Guess who’s offering congressional Republicans guidance on foreign policy?
Former Vice President Dick Cheney discussed tensions on the Korean peninsula with Republican leaders in Congress in a closed-door meeting Tuesday, warning them that the United States was in danger.
“We’re in deep doo doo,” Cheney told lawmakers, according to CNN, which first reported the talk.
Rep. Steve Southerland (Fla.) who attended the 10-minute meeting with GOP leaders said Cheney called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un unpredictable and, citing his own experience dealing with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, said “you never know what they’re thinking.”
How reassuring. Cheney thinks he’s qualified to speak about U.S. policy towards North Korea because of his “experience” with Saddam Hussein – as if Cheney’s role in shaping U.S. policy in Iraq has value and applicability now.
Incidentally, why, pray tell, was Cheney helping lead a closed-door with congressional Republicans? Because Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the #3 person in the House GOP leadership, invited the former vice president to speak.
I mention this because it’s not as if Cheney cornered these guys and Republican lawmakers were forced into listening to the failed former V.P. They wanted to hear from him and thought they’d benefit from his guidance.
Indeed, they seemed delighted to have been offered words of wisdom from Cheney. That his entire foreign policy worldview has been thoroughly discredited, his credibility on foreign policy and national security has been exposed as a pathetic joke, and the damage he’s done to the United States will take generations to heal, apparently didn’t dissuade House Republicans from taking the guy seriously.
But before we move on, let’s pause briefly to reflect on how it is we ended up in “deep doo doo.” After all, it was Dick Cheney that let North Korea get nuclear weapons in the first place.
As we discussed last week, the Clinton administration negotiated an Agreed Framework with North Korea in 1994, which was successful in “bottling up North Korea’s nuclear program for eight years,” and which eased the crisis on the peninsula. In March 2001, Colin Powell said Bush/Cheney would pick up where Clinton/Gore had left off.
The Bush/Cheney White House then immediately rebuked Powell, forced him to walk back his position, and rejected the Agreed Framework. Kim Jong-il hoped for a new round of negotiations, but the Republican administration refused. As Cheney himself put it, “We don’t negotiate with evil – we defeat it.” The Republican president instead added North Korea to an “axis of evil.”
By 2002, North Korea unlocked its fuel rods, kicked out international weapons inspectors, and became more aggressive in pursuing a nuclear weapons program. In response, “Bush didn’t take military action, he didn’t call for sanctions, nor did he try diplomacy” – instead focusing his energies on selling the United States on the need for a disastrous war in Iraq.
Indeed, Bush and Cheney argued at the time that the U.S. had to hurry up and invade Iraq before it could acquire nuclear weapons, effectively telling North Korea that the way to avoid an invasion was to advance its nuclear program as quickly as possible – which it did.
As a result, North Korea became a nuclear state on Bush/Cheney’s watch, and paid no price for its actions. The world is left with an isolated dictatorship, craving attention, and playing with the most dangerous weapons the world has ever known.
Thanks, Dick, for the fascinating insights on “doo doo.”