Pentagon’s Haphazard North Korea Ops Spun as Deterrence

Analysts try to credit US threats for lack of North Korea test

As media outlets try to explain away spending weeks hyping up a North Korean “Christmas gift” action that never actually happened, the possibility that they were just wrong seems to be a staggering blind spot, as they seek analysts who will offer an explanation for North Korea not doing anything.

The Pentagon did some things, so maybe that was related? The Washington Times got quotes from hawkish analysts who were eager to praise provocative Pentagon actions as both deliberate, and a wise form of deterrence that may well have scared North Korea away from the tests that the media was 100% sure were going to happen.

The Pentagon not only sent multiple surveillance planes into North Korea’s frontier, a very dangerous provocation, but also leaked a November drill in which they practiced raiding and assassinating North Korean leaders.

While North Korea hasn’t responded to either of these incidents, it’s not hard to see how they would see them. It is vindication for North Korea’s perception that the US is not genuinely interested in peace overtures, and still sees military aggression as their go-to solution. Clearly, the drill was another preparation for a US military attack.

The analysts’ response not just tries to dial back the North Korea situation to one where only military deterrence is an option, but tries to credit the military for having the foresight to publicly do so, ignoring that it undercut the Trump Administration’s stated goal of diplomacy, and did so with a military drill of the sort President Trump had long banned explicitly because it was so provocative.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of