Ex-NATO supreme commander: ‘We’re in bad upward spiral’ with North Korea

Ex-NATO supreme commander: ‘We’re in bad upward spiral’ with North Korea
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Retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis warned that tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are in "an upward spiral," and urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE to pursue a diplomatic solution to the current standoff between the two countries. 

"We're in an upward spiral of very aggressive rhetoric both from Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, and President Trump," Stavridis told radio host John Catsimatidis in an interview that aired Sunday. "That rhetoric is driving both militaries to a higher level of readiness to conduct operations.

"The good news is we still have a diplomatic path to play here, and I'm hopeful as the week unfolds we'll see cooler heads prevail both in Washington and Pyongyang," he added.


Stavridis, who previously served as chief of U.S. European Command and supreme allied commander of NATO, said that the Trump administration should stop casting current tensions with Pyongyang as a U.S. problem.

Instead, he said, the president should seek to "internationalize" the issue to encourage cooperation from other countries. 

"What we need to do is increase our missile defense capability," he said. "We need to internationalize this problem instead of treating it as though it's the United States versus North Korea. This should be about the world versus North Korea."

Tensions have soared between Washington and Pyongyang in recent days, after Trump threatened on Tuesday to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea if the reclusive country continued to threaten the U.S.

That warning came amid reports that the North had successfully developed a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside one of its missiles — a major milestone in the country's pursuit to become a nuclear power. 

North Korea's military followed up on Trump's threat Wednesday, saying it would have plans in place by mid-August to strike the waters near the U.S. territory of Guam. 

Since then, Trump and North Korea's government have exchanged tough talk, stoking global concerns of a military conflict between Washington and Pyongyang.