October 20, 2017 | Qutoed by Uri Friedman - The Atlantic

The Contradiction at the Core of Trump’s North Korea Strategy

In a joint appearance at a security conference on Thursday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and National-Security Adviser H.R. McMaster exposed a central tension in the Trump administration’s efforts to counter the North Korean nuclear-weapons program. Both officials stressed that North Korea was rapidly approaching a milestone that might prompt the U.S. military to go to war with Kim Jong Un. But they claimed that their current approach consists of peacefully exerting economic and diplomatic pressure on Kim until he agrees to begin dismantling his nuclear arsenal—the kind of campaign that typically takes years to succeed, if it succeeds at all. The timing, in other words, doesn’t add up.

“We’re not out of time, but we are running out of time” to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program, McMaster said at an event organized by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Previous administrations had kicked the North Korea can down the road, he argued, and now we’re all out of road.

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North Korea