Secretary Mattis: North Korea is a Clear and Present Danger
Singapore: Secretary Mattis told attendees at the Shangri-La Dialogue IISS, a defense summit involving 50 Asian nations, that the United States regards North Korea as a “Clear and Present Danger.” He also worked to assuage fears that United States was withdrawing from the world stage.
Asian allies have been concerned that Trump’s pressure on China to hold back North Korea might result in allowing then free rein in the contested South China Sea. Secretary Mattis attempted to reassure them that was not the case.
They were also worried that the US withdrawal from the TPP and Paris Climate Accord meant less of a role for the United States in global affairs.
Of all the people who could have made it clear, Mattis was the one best able to define the US role.
“Like it or not, we are a part of the world…What a crummy world if we all retreat inside our borders… Once we have exhausted all possible alternatives, the Americans will do the right thing. So we will still be there and we will be there with you.” Secretary of Defense James Mattis
Other than the title of a Harrison Ford movie or Jack Ryan Novel, what does “Clear And Present Danger” really mean?
The designation of “clear and present danger” was originally part of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that designated when free speech could be curtailed, as in the event of war time is someone is continually advocating violence. Ideas such as yelling “Fire” in the middle of a crowded theater, threatening the President of the United States (threat plus the ability to carry out that threat), or the potential for imminent lawless action by their words.
In the case of North Korea, their continual attempts to launch missiles and obtain nuclear capability is what the General was speaking of as “clear and present danger.” It actually falls under both a threat that comes with the ability to carry out the threat and an “imminent lawless action.”
Kim Jong-Un’s rhetoric AND actions may sound crazy to some but his constant launching of missiles and the intelligence that his desire is to obtain a nuclear warhead to destroy the United States… THAT is the clear and present danger.