allies, it would trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty – not to mention a massive counterattack by the US. Such a move would be tantamount to suicide; the regime knows this, and the public does, too. The latest poll shows most Americans believe war is unlikely, a sentiment that has been clearly conveyed by the financial markets.
But still, how much more progress can Kim make toward achieving his goal of obtaining a weapon powerful and accurate enough to strike the US before the generals who Trump surrounds himself with convince their leader that the time for action has arrived?