A retired four-star U.S. general warns that a pre-emptive strike on North Korea may be the only real solution to address the North Korean nuclear threat.
Retired Gen. John Keane, who turned down President Donald Trump’s offer to serve as the secretary of defense, suggests that bombing the North’s nuclear and weapons facilities “may be the only option left.” North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs have been advancing at an accelerated pace under Kim Jong-un’s leadership.
Kim has tested more nuclear bombs and far more ballistic missiles than his father. The North has adopted a much more aggressive and provocative position, and the country is reportedly moving closer to the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile able to deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental U.S.
“There is a real possibility that North Korea will be able to hit the U.S. with a nuclear-armed missile by the end of the first Trump term,” K.T. McFarland, the deputy White House national security adviser, previously told the Financial Times.
“A pre-emptive strike against launch facilities, underground nuclear sites, artillery and rocket response forces and regime leadership targets may be the only option left on the table,” Keane told The Times Tuesday.
“We are rapidly and dangerously moving towards a military solution,” he added.
While Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have said that “all options are on the table,” even the application of military force, the administration appears to be leaning more towards sanctions and increased pressure on Beijing to intervene and rein in its hostile neighbor.
“Our attempts to leverage China in the past have failed miserably,” Keane told reporters, adding, “Sanctions have not worked against North Korea and I doubt more sanctions will and I don’t believe sanctions against China will work any better.”
The United States President Trump may consider an alternative path if China refuses to cooperate to prevent North Korea from advancing its weapons capabilities.
“If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will,” Trump told the Financial Times, without going into details about his specific plan.
While some individuals, such as Keane, are calling for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea, others suggest that such an approach would yield a high-casualty conflict.
“I’m confident of the outcome of that war, which would be the defeat of North Korea,” former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told ABC reporters, “I need to caution you … This is a war that would have an intensity of violence associated with it that we haven’t seen since the last Korean War. Seoul is right there on the borders of the DMZ, so even though the outcome is certain, it is a very destructive war.”