For­eign pol­icy

But a pre-emp­tive strike on mis­sile force is prob­a­bly not on the ta­ble

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Robert Burns

A pre-emp­tive mil­i­tary strike against North Korea is a step so fraught with risk that it is among the un­like­li­est op­tions. »

WASH­ING­TON» A pre-emp­tive mil­i­tary strike may be among the “pretty se­vere things” Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says he is con­sid­er­ing for North Korea, but it’s a step so fraught with risk that it ranks among the un­like­li­est op­tions.

Even a so-called sur­gi­cal strike aimed at the North’s par­tially hid­den nu­clear and mis­sile force is un­likely to de­stroy the arsenal or stop its leader, Kim Jong Un, from swiftly re­tal­i­at­ing with long-range ar­tillery that could kill stun­ning num­bers in South Korea within min­utes.

An all-out con­flict could then en­sue. And while Trump’s Pen­tagon chief, Jim Mat­tis, says the U.S. would pre­vail, he be­lieves it would be “a cat­a­strophic war.”

Thurs­day in Poland, Trump said the time has ar­rived to con­front North Korea. “I don’t like to talk about what I have planned, but I have some pretty se­vere things that we’re think­ing about,” the pres­i­dent said. “That doesn’t mean we’re go­ing to do them.”

Trump didn’t men­tion which “se­vere” op­tions he is weigh­ing after North Korea’s July 4 test-launch of an in­tercon­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile. The ad­min­is­tra­tion has been re­view­ing its North Korea pol­icy for months, hav­ing de­clared at­tempts at “strate­gic pa­tience” with the North to have failed. The ad­min­is­tra­tion has spo­ken about starv­ing North Korea of cash for its nu­clear pro­gram and get­ting other coun­tries to add diplo­matic and eco­nomic pres­sure.

But Trump and his aides have not have ruled out the pos­si­bil­ity of war with an ad­ver­sary that is openly de­fy­ing U.N. Se­cu­rity Council res­o­lu­tions and threat­en­ing the United States.

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