McMaster: U.S. Preparing For "Preventive War" With North Korea

Tyler Durden's picture

The United States is preparing for all options to counter the growing threat from North Korea, including launching a “preventive war,” national security adviser H.R. McMaster said in an interview that aired Saturday on MSNBC. The comments come after North Korea carried out two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles in the past month and after the president said he has been clear he will not tolerate North Korea's threats to attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons.

The key excerpts (full transcript):

H.H.: Let me switch if I can to North Korea, which is really pressing. And– and remind our audience, at the Aspen Institute ten days ago, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Joe Dunford, said, “There’s always a military– option. It would be horrific.” Lindsey Graham on Today Show earlier this week said– “We need to destroy the regime and their deterrent.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday, I believe, to North Korea, “You are leaving us no choice but to protect ourselves.” And then the Chairman of the Chief of Staff of the Army said, “Just because every choice is a bad choice doesn’t mean you don’t have to choose.” Are we looking at a preemptive strike? Are you trying to prepare us, you being collectively, the administration and people like Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton for a first strike North Korea?


H.R.M. Well, we really, what you’re asking is– is are we preparing plans for a preventive war, right? A war that would prevent North Korea from threatening the United States with a nuclear weapon. And the president’s been very clear about it. He said, “He’s not gonna tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States” if they have nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States; It’s intolerable from the president’s perspective. So of course, we have to provide all options to do that. And that includes a military option.


Now, would we like to resolve it short of what would be a very costly war, in terms of– in terms of the suffering of mainly the South Korean people? The– the ability of– of that North– North Korean regime to hold the South hostage to conventional fire’s capabilities, artillery and so forth, Seoul being so close. We’re cognizant of all of that. And so what we have to do is– is everything we can to– to pressure this regime, to pressure Kim Jong-un and those around him such that they conclude, it is in their interest to denuclearize. And there are really I think three critical things, came out of the president’s very successful summit with– President Xi of China that were different– that were different from past efforts to work with China, which has always been, you know, the– the desire, right, to work with China– on the– on the North Korean problem.

How many casualties will there be:

HH: In 1994, when the first North Korean deal with signed, the people who executed it, Gallucci, Dan Poneman, Joe Wit wrote a book. And they quoted a general saying, “If there is a conflict,” called Going Critical, “there will be a million casualties.” A million casualties. Is that still a good estimate of what happens if– preemptive strike unfolds in North Korea, General?


HRM: You know, one thing about war. It’s impossible oftentimes to predict. It’s always impossible to predict the future course of events. Because war is a continuous interaction of opposites, a continuous interaction between your forces and those of the enemy. It involves not just the capability to use force, but also intentions and things that are just unknowable at the outset. And so I think it’s important to– to look at– range of estimates of what could happen, because it’s clear that at war, it’s unpredictable. And so you always have to ask the question, “What happens next? What are the risks? How do you mitigate those risks?” And– and obviously, you know, war is– is– is the most serious decision any leader has to make. And so what can we do to make sure we exhaust our possibilities and exhaust our other opportunities to accomplish this very clear objective of denuclearization of the peninsula short of war?

Should Americans be concerned:

HH: How concerned should the American people be that we are actually on the brink of a war with North Korea?


HRM: Well, I think it’s impossible to overstate the danger associated with this. Right, the, so I think it’s impossible to overstate the danger associated with a rogue, brutal regime, I mean, who murdered his own brother with nerve agent in an airport. "I mean, think about what he’s done in terms of his own brutal repression of not only members of his regime but his own family," McMaster added.


On Tuesday,  Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the president told him there would be a war with North Korea if the regime continues to try to hit America with an ICBM. Appearing on the Today Show, the South Carolina Republican Senator said that President Trump has indicated to him that the administration is prepared to strike North Korea to prevent an attack against the U.S.  Pushed on by Matt Lauer on whether a viable military option exists in the region, Graham responded: "They're wrong.  There is a military option to destroy North Korea's program and North Korea itself."

