John Brennan, the former head of the C.I.A., estimates the chance of a war with North Korea at 20 to 25 percent.
Joel S. Wit, a Korea expert at Johns Hopkins University, puts it at 40 percent.
Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, says the odds may be somewhere around 50/50.
.. Almost no expert believes that sanctions will force Kim Jong-un to give up his nuclear weapons or halt his missile program. That puts us on a collision course, for North Korea seems determined to develop a clear capacity to target the U.S. with nuclear weapons
.. the White House hints that it would rather have a war than allow the North to become a nuclear threat
.. Tammy Duckworth, a former military pilot who is now a Democratic senator from Illinois, says that from what she hears, the chance is greater than 50/50 that the president will order a strike.
.. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, has said that Trump told him he’d choose a war with North Korea over allowing it to continue on its course.
.. “There is a military option: to destroy North Korea’s program and North Korea itself,” Graham told the “Today” show, relaying a conversation with Trump. “If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here — and he’s told me that to my face.”
Graham said that if North Korea continues to test intercontinental ballistic missiles, a war is “inevitable.”
.. Eerily, on my last visit, North Koreans repeatedly said that a nuclear war with the U.S. was not only survivable but winnable.
The U.S. must now choose among three awful options:
- A “freeze for a freeze” deal, which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seems to be pursuing;
- Long-term deterrence, just as we have deterred North Korea for decades from using its chemical and biological weapons;
- A conventional war that might escalate into a nuclear exchange.
.. North Korea may also inflame the situation with provocations at any time, such as firing a long-range missile into the sea near Guam, or conducting an atmospheric nuclear test that would send radioactive fallout drifting toward the United States.