Face the Nation transcripts April 7, 2013: Schumer, McCain, Albright

BLAINE HARDEN (Escape from Camp 14): Yeah.

BOB SCHIEFFER: -- book now about North Korea. What do you make of this latest situation? What-- what should we read in? What-- what does this young guy want?

BLAINE HARDEN: It's hard to know what he wants, but I think that one thing that Americans should know is that North Koreans are afraid of the United States. They're afraid of the United States because of the legacy of the Korean War. Between 1950 and 1953 American bombers laid waste to most of the country, about eighty-five percent of the structures were flattened by U.S. bombs. In North Korea the curtain was pulled around the country after the war, and it's as though, for many North Koreans, that bombing happened last Thursday. So what that means, if U.S. government is known to be flying B-2 bombers over the Korean Peninsula, it scares North Koreans. And it gives Kim Jung-un exactly what he wants, which is fear, which increases his legitimacy.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know I'm going to-- and I'd like to ask-- maybe if any of you have any information which the thing I wonder about. You know that B-2, where they-- the U.S. government made sure everybody saw a picture of the B-2 there. That is the stealth bomber. I wonder, do either of you know whether the North Koreans knew that bomber had flown into that area before it did? Or did they just wake up and see that picture?

GERALD SEIB (Wall Street Journal): Well, I mean, you know, it's interesting, that-- that's been used before. And I'm not sure that North Koreans knew, but the Pentagon and the-- and the White House made sure they knew this time. That's I think was the important thing.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Yeah.

GERALD SEIB: And you know that the exercises were going to happen with the South Koreans. They were going to be big. They were going to be noisy. And they were going to include B-2s and F-22s. And so that was as interesting as what the North Koreans did in the last couple of weeks it was steps out of the old North Korean playbook with a very vigorous American response. So, it was the combination of the two that was really-- set this---

BOB SCHIEFFER: But the idea that that bomber was over there close enough to fly over North Korea and the first that the North Koreans knew of it was a-- was a photograph released by the U.S. government. That would sort of add to the-- maybe that (INDISTINCT) talked about

BLAINE HARDEN: I think it was a propaganda gift--

BOB SCHIEFFER: Yeah.

BLAINE HARDEN:--that the North Korean government was really happy to have.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Really?

BLAINE HARDEN: --that along with other announcements in the past few weeks, past few days by the Obama administration. In fact, there were reports that midway through last week, the Obama administration decided to roll back these--

GERALD SEIB: Mm-Hm.

BLAINE HARDEN: --kinds of visible symbols of confrontation thinking that perhaps they'd wrong-footed themselves.

MAJOR GARRETT (CBS News Chief White House Correspondent): Well, the administration's perspective is that it will be less noisy and less visible going forward for a couple of reasons. It was noisy and visible earlier on to reassure the South Koreans and the Japanese that we were serious about this pact that we just signed that if North-- South Korea is attacked by North Korea, we will defend them. And those visible signs--F-22, B-2 stealth, was meant to say, yes, we really mean what we've just said on paper. Now they believe they've made the point and they don't want to do anything else that could either be misinterpreted or provide a propaganda tool for Kim Jong-un. That's why the (INDISTINCT) launched which is unconnected to these military exercises will be postponed so it's not to be viewed as provocation. But the administration does believe it's reassured the allies in the region, sent a proper signal. And picking up on what was said earlier, Bob, about China opinion. Just this morning, Xi Jinping, the new leader of China said we will not allow provocative actions in the region. We don't want anyone in the region to set things in motion that can't be stopped for selfish gain. That can only be viewed as a Chinese--if not rebuke--at least more than subtle criticism to North Korea about the game it's playing and the potential consequences.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean, when you got Fidel Castro saying it's just-- it's the most serious threat since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

MAJOR GARRETT: Yes, but trust me within the region-- within the region, Xi Jinping, is a-- is a much larger voice and much more prominent and much more authoritative on this question than Fidel Castro.

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