How US Plans To Give North Korea a ‘Bloody Nose’

In this image made from video released by KRT on Jan. 1, 2018, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks in his annual address. (KRT via AP Video)

At its face, it seems like good news: The first high-level talks between the Koreas in more than two years has brought a thaw in relations and a promise to send North Koreans to next month’s Pyeongchang Olympics.

But as the Wall Street Journal warns, don’t mistake the thaw for a melting. Gerald Seib writes that the situation remains “fraught” and reports the US is weighing whether employing a “bloody nose” strategy—responding to a provocation like another missile test with a targeted military strike that would essentially act as a warning of what could come—is possible.

Seib says the debate is a fierce one because the risks are clear: The North could respond by engaging its weapons that sit pointed at Seoul or perhaps try to use a nuclear weapon. More on the situation:

  • Echoing that: In a lengthy piece for the Financial Times, Demetri Sevastopulo treads similar ground, writing that as the North’s weapons capabilities grow, the Pentagon is more seriously weighing its options. Seib describes National Security Adviser HR McMaster as getting more vocal about the importance of considering military action, and Sevastopulo advances that, saying that in a private summer briefing, McMaster’s discussion of our various options left some participants with the takeaway that the US “was more serious about military action than they had thought.” He too reports the “bloody nose” option is being kicked around.
  • What would we bloody? Seib speaks with a former top CIA analyst who gives hypotheticals: There’s the more obvious, like hitting a component of the missile program or even a missile itself, but the US could also consider striking an unaffiliated military facility or one of Kim Jong Un’s homes. But one skeptic tells Seib it’s doubtful this could happen without extreme collateral damage, predicting casualties on the Korean peninsula could number in the millions.
  • Entering its tunnels? NPR reports military training is underway that’s designed to prepare our troops for a situation more involved than a targeted airstrike. Officials say the Army is ramping up its ability to wage tunnel warfare in response to the thousands of tunnels that sit below North Korea. Thousands more soldiers (said to be from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions) are reportedly being trained in the specifics of fighting in such a situation, and stocks of tunnel-related gear, like night-vision goggles and bolt cutters, are being increased.
  • Fighting words: The meeting between the Koreas may have brought conciliatory words, but that doesn’t extend to the US. Yonhap reports the newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party on Monday wrote the following: “The imperialist forces, led by the United States, are violently infringing upon other countries’ sovereignty and slaughtering peaceful residents.” The article went on to call President Trump “a premium war dealer who destroys the world peace.”
  • About that meeting: In a Monday opinion piece for Fox News, Harry Kazianis sees the talks between the North and South as a “ruse.” His thinking: As whispers are growing about the US seriously considering a military option, “Pyongyang knew it needed to dial down the temperature or potentially face armed conflict as early as the spring. So, trying to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul by negotiating with his fellow Koreans to change the narrative on the peninsula from confrontation to possible cooperation—and kill any talk of war from Washington—makes sound strategic sense for Kim Jong Un.”
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Posted by on January 9, 2018. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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4 Responses to How US Plans To Give North Korea a ‘Bloody Nose’

  1. Neil Bamforth Reply

    January 9, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Fat Boy Kim and Donald Trump.

    Two enormously powerful men with the behaviour of a spoiled child.

    Safe old world ain’t it?

    • Rachael Reply

      January 9, 2018 at 8:20 pm

      I’m worried. We should all be worried. Two idiots with nuclear weapons.

  2. Glenn R. Geist Reply

    January 10, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Fat Boy and Little Dick, both are the bomb, both much the same and both hard to tell apart.

  3. Bill Formby Reply

    January 10, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    I do hope this is idle chatter. I do not think that it is possible to employ any limited military strike against North Korea without a retaliation from them after which we retaliate, then they, then the war is on. A war with North Korea will undoubtedly bring China into the mix in some role. China is already pissed in our incursions into Asia so it is entirely possible that they may join North Korea just as they did in the 1950’s except they are much stronger now. A sad thing is that other countries will pay the steepest price in the beginning anyway. South Korea and Japan would be the first but then the Philippines. China would immediately try to take away any of our operations in the Pacific. This would be an extremely bloody conflict and it will be the first time that our homeland will suffer casualties. If at all possible we need to leave North Korea alone. They are going to get a nuclear missile whether we like it or not. They want to be respected and seen as a co equally country to South Korea at least. For those, like Trump, who want them to bow down to us there will be a great deal of disappointment. Yes, they fear us which is precisely why they want to be a nuclear nation. We intervened in the Korean affairs once and they feel certain that we will do it again. Diplomacy is still be our best option.

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