'The Trump administration, or a powerful military-intelligence faction within it, is pushing for a pre-emptive military strike on North Korea, in the wake of, or possibly even during, the Winter Olympics due to start in South Korea on Friday.
The “bloody nose” option—a limited attack on the North Korean nuclear missile arsenal and infrastructure—is supposed to overawe the Pyongyang regime and bully it into surrendering to Washington’s demands to denuclearise.
Unprovoked US aggression, however, would almost certainly trigger retaliation, rather than submission, with incalculable consequences. Even if nuclear weapons were not immediately used, the death toll in South Korea alone is estimated in the tens of thousands on the first day, in a conflict that could rapidly draw in nuclear-armed powers such as China and Russia.
Yet, such an act of recklessness and savagery is precisely what is being discussed, debated and prepared in the upper echelons of the White House and the US security-intelligence apparatus. Within top military-foreign policy circles, the advanced nature of the plans is so well known that it is generating fears and opposition.
Last week, the Trump administration abruptly dumped its appointee for US ambassador to South Korea, Victor Cha, after he voiced opposition to a pre-emptive strike on North Korea. Cha subsequently went public, penning a comment in the Washington Post in which he warned that a US attack would put 230,000 Americans in South Korea at risk—equivalent to a medium-sized city like Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.
A letter to Trump last Friday signed by 18 Democratic senators, including Martin Heinrich, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed concern that Cha had been passed over. It declared that to take military action before exhausting diplomatic options would be not only “extremely irresponsible” but would lack “either a Constitutional basis or legal authority.”'
Read more: Trump Considers 'Bloody Nose' Strike on North Korea
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