Last week, Donald Trump warned North Korea that it will face “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continues to provoke the U.S. with its missiles, and in response, the North Korean leadership immediately threatened to strike America’s military base in Guam. Trump then stated that perhaps the language he used had not been strong enough and decided to make an official threat to North Korea that the U.S. military is “locked and loaded,” and North Korea would soon regret their threats.
However, according to Defense News, a newspaper that informs world leaders and decision makers across the globe, the relevant militaries based in the Asia-Pacific region have not been prepped for this looming conflict in any way, shape or form.
From Defense News:
“In Yokosuka, Japan, the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed ready aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan sits peacefully pier-side, along with the U.S. 7th Fleet command ship Blue Ridge. On the Korean Peninsula, the State Department has not advised American citizens to leave the country and U.S. military family members are not being evacuated. No Marines are being loaded on amphibious ships; no sailors have been recalled off leave to prepare for emergency operations; and no ballistic missile defense ships have been sortied to North Korea, the waters off Japan or to Guam, three sources said.” [emphasis added]
The U.S. military is not “locked and loaded” — it hasn’t even been notified.
The situation is reminiscent of the debacle that occurred shortly after Trump’s Syria strike in April (which also took place due to a host of disinformation) when the media reported that Trump had sent its naval strike force towards North Korea to confront the isolated nation. Again, Defense News blew the lid off this story and reported that the naval vessel was actually headed in the opposite direction, most likely towards Australia.
The recent developments are worrying members of the U.S. military, who don’t want to be dragged into a conflict without good reason.
“This may come as a shock, but the rhetoric doesn’t match reality,” a U.S. official said, according to Defense News. “[I’m] worried about a ‘Guns of August’ scenario, where we stumble into a conflict,” referring to the popular history book of World War I that argued the war happened because of a series of diplomatic miscues.
“Nobody at PACOM is setting their hair on fire; it’s calm and professional,” one source reportedly said. “It‘s really D.C. rhetoric that’s driving this whole thing.”
As Defense News notes, the Washington Post kicked off this latest spat on August 8 when it reported that U.S. intelligence had concluded in a new assessment that North Korea managed to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and was steps away from being able to strike the American mainland.
However, a team of experts, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology rocket expert Ted Postol and two German experts, Markus Schiller and Robert Schmucker of Schmucker Technologie, came to a completely different conclusion regarding North Korea’s missile capabilities. They published their findings in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
“From the point of view of North Korean political leadership, the general reaction to the July 4 and July 28 launches could not have been better,” the authors wrote.“The world suddenly believed that the North Koreans had an ICBM that could reach the West Coast of the United States and beyond. But calculations we have made—based on detailed study of the type and size of the rocket motors used, the flight times of the stages of the rockets, the propellant likely used, and other technical factors—indicate that these rockets actually carried very small payloads that were nowhere near the weight of a nuclear warhead of the type North Korea could have, or could eventually have.
These small payloads allowed the rockets to be lofted to far higher altitudes than they would have if loaded with a much-heavier warhead, creating the impression that North Korea was on the cusp of achieving ICBM capability.” [emphasis added]
In an interview with Newsweek, Postol called North Korea’s missiles “a hoax.” Further, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva, already testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee last month that experts told him North Korea does not have “the capacity to strike the U.S. with any degree of accuracy or reasonable confidence of success.”
In other words, there is no current nuclear threat from North Korea, nor is the American military in a current state of preparedness to directly launch an assault (or receive one), despite Trump’s claims.
This does not mean that a war with North Korea is totally unthinkable. It just means the current rhetoric promoting one is a complete fabrication. As these two countries continue to provoke one another, there will always be the possibility that one useful idiot could pull the trigger first in the absence of any meaningful diplomacy, as has often happened in the past.
And let’s face it, Trump needs something epic to save his faltering presidential legacy.
War with North Korea will always be on the table. Just remember that these decisions were made by men in suits behind closed doors with complete disregard for (a) the facts on the ground and (b) the American people deployed in the region who have been tasked with fighting these wars on America’s behalf, as they have not even been alerted about this up and coming war, which would ultimately kill, maim and displace millions of people.