Politics

04.12.13

Dick Cheney’s Deep Thought About North Korea

How to handle the volatile leader of North Korea? Howard Kurtz says the ex-veep knows what to doo-doo.

Dick Cheney has such a reassuring way about him.

This is a man who was determined to go after Saddam Hussein, who wanted to stand up to Iran, who pushed domestic surveillance, who championed such a bellicose foreign policy that George W. Bush had to rein him in during his second term.

There would be every expectation, therefore, that Cheney, in this week’s briefing with Republican leaders in Washington, would counsel a very aggressive stance toward the young North Korean leader who is striking a warlike pose toward the United States.

And the former vice president’s assessment was indeed concise: “We’re in deep doo-doo.”

That may be the kind of technical jargon he mastered during years of running the Pentagon, but I think we kinda know what he means.

How to get out of the doo-doo? Well, that’s a whole other question.

Bush’s father was the first public figure associated with the phrase, so it’s nice to see it’s still getting traction decades later.

This might be somewhat unfair to Cheney. CNN reported Cheney’s stark assessment on Kim Jong-un’s recent saber rattling, citing an unnamed aide. Cheney is also reported to have said that the United States has little intel on the situation in the secretive communist country, and so “you never know what they’re thinking.”

It’s hard to argue with either conclusion. It’s a lot easier to invade a country that doesn’t have weapons of mass destruction, despite Cheney’s claims to the contrary a decade ago, than one that is actually developing nuclear weapons.

That may be the kind of technical jargon he mastered during years of running the Pentagon.

Since the briefing was behind closed doors, we don’t know what else Cheney said or what the nuances might have been.

It’s been a tough season for the ex-veep. The 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq brought a torrent of commentary about that ill-fated war, and numerous airings of Cheney’s Meet the Press declaration that “we will be greeted as liberators.”

A recent Showtime documentary, The World According to Dick Cheney, helped revive his Darth Vader image. And while he has continued to criticize Barack Obama—recently accusing him of assembling a “dismal” national-security record and a “second rate” team—the president’s reelection has quieted that debate for now.

Cheney has also had health issues and is writing a memoir about his cardiac problems, going back to his first heart attack in 1978. And while he didn’t show up at last year’s GOP convention, party elders obviously respect him enough to invite him to expound on foreign policy.

Love him or hate him, the man speaks his mind, even when he winds up in the deep stuff himself.