Gaffney said North Korea’s missile launch is “shocking in the sense that when you think about an impoverished nation that literally can’t feed its people progressing as rapidly as they have with advances in both ballistic missile technology and weapons that can be tossed by those missiles, it’s stunning.”
“But it’s not inexplicable,” he continued. “There’s a very easy answer for how this could be, and that is that the North Koreans are getting help from outside North Korea. There’s a lot of talk about collaboration with the Iranians, but there are other countries that have a lot more experience than the Iranians with both missiles and nuclear technology. That list starts with communist China.”
“There is now reason to believe that the Chinese have not only provided the North Koreans with these so-called transporter-erector-launchers for their long-range ballistic missiles. The Chinese profess that these were meant to be lumber carriers. Please,” Gaffney sighed. “These are specifically designed to carry large missiles. They’ve also apparently supplied them with missile canisters, which we’ve seen these things traipsing around the streets of Pyongyang.”
“But there’s also evidence that at least components of, if not full-up missiles themselves, have been supplied to the North Koreans by the Chinese,” he charged. “And probably by others – the Russians, maybe the Pakistanis. The point is, Alex, that this threat is metastasizing and is posing an increasingly mortal peril to our country because China wants it to happen. If they didn’t, none of those sorts of transactions would be taking place. I believe they have to be held accountable for what’s happening, and there have to be real costs to them for engaging in this kind of behavior.”
“There would be no North Korea without communist China,” Gaffney declared. “Let’s just be clear. In addition to food, and fuel, and coal, and other markets for such products as the North Koreans have, the Chinese have provided them, as I mentioned, in the nuclear and missile space, but more broadly the wherewithal to maintain control, and the political cover to defend their puppet regime in Pyongyang from U.N. sanctions or pressure from the outside.”
Gaffney said the Chinese have been able to perpetuate their double game with North Korea thanks to a “general miasma” in the U.S. policy establishment that dates back to President Richard Nixon’s fabled opening to China.
“We thought that they were just basically going to be good trading partners, and if we just simply sold them enough stuff or bought enough stuff from them that they’d become a normal nation and all would be well,” he explained.
“That was never in the cards. That was never the Chinese plan, and it’s now playing out to have been completely bankrupt. But along the way, we bought into this idea that they were going to be our partners and helpmates in containing the threat from the North Koreans. Again, as I’ve said, they’ve done everything they could to enable it. It is in their interest as they perceive it to have this regime be a problem for us. It distracts us from what they’re doing in the South China Sea and elsewhere, and it is creating leverage for them on us. That’s why China has to be held directly accountable,” he urged.
“I think the bigger story here is that the Chinese are at war with us,” Gaffney proposed. “It’s an undeclared war, certainly one that most of us don’t recognize, but at the very least it’s operating in the economic sphere. My colleague Kevin Freeman has been doing great work on documenting what the Chinese are up to in a whole host of areas – notably if they can’t buy up our technology companies, simply stealing their proprietary information.”
“That’s something that must stop,” he declared. “There must be real costs to the Chinese for that. I think for starters stop allowing them to buy up sensitive companies with potentially strategic – if not actually militarily applicable – technology.”
“I think their banks have to be squeezed,” he continued. “They’ve got a real debt problem in China at the moment. There are things that we can do to make their lives miserable.”
“Not least, we ought to make it clear that this whole love affair with Xi Jinping, the Chinese communist dictator who aspires to be a new Mao for God’s sake, is at an end, and that opposition to the regime – of which there is a lot, it’s not terribly organized obviously – that ought to be something that we support. I believe that helping enable the Communist Party in China, to be stronger and more powerful and assertive, is not in America’s interest, and I don’t think it’s in the interest of the Chinese people either,” he said.
Gaffney said events have now compelled Washington to take the North Korean threat seriously.
“What the North Koreans are doing is not simply demonstrating the capacity to attack with nuclear weapons the entire United States, but they’re combining it with explicit threats to use nuclear weapons to destroy the electric grid of this country,” he warned. “That is, I think they’ve figured out, our Achilles heel. We’ve been warning about it for 15 or 16 years. It’s high time that we take steps to protect the grid against it, because if it goes down, we’re done as a nation. We should be clear about that.”
“This is not yet something that has been actually addressed by official Washington but it has to be done, as well as does the need for effective missile defenses against these sorts of threats – and oh, by the way, the satellites that North Korea is orbiting overhead as well. We don’t have the luxury of thinking that diplomacy is going to take care of this any longer, or another set of sanctions at the U.N. will do the job. This is a moment that requires concrete, specific, and necessary corrective action,” he said.
Gaffney recommended immediately taking “practical, near-term, relatively inexpensive steps” to harden America’s electric grid against electromagnetic pulse attacks, bolstering missile defense with “capabilities that have not been allowed to be brought to bear,” and developing cyber, financial, and political warfare techniques to put pressure on China comparable to what brought the Soviet Union down.
“This is a moment when we’ve got to be thinking boldly about those sorts of steps to protect our people and our country against these material and metastasizing threats,” he advised.
“We’re on borrowed time, Alex,” he replied when Marlow asked if it was time to hit the proverbial “panic button” over North Korea. “This has been going on for far too long. We keep telling ourselves, well, they haven’t actually demonstrated the ability to put a heavy warhead on the missile and get it to the full range that would attack the United States. I would simply say you don’t want to wait that long because the way that may be demonstrated is by actually delivering that warhead to the United States.”
“Kim Jong-un is at best unpredictable, shall we say,” he observed. “He is determined, I believe, to preserve his regime. But he is also determined, I believe, to destroy this country. That’s what he says. That’s what his father said. That’s what his grandfather said. He now has the means at his disposal to do it unless stopped – and it should be, by the Chinese. The Chinese should replace that guy. They could do it, I believe. They have to be induced to feel that that’s in their interest as well as ours.”
Turning to the weekend’s bloody assault on a Sufi mosque in Egypt by Islamic State extremists, Gaffney said the missing element from news coverage is that “sharia supremacists have, as their first order of business, trying to compel all Muslims to conform to their program.”
“This is a totalitarian political, legal, military program with a kind of patina, a veneer if you will, of religiosity to it,” he said. “Fundamentally it’s about power. They’re trying to make sure that every Muslim gets behind that program. If there’s any resistance to it, they will kill them. Indeed, that’s why there are more Muslims killed by these jihadis than there are anybody else.”
“It’s in the service of trying to bring about an end state that will enable not only the enslavement – the submission as it’s called, the literal meaning of the word ‘Islam’ – for Muslims but also for everybody else to this program worldwide. What they’re doing to Sufis – and by the way, there were Sunnis and others in that mosque as well – in Sinai at the moment, they have been doing to Muslims elsewhere in the Middle East and beyond, they’ve of course been doing to Christians wherever they can get their hands on them in the Middle East and beyond, and they have it in mind for the rest of us,” he said.
“The model they’re using is not just violence. It’s not just the terrifying, forceful way of getting people to submit. It’s also subversion,” Gaffney added. “That’s what worries me particularly about what’s happening in Europe, and what is happening in our own country.”
“We have got to be clued up about this, not simply periodically focus on it when something bad happens at the hands of people who do mass murder. We’ve got to be focused as well on the infrastructure that is being built here, among other places, for more jihad in the future. We’ve got to stop the Muslim Brotherhood and its fellow sharia supremacists from achieving their agenda,” he urged.