Colorado’s Morning News, Mike Coffman, August 9, 2017

Station:    KOA, 850 am

Show:       Colorado’s Morning News

Guests:    Coffman, Mike


Date:        August 9, 2017

Topics:     North Korea, Nuclear Threat, Fury and Fire, President Trump, China, Russia, Sanctions, United Nations Security Council, UN, John McCain, Conventional, Military, Seoul, South Korea

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HOST APRIL ZESBAUGH:  The President using some strong words yesterday, aimed at keeping North Korea from testing more missiles. But the North doesn’t appear to be backing down, even threatening the U.S. territory of Guam. Sen. John McCain, critical of Trump’s comments: [playing audio of Senator John McCain’s statement] “I think this is very, very, very serious and I think that the rotund ruler in Pyongyang, he’s not crazy, but he certainly is ready to go to the brink.” Colorado’s U.S. Congressman Mike Coffman is on the live line with his take. Good morning, Congressman!


ZESBAUGH:  Thanks so much for coming on. Of course, we would love to have you on when we can utilize your military background.  I’d love to get your take on the President’s “fire and fury” comments. Is he poking the bear, and is it justified?

COFFMAN: You know, I’m usually not a fan of the President, in terms of his — what I call ‘impulse behavior’ [and] his emotional outbursts on his tweeting. But I think that there may be something here, where, sometimes it’s good when you have someone in charge who is unpredictable, as Trump is, in terms of the other side assessing their options and where they can’t necessarily assess what the US response is going to be, but very well may be aggressive. It’s a tough situation for the United States. Let me tell you what this administration did do — a great success in terms of getting the UN Security Council on board on these sanctions–


COFFMAN:  –on North Korea, I mean — to get China and Russia on board, where usually they’re in a blocking position on things that we’re trying to do, just to keep us off balance. And so to have them on board on this — to have that passed — now we’ve got to make sure that the sanctions are enforced, that they’re truly in effect. But if they are truly in effect, they will be devastating for North Korea, and hopefully will change their behavior. I think what the President has tried to do, absent this tweet, is to get the cooperation of China. In particular, China is a lifeline for North Korea. And certainly they’re dependent upon the United States’ trade. And so, we need to change their behavior relative to North Korea.

ZESBAUGH:  Yeah, but North Korea [has] threatening a nuclear capabilities. They can put a little mini-nuclear weapon on top of a missile and send it toward the US territory of Guam. What’s next if the sanctions don’t work? Have you thought that far down the road?

COFFMAN Well, first of all, this really — the fact that North Korea has advanced their nuclear weapons program — changes the equation fairly dramatically. Whereas before I think it was different, where we knew that they didn’t have the capability. Now we know that they do have the capability. And so — and we have a limited ability in which to defeat these systems in terms of our ground-based offenses. But I think that the fact is, I think we have to put increase pres – the next step, if this step is unsuccessful, the next step has got to be increased pressure on China, and probably our trade relationship with China, to get them to put pressure on North Korea. I mean, obviously, military options are always on the table. But it – boy! It would be so devastating, not simply just from a nuclear standpoint, but even from a conventional military standpoint. I mean, you’ve got enough artillery — just on the on the north side of the demilitarized zone – to pretty much level the capital city of Seoul, South Korea, where the concentration of that population is. And so it’s just — it is a very unstable situation. It is getting worse. I think we’re making positive strides in terms of trying to disarm the situation.

ZESBAUGH:  It is worrisome, at the very least. Congressman Mike Coffman, thanks for your take. I appreciate it.

COFFMAN:  Thank you.