The threat from North Korea is intensifying, with the nation having just tested a nuclear weapon that they claim can fit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile — and thus may be able to reach the United States.
The president responded to the latest act of aggression from the dictatorship in similar fashion to how he responded to the other recent acts of aggression that have taken place under his watch. Infamously, after a recent missile test, Trump asserted that “fire and fury” would rain down upon North Korea should they continue on with their aggression.
In response to the dictatorship’s weekend nuclear weapons test, Trump again indicated that he’s open to the idea of a military response to North Korea’s aggression, even though such a move could risk the lives of untold numbers of civilians both on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere.
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Now, it appears as though the president has his Defense Secretary behind him when it comes to entertaining the idea of military actions against North Korea.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Sunday, Defense Secretary James Mattis asserted that military options against North Korea are not off the table.
After explaining that the president “wanted to be briefed” this Sunday morning about each one of our “many military options” for dealing with North Korea, Mattis said:
‘Any threat to the United States or its territories including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response — a response both effective and overwhelming… We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country — namely, North Korea. But as I said, we have many options to do so.’
Mattis did not take questions, and it’s not clear what exactly would qualify something as enough of a “threat” to incur a U.S. military response.
In an early Sunday morning tweet, the president himself suggested that he was again looking at the idea of a military response to North Korea, writing that the North Koreans “only understand one thing.”
Just because the president has Mattis apparently on board with possible military action against the North Koreans does not mean that actually executing such action would move the U.S. away from the threat of casualty-inflicting conflict.
Watch Mattis’ Sunday response to North Korea below.
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