Democrats Reject Graham’s Call for Military Use Authorization Against North Korea

Prior to Tuesday’s summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham urged Democrats on Sunday to sign onto an authorization to use military force against the dictatorship regime in case the two sides do not reach a diplomatic agreement.

Graham, who was a guest on ABC’s “This Week,” called on his Democratic colleagues to support his “efforts to authorize the use of military force as a last resort to convince North Korea and China that things are going to be different this time.”

CNN reports that his comments come after he said he had agreed with Democratic demands that any nuclear agreement meets several standards, among which that easing of sanctions be preceded by Pyongyang’s denuclearization, the scrapping of its ballistic missile program and its permission of inspections.

“A bipartisan AUMF would really make that letter much more credible, and if diplomacy fails, as a last resort, Democrats and Republicans need to put the military option on the table or we’ll never get a good deal,” Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, added.

Some Senate Democrats, however, didn’t endorse Graham’s proposal on Sunday.

“I love my friend Lindsey Graham, but I think first we need a chance at peace,” New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on the same program.

Menendez further pointed out that he would not sign onto an AUMF as an alternative because he was “not ready to give an authorization for use of military force to this president or any other one until I understand the path for peace is not attainable.”

He also said that voting for or against an AUMF depends solely on the “totality of the circumstances” and that a decision to give the President complete authority to engage in an attack against North Korea was not one to be made easily. Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Ed Markey rebuffed Graham’s suggestion completely, saying “There is no military solution to the problem on the Korean Peninsula.”

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