James Mattis: Military solution in place to address North Korea threat

Cheryl Sanders
August 13, 2017

"Right now you can hear the screws turning on Aegis ships steaming somewhere between North Korea and Guam", said Tom Karako, director of the missile defense project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. When Trump, after a bipartisan budget deal was reached, tweeted the notion that "our country needs a good "shutdown" in September", White House budget director Mick Mulvaney was hustled out to contain the damage: "We've averted a shutdown".

The State Department says President Donald Trump is "on the same page" with the rest of US government with his fiery threat to North Korea. "Secretary Tillerson is the chief diplomat of the United States, and it is not his portfolio to handle those issues". But Tillerson told reporters that nothing he's seen or knows of in the last day dramatically changed the situation. Sooner or later someone should take them seriously. Gorka blamed the media for misinterpreting his comments.

Gorka who spoke to BBC Radio said Tillerson was in no capacity to talk about the military as it is not his mandate.

Tillerson said he thought "the President just wanted to be clear to the North Korean regime that the U.S. has an unquestionable ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies".

On Wednesday, the North Korean defense ministry dismissed Trump's comments as "a load of nonsense", coming from a "guy bereft of reason". He's going to talk like one.

Instead, Mr. Mattis reiterated that the administration's diplomatic efforts to quell tensions on the peninsula remained the top priority for the White House.

Tillerson said he never considered re-routing his trip from Malaysia so as to avoid stopping in Guam. Their unorthodox message to an anxious nation and a panicky world: Don't take seriously what the president of the United States says.

Trump and North Korea have been exchanging escalating threats, with the North saying it was examining plans for attacking Guam. "The American people should sleep well at night".

A shootout with North Korea would be "catastrophic", as pointed out this week, by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Trump has said he will not allow Pyongyang to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.

This kind of blurring of the American message has harmful effects on the North Korean crisis besides clearly undercutting Tillerson's credibility.

Mattis did not elaborate on the diplomatic results he referenced, but the UN Security Council at the weekend passed a new set of sanctions against Pyongyang over its weapons program, including bans on the export of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore as well as fish and seafood. The Kim regime figures out what America is saying through USA public statements, making consistency in that messaging all the more important. The next time this comes up at a press conference by an administration official, it might be worth asking that person to define strategic patience and how Trump's own policy differs.

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