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Dr. Matthew Spalding’s Hillsdale Dialogue on North Korea and Iran and the Need for Ballistic Missile Defense

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HH: That music means it’s time for the Hillsdale Dialogue. Every week at this time, I talk with either Dr. Larry Arnn, Dr. Matthew Spalding or one of their colleagues at Hillsdale or at the Kirby Center in Washington, D.C, the lighthouse of reason in the shadow of the Capitol where Dr. Matt Spalding hangs his hat. And he is in fact joining me this morning. All things Hillsdale are at www.hillsdale.edu. All of our conversations dating back to 2013 are collected at www.hughforhillsdale.com. Dr. Spalding, were you listening to me talk to Lindsey Graham just now?

MS: I was. I caught the end of it there. What an amazing conversation.

HH: I’m going to, at the bottom of this hour, I’m going to play the part when we come back that did not make it on to air because of the North Korean candor is something. What did you make of his remarks, because I thought it was remarkable, too.

MS: I thought the most interesting thing was right at the very end when you were asking about the people who can’t get over their aversion to Trump. And he made what was, is a classic answer, which should be the classic answer, which was he was in the debates, he was in the contest. He was beaten. He understands that. He now sees a, I don’t know what word he used, but he sees a resolution in this president to get these things done. That’s what he favors. He’s willing to distinguish the immediate politics of the moment, the contest, if you will, with the reality of what happened, but then getting on to what he wants to accomplish. This is a, this is what politicians used to do. This is what we got, we’ve kind of learned not to do anymore when we got into doctrinal politics, as I refer to it. Trump’s broken all that open. I have to give him credit. Lindsey Graham, he will, as a political question, he’s moved on. He’s now focused on what’s in our national security, what are the policies we want to advance, what does this president do that I agree with. He’s working with him. That’s the way it ought to work.

HH: You know, Matt Spalding, when I confront my friends who are Never Trumpers, and they are my friends, and Dr. Arnn and I talk about this a lot, I am at a loss to understand the vehemence with which they loathe President Trump, you know, because he beat me like a drum, too. I’ve got Trump tattoos, right? Very few people have been insulted in front of 22 million people. That’s my job. You know, this is the business we have chosen, Hyman Roth says in the Godfather, and I don’t take it personally. Why do so many people take it personally?

MS: Well, it is kind of a derangement. You’re right about that. I think what it gets back to, to take a broader step back, is that you know, over the course of the 20th Century, especially in the last number of decades, politics on both the left and the right, politicians, political thinkers, have forgotten how to think politically. They saw politics as very stilted. It was very defined. It was doctrinal. It was check off the boxes. And as a result, they got so comfortable in that, and they thought they had it so close that someone like Trump comes along completely outside of the box with various attributes and aspects of his life that we don’t agree with, we don’t like. But he’s so far outside of the box that I think they weren’t capable of thinking that way. I always look at, I looked at him not necessarily my first choice or my second choice, but as it came along, I could see what he was doing. But stepping back, I look at him as a 19th Century politician from a historical perspective. There are always people elected that you don’t completely agree with or you agree with somewhat, or you actually don’t like. Think of Henry Clay and the various people he went up against, right? Your enemy in the party has gotten elected. But then you figure out how to adjust. That’s what politics is about. If you have firm principles of what you’re trying to accomplish, ideas about the nation and what its objectives are, what its interests are, that is the overriding concern. And the you adjust to that and you make prudential decisions about how to act. I think we don’t think that way anymore. We’ve been trained out of it. We’ve come to the conclusion that politics is highly about personality over the principles, and it’s also politics has become very personal. And you know, to quote Hillary Clinton, it’s about personal destruction. And I think that has something to do with how we actually think about the political process, and we’ve forgotten that. Trump’s broken all that open, which I think is one of his great virtues so that we now have to rethink how to think politically, which is why these kinds of conversations, and people like Lindsey Graham you quoted earlier, who can maneuver and see outside of that, and think on their feet, I think, are becoming more valuable rather than less valuable.

