msnbc | January 27, 2013
>>> of a foundation that focuses on nuclear weapons policy, joe thank you so much for being here. we have two issues to take up. let's begin with iran . what do you think of this? it only makes sense but to hear it from ehud barak , a lot of people are paying attention that u.s. has plans for a surgical strike on their facilities. what do you make of that.
>> most experts interpreted that as israel sort of backing away from a threat of launching a full-scale military attack itself. he was saying, there's a lot of other possibilities here. we don't have to go in with a sledge hammer . this is a word he used. you can go in with a scalpel. the u.s. has military scalpels it's prepared. this sosk true. options that would perhaps take out a single facility or a critical node in the infrastructure. this is a good sign for us that the israelis are willing to give diplomacy more of a chance. you heard senator kerry in his testimony just this week to be secretary of state asserting that he wants to give diplomacy a chance. this is the preferred option of the united states . israel hen and the united states are perfectly aligned on this issue.
>> the kind of surgical strike he was speaking of, how much could that set iran and its nuclear program back.
>> even a full-scale attack couldn't actually stop the iranian program. you have secretary of state gates and then secretary of state -- secretary of defense panetta say even a full-scale attack would only delay the program one or two years. that's the trouble with the military option. it doesn't solve the problem. it might accelerate the program as iran went pedal to the metal , ignited the population against a u.s. attack and sprinted to a nuclear weapon .
>> where would that take us in terms of another war? if there was a surgical strike , what does this mean? and nobody wants to get bogged down in another war.
>> one country's surgical strike is another's pearl harbor . this is the danger. no matter how small you intend the nuclear option , no matter what your belief, the military option that you could contain this in some way the other country acts as if it had been attacked and you launch a full-scale war. it would make iraq and afghanistan look like warm up acts. it would be a major confrontation and with major impact for the u.s. and global economies.
>> where is north korea ? let's turn to north korea now. where are they on their ability. there is consensus they have what they need to make the weapon itself but not necessarily deliver it.
>> exactly. north korea is way ahead of iran in nuclear capability. iran doesn't have the material to make a weapon, doesn't have a long-range missile that could hit the united states . however, korea does. it has tested two nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009 . but they are just devices, not weapons yet. they have a series of tests to prove it is sturdy and small enough to fit on a missile or plane for example. that is why there is some pressure for them to test. they have enough material for somewhere between six and 16 nuclear weapons . the goal of u.s. policy is to contain the north korean program which it has done the last few year and prevent this from spreading to other countries or dwopg technologies further.
>> last thing on north korea , we have seen this posturing before. we are seeing it now from the son who's the leader there now. is there anything, as someone who follows this, is there anything new to this type of language and stance taken by north korea ? when they are making these threats anything new alarming to you as someone who follows is or is in the same old north korea ?
>> they have used more provocative language. i don't determine that as they will strike the u.s. or u.s. interest. what they mean is if they do a nuclear test and many experts expect it to happen it will be aimed, at the purpose of standing up to the united states . this of course would serve domestic political purposes for the new leader, strengthen his leadership of the nation. the positive note is that china has reacted to this statement very strongly and they are bringing more pressure than they have in the past to stop them from provoking the situation, from creating instability on china's borders.
>> good to have you and your insight, your expertise this morning. thank you, sir.
>> my pleasure, t.j.