Source: Zero Hedge
Earlier this morning Vice President Pence offered up one of the Trump administration’s most stern warnings yet to North Korea saying that the U.S. would “defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response.” Per The Hill:
“The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready.”
“Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response.”
“The policy that President Trump has articulated is to marshal the support of our allies in the region, here in Japan and South Korea, nations around the world, and China, who have taken the position now for decades of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.”
“Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan. North Korea would do well not to test his resolve — or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region.”
The problem, however, is that while a military response may be inevitable, pending the actions of the “crazy, fat kid” (John McCain’s label, not ours) running North Korea, none of the U.S. options under consideration are particularly good, specially for our allies in the region.
As Bloomberg points out today, U.S. military options in North Korea range from proactively taking out nuclear reactors to dropping bunker buster bombs on heavily fortified mountainous sites where previous underground nuclear tests have been conducted. Alternatively, the U.S. could wait for signs of an imminent test of an intercontinental ballistic missile and prepare a strike against that specific launch and/or intercept the missile in flight.
Among the war-game scenarios at the Pentagon’s disposal are an airstrike using precision-guided munitions, launched from submarines or stealth aircraft, against the Yongbyon nuclear reactor facility, where North Korea has produced plutonium for its bombs. That was an option weighed as far back as the Clinton administration, according to two former Pentagon chiefs.
“We were highly confident that it could be destroyed without causing a meltdown that would release radioactivity into the air,” Ash Carter and William Perry wrote in a report for the Belfer Center back in 2002. That plan was seen as a worst-case scenario.
Another option would be an attack on facilities at Punggye-ri, the mountainous site in the northeastern part of the country where previous underground nuclear tests have been conducted. 38 North, a website that focuses on North Korea, said satellite images signal recent activity in preparation for another nuclear test. Evading radar, B-2 bombers built by Northrop Grumman Corp. could drop “bunker buster” bombs to try to do the most underground damage.
Categories: World at WAR