Looking ahead to the unique global challenges in 2018, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham recently sounded an alarm regarding the potential threats America will face.
Specifically, the South Carolina Republican cited North Korea and Iran as two nations potentially presenting “extreme danger” to the U.S. in the coming year.
Graham, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, made his ominous remarks Sunday in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Speaking about North Korea, which has staged increasingly provocative displays of its missile technology, Graham said the nation could push President Donald Trump to launch a military strike.
“The president has drawn a line in North Korea telling the regime, ‘I will never let you hit America with a nuclear-tipped missile. If I have to, I’ll use military force to stop you,'” he said. “Now, the Iranians are watching the way he engages with North Korea, and vice versa. So we’ve got a chance here to deliver some fatal blows to really bad actors in 2018.”
The stakes are high, he said, and if played correctly the U.S. could make inroads toward making the world a safer place.
“But if we blink, God help us all,” he warned.
Though Graham does not believe Kim Jong Un’s regime in North Korea currently possesses the technology needed to reach the U.S. mainland with nuclear missiles, he said that if “test another bomb they’re closer to having that capability.”
He stood by his previous prediction that if North Korea stages another missile test, the chance of U.S. military action in response would increase from 30 to 70 percent.
“Sanctions will never work completely without the threat of credible military force,” he added. “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 urged Trump not to avoid military action if it becomes necessary.
“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. “And I just don’t see … the opportunities to solve this diplomatically at this particular point.”
Kim will only reform his pattern of intimidation, the senator added, “if he believes Donald Trump would use military force to destroy his regime.”
While North Korea is testing America’s military resolve, he said Iran is watching the standoff unfold as its own citizens continue demonstrating against a repressive government.
Trump has expressed support via Twitter for the protesters, but Graham suggested the situation calls for more direct action.
“The Iranian people are not our enemy,” Graham said. “The Ayatollah is the enemy of the world.”
If he were president, he said he would “explain what a better deal would look like” for the Iranians upset with their current form of government.
“It’s not enough to watch,” he said. “President Trump is tweeting very sympathetically to the Iranian people. But you can’t tweet here. You have to lay out a plan.”
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