In comments that appeared to contradict yesterday’s by Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the US has few “good options” remaining with respect to North Korea if repeated threats and sanctions don’t work.
That’s because President Trump and other top officials have repeatedly insisted that diplomacy is a “failed” option of past administrations, and despite talking up their “many options,” these appear to all begin and end with some sort of military attack, starting a huge war.
Tillerson’s comments provide additional insight into the US “strategy,” such as it is, revealing that they expect that carefully timed and escalated threats and sanctions will at some point lead to North Korea just unilaterally giving up everything they want.
The plan already has tailor made excuses for failure too, with Tillerson and others complaining that Russia is blocking UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea for recent actions, which is throwing off the “precise” timing they believe is needed. It seems that eventually they’re going to give up on threats, blame the lack of international cooperation, and move on to the unilateral military attack they’ve previously talked up.