HH: Now there is a new book out, Dr. Matthew Spalding, by Conrad Black, Lord Black, himself controversial, right? But he’s himself a real estate developer in small part called Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. And I have admitted candidly to Conrad Black to everyone, I learned so much from this that I simply did not know, because I’m not a New Yorker. Only New Yorkers know Trump, right? And the President has a long history of acting exactly as he is acting now, and he won doing so. It’s kind of, I think those of us who are D.C.-focused ignore everything that happens outside of D.C. when it comes to assessing an individual.

MS: No, I think that’s right. So now you’ve got a book, I’ll have to get that, I haven’t read it, yet, so you’ve, I’ll put it on my list, but look at what’s going on with North Korea right now. It’s a perfect example. If you actually read his letter, it’s a wonderfully Trumpian letter, which is not diplomatic speak. It’s very straightforward. He talks of this wonderful relationship that was developing, but under the circumstances, we’re not going forward. This is bad for you. We’ve got more nuclear weapons than you do. It’s bad for the world. It’s your mistake.

HH: Exactly.

MS: Classic Trump. Classic Trump.

HH: Let me read to you. Let me read Page 33 of the Conrad Black book. “The negotiations in the autumn of 1990, because Trump was on the verge of bankruptcy, took place in the Plaza Hotel were fierce and ill-tempered unlike the discussions with the banks, where reasonable decorum is normally observed. But Trump flourishes in this environment, too,” writes Black. “And with nerves of steel, he allowed the negotiations to break down twice and actually went into default.” That is one, that is two sentence out of about 100 pages chronicling how he did business, which I just actually, I never watched The Apprentice. I didn’t care. I never read Art of the Deal.

MS: Same here, right.

HH: But it actually is relevant to what he’s doing now on the international stage, and in a good way.

MS: I think that’s absolutely right. And what makes that, on the one hand, we don’t know how to think about it, but on the other hand is so unlike previous presidents, previous established diplomatic norms that it’s out of the ordinary, so we’re a little bit nervous. And yet, that approach is different in a way that I think foreign leaders, both our friends and our enemies, see it for what it is, which is he’s using strength and his power on the one hand, but then he’s backing off on the other hand. He’s negotiating from an advantage. And if that’s what he’s doing, that’s pretty darn impressive.

HH: Now before we go to break, Lindsey Graham was talking about a war on the Korean Peninsula, and a resolve that in the first term, he is not going to kick the can down the road. They’re either going to denuclearize, or we’re going to have a war. And that’s a million casualties, Matthew Spalding. Did you hear what I heard when he said that?

MS: That’s what, I started catching right when you were having that discussion. I heard that. That’s very disconcerting and nervous. These are high stakes discussions, which is why I think it’s important to get back into this. But look, I mean, I think the key thing here is for too long, we’ve kicked this can down the road. And every president, both sides of the political aisle have done so. This president, I think, is not going to do that. I don’t think that’s where he wants to be. It’s clear that’s not where Lindsey Graham wants to be. But you know, how do you deal with such a rogue individual as this? I think, what this is always pointing, if you go back to our conversations about North Korea past, is we need to get our act together for ballistic missile defense.

HH: Yes.

MS: We need to be able to defend ourselves. We need to be able to have that so that we have another option, so it’s not merely a negotiated settlement or war. We have the ability to shoot those things down, and they would know that, and it would be clear. And if that’s the case, this goes back to Ronald Reagan. If that’s the case, that changes the equation, that will be a game changer.

HH: It would be indeed, and when we come back, we’ll continue the conversation. I want to play for you very quickly, Matthew Spalding, Mike Pompeo, the new Secretary of State, with Mark Udall yesterday, cut number 4:

MU: Given that the President refuses to disclose his tax returns, how can you assure the American people that American foreign policy is free of his personal conflicts of interest?

MP: Senator, I find that question bizarre.

MU: You don’t want to answer it, then?

