New York Times: “Talk of Preemptive War on North Korea Rises in White House” – after the Last Dove Was Fired and Trump Isolated by Neocon War Hawks

Just as we began to think the US-North Korean tensions were decreasing the US raises tensions again by a giant 10-day annual drill with South Korea – making Kim Jong-Un threaten nuclear war, as he has done before. 

If it is more than the usual play to the gallery remains to be seen. But the White House has now been cleared of doves, Steven Bannon, was the last of them around Pres. Trump. Generals McMaster and Kelly are stifling any opposition to an aggressive attitude towards North Korea.

The New York Times 20 Aug. 2017:  Not since 2002, as the United States built a case for war in Iraq, has there been so much debate inside the White House about the merits — and the enormous risks — of pre-emptive military action against an adversary nation.

Among the skeptics of a pre-emptive strike was Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, who was fired on Friday. Just days before, he had declared in an interview with The American Prospect, a liberal magazine, that “there is no military solution here, they got us.”

But both President Trump and his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, have talked openly about a last-resort option if diplomacy fails and the nuclear threat mounts: what General McMaster describes as “preventive war.

Though the Pentagon has prepared options to pre-emptively strike North Korea’s nuclear and missile sites for more than a decade and the past four presidents declared that “all options are on the table, the rote phrase barely seemed credible, given the potential for a North Korean counterstrike against Seoul, South Korea, that could result in tremendous casualties in a metropolitan area of 25 million people.

 

But as the Trump administration moves ahead on Monday with a new round of long-planned military exercises that involve tens of thousands of American and South Korean troops, computer simulations of escalating conflict and perhaps overflights of nuclear-capable aircraft, the White House is determined to leave the impression the military option is real.

“Are we preparing plans for a preventive war?” General McMaster asked recently in a television interview, defining the term as “a war that would prevent North Korea from threatening the United States with a nuclear weapon.”

He answered his own question: “The president said he’s not going to tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States.”

Whether Mr. Trump is truly prepared or bluffing, presidential advisers, military officials and experts whom the White House has consulted leave little doubt in conversations that the Trump administration is confronting North Korea’s nuclear program with a different set of assumptions than its three immediate predecessors.

General McMaster and other administration officials have challenged the long-held view that there is no real military solution to the North Korea problem — though they are quick to acknowledge that it would be “horrible,” as Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis put it.

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, in an effort to calm his own public, insisted at a news conference last week that he holds a veto to any military action.
The people can be assured that there will be no war.”

Mr. Mattis described a situation in which the United States would act without seeking agreement from the South. If American forces in the Pacific detected a missile launch by North Korea toward American or allied soil, “we would take immediate, specific actions to take it down,” he said.
Mr. Mattis’s assertion left open the question of whether the United States would, through direct attack or cyber sabotage, try to destroy North Korea’s missiles before they left the launchpad.

“There is no such thing as a surgical strike against North Korea,” Bruce Bennett, a North Korea expert at the RAND Corporation, said in one of its recent publications. “We don’t really know for sure where all their weapons are.’’

Comment
Both sides meed this verbal confrontations: North Korea to deviate attention from people starving – the US in oder to secure its world dominance, The is greatly tempted of North Koreas incredible  wealth in rare earth elements.
It is very disquieting that Pres. Trump is now isolated and that the neocon war hawks are running the White House – indeed they want to get rid of Trump and here unless he obeys their orders.

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