Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

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

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

Tension in the region has risen since North Korea carried out two nuclear bomb tests past year and two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. 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". "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States", Trump said. Within hours, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who happened to be in Guam, clarified Trump's remarks, dialing back some of Trump's harsh rhetoric, suggesting that the United States will not attack first, and would act only if North Korea initiated an attack themselves.

That soothing rhetoric lasted all of a day. Gorka blamed the media for misinterpreting his comments.

"The idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical", Gorka told the BBC.

The news agency said Trump "let out a load of nonsense about "fire and fury", adding "sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him". It called former President Barack Obama a monkey and ex-South Korean President Park Geun-hye a prostitute.

MATTIS: Right now Secretary Tillerson and Ambassador Haley - you can see the American effort is diplomatically led.

Tillerson said he never considered re-routing his trip from Malaysia so as to avoid stopping in Guam.

Tillerson is pointing to new pressure the world is putting on North Korea, including sweeping new U.N. sanctions that the United States orchestrated. Why would anyone bother talking to America's nominal top diplomat if what he's saying doesn't matter? North Korea regularly threatens to destroy the United States.

"Americans should sleep well at night", Tillerson told reporters.

Tillerson downplayed any speculation that the alarming developments suggested the US was moving closer to a military option to dealing with the crisis over the North's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

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

Public statements are especially important signaling, because the United States doesn't have a direct line of communication with North Korea.

The the past has had an envoy for North Korea, but Dujarric says "every situation is different and it's important not to make empty gestures".

What's happening, instead, is a toxically mixed message.

Asked what would have been tougher than "fire and fury", Trump replied only, "You'll see".

"No Easy Military Options in North Korea" is part of Aviation Week & Space Technology's subscription package. Moon is likely to highlight his policy on North Korea on the holiday, the only one the two Koreas share.

Gorka's public appearances are typically as aggressive and hyperbolic as this one.

English says all countries want to avoid military confrontation and the way for that to happen is for North Korea to comply with U.N. sanctions and for global pressure to push the nation in that direction. In fact, "If we have to, we'll go to war", Graham said.

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