Just days after saying that he doesn’t believe the US is ever out of diplomatic options, Defense Secretary James Mattis took on a more militaristic tone today, saying that the US may not be looking toward the “total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea,” but that the US has many options to do that.
Mattis made the comments after a White House meeting, which he said was called because President Trump wanted to be briefed on his “many military options” for attacking North Korea. He added that the US will use a “massive military response” to any North Korean threat.
The US has been talking up the possibility of a preemptive attack on North Korea for months. President Trump continued to play up the idea of such a conflict today, when asked about a preemptive attack smiling and declaring “we’ll see.”
Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been talking about diplomacy as a possibility, but Trump has increasingly denounced the idea of that, criticizing South Korea’s call for talks as “appeasement” and saying North Korea only understands one thing.
The administration’s interest in not only setting out war as the go-to option, but admitting that the war we’ll be a massive one, meant to annihilate North Korea, a country of some 25 million people. While this has them moving away from the myth of a limited war, the fact that they’re still seemingly selling that war as the primary option is concerning, to say the least.
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