MP: Senator…

MU: You just want to describe it as bizarre?

MP: Yes, I do. But I think…

MU: Not give me an answer?

MP: …that’s indicative of my answer, Senator.

MU: Yeah.

MP: I’ve been incredibly involved in this administration’s foreign policy now for some 16 months, and I have seen literally no evidence of what you are scurrilously, scurrilously suggesting.

MU: Well, that’s what I want to ask you.

MP: Scurrilously suggesting.

MU: …specifically about. No, it’s not scurrilously…

MP: It is an outrageous suggestion.

HH: So Matt Spalding, he called, Mike Pompeo said it was scurrilous, outrageous and bizarre. 20 seconds, how great is it to have someone speak candidly?

MS: It’s very great. He’s got his Senate confirmation. He’s got nothing else from here but run for president, maybe. Never again will he go before the Senate. He can say it like he sees it.

HH: Scurrilous, outrageous and bizarre. I’m looking to more Senate testimony from Mike Pompeo. Stay tuned, America. The Hillsdale Dialogue proceeds with Dr. Matt Spalding after this.

—- – – – —

HH: Before we come back next segment and play for people the part of the Lindsey Graham interview from last hour that I didn’t air, yet, Dr. Spalding, there was an article in Politico about Hillsdale College, and there were some good parts in it, but it created a misimpression about what Hillsdale is doing. Can you both summarize the article and what you really are about?

MS: Well, this was an article in Politico that was focused on Hillsdale’s operations in Washington, D.C. And the lead of the article, which I’m sure the editors were playing with and loved the narrative here, was that Hillsdale College was being very effective and active politically, because they were essentially Trump University. Trump University hadn’t gone away, it’s Hillsdale College. And they, this narrative goes throughout the article showing all these connections. But it missed the big point, and the story itself was an ineffective hit in the sense that the details actually pointed in a different direction which is that what we are trying to do, and what Hillsdale in Washington represents is not a lobbyist, not a think tank. We’re not putting out policy papers. Our influence, if we want to use that term, comes in a different form that Washington’s not used to, which is we teach. We form people. We shape our students. We work with those who are fellows. We work with a lot of people around town in order to educate them. And through those ideas, yes we have influence. But it’s a long game we’re playing trying to recover Constitutional government. It’s not this immediate political effect, I think, they were looking for. And despite their intentions, that’s not where the article ultimately points to, and it completely missed the idea that what Hillsdale College is really goes back to our original mission in 1844, upholding civil and religious liberty based on the teaching of the great ideas of Western Civilization, and that’s our great contribution to our country, but also in the immediate sense, our contribution to politics, which is it’s about the ideas about what we actually do in the long run.

HH: You know, I’ve got to talk to you a little bit about this. They don’t understand. They don’t believe that the reason Hillsdale is influential is not because of anything in Michigan or at the Kirby Center, but because of the graduates you produce and the lives they choose to follow and proceed in the way in which they conduct themselves.

MS: That’s right. You may think of, so Mike Pence, so he gave our commencement address, which, and that’s the occasion for writing this article, was to show that there’s these connections. But one of Mike Pence’s lines in the commencement address, there’s a sign on the highway as you’re approaching Hillsdale. And Pence quoted it to great effect in his commencement address. Hillsdale – it’s about the people, which is exactly right. It’s about what we’re producing. It’s these minds we’re forming. It’s the characters we’re forming. And they’re going to go out and do great things. As I said in the article, I’m not interested in the current Speaker or the current this or that. I’m interested in the future ones. Who are they going to be? Where are they going to be educated? What are they going to be taught? That’s what Hillsdale is about. And if that’s what they consider to be questionable political influence in Washington, D.C. in its narrow and partisan, they’re just completely missing out politics in the general, the old sense ought to work. It’s about shaping people’s minds, and that’s what we do. That’s where our contribution is. And that’s also why we’re different. And that’s why what we do here in D.C., whether it’s our undergraduates, whether it’s our fellowship programs, whether it’s a graduate program, we are going to start here. That’s going to be a different thing that I think Washington, D.C. and the political intelligentsia is not used to seeing.

