Martin Bashir | December 12, 2012
>>> the president's biggest challenges overseas at the moment lie at the bottom of the philippine sea and the heart of a civil war in the middle east . north korea has just conducted its most successful missile launch ever. state news agencies claim it carried a weather satellite . regardless the theory is one day the north careens could conduct a missile that could reach as far as the u.s. mainland and potentially loaded with a nuclear device . for the latest on this and civil war in syria , we're joined bidet that -- bidet that milbank. ambassador, we're told north korea has as many as a few dozen nuclear warheads . jay carney the president's spokesperson said that the president is concerned about north korea 's behavior, but what do we do to make sure they don't create a missile that could potentially hit the u.s. mainland ?
>> that, martin, is the $64,000 question . because this is the most successful launch of what essentially a disguised ballistic missile test. the north koreans have never been able to achieve this type of success in sne past. it's an indication of how close they are to construct a missile capable of what you just said of reaching the west coast . and the best we have so far in terms of an arsenal of options is another u.n. security council resolution to impose even yet additional sanctions on north korea that all depends on how china reacts to that. and number two, while they continue to test and provoke the united states , we still feel compelled to bail them out on humanitarian assistance because of the starvation of their people. we're caught between foreign policy and the real fear they're going to have a nuclear missile test soon.
>> dana, the chair of the house committee on foreign affairs calls this missile launch the result of quote, the obama administration's policies of appeaseme appeasement. i'm sorry to have to ask you this question for about the 9 millionth time. why can't the gop move past its baseless 2012 attack lines and try to think of something constructive to do with this kind of issue?
>> right. it feels like -- and it's not just north korea . we heard the same on iran. the cowboy diplomacy saying be tougher. in this case what exactly does that mean? does that mean launch a strike on this nuclear power potentially causing the loss of tens of millions of people. what exactly is the alternative here now that north korea has been in this position since it gained nuclear power under -- during george w. bush 's watch. so the notion of a sort of rattling during these times is not terribly productive. and indeed the argument is often made that the more aggressive the response is, the more it empowers the government in north korea . so less is often more in these circumstances.
>> indeed it is. ambassador, if i could move you to syria . we learned today that syria is launching skud missiles on their own people. the president had this to say. take a listen.
>> we've made a decision that the syrian opposition coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the syrian population that we consider them the legitimate representative of the syrian people in opposition to the assad regime.
>> so ambassador, how does america's afact change in practice?
>> it signals to the other countries that have recognized this syrian coalition that it's time to begin providing more effective weaponry we have been unable to do. so britain, france allies are already doing that. and it shows to the effect our diplomacy has been effective to help this coalition which is now meeting in morocco under the friends of syria arrangement. but the most important thing here is while this is diplomatic recognition, martin, the fighting drags on. and the humanitarian crisis is abysmal. and that's the real story here.
>> i agree entirely. dana, with the president recognizing the rebels, do you think this suggests that he may be planning to provide some major military hardware to those who are fighti ining assad?
>> this is a necessary first step towards that. it's an incremental development and one that was not unexpected to occur. it doesn't do anything by itself. but it seems to be heading that that direction as a political matter at least. i think it removes the accusation that the president's leading from behind. because he has now at least caught up with the european allies. so it doesn't really change anything by itself. you could see the direction it's moving in.