Mattis: North Korea Military Solution Would Be "Tragic On An Unbelievable Scale"

Tyler Durden's picture

With the media narrative once again focused squarely on Trump and the "Russian connection", something which will unlikely change over the next week absent "fireworks" elsewhere, the story of potential military intervention in South Korea has understandably dropped from the front pages. Although with a second US aircraft carrier now en route to the Korean Peninsula, and with Trump desperate for another "big bang" distraction, is it shortsighted to underestimate the potential of another geopolitical hotspot emerging in the next few days.

While the answer is unknown, on Friday afternoon Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reminded the American public just how high tht potential stakes are when he said that any military solution to the North Korea crisis would be "tragic on an unbelievable scale" and that Washington was working internationally to find a diplomatic solution.

Quoted by Reuters, Mattis told a Pentagon news conference that "we are going to continue to work the issue," and added that "if this goes to a military solution, it's going to be tragic on an unbelievable scale. So our effort is to work with the U.N., work with China, work with Japan, work with South Korea to try to find a way out of this situation."

Pundits took the remarks as one of the clearest indicators yet that President Trump's administration will seek to exhaust alternatives before turning to military action to force Pyongyang's hand, although it would not explain US willingness to potentially provoke the Kim regime with a second aircraft carrier in close proximity to Pyongyang. The US which has 28,500 troops in South Korea to guard against the North Korean threat, has called on China to do more to rein in its neighbor. Mattis appeared to defend China's most recent efforts, even as he acknowledged Pyongyang's march forward.

"They (North Korea) clearly aren't listening but there appears to be some impact by the Chinese working here. It's not obviously perfect when they launch a missile," Mattis said, when asked about Sunday's launch. Alternatively, if and when a "military solution" tragic as it may be, becomes reality, the US will simply be able to scapegoat China for not having done enough to rein North Korea in.

Separately, discussing last Sunday's North Korean rocket launch of its most advanced ballistic missile to date, Mattis said that Pyongyang had likely learned a great deal from the latest test of what U.S. officials say was a KN-17 missile,  which today Mattis said was believed to have survived re-entry to some degree.

"They went to a very high apogee and when it came down obviously from that altitude they probably learned a lot from it. But I'm not willing to characterize it beyond that right now," Mattis said.

David Wright, co-director and senior scientist at the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, the big question was whether North Korea could build a re-entry vehicle for a long-range missile that wouldn't burn up during re-entry and could keep a warhead from becoming too hot in the process.


"This test in principle gave them a lot of information about this, assuming they had sensors that could send information back during reentry so they could monitor the heat, or they could recover the reentry vehicle and examine it," he said.

In retrospect, it is unlikely that the US will engage in military action with North Korea while Trump is traveling over the next 8 days, although even that schedule may be truncated if the media scandals that have plagued Trump every single day this week escalate further, and the president is desperate for a grand distraction, similar to the Syrian missile attack, which managed to shift the public attention away from the Russian narrative, if only for a few weeks.

For now, keep watch on the locations of US carriers around the globe: with two already next to North Korea, and rumors that a third one is en route, this may be the clearest indicator of if and when a new military operation is coming.

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Jus7tme's picture

>>So our effort is to work with the U.N., work with China, work with Japan, work with South Korea to try to find a way out of this situation."

How about engaging the brain and WORKING WITH NORTH KOREA?

FreeShitter's picture

Dont think thats possible unless Kim's onboard with being controlled by rothschild fiat. No other reason why the ussa is interested. They can easily shutdown any military threat from them. Those pesky north koreans, syrians, and iranians dont have a satanic rothschild bank. 

cossack55's picture

However, they are more than happy to bomb anyone in Syria who is not ISIS

New_Meat's picture

Don't think that's possible unless lil-lil-Kim's on board with being controlled by the PRC and actually larnz dat lesson from the world.

No, assface, there is no way to shut down these primitive systems, cuz they just work.

So your position, here, is that the PRC is controlled by the jews?  Or Satan?  Or Alynsky?  Or WHO?