The Hwasong-14 ICBM seen during its test in this undated photo released by

North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, July 5 2017.

As reported last Friday, North Korea claimed that its latest missiles can now strike anywhere in the United States, delivering nuclear warheads. Experts have said that the country’s missile program has greatly accelerated in recent months putting it far ahead of previous predictions about when it could launch reliable long-range missiles. Speaking to Newsweek in recent days, several experts said that an attack would be the deadliest the U.S. has ever received and potentially kill more than 100,000 people if it struck in large population centers like New York City or Los Angeles.

“I’m not going to confirm [whether the latest ICBM could reach anywhere in the U.S.] but whether it could reach San Francisco or Pittsburgh or Washington, I mean how much does that matter? It’s a grave threat,” McMaster said.

He added: “It’s impossible to overstate the danger associated with a rogue, brutal regime."

McMaster cautioned that he was aware of the fact that any strike against North Korea could bring about a “very costly war” that would cause immense “suffering of mainly the South Korean people.”

Last month, CIA Director Mike Pompeo floated another option for dealing with the North Korea threat, saying that he was “hopeful we will find a way to separate that regime from this system.” North Korea responded by threatening swift and brutal consequences for any attempt to topple Kim.

“Should the U.S. dare to show even the slightest sign of an attempt to remove our supreme leadership, we will strike a merciless blow at the heart of the U.S. with our powerful nuclear hammer, honed and hardened over time,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Still, McMaster did not rule out such an attempt when asked whether it could be a legitimate tool. “I think it depends on the legal justifications for that. And this goes back to just war theory. And what is the nature of the risk? And does that risk justify acting in defense of your people and your vital interests?”

Last week, the local press reported that South Korea's military is preparing a "surgical strike" scenario that could wipe out NOrth Korean command and missile and nuclear facilities following an order by S.Korea's president Moon Jae-In.

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lurker since 2012's picture

You, Dear Sir, have been on fire, ie It's a pleasure to read your short ideas, musling and quotes.

Luc X. Ifer's picture

"When you want one's resources you make them your enemy. Then, trough military action go and take them" - Avatar.

This war is in preparation for 50+ years, now, it was decided that the time has arrived to launch it.


Grave's picture

there's only one war that matters:
common decent people
psychopaths and sociopaths in power

there will be war after war, until each and every country cleans up their own shit and kills all of their own psychopaths and sociopaths in power, perpetually

MEFOBILLS's picture

common decent people
psychopaths and sociopaths in power


The amygdala is the fear center.  It is where irrational demons are stored.  Monkey like humans need to release their internalized demons in order to feeeel safe.

In other words, the boogey man is built up, and built up further, into a towering figment of imagination.  Then rational hippocampus has to do something to quell irrational amygdala.  Man goes to war to get release, and rationalizes said war by demonizing the enemy.

This is why humanity needs to have eugenics.  It also needs to test for psychopathy, and remove these types of lower humans from postions of influence.

Archaic hominids like SubSaharan Africans, and Australian Aboriginals, paint their faces and jump around in dances.  This is to get rid of their demons.   McMaster needs his own war paint and feathers, rather than projecting his fears onto the rest of the world.


Grave's picture

eugenics is one path, another path would be a social order which would prevent these degenerates from gaining power.

for example decentralized/distributed governance using mathematical and statistical probabilities, like annual random selection of representatives from people who have family (no family = not eligible for selection = no chance to fuck it up for people with families)

thats how you prevent a degenerate fraction of population to fuck it up for the rest

Vigilante's picture

What if the majority are the degenerates?


shovelhead's picture

Let's have lotteries instead of elections and find out.

Maybe Joe the Plumber would turn psycho if you gave him half a chance.It's easy to be an angel when there's no opportunity for temptation.

My take on human nature is more than half of the people would sign away their soul to the devil if they had the easy opportunity to get money, power or whatever they want.

