There’s That Word Again

Secretary of State John Kerry has characterized North Korea’s recent saber-rattling as “unacceptable”:

(Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry warned North Korea on Friday it would be a “huge mistake” to launch a medium-range missile and said the United States would never accept the reclusive country as a nuclear power.

Addressing reporters after talks with South Korea’s president and leaders of the 28,000-strong U.S. military contingent in the country, Kerry also said it was up to China, North Korea’s sole major ally, to “put some teeth” in efforts to press Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions.


The North has issued weeks of shrill threats of an impending war following the imposition of U.N. sanctions in response to its third nuclear test in February. Kerry said the threats were “simply unacceptable” by any standard.

“We are all united in the fact that North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power,” he said.

Kerry later told U.S. businessmen in Seoul that China, as an advocate of denuclearization, was in a position to press for a change in the North’s policy.

I really wish I knew whether he meant “we will be unhappy about it” or “we will not allow it”.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. JWH says:

    Thanks to your headline, I now see John Kerry as Vizzini.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Who better?

  3. Mikey says:

    So Kerry’s channeling the Earl of Lemongrab…

  4. grumpy realist says:

    The trouble with making an actual We-Will-Do-Y-If-You-Do-X is that you have to carry through with it. “Unacceptable” is one of those nice loosy-goosy terms which can mean anything from “we’ll invade you and bring on a revolution” to “we’re going to leave you off our Xmas card list.”

    I think it’s more of the latter, unfortunately.

  5. I really wish I knew whether he meant “we will be unhappy about it” or “we will not allow it”.

    The lack of saber-rattling on our part makes me lean towards “unhappy about it.”

    Good thing, too. If it was “we will not allow it,” Rand Paul would throw a fit.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Aside from “unacceptable” being over-used and under-consequenced, I’m a bit flummoxed by “North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power.” Given that North Korea has been a nuclear power for a number of years, it either means that we’re going to continue to pretend otherwise or that we’re going to continue to wish it weren’t the case. Either way, I’m not sure why Pyongyang should give a damn.

  7. JKB says:

    “We are all united in the fact that North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power,” he said.

    By reports, it means that Japan and Taiwan are nuking up since they are losing faith in US commitment.

  8. RGardner says:

    Meanwhile loopy statements continue from the NORKs

    “Japan is always in the cross-hairs of our revolutionary army and if Japan makes a slightest move, the spark of war will touch Japan first,” the report added…

    “The enemies should know that it is the era of the great Marshal Kim Jong Un, leader of the most powerful country and invincible great Paektusan nation,” KCNA stated.

    “The DPRK has won victories in confrontation with the U.S. in spirit and is waging an all-out action with it, with confidence in final victory.”

  9. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I was certain that the word in question was “unexpectedly.”

    So, if we don’t accept it, does that mean we stick our fingers in our ears and say “la la la I can’t hear you?”

  10. Dazedandconfused says:

    I’m going to speculate that it’s lending support to to a Chinese need that Little Kim continue to pretend to negotiate on the nuke issue, and not declare it a settled matter.

    If I had to bet, it would be on the “Kerry is a doofus” theory though.