On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that former George W. Bush administration official Victor Cha, President Trump’s top pick for the U.S. ambassador post in South Korea, was no longer in the running for the gig. Why? Because Cha, a noted academic with expertise on Asian affairs, voiced his disagreement with the National Security Council’s suggestion that a limited strike, or “bloody nose” strategy, could prove effective in deterring North Korea’s aggressive ambitions in the region. Then, late Tuesday night while everyone was preparing for Stormy Daniels’ Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance, Cha confirmed most of this in an op-ed.
The North Korea expert agrees with the Trump administration’s determination that, if unchecked, the volatile country “will build an arsenal with multiple nuclear missiles meant to threaten the U.S. homeland” and cut us off from our allies in the region. However, Cha notes, the “bloody nose” strategy is a dangerously ineffective option:
These are real and unprecedented threats. But the answer is not, as some Trump administration officials have suggested, a preventive military strike. Instead, there is a forceful military option available that can address the threat without escalating into a war that would likely kill tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans.
“A strike also would not stem the threat of proliferation but rather exacerbate it,” Cha concludes. The former South Korea ambassador pick also confirms that when he was “under consideration” for the post, he “shared some of these views” with his potential administration colleagues. However, Cha never explicitly comes out and says his consternation with the National Security Council’s advice to Trump is what booted him from the running.