The lazy ones are just waiting for the contract to show up in the mail. We only see the ones that actively work at it to close the deal.

1033eruth's picture

Whats the resource we're going after?  We don't need an excuse to go to war.  That's why we've maintained the perpetual war.  The MIC funds too many reelection campaigns.  We'll FIND an excuse regardless of the need.  

You're an idiot if you haven't figured this out yet.  

Luc X. Ifer's picture

You r right MiC wise but an idiot geography wise. Educate yourself about the mineral resources NK owns.


factorypreset's picture

Kinda like - "Gentleman! You can't fight in here - this is the war room!"

- Dr Strangelove

bigkahuna's picture


We're going to war to prevent war!!!  Where do they get these morons and why are they not in prison!

edit: the Army - no wonder   .....what kind of leadership is THIS? ...Army leadership SIR!!!

Bes's picture


i guess this all that winning i was hearing about.

so much winning my head is spinning.


trump was/is and will always be a MIC, Israel, Wall Street, bankster and Police State loving HACK

(but cankles... but seth rich... but ww3 with russia... shut the fuck up)

trump is in and these are HIS actions


booboo's picture

We have come a long way since the days of isolationism pre WW1 and 2. At least we "thought" we had a reason. China will have none of this shit and they don't care how many die. They are looking for a purge.

Hans-Zandvliet's picture


Unfortunately (since roUghly 9/11) Washington has taken out the hammer and thrown away the rest of its toolbox: theY have hardly any skilled diplomats left to SIT DOWN AND TALK!!! Washington simply refuses to SIT DOWN AND TALK with Pyonyang.

Trump is not even allowed to SIT DOWN AND TALK with Putin. The idiots of the US congress were not even able to SIT DOWN AND TALK with their EU and NATO allies about more sanctions on Russia.

"SIT DOWN AND TALK" was one of those tools that Washington has thrown away, along with the rest of its toolsbox. The only tool left is SHOOT FIRST AND ASK QUESTIONS LATER.

However, the big question is, if there will be anyone left to ask questions, after a war with NK will have escalated into a nuclear WW-3 with China and Russia.

earleflorida's picture

america has never had to talk to any power since the 1880's.

thats when we became deaf!!!!

were still deaf,... but seriously in need of learning sign-language???

RichardParker's picture

That's not entirely true. 

They HAVE to talk to Saudia Arabia and Israel.

awake283's picture

Neither China or Russia have any interest in a war with the US. 

edotabin's picture

All I know is my "sneak" radar went crazy listening to this interview.

I'd like to see Kim Jong Un gone but not because of posturing or geo-strategic reasons. I'd like to see him gone because he is an unelected ass who is causing extreme harm, on all levels, to 24 million people. Even the sanctions against NK are counterproductive in my view as they only make it worse. Let Xi and Vlad replace him with someone who will at least give the people some breathing room.

Hans-Zandvliet's picture

I fully agree, and so should the US come to realize.

However, the US seems to be hell-bent on war with China and Russia, which makes it more difficult each next month for Russia and China to avoid one.

Give Me Some Truth's picture

The war with N. Korea seems to be an almost certainty. I guess we are just waiting for the debt ceiling to be extended before we attack. The war will go sideways and will require a $trillion or two or three.

Chupacabra-322's picture

@ Hans,

What's at Stake is the Deep State Global network of MultiNational Central Banking, Espionage, Murder, War, Torture, Destabilization Campaigns, BlackMail, Extortion, Child / Human Trafficking, Drug / Gun Running, Money Laundering, Corruption, NSA spying, Media control & control of the 17 Intelligence Agencies.

Most importantly, The Deep State controls all the distribution lines of the aforementioned. Especially the Coaxial Cable Communication lines of Espionage spying & Surveillance State Apparatus / Infrastructure.

