Tensions between North Korea and the United States have continued to escalate during the current administration, with President Trump taunting Kim Jong Un both on Twitter and in diplomatic settings. While there has been a diplomatic breakthrough leading to a renewed dialogue between North and South Korea, there is a general sense that Trump is just itching to put his “much bigger and more powerful nuclear button” to use.
Luckily, the decision to launch nuclear weapons is not up to one man. However, Trump’s infamously discordant cabinet is torn over what path the president should make. According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have urged Trump to proceed with caution, while national security adviser H.R. McMaster is advocating for a “bloody nose” strike. According to the Journal, a bloody nose attack is called so because it would “react to some nuclear or missile test with a targeted strike against a North Korean facility to bloody Pyongyang’s nose and illustrate the high price the regime could pay for its behavior.”
Such a strike could set the stage for a global nuclear catastrophe, so it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Mattis previously predicted that Kim’s retaliation would launch “a war more serious in terms of human suffering than anything we’ve seen since 1953.”