In its contingency planning, Washington for the first time is treating North Korea as a nuclear-armed opponent, the New York Times reported on Thursday.
Specifics about the most recent revision of the “OpPlan 5029” strategy for a potential new Korean War are classified. Some unidentified officials talked to the newspaper about aspects of the “what-if” scenarios, which imagine a possibility for Pyongyang to build a simple atomic weapon and attempt to deliver it by ship or truck.
The development comes as Washington and its allies in East Asia steadfastly refuse to characterize North Korea as a nuclear-armed state.
U.S. intelligence officials do not think Pyongyang has developed the ability to miniaturize nuclear arms enough to fit on a ballistic missile. The North, however, could make headway in that respect if it test-detonates a fourth atomic device — as appears increasingly likely.
Behind closed doors, Obama administration officials are acknowledging the longtime policy of “strategic patience” toward North Korea has been unsuccessful, the Times reported.
“We have failed,” Evans Revere, a former senior official for East Asian issues in the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview. “For two decades our policy has been to keep the North Koreans from developing nuclear weapons. It’s now clear there is no way they will give them up. … So now what?”
A recent attempt by the National Security Council to develop a new plan for ending the North Korea nuclear impasse came up empty when it was determined that all other potential policy deviations were worse than the current posture, according to the Times.
“We’re stuck,” said one individual who took part in the review.
A move by ruler Kim Jong Un to focus more on mobile missiles instead of stationary ones has meant the United States has a harder time detecting when a missile firing is imminent. The launchers are routinely moved between tunnels, making them harder to monitor by satellite, defense officials said.
“He’s gone to school on how we operate,” said Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who commands U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula.
What We're Following See More »
"Two Republicans intimately familiar with Bill Kristol’s efforts to recruit an independent presidential candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have told Bloomberg Politics that the person Kristol has in mind is David French -- whose name the editor of the Weekly Standard floated in the current issue of the magazine.
French is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the website of National Review, where French is a staff writer, he is a constitutional lawyer, a recipient of the Bronze Star, and an author of several books who lives in Columbia, Tenn., with his wife Nancy and three children."
California Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Hillary Clinton today, calling her "the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump." While praising Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign, Brown said "Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee. ... This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun."
In a New York Magazine profile, Hillary Clinton said she still encounters misogyny at her own events: “‘I really admire you, I really like you, I just don’t know if I can vote for a woman to be president.’ I mean, they come to my events and then they say that to me.”
Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”