Sen. Ed Markey said Wednesday that Defense Secretary James Mattis' statement advising Kim Jong Un not to invite the destruction of the North Korean people made him feel like he was living in the "Dr. Strangelove" movie.
"When Gen. Mattis talks about the destruction of the people of North Korea, of the regime change in North Korea, it actually sounds like we're in the movie, 'Dr. Strangelove,'" Markey told CNN, referencing the 1964 black comedy film that satirizes Cold War nuclear tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
"And the general is advising the president that we could get into a conflict, a thermonuclear conflict, and we might get our hair messed but we will totally destroy their people," he continued. "This is the kind of language that could be completely misinterpreted by the leaders of North Korea."
Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned that the rhetoric could lead to an accidental conventional conflict that could "trip wire" into a nuclear confrontation between the U.S. and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The situation was "very scary, very dangerous," he said.
Markey urged the Trump administration to pursue a diplomatic solution with the rogue nation and to appoint an envoy to South Korea.
"This entire situation that the administration is creating, they're saying they're good cop, they're bad cop. No, this is 'Keystone Cops,'" Markey said. "This is no plan. This is not a strategy. This is just escalating like it's a schoolyard brawl with people yelling at each other, but now it's with two sides with nuclear weapons. It must end. We must begin negotiations now."