ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on Wednesday blamed North Korea's possible testing of a hydrogen bomb on both Clintons and President Obama, and used the situation to segue into a critique of the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran.
The test, Cruz told reporters outside a campaign stop, "underscores the gravity of the threats we’re facing right now and the sheer folly of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy."
"When we look at North Korea, it's like looking at a crystal ball," Cruz said. "This is where Iran ends up if we continue on this same misguided path."
"It’s worth remembering that North Korea has a nuclear weapon today because of the Clinton administration," Cruz said. He criticized Wendy Sherman, a former top State Department official who was the lead negotiator during the Iran talks and also led North Korea negotiations during President Bill Clinton's administration. "What happens under President Obama and Secretary Clinton? They recruited back Wendy Sherman, the one person on earth who has actually already messed his up once, to be the lead negotiator on the failed Iranian nuclear deal."
North Korea agreed in 1994 to freeze and dismantle its nuclear program after negotiations with the U.S. However, the country admitted it still had a secret program in 2002 and said it was backing out of its agreement with the U.S. North Korea has since announced four tests of nuclear weapons, in 2006, 2009, 2013 and now 2016.
What makes Tuesday's announcement different is that North Korea is claiming it tested a hydrogen bomb, which is more powerful than the atomic weapons it was testing before. The veracity of this claim isn't yet clear.
"The Clinton-Obama-Clinton foreign policy, stretching from the Clinton administration to the Obama administration to Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, consistently makes same mistakes over and over agin, and is profoundly dangerous with north Korea," Cruz said on Wednesday. "A nuclear Iran is qualitatively more dangerous."
Cruz said North Korea isn't as dangerous as Iran because at least the ruling Kim family are not "religious zealots who embrace death and suicide as a theocratic religious matter."
Cruz said the U.S. needs to work with allies in the region to further isolate the already very isolated North Korea and "continue to raise the costs of their belligerence." He proposed getting China to cut North Korea off, saying the Obama administration has not put "serious pressure" on China to this end.
"For the remainder of the year every bad actor is going to get worse," Cruz said, adding that for the rest of Obama's term "We’re essentially in a Hobbesian state of nature, like 'Lord of the Flies.'"
Cruz is on the third day of a bus tour taking him across Iowa this week.
Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.
Contact Rosie Gray at email@example.com.
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