A top Republican senator on Sunday warned 2018 could be a year filled with “extreme danger” as the United States deals with mounting tensions with North Korea and Iran.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said President Trump has “drawn a line” with North Korea, denying the rogue regime’s ability to strike the US with a nuclear weapon through the use of overwhelming military force.
“If they test another bomb they’re closer to having that capability,” the South Carolina lawmaker “Now, the Iranians are watching us in North Korea. North Korea’s watching us in Iran. 2018 will be a year of opportunity and extreme danger.”
“We’ve got a chance here to deliver some fatal blows to some really bad actors in 2018. But if we blink, God help us all,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Graham, who said the probability of the US using military force against North Korea rises from “30 percent to 70 percent” if President Kim Jong Un’s government tests another nuclear weapon, predicted 2018 will be the year to “deny North Korea the capability to hit the homeland.”
“Sanctions will never work completely without the threat of credible military force. How do you change a man’s behavior who’s willing to kill his own family, torture his own people to stay in power? ” Graham said. ” The only way he’ll change his behavior, if he believes Donald Trump would use military force to destroy his regime. And the Iranians are watching how Trump deals with North Korea. ”
He also said he backs Trump’s support on Twitter of demonstrators in Iran protesting the government, four days of unrest that , hundreds of arrests and the in the Middle Eastern country.
Graham encouraged Trump to move beyond tweets and address the American people on national television to show his support of the Iran people and to press for a better nuclear deal than the one brokered by former President Obama and other world leaders in 2015.
“The Iranian people are not our enemy. The Ayatollah is the enemy of the world. Here’s what I would do if I was President Trump. I would explain what a better deal would look like,” he said on CBS. “It’s not enough to watch. President Trump is tweeting – very sympathetically to the Iranian people. But you just can’t tweet here. You have to lay out a plan. ”
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump has said he would rip up the nuclear agreement with Iran, calling it “the worse deal ever.”
He faces a deadline in January to recertify the deal.
Meanwhile, retired Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also sounded the alarm about the threat posed by North Korea and Iran.
“We’re actually closer, in my view, to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we have ever been ,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And I just don’t see how – I don’t see the opportunities to solve this diplomatically at this particular point.”
He blamed the “disruptive” and “unpredictable” Trump administration’s policies for allowing such conditions to develop and warned that “our enemies” could take advantage of the uncertainty, including Iran.
“I worry greatly about the fact that the Iranians will bring forward a nuclear weapon capability in that part of the country . They were very close when the deal was struck ,” said Mullen, who served under former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush. ” They can redevelop it, I think, very rapidly. “