HH: And that’s why when you go all over town inside the Beltway, you bump into relatively young men and women, sometimes barely shaving if they’re young men, sometimes I look, are you in high school or whatever, and they’re Hillsdale graduates, and they’re doing important stuff with senior people and doing it well, Matt Spalding, very, very well. I’ll be right back. Dr. Matt Spalding and the Hillsdale Dialogue continues. I’m going to play for you coming out of the break what Lindsey Graham and I talked about North Korea and then discuss it with Dr. Matt Spalding. Don’t go anywhere. It’s the Hillsdale Dialogue, America, on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

— – — –

HH: Matt Spalding, the president of the United States has been tweeting. In order, he wrote I will be making the commencement address today at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. Looking forward to being with some of the greatest people on Earth. Then the Democrats are now alluding the concept of having an informant placed in an opposing party’s campaign is different from having a spy, as illegal as that may be. But what about an informant who’s paid a fortune and who sets up way earlier than the Russian hoax? Can anyone ever imagine having spies placed in a competing campaign by the people in party and absolute power for the sole purpose of political advantage and gain? And to think the party in question, even with the expenditure of far more money lost. Everyone knows there was a spy. And in fact, the people who were involved in the spying are admitting that there was a spy, widespread spying involving multiple people. Mollie Hemmingway, the Federalist’s senior editor. But the corrupt mainstream media hates this monstrous story. Democrats are so obviously rooting, he continues, against us in our negotiations with North Korea, just like they are coming to the defense of MS-13 thugs saying that they are individuals and must be nurtured, or asking to end your big tax cuts and raise your taxes instead. Dems have lost touch. And then finally, very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea. We will soon see where it leads, and hopefully too long, and hopefully to long and enduring prosperity and peace? Only time and talent will tell. Matt Spalding, that’s for one tweet storm.

MS: That’s a lot.

HH: What do you think?

MS: That’s a lot. A lot of stuff there to work with. The key thing here, you know, he’s going back on this point about putting somebody into a campaign. Whether you call it a spy or not, fine. They put somebody in there who was on their payroll. They sent them in to try to get information. This was not merely a random meeting on the street. They were reporting back. So they intentionally did it to try to get information from a campaign. That is an extremely significant thing that radically changes how the operations of a political campaign would work. I think what a lot of this stuff does is it starts, we’re starting to see a very different narrative here, because we’re learning a lot of things about dates and when things started, what the timeline looked like, going back to the spring of 2016. And they started trying to gather information on an opposition campaign, and this was conducted by the administration of the other political party in power. This is, it makes me very nervous. And the, you put this together with the communications between the figures that we found out about within the FBI that have later come to a head, start putting all that together, they clearly wanted to get the investigation about the emails quickly set aside and dealt with and move on to the Russia investigation. You add to this, it’s sounding more and more political. The narrative looks different. I think that if this continues going this way, not only undermining Mueller’s investigation, but potentially taking some people out of the investigation, but the public perception of this, we’re seeing the numbers that this is a, this is all, this was very political in a way that call it a spy or not, but that I think that takes away from a deeper argument, the more significant argument, which was this was the FBI becoming politically involved investigating domestic targets including those in a political campaign. That is revolutionary.

HH: It is indeed. Now I want to go back and use some of the Hillsdale Dialogue time to play for you Lindsey Graham and I off air. He knew we were going to play it, so it wasn’t surreptitious, talking about North Korea and the President, and then I’ll have Matt Spalding comment on the other side. Play it, please, Adam.

HH: Now I want to switch to North Korea if I can.

LG: Yeah.

HH: And preface this, this isn’t a book club, but I’m going to ask you about another book. Have you read Conrad Black’s new book about Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other?

LG: No.

