On Geopolitics

Bloody Noses and Black Eyes: What's in a Limited Strike on North Korea?

Rodger Baker
Senior VP of Strategic Analysis, Stratfor
Feb 8, 2018 | 09:30 GMT
Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea.

(NARVIKK/iStock/Getty Images)

Numerous stories are circulating once again, both in the media and in the halls of policy and punditry in Washington, Seoul and Beijing, that the United States is considering a "bloody nose" strike against North Korea. By some accounts, the U.S. administration withdrew backing from its candidate for ambassador to South Korea, Victor Cha, because of his opposition to a limited strike against Pyongyang. Other reports suggest there is an emerging cadre of "hawks" on North Korea who are expanding their influence over U.S. foreign policy, raising the likelihood of at least some form of military action. The challenge in deciphering the signals is that, with or without a planned strike, there is strong logic not only in keeping the option on the table, but also front and center in the minds of all actors in Northeast Asia....

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