America Is a Lot Closer to Going to War With North Korea Than Anyone Realizes

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
By Paul Martin

OCTOBER 24, 2017

The reality of war with North Korea may be closer than everyone thinks, one diplomat and analyst said Monday morning, pointing to recent comments from Donald Trump’s national security advisor.

“I actually thought history will look back on what H.R. McMaster was saying Thursday, that wasn’t really reported Friday,” Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. The panel was discussing the potential for military conflict with North Korea.

Hass was referring to a talk General McMaster, Trump’s top national security official in the White House, gave Thursday during a summit at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. When ABC News asked him if the U.S. is “running out of time” on the North Korea issue, McMaster responded:

“Well it’s a great question. And you know the answer is we’re not out of time, but we’re running out of time. We are running out of time. So this is a problem set that we have to take on with a great sense of urgency.”

Continuing, McMaster said President Trump has been “extremely clear” that he’s simply not willing to allow a North Korea to be nuclear-armed:

“Well accept and deter is unacceptable. And so this puts us in a situation where we are in a race to resolve this short of military action. Everybody knows it. I mean we all know it across the departments and agencies. Our allies and partners know it, China knows it, Russia knows it.”

The general says the strategy of diplomacy and negotiated deals has allowed North Korea to advance its nuclear program incrementally:

“Long, drawn-out negotiations that then deliver a weak agreement, and then North Korea, then, immediately breaks that agreement. And that agreement, what does it do? It locks in the status quo as the new normal.”

McMaster said Thursday that given the president’s position, it’s time for the North Korean leader to take the threat of military conflict seriously and abandon his nuclear ambitions:

“So, if you’re Kim Jong Un, you should see a much different prospective when you look out from Pyongyang, and a recognition that if you think that this weapon’s going to make you secure, it’s having the opposite effect. It’s making you less secure and it’s time for you to take a different tact.”

Concluding, Trump’s national security advisor said the American people should be “happy” the president has dropped the “kick the can down the road” approach and brought the U.S. into direct confrontation with North Korea:

“So I think we shouldn’t be — we should be happy, right? We should be happy for the president’s leadership and the fact that he has directed the national security team to work across our government with allies and partners to develop strategies that are not based in wishful thinking; that are based in reality and that will deliver improved safety and security and prosperity for the American people.”

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