Agencies all built on the British Model of Intelligence. Purely Evil & Highly Compartmentalized Levels which function as a Step Pyramid Model of Authority / Monarch Reign Pyramid Model of Authority.

That's what's at Stake. How this plays out is anyone's guess. The Pure Evil Criminal Psychopath Rogue elements of the Deep State will not go quietly. If not dealt with now, they'll disappear only to resurface at a later date with one objective:

Total Complete Full Spectrum World Domination they seek through Power & Control.

It's those Select Highly Compartmentalized Criminal Pure Evil Rogue Elements at the Deep State Top that have had control since the JFK Execution that have entrenched themselves for decades & refuse to relinquish Control.

Hans-Zandvliet's picture

True enough; I'm well aware of most of what you say. I don't have high hopes, if any at all, that they even want to consider to "sit down and talk": it would just ruin their plans to achieve total world domination (the Fourth Reich).

My hopes and prayers are for something else. Washington still thinks they're the most powerfull nation on earth, but it's a Moloch on clay feet: their economy is crumbling; they have outsourced vast parts of their productive capacity to China and other low-wage countries; real unemployment is around 23%, they have a gargantuan trade deficit; they're up to their necks in debt (on a personal level, as well as local, state and federal level); they have printed (digitally) trillions of dollars to keep the ponsy sceme going. This is simply unsustainable and has to come to an end, sooner or later. And I suspect that when it comes to and end, it will collapse almost overnight with a BIG BANG.

So my hopes and prayers are for this house of cards to collapse (sooner rather than later), because pretty soon thereafter, the US will find itself unable to wage any more wars. Something similar to the Brittish Empire after WW-2: unable to regain control over their colonies.

HRH Feant2's picture

I don't agree with everything you said but I love the way you wrote! Great comment!

The only constant in life is change.

lucitanian's picture


What point could there possibly be for any nation or group of nations to "sit down and talk" with any official organ of power in the US, executive, congress, house of representatives, all come from a fabricated wonderland of total delusion?

Be it on N.Korea, Russia, China, Iran, Europe, literally on any subject, For all the intelligence gathering that they are supposed to have, their conclusions are certainly not intelligent.

So, who can sit at a table and to arrive at a coherent agreement with the US if their representatives represent ignorant, incoherent, delusion. Especially if you know that subsequently the US is going to continue on its delusional path to claim any reason to abrogate their agreement anyway.

Quite frankly, the US is out of control, aggressively sponsoring regime change, terrorism, creating illegal wars, and is the most dangerous country in the world, armed with nuclear weapons which they say they can use preemptively (again in contradiction to all previous agreements on the subject).

This has to stop, one way or another, and as we go forward its looking every day more and more like the other.

Hans-Zandvliet's picture

I couldn't agree more. That's why my "SIT DOWN AND TALK" was not aimed at other countries but at Washington, though it seems more like a fool's hope than a reasonable chance.

That's why, instead of hoping for adult behaviour in Washington, I have more hopes in the crumbling of the Moloch's clay feet: the US-economy crashing (as I detailed in another comment). That would make it effectively impossible for Washing to wage any more serious wars.

My guess is that Russia and China are basically biding their time until the US Empire collapses under its own weight (just like the Soviet Union did: Dmitri Orlov's book "Reinventing Collapse" is an interesting read on that subject). They just barely respond to the laundry list of US-provocations and that's just the most prudent and responsible thing to do.

2_legs_bahhhhhd's picture

This is all theatre, a controlled demolition. They will implode the western world incrementally until their is nothing left to loot. Once that is complete, they will usher in global governance for the bleating sheep. Right now they are manufacturing consent by devide and conquer.

Us and them

Blackfox's picture

So how long till we have (((North Korean terrorists?)))

Mr Hankey's picture

I see what you did there . (((AYY-RAAYB MUESELEEM  CAVEMAN TURRISTS)))

geno-econ's picture

Preventative War sure sounds like First Strike Annihilation Capability by an elephant directed towards an annoying mosquito. 

