Ambassador Susan Thornton, a top US diplomat for Asia, has reported on Thursday that the Trump Administration has no strategy to carry out the long speculated “bloody nose” attack on North Korea.
The “bloody nose” strike has been reported for months as a limited military option, in which the US would attack North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, but in a limited way that would not provoke a military retaliation.
In addition to Thornton, other officials confirmed they’d been told by the White House that no such strategy actually exists, and while the administration is determined to force denuclearize on North Korea, there’s no a specific plan in place for such a preemptive attack.
That may serve as a major relief to the Korean Peninsula, where diplomacy has been making headway, but always looming overhead has been the risk that the US would derail such talks with an attack.
If anything, the White House confirmation that no plans are in place to do so may be tantamount to an announcement that they are going to let the Korean diplomatic track continue onward without interference.
At the same time, recent reports have suggested the National Security Adviser had been pushing the Pentagon hard for more military options against North Korea, and that the Pentagon wasn’t offering anything particularly usable, so the lack of such a strategy may be an admission of the reality of the situation, that there is no way to start a limited war with North Korea.