Did I say that you are an assface?  I understated this situation in deference to the snowflakes.


- Ned

nmewn's picture

Saaay, on the subject of top secrety-secret shit...remember the frothing-at-the-mouth-outrage when Obama passed top secret information to the Russians over at the NYT's & WaPo? That would be the serial numbers of Trident missiles transferred to the British Navy. 

Yeah, me neither ;-)

The Jaguar's picture

Kill and replace all democrats with nmewn clones, problems solved. Maybe throw in a few hedgless horsemen and a few other good commenters off here. I try to believe in intelligent design, but how can you when you look at a demoncrap?

pugilist's picture

So the next time US military wants to test a nuke, invite KimJong over and let him push the button. everybody's happy, problem solved.

meta-trader's picture

you can add an extra 1500/USD week after week in your income just working on the internet for a couple of hours each day... check this link...

83_vf_1100_c's picture

  On ZH, it's always Da Joos.

  I'm from 'the South' USA and we always blame the niggers and Mexicans.


  The only folks who stand a chance of shutting down that psychotic lil fat man without some big fireworks is China and not sure they can or want to. A space based leaser beam on Kim during his next public appearance might work but we do not seem to have that yet. Maybe steer a 200 yd wide asteroid on his palace? Again, we can't do that.

Eyes Opened's picture

"psychotic lil fat man"

Careful... you're showing your "cultural" side...

Why you, as an individual,  feel it necessary to DO anything to NK is beyond me, I mean, I get why the MIC are doin their shit...$$$$ .... whats YOUR motive ??

Perhaps a read-up on NKs history & US past "DO-ing" might enlighten you as to why Kimmy feels the need to bluff & bluster.

We all know who the real agressor is here... & it ain't the "psychotic lil fat man"....

Mycroft Holmes IV's picture

Problem is the 155mm howitzers a mere 40 miles from Seoul.

Can't take them all out and if shots are fired, Seoul will be inundated with a barrage of artillery fire WWII Soviet style.

There is no easy solution to this mess, besides hoping that Fat Kim realizes trade with the western world is better than isolation and squalor...

Hard to get good news sources out of Western news outlets though. I found some good English S. Korean publications that seemed pretty fair (reporting on the meetings Tillersom had with the S. Korean diplomats in US). I'll dig up the links...

peddling-fiction's picture

I did my military service (artillery) back in the 80's and if my memory still serves me:

155mm shells have a 200 meter kill radius (shrapnel).

133mm shells have a 100 meter kill radius.

155mm's are nasty.

NK has 4,300 pieces of towed artillery and probably many of those are 155mm's and just in range (long range limits depend on shells but probably all of Seoul is just in range).

Battlefield USA's picture

I had to chuckle a bit on that.

NK has 21,000 plus arty pieces.


divingengineer's picture

Luckily the range of a 155mm gun is only about 18.5 miles.
And that is with assisted rounds.
Shitty 1970s era soviet surplus cannons probably got wore out rifling and a leaky breach, so not even 18.5 miles.
You guys are shitting your pants over nothing.
Saddam has a wicked bad Army that will kick our ass.

divingengineer's picture

A 155mm still only goes 18.5 miles.
They can't alter physics, no matter how much shit they talk.

Cynicles II's picture

Now that's using the brain - bravo.

yogibear's picture

Not what McCain, Graham  wants and the rest of the neocons want. They want war


Cynicles II's picture

well golll-lee, what ever did happen to the other few over the past decade or three?! ;)

Cynicles II's picture

The Gov, brain?

you are funny

give me liberty or....'s picture

How about withdrawing U.S. military forces from South Korea? Then the two Koreas can kiss and make up and life goes on. 

SoDamnMad's picture

North Korea sits down and gets credibility for forcing a super-power to negotiate.  They demand this that and everything else and make agreements which they quickly break and we are back to Square One in 5 years with a N Korea with more and bigger nuclear devices and missiles that can travel frther. Whoop-dee-doo with your negotiating.

