A Mizzou political scientist says the U.S. should not engage in aggressive statements toward North Korea while the Winter Olympics are underway in South Korea. Cooper Drury is responding to Vice President Mike Pence saying a new round of sanctions against North Korea is expected that Pence calls the “toughest and most aggressive” to date.
“The thing to do would be to make sure that there’s a good U.S. military presence so that you’ve got the 7th Fleet hanging around relatively close to the Korean Peninsula,” says Drury. “Not that it’s going to be used but sort of a Teddy Roosevelt move, right? Speak quietly and carry a big stick. You’ve got the whole world looking. The stakes are much higher. I think it’s better to play that Roosevelt card. Speak softly right now. When the Olympics are over, have at it. Right now, I would be quiet and have a couple of aircraft carriers hanging around.”
Pence’s comment is right down President Donald Trump’s alley. Trump has had plenty of bold exchanges with North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un.
Pence and Kim Jong Un’s sister are attending today’s opening Olympics ceremonies. South Korean officials consider their northern neighbor’s action to be a sign of calming tensions. Drury tells Missourinet the action eases tensions temporarily.
“With his sister there, it seems very unlikely that the north would actually try to attack or cause some terrorist incident there. I don’t think that was going to happen anyway because you’re really playing with fire then, but with his sister there you can probably say ‘Wow, they are trying to engage in a sense.’ It shows the north is playing along by the rules and they want to be involved in the games.”
He says the move is definitely to exploit the Olympics on the world stage for propaganda purposes.
“You want to be in the picture. This is a great move on the North Korea regime’s part,” he says.
The winter games are underway through February 25.
No Missourians are listed as competing in the winter games.