North Korea rolled out what it claimed were intercontinental ballistic missiles at a parade on Saturday, but according to former Defense Secretary William Perry, it would never use them in a first strike.
Perry told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in November that “North Korea, while they’re evil, are not crazy” and that it would not seek to carry out a nuclear first strike on South Korea, Japan, or any US forces stationed there.
Perry, who as the Pentagon chief under President Bill Clinton pushed for the US to strike North Korea’s burgeoning nuclear facilities in 1994, said that military action against North Korea no longer made sense and that North Korea wouldn’t dare strike first.
“I do not believe the North Korean regime is suicidal,” he said. “Therefore I don’t believe they’re going to launch an unprovoked nuclear attack on anyone.”
Perry said that while the situation with North Korea was “unfortunate,” he would not support a strike on North Korea since the Hermit Kingdom has a secretive, spread-out nuclear arsenal that the US couldn’t hope to knock out before it got a shot off.
“This would be an action which would precipitate a catastrophic nuclear war,” Perry said of a US first strike.
In Perry’s view, North Korea is more like jihadists – fanatical ideologues who are still thinking somewhat strategically.
“They are not seeking martyrdom,” Perry said. “They’re not suicidal.”