Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that President Trump is considering a plan for a preemptive strike against North Korea. This ‘Bloody Nose’ strategy would involve a strike on a North Korean facility in direct response to another nuclear missile test.
This strike, “would be an effort to show North Korea the potential consequences of its actions without leading to an all-out war.”
At this point though the Trump Administration is investigating whether such a strike is possible and if it would have the desired effect. And there is considerable disagreement on whether to employ such a tactic:
“Both The Telegraph and The Wall Street Journal have portrayed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis as trying to caution President Donald Trump against a strike, and the national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, as advocating it.
“The reports come after months of mixed messages and dozens of shifts in the US’s stance on North Korea.
“The bloody-nose strategy, which calls for a sharp, violent response to some North Korean provocation, puts a lot of weight on the US’s properly calibrating an attack on North Korea and Pyongyang’s reading the limited strike as anything other than the opening salvo of an all-out war.”
North Korea has recently reopened talks with neighboring South Korea and will send a delegation to the Winter Olympics which are being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. They plan on sending a ‘cheer squad’ and a group of athletes alongside some high-ranking officials.
But some believe this is a tactic to cool things down and give North Korea more time to conduct another nuclear test. Fox News contributor Harry Kazianis warns that the Olympics push is nothing more than a ruse:
“The only way to understand North Korea’s latest ruse—an accepted offer to start talks with the south over Pyongyang’s participation in the Winter Olympics, now set for Tuesday—is to look at the geostrategic situation on the Korean peninsula through the eyes of Kim Jong Un.
“And make no mistake, the portly pariah of Pyongyang is in quite the bind. With sanctions starting to take hold, his regime is now paying the price for its nuclear and missile test successes last year. With senior U.S. administration officials all too eager to tout the so-called “military option” for dealing with Kim and his band of bad guys, Pyongyang knew it needed to dial down the temperature or potentially face armed conflict as early as the spring.
“What Kim could be aiming for is to get South Korea locked into negotiations, and then, start its missile or even nuclear weapons testing program back up. Seoul would be forced into making a tough choice: does it continue negotiations, but look weak at home and with the Trump administration ready to push for even more sanctions or potentially even a military strike? While President Moon might be talking tough now, he could very well fall for Kim’s trap, and try to get the Trump administration to stand down, hoping negotiations bear some fruit. How the Trump administration would respond, considering the back and forth nature of North Korea policy of late, is anyone’s guess.”
Last month the United Nations imposed even more sanctions against North Korea for conducting further nuclear tests.