At noon today, the Defense Secretary’s office released a statement from Secretary Mattis. It read, in part:
“The DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down in his pursuit of nuclear weapons. The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime, and the destruction of its people.”
The normally measured, carefully-calculated Mattis left little room to question the seriousness of his warning, and the parameters of the United States’ response to pursuing nuclear primacy.
In contrast to yesterday’s “fire and fury” warning from trump, Mattis appears to have galvanized the various statements from American leaders into one, and let North Korea, and China know the exact definition of the “red line” we’ve drawn.
The game theory behind a military response is complicated, and not pretty, regardless of which direction we take.
I wrote this morning about my concerns over this “red line,” and the risk of repeating president Obama’s Syrian gamble. This time though, the stakes are much higher, and with a belligerent much stronger. The threat is also direct, rather than geopolitical.
After yesterday’s messy foreign policy day, Mattis’ words, while worrisome, at least brought some sense of clarity to the tense standoff. This stance makes it clear America’s position warns DPRK’s actions, rather than just words. It served as a cleanup operation of sorts, and hopefully leads to Chinese intervention we haven’t seen before.
Pray for our leaders, that serious discussions are waded through carefully, and the menu of responses are meted out with wisdom, and a desire for long-standing peace.