VWAndy's picture

 How about putting a muzzle on all these war mongering tools? Seems like that would be the best way to start.

New_Meat's picture

"who will bell this cat?"

VWAndy's picture

 The stall and bartering well. Other than that it looks perty bad.

jm's picture

Using military means to see North Korea without Kim Jong Un?  Gosh, how horrible.

Collectivism Killz's picture

Says the fucktard who won't have to go and fight there or be in the direct line of fire of North Korea's 10K plus artillery pieces.

jm's picture

10K plus artillery pieces with no ordinance.  The literally starving masses will shed no tears over his end, snowflake.



underthevolcano's picture

You are a total idiot and probably an asshole to boot. Who do you think gave the Norks the 700 Mile missiles with pin point accuracy.

NK has all the ordinance it will ever need. It is the fucked up yangee's who need the high colonic.

jm's picture

" boot."  LOL

Stop saying yangee, you sound like a fucking idiot.

TheReplacement's picture

Just the come back the judges waiting to see.

And the scores are up.

jm is knocked out of the prelims with a perfect 0 except for Israel.  Israel gave him a 1 for style.

And now, back to the studio.

dlweld's picture

You mean ordnance I'm sure - "ordinance" is a bylaw.

indaknow's picture

Yèah no shit. They apparently have nukes!

Number 156's picture

Its called 'cover'.

They express that they dont want a fight and they will do everything they can to avoid one, but when it finally escalates into a full blown conflict, they will point back to these earlier statements and say 'we tried avoiding it every way we can'.

serotonindumptruck's picture

The political/military calculus would be much easier to solve if NK had something worth stealing, like oil or precious metals for instance.

"Mad Dog" Mattis apparently experienced a moment of sanity, and after a cost-benefit analysis, decided that diplomacy might be a more cost effective approach.

Winston Churchill's picture

Suicidal death cultists don't do diplomacy.

I've said all along that if the Chinese really wanted little kim gone. he'd already be buried.

We will end up with the deal China has been trying to broker for the last three years.

Kim called Donalds bluff and will win the pot.Strategic guarantees from China/Russia.US out of S.Korea,

and the THAADS removed.

Now who is the crazy one ?

mkkby's picture

Someone please explain to me -- how is launching harmless test missiles worth fighting over?  Madd dog SOUNDS reasonable, but this needs to be explained.

I'm sure nothing will happen.  S Korea doesn't want Seoul blown to shit over nothing.  Also, a nuke exploded under water wipes out those carrier groups.  Nork has subs that can do this easily.


HoyeruNew's picture

acording to this report from 2013 apperantly they DO have somethign worth stealing:


Privately-held SRE Minerals on Wednesday announced the discovery in North Korea of what is believed to be the largest deposit of rare earth elements anywhere in the world.

SRE also signed a joint venture agreement with the Korea Natural Resources Trading Corporation for rights to develop REE deposits at Jongju in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for the next 25 years with a further renewal period of 25 years.

The joint venture company known as Pacific Century Rare Earth Mineral Limited, based in the British Virgin Islands, has also been granted permission for a processing plant on site at Jongju, situated approximately 150 km north-northwest of the capital of Pyongyang.

The initial assessment of the Jongju target indicates a total mineralisation potential of 6 billion tonnes with total 216.2 million tonnes rare-earth-oxides including light REEs such as lanthanum, cerium and praseodymium; mainly britholite and associated rare earth minerals. Approximately 2.66% of the 216.2 million tonnes consists of more valuable heavy rare-earth-elements.

According Dr Louis Schurmann, Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and lead scientist on the project, the Jongju deposit is the world's largest known REE occurrence.

The 216 million tonne Jongju deposit, theoretically worth trillions of dollars, would more than double the current global known resource of REE oxides which according to the US Geological Survey is pegged at 110 million tonnes.

Minerals like fluorite, apatite, zircon, nepheline, feldspar, and ilmenite are seen as potential by-products to the mining and recovery of REE at Jongju.

