The Associated Press reports: White House chief of staff John Kelly said Thursday that North Korea can’t be allowed to develop the ability to strike the U.S. but the threat is “manageable” for now.
Jim Schoff, a former senior Pentagon adviser for East Asia policy, said it doesn’t appear “U.S. policymakers think we’re on the brink of all-out war.”
But he added that doesn’t mean the administration is bluffing or has ruled out some kind of limited strike in response to a North Korean provocation. He said most telling were the repeated B1-B bomber flights, which he said were not intended just to signal U.S. resolve, but to practice making the long flight from the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam where they are based, and “to get a feel for what kind of air defenses North Korea has and how we see them react.”
Trump on Tuesday discussed with military chiefs, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, “a range of options to respond to any form of North Korean aggression or, if necessary, to prevent North Korea from threatening the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons,” the White House said.
“If we made a decision to strike a few strategic targets in North Korea it could happen very quickly,” said Rob Givens, a former Air Force brigadier general who served as deputy assistant chief of staff for operations of U.S. Forces Korea. He said unless the U.S. decided to undertake a visible military buildup to deter Pyongyang, the public was unlikely to see an attack coming. [Continue reading…]