North Korea’s launch of a missile capable of striking parts of the U.S. doesn’t bring the two nations closer to war, Defense Secretary James Mattis said July 6, even as President Donald Trump warned he was considering “pretty severe things” in response.
“I do not believe this capability in itself brings us closer to war,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. He added that U.S. “self-restraint” had prevented conflict and that “diplomatic efforts remain underway.”
His comments appeared aimed at clarifying that the U.S. was not considering military action in response to the missile launch.
The Pentagon is still examining data from the launch July 4 to verify Pyongyang’s claim to have fired a two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile.
A two-stage ICBM would be capable of extending a missile’s range by thousands of miles, stoking fears that the isolated nation is drawing closer to its decades-long goal of being capable of delivering a nuclear strike on the continental United States.
At a news conference July 6 in Warsaw, Poland, Trump declined to provide specifics about potential options under consideration to rein in the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un.
“I don’t like to talk about what we have planned,” he said. “They are behaving in a very, very dangerous manner.”
The Pentagon was ready to provide the White House with military options for responding to North Korea, if necessary, but for now, the U.S. was focused on a diplomatic response, Mattis said.
“Right now, we are working with allies. We are working with the — the Chinese,” he said. “But obviously, any kind of effort by North Korea to start a war would lead to severe consequences.”
A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."
Airmen with the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron pump water from a flooded common living area to an area with less impact on the local population, Dec. 13, 2009, in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force/ Staff Sgt. Sharon Singer)
Islamic state members walk in the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria February 18, 2019. (Reuters/Rodi Said)
NEAR BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) - The Islamic State appeared closer to defeat in its last enclave in eastern Syria on Wednesday, as a civilian convoy left the besieged area where U.S.-backed forces estimate a few hundred jihadists are still holed up.
Russian President Vladimir Putin fires a fortress cannon. (Associated Press/Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin)
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Wednesday that Russia will target the U.S. with new weapons should Washington decide to deploy intermediate-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to Europe following the recent death of a Cold War-era arms control agreement, according to multiple reports.
He threatened to target not only the host countries where U.S. missiles might be stationed but also decision-making centers in the U.S.