Maybe Secretary of State Rex Tillerson simply forgot which part of the government he was in charge of. That’s just about the only excuse for why America’s chief diplomat took it upon himself to declare that when it comes to North Korea, America was done doing diplomacy.
During his visit to South Korea, Secretary Tillerson announced, in no uncertain terms, that the Trump Administration will abandon diplomacy with North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Instead, the man who is supposed to be our nation’s top diplomat declared that the United States will not rule out a pre-emptive military strike against North Korea.
Let that sink in.
The man who is supposed to lead America’s diplomatic negotiations just said, we’re not going to negotiate and instead we might go to war against a nuclear power who has threatened (and who has the capacity) to kill millions in response to an attack from America. It’s enough to make you long for the golden age of diplomacy under George W. Bush.
Military force should always be a last resort, used only after every other option to peacefully resolve a conflict has been thoroughly exhausted. Quite simply, we are nowhere near that point on North Korea. Rather than rattling our nation’s sabres and threatening a war that could cost millions of lives, America’s chief diplomat should be doing his job, diplomacy.
Disturbingly, Secretary Tillerson’s comments on North Korea came on the heels of his absurd claim earlier this week that the agency that he himself leads — the State Department — is overfunded. The reality is that our nation’s diplomatic and aid efforts around the world are vastly underfunded. Reducing these budgets further puts the security of the United States and its allies at risk and only serves to create an over-reliance on military solutions to pressing challenges around the world.
Secretary Tillerson’s reckless comments threatening war against North Korea while simultaneously supporting the Trump administration’s plans to gut the State Department are simply too dangerous to leave unchallenged. While Secretary Tillerson may wish he was leading the Defense Department, he is in fact America’s chief diplomat. It’s time he start acting like one and work to build peace rather than threatening to make war.