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Army Chief Of Staff On North Korea: 'Time Is Running Out' To Stop ICBM
North Korea is the single most dangerous threat facing the international community according to the U.S. Army’s top uniformed official and matters are coming to a head. Pyongyang is advancing far more quickly with its nuclear and ballistic missile programs than was expected by the United States. Indeed, the United States is at point where it must make some tough policy choices on how to deal with the North Korean threat.
“We are at a point in time when choices will have to be made one way or the other, none of these choices are particularly palatable,” U.S. Army chief of staff Gen. Mark A. Milley told an audience at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Matters on the Korean peninsula are coming to a head—Milley characterized the situation as the single most dangerous situation facing the United States today.
“This situation with North Korea is very serious,” Milley said. “Not only for the United States, South Korea and Japan, but for China and Russia... and it’s not going in a good direction.”
Milley said that the United States is doing what it can diplomatically and economically to prevent North Korea from developing and possessing a nuclear weapon that is capable of hitting the United States—as has been American policy for years.
“There is still time left for that to succeed,” Milley said.
“However, time is running out.”
It is unclear what the United States can do to prevent North Korea from developing and fielding a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile short of a preemptive nuclear strike. Pyongyang has little incentive to give up what it sees as its trump card to ensure the survival of the Kim regime.
“Only an atomic bomb offers certain deterrence against the overwhelming military power of populous and prosperous South Korea backed by the U.S. superpower,” Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute wrote for The National Interest.
“Nuclear weapons also are a handy weapon of extortion. The ultimate bomb offers an important reward to a military that plays an important political role.”
Indeed, when the United States helped to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 after the Libyan dictator had agreed to give up his weapons of mass destruction, Pyongyang became even more determined to hold onto its nuclear weapons. Essentially, North Korea made the simple realist calculus that a weapon that might deter the United States and preserve the regime trumps any economic or diplomatic benefit.
“Libya’s nuclear dismantlement much touted by the U.S. in the past turned out to be a mode of aggression whereby the latter coaxed the former with such sweet words as ‘guarantee of security’ and ‘improvement of relations’ to disarm and then swallowed it up by force,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry stated at the time—denouncing negotiations as a prelude to disarm to regime prior to an invasion.
But military action might prove to be unavoidable. If the situation on the Korean peninsula devolves into open warfare, the United States and South Korea would undoubtedly destroy North Korea’s military. But the cost would be extremely high—particular for the civilian population in Seoul and other large cities in the region. “A war on the Korean peninsula would be terrible,” Milley said. “However a nuclear weapon detonating over Los Angeles would be terrible.”
More from The National Interest:
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Worries about a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane at the entrance to the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents.
Tehran denies responsibility but the attacks, and similar ones in May, have further soured relations that have plummeted since Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark international nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018.
Trump has restored and extended U.S. economic sanctions on Iran. That has forced countries around the world to boycott Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
But in an interview with Time magazine, Trump, striking a different tone from some Republican lawmakers who have urged a military approach to Iran, said last week's tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman had only a "very minor" impact so far.
Asked if he would consider military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons or to ensure the free flow of oil through the Gulf, Trump said: "I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark."
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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday he is appalled by a state DFL Party staff member's tweet referring to the recently-launched USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul as a "murder boat."
"Certainly, the disrespect shown is beyond the pale," said Walz, who served in the Army National Guard.
William Davis, who has been the DFL Party's research director and deputy communications director, made the controversial comment in response to a tweet about the launch of a new Navy combat ship in Wisconsin: "But actually, I think it's gross they're using the name of our fine cities for a murder boat," Davis wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
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Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will "not to go forward with his confirmation process."
Trump said that Army Secretary Mark Esper will now serve as acting defense secretary.