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And I mean it.
The reason for me is that she could have started a nuclear war with North Korea, an issue I have been working on for over a decade.
And while it seems the collective Washington foreign policy elite does not care about the Kim gang anymore – they realize the DPRK will never give up those nukes, shocker – North Korea will come back up again and again as they test more missiles and nuclear weapons. Anyone who wins in 2024 will have to confront the Kim family – at least on some level.
I digress. The point is Nikki Haley proved during her time as UN Ambassador she does not what it takes to be president, as she played what amounted to a nuclear chicken with North Korea.
That, for me, screams poor judgment and lacking the basic understanding of how close we were to nuclear war with Pyongyang.
As Harper’s explained back in 2018 and I wrote about at the time for the American Conservative:
“It was September 2, 2017, and North Korea had just embarked on its sixth nuclear test launch. Haley’s mission was to ram a resolution through the UN Security Council to sanction the isolated state. This meant that she had to secure abstentions from Russia and China, the two permanent members that maintained relations with Pyongyang. It was a tall task, but as she boasted to the rapt audience at the CNP, she had a few tricks up her sleeve.
“I said to the Russians, ‘Either you’re with North Korea, or you’re with the United States of America,’” Haley recalled. She said she went to the Chinese ambassador and raised the prospect of an American military invasion of North Korea. “My boss is kind of unpredictable, and I don’t know what he’ll do,” she said she warned her Chinese counterpart.”
At the time, this was why I was concerned, as I explained in American Conservative:
“Sadly, besides some mentions on social media and a few articles, her threat received very little mainstream media coverage. Maybe that’s a blessing in disguise. But one can easily construct a scenario where Haley’s comment sets off a chain of events that starts a Second Korean War. For example, we don’t know what the Chinese ambassador did after Haley made the threat, but most likely he promptly reported it back to Beijing. What the Chinese government did with that information is vital. Did they warn the North Koreans? Did they react in some other way?”
We will never really know. However, if Pyongyang was tipped off by Beijing, seeing three U.S. Navy aircraft carriers drilling with South Korean and Japanese warships in November of last year surely must have terrified them. Such a concentration of firepower would have been a prerequisite for any type of invasion or attack. In fact, could these have been the reasons the north decided to test another ICBM in November?”
My fear at the time was that Haley’s comments could have sparked North Korea to launch a nuclear preemptive attack, thinking Trump could very well order an invasion. Thankfully, I would argue that Haley’s comments never made it to the DPRK.
Can’t the GOP do better? I would say yes, for sure.
Am I picking on her a little? Maybe so. But there is no margin for error on such issues of live for death.
About the author: Harry J. Kazianis (@Grecianformula) serves as President and CEO of Rogue States Project, a bipartisan national security think tank. He has held senior positions at the Center for the National Interest, the Heritage Foundation, the Potomac Foundation, and many other think tanks and academic institutions focused on defense issues. He served on the Russia task force for U.S. Presidential Candidate Senator Ted Cruz, and in a similar task force in the John Hay Initiative. His ideas have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, CNN, CNBC, and many other outlets across the political spectrum. He holds a graduate degree in International Relations from Harvard University and is the author of The Tao of A2/AD, a study of Chinese military modernization. Kazianis also has a background in defense journalism, having served as Editor-In-Chief at The Diplomat and Executive Editor for the National Interest.