From Strategic Culture
If Pentagon chief James Mattis was seeking to reassure the world of American restraint in the North Korea crisis, he clumsily did the opposite. The US Defense Secretary was speaking after intense discussions with President Trump and other senior military officials in the White House Situation Room following the sixth nuclear test carried out by North Korea on Sunday.
Mattis emerged from the meeting to say that any threat from North Korea to the United States and its allies would be met with an overwhelming military response. He then added -- with a weirdly presumed ethical tone -- that the US was not looking to the total annihilation of North Korea.
That was supposed to mean that the US military would exercise restraint -- by not obliterating a country with a population of 25 million. Well, we should be so grateful. That's so goddamn generous of the Americans!
How reassuring that the United States with a nuclear arsenal of 5,000 warheads should express an apparent reluctance to annihilate. So, US rulers are bragging about hitting North Korea with overwhelming military power, but at the same time Washington expects to be given moral credit for stating that it is not looking to annihilate a whole country.
The implicit logic here articulated by Mattis shows how depraved American leadership is.
In any case, the words of reassurance from the Pentagon chief do little to assuage fears that the US will indeed recklessly incite a war with North Korea involving weapons of mass destruction.
Trump, Mattis and other senior White House officials have repeatedly threatened over the past two months to carry out a pre-emptive military strike on North Korea, including the deployment of nuclear weapons.
Recall last month the casual way that Trump -- while having lunch at his private golf resort -- warned he would unleash fire and fury on North Korea like the world has never seen before. And those words were uttered on the 72nd anniversary of the American atomic holocaust of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
On Sunday, following news reports that North Korea had conducted a sixth underground nuclear test, Trump reportedly reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to defending our homeland, territories, and allies using the full range of diplomatic, conventional and nuclear capabilities at our disposal . In other words, again, the nuclear option is very much on the American table, as if it's as mundane a thing as a bottle of ketchup.
Trump also remarked: "North Korea's words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States."
What is acutely worrying is that the US leaders have now set a highly dangerous subjective threshold of perceived threat from North Korea as a criterion for unleashing military force. And as we have heard repeatedly, that US force will undoubtedly include the use of nuclear weapons.
Trump and his generals seem to have lost all reasonable cognitive connection with the world.
We see ample evidence of this disconnect with regard to the rapid breakdown in bilateral relations with Russia. The American authorities keep pushing the envelope of provocation toward Russia with sanctions and the unprecedented seizure of diplomatic properties -- all on the spurious grounds of alleged Russian election meddling or alleged Russian threats to NATO allies.
That is just one sign of how divorced from reality the US leadership has become. They seem to have become a victim of their own sensationalist, unhinged propaganda.