Whoa: Trump WH Says One Option In Dealing With N. Korea Is Redeploying Nuclear Weapons In South Korea

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Apr 07, 2017 7:30 PM
Whoa: Trump WH Says One Option In Dealing With N. Korea Is Redeploying Nuclear Weapons In South Korea

As North Koreas ramps up its missile testing, the Trump administration has been mulling a few options to deal with this growing threat from a nation that’s governed by an irrational dictator. NBC News reported that there are three main options the U.S. is considering, one of which is re-deploying nuclear weapons in South Korea. Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. removed its nuclear deterrent in the region, but Mark Lippert, the former U.S, ambassador to South Korea, said that the proposal has majority support in South Korea. The other options include Special Forces teams taking out key nuclear installations and other infrastructure and assassination:

The first and most controversial course of action under consideration is placing U.S. nuclear weapons in South Korea. The U.S. withdrew all nuclear weapons from South Korea 25 years ago. Bringing back bombs — likely to Osan Air Base, less than 50 miles south of the capital of Seoul — would mark the first overseas nuclear deployment since the end of the Cold War, an unquestionably provocative move.

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Two military sources told NBC News that Air Force leadership doesn't necessarily support putting nuclear weapons in South Korea. As an alternative, it's been practicing long-range strikes with strategic bombers — sending them to the region for exercises and deploying them in Guam and on the peninsula as a show of force.

Mark Lippert, the former U.S, ambassador to South Korea, said nuclear deployment there is a concept that's been embraced by a growing number of Koreans.

"Some polls put it at well over 50 percent," he said. "It's something that's being debated, and support for it over time, at least at this point, is climbing."

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Another option is to target and kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and other senior leaders in charge of the country's missiles and nuclear weapons and decision-making. Acopting such an objective has huge downsides, said Lippert, who also served as an assistant defense secretary under President Barack Obama.

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A third option is covert action, infiltrating U.S. and South Korean special forces into North Korea to sabotage or take out key infrastructure — for instance, blowing up bridges to block the movement of mobile missiles. The CIA, which would oversee such operations, told NBC News it could offer "no guidance" on this option. But Stavridis said that he felt it was the "best strategy" should the U.S. be forced to take military action. He described such action as: "some combination of special forces with South Korea and cyber."

Adm. James Stavridis, the former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe for NATO, said that the decapitation route is appealing for someone as unhinged as North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The problem is what happens after he’s gone.