Obama Homeland Security adviser: No room for mistakes on North Korea

Frederick Owens
August 12, 2017

People participate in an anti-nuclear rally in Union Square in NY. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif.

"His words could. lead Pyongyang to miscalculate or believe it needs to act preemptively if it believes a USA attack is imminent", Laura Rosenberger, the former National Security Council director for Korea and China, told me after Trump's "fire and fury" comments on Wednesday.

"The situation is not going to become safer by threatening North Korea", Jenny Town, the assistant director of the US-Korea Institute, tells me. "At the same time, we have to be prepared", Trump said. "Congress has a duty not just to our country but to the world to rein in this reckless, erratic president".

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Trump's stark warning for North Korea came in a tweet this morning. If North Korea is attacked, China will help in their defense. Hours earlier, North Korea's army had said in a statement it was exploring plans for attacking the tiny USA territory, which houses USA military bases and is a common refueling stop for United States government aircraft traversing the Pacific Ocean. Only after that can officials begin work on upgrading the country's nuclear systems.

"Nuclear war poses the gravest risk to human survival", Markey added. Trump has said he will not allow Pyongyang to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States. The reason for keeping all three of these kinds of weapons is to ensure that they can be delivered in a crisis: If an enemy somehow managed to neutralize, say, all of America's land-based ICBMs in a preemptive nuclear strike, the U.S. would still be able to hit them back with bombs dropped from the air and missiles launched from subs.

Trump's statement is, as former State Department adviser for nuclear policy Alexandra Bell puts it, "a total lie". Trump's heated rhetoric comes as his secretary of state seeks to downplay the words.

Signers included Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., the sole U.S. House foe of GOP President George W. Bush's war in Iraq, and Rep. Madeline Bordallo, D-Guam, the territory's non-voting U.S. House delegate.

But the commander-in-chief likes bragging about how big his nukes are.

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Some legal experts are warning that since North Korea is not an imminent threat, that is to say there is no reason to believe North Korea is about to attack the USA, there exists no legal justification for preemptive action at all.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It's about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. The committee has requested a briefing from the administration on North Korea, the aide added. Bordallo called a peaceful solution "imperative".

In his comments on Tuesday, Trump said, "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States".

There also are questions about missile defense.

On Wednesday, Trump followed up his "fire and fury" warning with a boast about US nuclear capabilities.

Here is the full tweet, "My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal". Markey recognizes that bad reality.

Stephen Schwartz, an independent analyst of nuclear weapons issues, called the boast "patently absurd". No cabinet member, no advisor, and no military official can stop him from doing so.

Neither of the state's two House representatives ― Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter, both Democrats ― support the commission out of concern it would set a unsafe precedent, spokespeople said.

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