Further exploration is planned for March 2014, which will includes 96,000m (Phase 1) and 120,000m (Phase 2) of core drilling, with results reported according to the Australia's JORC Code, a standard for mineral disclosure similar to Canada's widely used National Instrument 43-101.

An industry in turmoil

The majority of the 17 rare earth elements – used in a variety of industries including green technology, defence systems and consumer electronics – were sourced from placer deposits in India and Brazil in the late 1940s.

During the 1950s, South Africa mined the majority of the world's REEs from large veins of rare earth-bearing monazite.

From the 1960s to 1980s, rare earths were supplied mainly from the US, mostly from the massive Mountain Pass mine in California, which was eventually mothballed in 2002.

China then took over the industry completely, producing more than 95% of the world's REEs centred in Inner Mongolia and also becoming the top consumer ahead of Japan and South Korea.

Worries about China's monopoly of production sent prices for all rare earths into the stratosphere from 2008 onwards with some REEs going up in price twenty-fold or more.

That reignited interest in the sector with dozens of explorers active around the globe making major discoveries from Canada and Greenland to Madagascar and Malawi.

Molycorp's (NYSE:MCP) Mountain Pass is almost back to full production, Lynas Corp's (ASX:LYC) Mount Weld mine in Australia and plant in Malaysia opened last year, while Saskatoon-based Great Western Minerals (CVE:GWG) is recommissioning the Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa with Chinese backing.

Prices have now come back down to earth with most REEs dropping in price by 70% or more after peaking in 2011.

For instance, the most abundant and cheapest of these, cerium oxide which is used to polish TV screens and lenses is now trading at $8.50 from all-time highs of $118 in the September 2011. The price for cerium oxide was $4.56 in 2008.

The reversal in europium oxide – the priciest of the widely-used heavy REEs used in medical imaging and the nuclear and defence industries – has also been dramatic.

The price of europium increased more than 10-fold from $403 in 2009 to an average of $4,900 in the third quarter of 2011.

It is now worth $1,110 a kilogram in the export market, while Chinese domestic europium is another $500 cheaper at $630/kg.

TheReplacement's picture

I thought Europium was the false sense of hope that continues to hold the European Union together.  I guess you do learn something new every day.

rejected's picture

The US can't even keep their one local rare earth mine in operation.  LOL

So why would they risk WW3, kill millions, to steal the minerals?

And if it went nuclear, how many years before they can even approach the peninsula?

SoDamnMad's picture

No, Mad Dog Mathis has seen too many Marines die for some desk jockey's wet dream.

tripletail's picture

The Warrior Monk is now a messenger boy. Too funny! It's difficult to know, though, who the true messenger is. Deep state? Trump?

New_Meat's picture

Kid, when you grow up, you might be able to get your head out of your ass.  But for now, please ffs, don't be driving, cuz u kant c.

underthevolcano's picture

Well, the deep shit state is split. There are the old timers, like Binney, who see what has happened and are doing everything in their power to reverse it, then there are the young turks, or the young turkeys, as you prefer.

Thanksgiving it not that far off.

debtor of last resort's picture

There's already a new warlord in Venezuela; Mad Eat Dogs Mattis

You're overdue asshole

Deep Snorkeler's picture

Decades of failed military adventures

seem quite normal now. Civilian casualties,

war crimes, drone assassinations, and

exorbitant useless mega-weapons, are non-events.

Infinite QE's picture

Need a regime change, and people anniliation in a certain (((middle eastern country)))

adanata's picture

...because it's a game? theater for the rubes. The globalists have a plan. We can attempt to figure the next moves by understanding their goals but ...unless you're a psychopath... it's a challenge. Then again... even the psychos need to adjust to ever changing circumstances and "opportunities"; I think there's always a plan B. One author suggested; horrifically, that the Seventh Fleet is so contaminated from Fukushima, they're being deliberately put in harms way. Unless or until the people rise up and put a stop to all this insanity, all we who see it can do, is watch it unfold...

underthevolcano's picture

Don't make it more obstuse than it already is. Sometimes a duck is just a duck.