Even by his own unpredictable standards, Scott Milne made a stupefying comment in a broadcast interview on Thursday.
Appearing on WDEV Radio’s “Open Mike,” the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate said that if North Korea didn’t come to its senses, “they’re going to have to be taken out.”
In case you’re wondering about context, here’s the paragraph that ended with Milne calling for Korean War II. It began with Smith asking what we should do about North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear capability.
I, I think we need to, um, support a strong South Korea, we need to not provoke ‘em, but we need to be, if they continue down this nuclear path, we don’t want to be drawing lines in the sand in my opinion, we want to have quiet diplomatic dialogue with them, hopefully there’s a change in the regime there, but they’re gonna have to join the, um, the world as we know it now or they’re going to have to be taken out.
“…they’re going to have to be taken out.”
Talk about dangerous ignorance of global relationships.
First, North Korea has had 60-plus years to perfect its defenses — and way back in the Korean War, we tried to invade them and failed. In three years of extremely bloody conflict, the US and South Koreans never managed to score meaningful gains inside the North.
So that’s number one. Militarily, it’s a no-go.
Second, China would never stand for it. For them, North Korea is a useful buffer between themselves and U.S. allies. Also, if instability came to the peninsula, China knows it would face a huge refugee crisis, with North Koreans flooding across the border.
Third, didn’t we get enough of this “take ‘em out” idea during the Bush administration? They thought they could “take out” the Taliban and Saddam Hussein and watch freedom spring forth. Instead, we got widespread chaos. And Milne wants to try it again.
How you like ya boy now, VTGOP?
Milne’s stance on North Korea today has an echo in his… shall we say unique… interpretation of history. He thinks the US should have plowed past the DMZ and conquered the entire Korean peninsula.
I think if we were going to defend South Korea [in 1950], we should have had a strategy to win.
Since Scott Milne seems to know nothing about the Korean War, let’s do a brief primer.
The war began with the North invading the South in the summer of 1950. The US and South Koreans beat back the invaders; after that, the War turned into a stalemate. Fighting was intense, casualities were heavy; an estimated five million people died. American casualties numbered 40,000 dead and 100,000 wounded. The two sides pounded each other into submission, finally negotiating a truce in 1953.
“Strategy to win,” indeed.
It would have been tremendously difficult if not impossible, strictly from a military point of view, to conquer the North. Unless we’d been willing to roll out some nukes.
Which would have likely triggered World War III.
Even without nukes, there’s no way China and the Soviet Union would have stood by while we conquered North Korea. They had a strong interest in defending North Korea for odeilogical and geopolitical reasons. We didn’t want the South conquered because of the threat it would have posed to Japan and the Pacific; the Chinese and Soviets didn’t want a heavily-armed American client state on their borders. They believed in the Domino Theory just as much as we did.
This wasn’t the only moment of lunacy in the “Open Mike” interview. There was plenty of incoherent word salad — the kind that makes Phil Scott look like Cicero by comparison. But this stuff… this isn’t just crazy, this is dangerous crazy.
I haven’t quoted Milne’s entire take on Jirea because it’s so long and impenetrable. But I’ll append it to my post here, just so you can get the full flavor of the Scott Milne Experience.
Smith: What should we do with North Korea?
Milne: Well, again, it’s uhh, you go back uhh 60 years, it’s a mistake that, you know, I would argue, you know, in history, that’s one that I think it’s easier with the perspective of history to see it in a different light than we would have seen it in 1950. I, I think we need to, um, support a strong South Korea, we need to not provoke ‘em, but we need to be, if they continue down this nuclear path, we don’t want to be drawing lines in the sand in my opinion, we want to have quiet diplomatic dialogue with them, hopefully there’s a change in the regime there, but they’re gonna have to join the, um, the world as we know it now or they’re going to have to be taken out.
Smith: Let’s go back to 1950. I’m curioius, what mistakes did we make?
Milne: Well, Im I think that, ahh you know, we saw a growing, we, you know, obviously we ahh worked with ahh Chiang Kai-Shek and ahh you know the Taiwanese Chinese government, ahh, against Mao and we lost that, and we saw, you know, we, there’s this widespread belief in the domino theory that the roots of the Vietnam War in the 1950s in Korea, and then following the French into Vietnam, and clearly I think history looks at Vietnam as a, as a mistake.
One of the political mentors, inspirations for me, is George Aiken who, I’ll say two things about George Aiken, three things about George Aiken, one is that he was a better Senator in my opinion than the gentleman I am running against. Two, George Aiken, ahh, I think you could make a very credible argument that George Aiken who, in my opinion, is Vermont’s greatest Senator in the last 100 years, but for George Aiken, Lyndon Johnson, the Democrat’s War on Poverty and Great Society programs may not have passed the United States Senate. He was a key supporter of those programs. And this, ahh, great thing he said, we can’t be afraid of saying “Me too” because the other side comes up with a good idea. That’s one of my primary philosophies you can take to the bank if you’re listening to this show. If a Democrat has a good idea, I’m going to be on board supporting it.
The other thing George Aiken said, in 1966, and if Lyndon Johnson had listened to him, he might have a much different role in history of great presidents was regarding Vietnam we should essentially declare victory and get out. He said that in ’66. If we would have done that in ’66 instead of ’73, there’d be 46,000 Americans alive and the world would be a different place. The roots of that were in 1950.
Smith: I don’t want to harp on this, but I want to clarify. Are you saying we shouldn’t have defended South Korea in 1950?
Milne: I think if we were going to defend South Korea, we should have had a strategy to win.
Smith: Unifying the peninsula?