HH: He has got in here detailed reconstructions of the negotiations the President…if you and I had read this before the debates, we would have approached them differently. One of them, on Page 33, reads, “The negotiations in the autumn of 1990 took place in the Plaza Hotel were fierce and ill-tempered. Unlike the discussions with the banks where reasonable decorum is normally reserved, but Donald Trump flourishes in this environment. And with nerves of steel, he allowed the negotiations to break down twice, and he actually went into default.” And that’s a story that happens again and again. He walks away, and then he walks back in. Do you think that’s what’s going on with North Korea?

LG: Well there’s some of this. I talked to him yesterday, and the President feels like they’re playing him, so he brought it to an end, and we’ll see if we can reengage. But everybody is missing the big picture here. Donald Trump within 30 days of becoming president of the United States met with me, McMaster and a few other people, and we talked about North Korea. This is the first time I met him as president, and he said what do you think? And I said I think North Korea is your most acute problem. Iran’s your long term problem. And I said you’ve got two choices – containment, which is give them a nuke and a missile and tell them if they ever use it, we’ll blow you off the map. I don’t like that, because they sell everything they build.

HH: Right.

LG: So that’s a dangerous strategy. So to me, it’s denial, denying them the capability of having a weapon to hit America with a missile with a nuclear weapon on top. We’re not going to give them that capability. Tell them to get out of the nuclear business and be willing to go to war. And he turned to McMaster, and he says what do you think? And he says I think we need to get them to give up their nukes for the good of our security and the world at large. He’s made a decision, the President has, that he’s going to end North Korea’s nuclear program. It’s only a question of how and when. There’s two ways on the how side – through diplomatic negotiations with China helping us to give up their program. We sign a peace treaty and end the cold war. They get a better economy, we’re not invading North Korea, we’re giving them the security they need, and they give up their nukes and they’re in the same boat as Japan and South Korea. The other way is if they insist on continuing to have a nuclear capability to threaten America, that we use military action which would be the total destruction of the regime. The question is when. I think, I personally believe having talked to the President as of yesterday, that he’s going to bring this to conclusion in his first term.

HH: How long did you talk with him for yesterday, Senator Graham?

LG: A good bit. I’m going to meet him later in the weekend. We talk a lot about North Korea and Iran. How do you enter into a bad deal with North Korea after pulling out of the Iran deal because it was bad? The President’s got a clear goal here. I don’t know how he bought and sold property, and I don’t know how he bought and sold golf courses, but he was pretty good at it. As president of the United States, he’s made a decision to end the North Korean nuclear program. He wants to do it peacefully, if possible, and he’s going to do it in his first term, I believe.

HH: Senator Graham, yesterday I had Colonel Chip Berke on yesterday. He’s the only man who’s flown the F-16, the F-18 Super Hornet, the F-22, and the F-35.

LG: Wow.

HH: He’s a big fan of the latter two, but he doesn’t think we have enough, that the F-18 can survive North Korean air defenses. And we haven’t got enough of the stealth aircraft to take out…

LG: Right.

HH: This would be a lot of dead people, right? We’re talking about a million casualties if this comes to blows.

LG: Well, you know, so let’s understand what we’re saying here. We’re saying that as a last resort, we’ll use military force to destroy the regime’s nuclear program, which basically means destroying the regime. Now yes, that will be, that will be difficult. It will be devastating to the region. But 20 years from now, if they keep building nuclear weapons and missiles, they’re going to sell it to somebody who will use it. Iran is different. They have a religious mission. They’re religious zealots. They’re religious Nazis. If they get a nuclear weapon, they’ll use it for religious purposes, to purify the Sunni faith, destroy Israel and come after us. So where does a terrorist get a weapon, a nuclear weapon, that they would actually use? From a regime like North Korea or Iran. So the President has calculated for the good of the world, for the good of the United States, I’m going to take off the table North Korea having nuclear capability to threaten the homeland and the world at large. And if it takes a war to end that nuclear threat, so be it. And the war will be over there. The people dying will be over there, and he doesn’t want to do that. But he’s going to pick regional conflict to secure the homeland. I hope people understand that.

