The United States is closer to a nuclear war with North Korea than it has ever been before, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Sunday.
Retired Adm. Mike Mullen said on ABC’s “This Week” said President Trump’s increasingly antagonistic posture toward North Korea is not leaving him with many options in the region.
“An incredibly dangerous climate exists out there … top of the list is North Korea,” Mullen said. “We're actually closer in my view to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we have ever been. I don't see how — I don't see the opportunities to solve this diplomatically at this particular point.”
Mullen said Trump’s foreign policy has been to disrupt the institutions that have bound together the U.S. and its allies since the end of World War II.
That policy of disruption is going to end up giving American antagonists — he put North Korea, Russia, Iran, and China in that category — wiggle room to maneuver.
“It's been incredibly disruptive,” Mullen said of Trump’s first year in office. “Certainly, unpredictable in many, many ways. What you talked about globally, certainly from those who is have been our friends for many years, ask questions about our commitments to them, the region, the leadership we have exhibited, the institutions we care about.”
“Our enemies, those that would do us ill, seem to be able to take advantage of the uncertainty as well. You mentioned Russia and China. My expectation is that will continue to be the case for them as well as Iran and North Korea.”
It will ultimately be up to the American people to decide whether those institutions deserve protecting.
“A big question for us, as the American people, is whether we continue to support the institutions and all they represent in a world that is chaotic,” he said.
“That becomes a fundamental question. Clearly, the president has chose on the try and disrupt and break those up as much as possible.”