EASLEY — Sen. Lindsay Graham recently appeared for an early morning breakfast at a recent event hosted by The Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce.
The breakfast came on the heels of President Trump’s controversial “fire and fury” comments made in response to increased threats by North Korea.
“President Trump’s words yesterday bothered some,” said Graham. “They didn’t bother me at all.”
For 30 years the U.S. has “been playing around” with North Korea and everybody’s failed, he said.
“Every president before him (Trump) — Republican and Democrat — has failed when it comes to North Korea’s nuclear ambition. Every smart person telling him how to talk today has failed,” Graham stated.
“Nobody wants to go to war, a war with North Korea would be catastrophic to the region,” said Graham. “And a nuclear tipped ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) would be catastrophic to America. If you let this guy (Kim Jong-un) go further, you’ll have a hydrogen bomb one day with more missiles. There’s no reason to believe he’s going to stop until someone makes him stop.”
Graham criticized Beijing for not doing more to bring the North Korean leadership to curb and stated the best way to get them involved was increased pressure by the U.S..
“China has 90 percent of the North Korean economy in their hand,” Graham said. “I want them to have two bad decisions, like us.”
Graham likened the U.S.’s current position to a rock and a hard place.
“Let them (North Korea) have an ICBM with a nuclear tip on top, contain the threat — hope you can shoot it down? Bad decision — because I don’t know that we could shoot it down — and the longer you wait, the missiles they’re going to get. The second (bad) decision would be to start a war with North Korea preemptively. They can do a lot of damage to Japan, South Korea and to the region.
“I want China to have two bad decisions: Deal with the nut job in your backyard — as unpleasant as that will be — and reign him in, or deal with a war in your backyard. Those are your unpleasant choices.”
Sen. Graham said he didn’t know “when this was going to happen,” but that the country was headed towards a conflict with North Korea “if something doesn’t change.”
“The only way to avoid a war is to convince the other side that they’ll lose it,” he said. “Without a credible military force option on the table, you’ll never have a diplomatic solution.”