President Donald Trump’s strategy of threatening North Korea could set “the stage for successful diplomacy” to limit the hermit nation’s nuclear program, William J. Perry, Bill Clinton’s second secretary of defense, told The Huffington Post in an interview Friday.
Perry, who endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, has been advising presidents on nuclear activity since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. A mathematician by trade, he has devoted much of his time since his government work to nuclear disarmament through the William J. Perry Project, a nonprofit he founded. The U.S. came close to nuclear confrontation with North Korea in 1994, during Perry’s tenure as defense secretary. Diplomacy was the key in avoiding a crisis, he said. But the U.S. needs to be seen as a credible threat to North Korea for diplomacy to be an option, he argued.
By sending North Korea a message that a military strike is indeed on the table, Trump could create an environment where diplomacy might be possible — and limit the cooperation between the country and China, Perry argued.
Trump sent Navy carrier USS Carl Vinson to the Korean Peninsula last week, and said he is open to considering a sudden strike on North Korea in response to missile tests, a person familiar with the White House’s thinking told Bloomberg. And Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Seoul, South Korea, over the weekend to remind the region of U.S. military might.
“North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region,” Pence said of Trump.