HH: When you see him this weekend, Senator Graham…

LG: Yeah.

HH: Will you tell him what you think the casualty estimate from that, because I think it’s a million people. Do you agree with me?

LG: Yeah, it may be. I don’t know what the casualty figure would be. It depends on how quickly it goes, how hard the North Koreans fight. Do all the generals rally around this nut job, and do they all die for him? All I can say is the likelihood of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of a terrorist to be used against us comes from a sale by North Korea. The likelihood of a Mideast getting into a nuclear arms race where one day somebody will use nuclear arms is allowing the Iranians to possess a nuclear weapon. This deal with Iran ensured them a pathway to a nuclear weapon. So Donald Trump is going to end the nuclear threat coming from Iran. He’s going to end the nuclear threat coming from North Korea. Everybody before him punted. Everybody before him talked and did nothing. They play us like a fiddle. They understand our election cycle.

HH: Last question for you, Senator. We’re running out of time.

LG: Yeah.

HH: When I would see you on the debate stages in 2015 and 2016, did you ever imagine that you would be assessing President Trump this way in 2018 on Memorial Day weekend?

LG: 1) I thought he would lose. I thought he had, I thought he couldn’t win, and I had no idea what his foreign policy would be. I am pleasantly surprised. I am very pleased. Building up the military, getting out of the Iran deal, putting North Korea on notice that we’re going to end the threat coming from North Korea, building up the military, all good, taking the gloves off…

HH: Well, if you’ve changed, why can’t the Never Trump people change? What is it with these people?

LG: Well, here’s the difference between me and them. I was in the contest, got beat like a drum. He won. Wanted to help Obama, want to help him, and I see in him a resolve not to be Barack Obama. He’s not going to crawl through glass to get a bad deal. He’s not going to be played by North Korea. He’s going to break Iran’s back until they enter into a deal that ensures they won’t get a nuclear weapon down the road. He has to do this. He constantly says, you know, why did everybody let it get so bad, Lindsey? Why didn’t they do things quicker and better before? And I said Mr. President, most people who get this job try to get out of this job without major conflict. Unfortunately, you don’t have that luxury.

HH: Well said.

LG: It’s up to you, Mr. President, to correct a lot of bad problems. And I’m going to help him as much as I can.

HH: Well, enjoy playing golf with him. Don’t give him any strokes, Lindsey Graham.

LG: Don’t worry. It’s the other way around.

HH: How many strokes do you get?

LG: As many as I can get.

HH: No, I mean, he’s got to give you a stroke a hole, right?

LG: You know, he’s, you know, he’s not into the giving mode on the golf course.

HH: So Matt Spalding, what do you make of that candor?

MS: It’s, well, thank you for playing that. I heard the last bit, we talked about that, but that’s an amazing discussion. I think that’s the kind of discussion we need to be having, that my respect for Lindsey Graham has gone up, the fact that that’s the conversation he’s been having with the President and leadership is very good. That’s the kind of strategic thinking we need to be going through. You know, I think he is looking at these threats in a way that previous presidents hadn’t. I think he wants to remove the Iranian threat and the North Korean threat. These are exactly the way Lindsey Graham has played it out. I think it’s a question of looking at our options.

HH: And we’re going to come back after break. We’re going to talk about those options after the break with Dr. Matt Spalding from Hillsdale College on the Hillsdale Dialogue, www.hillsdale.edu.

— – —

HH: Dr. Spalding and I have had a news-filled morning. Not only my conversation with Lindsey Graham about North Korea, but the President’s many tweets. So Dr. Spalding, stepping back as we head into Memorial Day Weekend when we salute those who gave their all for this country, we’re in a very different context than you and I, we’ve been doing this a long time. This is just a different presidency and a different way of doing business.

