1. Background
  2. Nuclear Weapons

Heeding Wise Counsel on North Korea

Important national security voices are echoing President Ronald Reagan's warnings about the perils of nuclear warfighting and urging the United States to exercise restraint in dealing with North Korea.

They are calling for our nation to look towards the tools of diplomacy and peace. If you agree, your representatives and senators need to know that their constituents support courageous stands for diplomacy and peace.

Former Military Leaders

Former Pacific Command Commander Admiral William Fallon

"Do we think that if we launch some military option that Kim will give up his weapons? That is not going to happen… We had a lot better intelligence on Iran and it was obvious that military strikes were not a viable option then.”

July 5, 2017

Former U.S. Forces Korea Commander General Gary Luck

"In the end, we would win, but the price we’d pay to get there would be pretty dadgum high. There would be horrendous loss of life. There are twenty-five million people in South Korea within artillery range of North Korea. And North Korea’s chemical and biological weapons, they are something to be worried about.”

September 6, 2017

Former U.S. Forces Korea Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Jan-Marc Jouas

“It is very unlikely that a limited attack by the US would completely eliminate North Korea’s nuclear capabilities… An attack by the US on North Korea’s strategic nuclear capabilities, which they deem essential to the regime’s survival, would most likely be viewed as an existential threat and generate a corresponding response.”

November 7, 2017

Former U.S. Forces Korea Commander General J.D. Thurman

“The last thing we need to have over there is a military conflict, because it will be very bloody… I often think people are very cavalier about going to war.”

December 5, 2017

Former Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair

"A steady, sustained, powerful American policy can keep North Korea under control, where we have and where it belongs. So I would not turn it into more of a crisis than it is."

January 30, 2018

Former Government Officials

President Ronald Reagan

"A nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought. The United States will never walk away from the negotiating table. Peace is too important."

November 1983

Richard Lugar, Ret. U.S. Senator; George Shultz, Former Secretary of State; William Perry, Former Secretary of Defense; Robert Galluci, Georgetown University; Siegfried Hecker, CISAC Stanford; Governor and Former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson

"Talking is not a reward or concession to Pyongyang and should not be construed as signaling acceptance of a nuclear-armed North Korea. It is a necessary step to establishing communication to avoid nuclear catastrophe.”

June 28, 2017

James Clapper, Former Director of National Intelligence

“If we can figure out a way to lead North Korea’s leaders to a place where they don’t feel so threatened, we could move away from the cusp of a cataclysmic war.”

May 19, 2018

Siegfried Hecker, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory

“In the past, the US has missed opportunities to manage incremental risk. Now is the time to pay attention to that history and be prepared to implement a risk-management approach to denuclearization.”

May 30, 2018


Bruce Klingner, Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation

“North Korea’s nuclear and missile breakthroughs have intensified regional tensions, triggered advocacy for a U.S. preventative military attack, and unnerved America’s allies. Pyongyang already can strike South Korea and Japan with nuclear-tipped missiles, along with massive conventional military forces. Both Koreas vow to strike preemptively if an imminent attack is detected or perceived. The risk of miscalculation is dire and rising.”

October 17, 2017

Eric Gomez, CATO Institute

“Negotiating with North Korea may be diplomatically challenging and politically unappealing, but the United States needs to seriously consider opening talks sooner rather than later. The current U.S. strategy of ‘maximum pressure' has failed to curb North Korea’s missile testing and did not prevent the sixth nuclear test from taking place… The longer Washington waits to talk, the worse the situation will become.”

September 12, 2017

Richard Haas, Council on Foreign Relations

“I do believe there’s a greater risk than people appreciate. I don’t know if the odds are 50 percent, 40 percent, 60 percent, but it’s a hell of a lot more than negligible.”

November 4, 2017

Korean and Korean-American Voices

Jessica Lee, Counsel of Korean Americans

"To South Koreans, Americans are our brothers and sisters. That is why it was so jarring to hear Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., quoting President Trump in August as saying, "If thousands die, they're going to die over there, and they're not going to die here." This glib statement-implying the deadly consequences of any military strike on North Korea would be tolerable as long as it's not on American soil-plays into a dangerous perception that South Korean lives are somehow acceptable casualties."

November 7, 2017

Background Why We're Speaking Up on North Korea 

Hopes for diplomacy have grown, but the risks of war with North Korea remain all too real.