Pentagon caught off guard by team Trump’s tough talk on North Korea

The Daily Beast reports: The Trump administration launched its week with tough talk aimed at North Korea—barbs all the more remarkable because they caught some senior officials at the Pentagon off guard.

The salvos started with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announcing what sounded like a red line that would lead to a preemptive U.S. strike on the regime of Kim Jong Un.

“If you see him attack a military base, if you see some sort of intercontinental ballistic missile, obviously, we’re going to do that,” Haley told NBC News. Those remarks caught senior U.S. defense officials unawares. The Trump administration had previously kept details deliberately vague, saying only that all options are on the table if Pyongyang steps out of line.

President Donald Trump followed Haley’s salvo by telling visiting U.N. ambassadors that the “status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable,” calling on them to step up sanctions aimed at North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs—a mild statement compared to that of his U.N. ambassador.

At the Pentagon, there was another ominous sign when officials announced an extraordinary classified briefing for all U.S. senators on Wednesday, to be held at the White House, with the secretaries of defense and state, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the director of national intelligence briefing the lawmakers. [Continue reading…]

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