MS: It is, but I have to say that especially when it comes to questions like this, North Korea and Iran and foreign policy, I would argue that this is a presidency that actually goes back to, I think, what has been and is the historic norm about thinking about our national interests, thinking about how to preserve and protect the country and its allies, and putting in place the options to be able to do so. That conversation you played from Lindsey Graham struck me as that way of thinking. It also reminded me look, what was the strategic calculus looking at the 1980s that Reagan was looking at? What were his options? His options at the time were continuing some sort of detente or deterrence, perhaps more robust containment of the Soviet Union, or nuclear war and mutually assured destruction. Reagan rejected those options, and what did he do? He started another program called the Strategic Defense Initiative that would build a robust ballistic missile defense, which among other things, would also challenge the Soviets economically in a way that hopefully would allow them to collapse, would push them over the top. This was the Team B report. I recall that…

HH: Right.

MS: Mr. Pipes died recently. That Team B…

HH: Richard Pipes, not Daniel Pipes, Richard Pipes.

MS: Richard Pipes, Richard Pipes. You could collapse the Soviet Union through the Ballistic Missile Defense. That was Reagan’s new way of looking at a different option. Think about that option today. When I did missile defense in the late 1980s, one of the things we considered beyond the Soviet Union was what do you do about rogue states? And a lot of the work looked at North Korea. Ballistic missile defense technology looking at North Korea and Iran today would be very good. We need to get them going. He needed to buy some time. So if you add to that conversation an announcement by the president of the United States, which is already existing, American policy passed by Congress to develop a missile defense system, and you put those interceptors in, you put them in theater, you get them going focused on Iran and North Korea, and get that developing, he’s now got more options. That way, you’re not stuck in the only two options that Lindsey Graham points out. You keep pushing the diplomatic one, raking them open, raking the competition open, because if you get that economy in North Korea, it is so far gone, you start that thing turning, this will be like going into Cuba, right? I mean, it would just overwhelm it. That’s the option we’d prefer. The option we don’t want to be stuck in is being forced to go to war, which would be devastating, but perhaps necessary. We need another alternative. So that’s where I would argue he should go.

HH: And I think, I think we have to assume Generalissimo will have posted the audio and transcript here of Lindsey Graham fairly soon, and that will travel quickly.

MS: It will.

HH: …to the fortress nation of North Korea, and they’ll begin to see that serious people with influence, Lindsey Graham’s seeing the President this weekend, are talking about okay, how long would the regime last? I mean, that travels.

MS: That’s right, and they know that Lindsey Graham was a critic who’s now made these observations. That’s very significant. And they will see that. I think they’re already getting nervous. You’ve seen they’ve now issued a statement saying we want to continue talking. Now they’re going back to norm, which is they always just want to talk. But I think there’s a different calculation going on here, and it’s because of this, this president who doesn’t want to complete his presidency, doesn’t want to continue this, complete this first term, according to Lindsey Graham, without having significantly solved these problems. If that’s his understanding of the principal issue here, that is what needs to be done. It’s a matter of figuring out how to do it in the time we have, thinking strategically with my allies in Congress, but also my military advisors, gosh, this is a way of thinking we’ve not seen in presidents and political leaders in the United States for a while, I would way, not really since going back to Ronald Reagan.

HH: Matt Spalding, last question. The Axios’ Jim Vandehei has just tweeted out the United States was closer to war with North Korea last summer than is widely known, sources close to the White House tell us. John Bolton is there now. Mike Pompeo is there now. And they have had a breakdown, do you think, I mean, we’ve got a minute left. Do you think we’re getting close to that?

MS: Look, I think this is a rogue regime. I think as it gets more weapons, we are getting closer, absolutely. But I think that’s why you need to be very aggressive not only in pursuing the fronts he’s pursuing, but also I really think we should, we’ve been putting off our missile defense systems. We’ve got to aggressively go to those. We have the technology. Our military could do it. We need to get our options going while we have that time. We need to use that time very aggressively.

HH: Very well. Dr. Matt Spalding from Hillsdale, thank you. www.hillsdale.edu.

End of interview.

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