StarGate's picture

Thot the phrase was
"War is Peace".

Geo Orwell

Chupacabra-322's picture

@ Loony,

Of course you can. McShitFace just did.

I get a kick out of listening to the constant Gas Light concerts of Psychological Operation False Narrative Scripted diarrhea coming out of their mouths.

walmarde's picture

The only thing that count Car and Passion

adanata's picture


North Korea is sitting on TRILLIONS in mineral wealth... the globalist central bankers want it; everything else you read is BS.

Perhaps they have decided this is a good time to gear up and take it.

GreatUncle's picture

And all other American enemies will be watching ... Russia, China, Iran ... could prbably chuck in Libya, Syrai, Iraq,Afghanistan.

My only question ... at what point will they be tackled in a similar way?

As for the comment "destroying the enemies detterent"! Fucking deterrent, should have at least termed it attack weaponary because everybody around the world used terms nukes "deterrent".

Einstein will be proved wrong in the end ... it will not be sticks and stones for WW4 it will be cancelled as all life has been extinguished.

ThirteenthFloor's picture

'Wars make poor chisels towards carving peaceful tomorrows" - MLK

StarGate's picture

Don't know what to think on this one. We are told No Korea has crazy man-kid as leader that the people believe is a god. And that crazy man-kid wants to destroy the west and to prove it continually shoots off rockets toward the west.

A) Is No. Korean leader a crazy man-kid?
B) If so, does he want to destroy the west (why)?
C) Is he capable of reaching the west with one of his rockets?

Have heard China is a trading partner, No Korea does not want to destroy China and that China fears if West starts war in Korea, refugees will burden the Chinese border. So No Korea, from China perspective is the West's problem.

Latina Lover's picture
“Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.”

  Dwight D. Eisenhower

Blankone's picture

McMaster is not the source of this approach. He is putting forth into the press what Trump wants to be said. Trump is the source.

BlindMonkey's picture

Perhaps but I will believe that Trump is the sock puppet chosing the best of the options presented to him by the deep state operatives in the dark suits until a more evidence is presented.

Akzed's picture

POTUS campaigned against needless wars, remember? McMaster's stuttering sputtering answers do not seem to spring from a clean conscience, so it isn't his idea either. Trump is apparently now surrounded by cabal operatives implementing cabal agendas.

What's the most effective way to suppress Trump's base? Have him go after them once they begin to publicly oppose and protest another stupidass war. Link Russia to NK in the MSM so any defense whatsoever of Russia by Americans can be labeled as sedition. The generals now surrounding Trump are very familiar with counter-insurgency at all levels.


Blankone's picture

Trump does not have to get approval for making statements or in who he selects. If Trump did not want this to be the message he has complete control to have McMaster (and himself) say something different. It is Trump's choice.

And those generals are also very familiar with subverting the laws and political systems of countries, installing fake democracy controlled by a military and brutally crushing lawful opposition.

Bes's picture

i think you were drinking to much of the kool-aid

"Nov. 12, 2015: This is the Trump theory on war. But I’m good at war. I’ve had a lot of wars of my own. I’m really good at war. I love war, in a certain way, but only when we win."

he wants his

he will find it


GreatUncle's picture

"globalist agenda" not cabal agendas.

Strategically North Korea in the east if you look on the map and Ukraine in the west enables the USA to block Russia on both sides and also sets up China nicely too.

That's how I see the strategy being played out here.

Seeing as the pentagon likes Alexander the Great that is their hammer and anvil to crush the enemy.

shovelhead's picture

Blocks what?

Russians are planning to walk to San Francisco?

Akzed's picture

Which among other scenarios is what he campaigned against, thanks.

PeterLong's picture

I don't doubt that "preventive war" was an idea thousands of years before Hitler.

Akzed's picture

Stalin, who stayed out of the Pacific war, was given Korea above the 38th at Pottsdam. Someone please explain to me why that was necessary.