Susan Rice: US can 'tolerate' N. Korean nukes
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Former national security adviser Susan Rice is arguing that the United States can “tolerate” North Korea’s nuclear weapons, if necessary, adding that President Trump must put an end to “reckless rhetoric.”

In an op-ed for The New York Times published Thursday, the former Obama administration official said pragmatism is needed to handle North Korea’s aggression. She encouraged an approach that includes a pressure campaign on Pyongyang and stresses U.S. antimissile systems.

“[W]ar is not necessary to achieve prevention, despite what some in the Trump administration seem to have concluded,” Rice wrote.

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“History shows that we can, if we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea — the same way we tolerated the far greater threat of thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons during the Cold War.”

Rice joined other Democrats in slamming the president for comments in which he said North Korea will face “fire, fury and frankly power” if it continues to threaten the United States. The former national security advisor called Trump’s remarks “unprecedented” and“dangerous.”

“These words risk tipping the Korean Peninsula into war, if the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, believes them and acts precipitously.”

Rice praised Defense Secretary James Mattis, however, for his reaction to Pyongyang’s recent aggression, saying his statement made it clear that the United States will retaliate should North Korea use nuclear weapons.

“The same red line must apply to any proof that North Korea has transferred nuclear weapons to another state or nonstate actor,” she added. 

Rice’s op-ed comes as the Trump administration in recent days has toughened its rhetoric on North Korea, which conducted two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month. 

“Rational, steady American leadership can avoid a crisis and counter a growing North Korean threat,” she said. “It’s past time that the United States started exercising its power responsibly.”