Lawrence Eagleburger on North Korea Missile Crisis

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," July 5, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JULIE BANDERAS, GUEST HOST: So we asked Americans out there in a recent FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll if you think the U.S. will eventually have to take military action against North Korea. Well, 46 percent of those polled said they believe America will; 40 percent don't think we'll have to.

Let's ask Lawrence Eagleburger what he thinks. He's a former secretary of state under the first President Bush.

Secretary, thank you for being here.


BANDERAS: You just heard Eric Shawn's report. Sources tell him a Chapter 7 resolution is expected to be circulated to the U.N. Security Council. That would open the way for a possible military response. What's your prediction?

EAGLEBURGER: My prediction? Oh, boy. I know what I think they should do. Whether we'll do it or not is another question.

I guess my prediction is that this will go on long enough until at some point we finally wake up to the fact that the North Koreans have a weapon that they can plop into the middle of Chicago, potentially with a nuclear weapon on its end, and we will then decide we have to do something military.

That is my prediction, but it's a prediction out of frustration, in the sense that neither we nor the international community seem to be able to do anything at this stage other than run around passing resolutions or not passing resolutions after we have said that this is an unacceptable thing for the North Koreans to do. Now we are accepting it, I gather.

I'm not saying we need to bomb them tomorrow morning, but it doesn't look like anything is going to happen.

BANDERAS: OK, with no resolution then, seven missiles have already been launched. What are we doing? What are we waiting for? They've probably got more up their sleeves. What do we do to prevent them from continuing this behavior?

EAGLEBURGER: Well, again, I think that the real issue here is not just the one or two or 10 that they may shoot, but rather is the international community at some point going to come to grips with the fact that we simply cannot tolerate this kind of approach from North Korea, from Iran, from any other of these states who have no sense of responsibility at all.

Personally, I think the president is going to have to do something quite imaginative before we're going to be able to get much in the way of support from other countries. I, for instance, wonder whether it wouldn't make sense for him to offer total and complete inspection of all our nuclear facilities, if others would do it, and then follow from that to arguing that states such as North Korea cannot be permitted to continue to have these weapons.

BANDERAS: You know, and Eric just pointed it out, we've been down this road before. We've been trying diplomacy with Iran. So far it hasn't worked. They continue to enrich Uranium.

The former Defense Secretary William Perry urged the Bush administration in the past to destroy the Taepodong missile on the launching pad. We never did and now we've got another one. They tried it in 1998; they did it again today. The administration rejected that.

How long are we going to continue to reject this sort of advice?

EAGLEBURGER: We're going to continue to object to it or reject it so long as there are some who are going to go, and they will work some justice, say, if we do this, they'll invade South Korea, or we'll begin another war. They now have these weapon. We must be much more careful than in the past.

My point being that whatever it is we say today, in objection to doing anything, we'll have to say in spades five years from now. When will we wake up to the fact that this is a regime that does not intend under any circumstances to give up its nuclear weapons and its means of delivery. And we can talk about diplomacy all we want, but if we know they're never going to agree, what good is it?

BANDERAS: If they didn't do it with Clinton back in 1994, what makes you think they're going to do it now with us?

EAGLEBURGER: I have no belief whatsoever that they'll ever agree to give up their nuclear weapons and, therefore, any diplomacy we may try is simply going to be a kabuki dance where, in the end, they'll get something and we'll get nothing.

BANDERAS: All right. Secretary Lawrence Eagleburger, thank you so much.

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