McMaster Says US Has "Four or Five" North Korea Scenarios, "Some Are Uglier Than Others"

Tyler Durden's picture

As tensions between North Korea and the U.S. continue to escalate with every Trump tweet and subsequent response by Kim Jong-Un, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that the U.S. has prepared "four or five different scenarios" for how the crisis with North Korea will be resolved, adding ominously that “some are uglier than others." 

McMaster declined to comment on the extent to which North Korea’s deeply-buried nuclear program was vulnerable to U.S. military strikes -- an assessment made of Iran before the 2015 framework agreement designed to stop its nuclear program.


He acknowledged that every military option assumed a reaction from North Korea that endangered South Korean citizens, adding it’s “foremost in our minds.” That danger “is certainly taken into consideration in all our planning and war gaming, table-top exercise efforts,” McMaster said.

Still, while McMaster said the threat from Pyongyang is “much further advanced” than anticipated and the Pentagon said the president has a “deep arsenal” to draw upon if needed, Bloomberg quoted U.S. officials who dismissed North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho’s comment that President Donald Trump’s warnings to Pyongyang at the United Nations amounted to a declaration of war.

That said, both governments have said “all options” are on the table in dealing with the tensions. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, speaking in India on Tuesday, said the U.S. wants to keep engagement with North Korea in the diplomatic realm as long as possible. But on Monday Ri escalated tensions with his remark that North Korea would be within its rights to shoot down U.S. warplanes flying in international airspace. That startled markets, coming just days after the Pentagon sent planes near North Korea’s border.

Additionally, as reported this morning, North Korea boosted defenses on its eastern coastline after the US flew B-1B Lancer bombers and F-15C Eagle fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan, just off the coast of North Korea - the farthest north of the demilitarized zone any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast this century, the Pentagon said. North Korea was surprised by the bombers, which weren’t caught by its radar,
Yonhap News reported, citing the head of the intelligence committee of
South Korea’s parliament.

The Pentagon said its most recent bomber and fighter exercises were meant to underscore “the seriousness with which we take DPRK’s reckless behavior,” White said last week, using the initials for North Korea’s formal name. “This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the President has many military options.”

The question of course, is how would Pyongyang respond to any potential strike: military analysts have said any conflict between the U.S. and North Korea would risk a devastating attack by Pyongyang on the South Korean capital Seoul.

“There’s not a ‘precision strike’ that solves the problem,” McMaster said at an event in Washington hosted by the Institute for the Study of War. “There’s not a military blockade that can solve the problem. What we hope to do is avoid war, but we cannot discount that possibility.”

Meanwhile, Lu Kang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said assertiveness from both sides would only increase the risk of confrontation. “We have witnessed a lot of saber rattling recently on the Korean peninsula,” he said. “We hope the U.S. and DPRK politicians can realize that resorting to military means will never be a viable way out for this issue.”

* * *

In conclusion, Bloomberg reminds us that in 1969, President Richard Nixon considered tactical nuclear strikes after North Korea shot down a U.S. reconnaissance plane, according to documents declassified in 2010 and published by the National Security Archive.

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Sliced into ribbons's picture

TRUMP: “I’m good at war,” he said. “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.”

Haus-Targaryen's picture

Its all bullshit and hot air until the start evacuating Seoul. 

TungstenBars's picture

"Four or Five"? Well which is it general? You don't even remember how many?

auricle's picture

We don't attack countries with nuclear capabilities. NK has successfully demonstrated they are a nuclear nation.

ne-tiger's picture

It's fucking childish to behave like a kindergartener. Maybe let the pumpkin and little fat ass settle with a cage fight on HBO, I would bet on that. 

Mango327's picture

Tick talk tick talk tick talk...



Mr 9x19's picture

......... until the start evacuating Seoul.


i would not even consider to do so ....

result would add dramatic to the situation, making usa more legitimate to strike any opponent budge.

Nolde Huruska's picture

We don't go to war with countries that have McDonald's restaurants (the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention). North Korea has none.

lucitanian's picture

There is no military solution to the N. Korean situation.

My suggestion: A meeting at senior ministerial level of N.Korea, S. Korea, Japan, China and Russia.


- A N. Korean halt to nuclear and missile deployment and tests over foreign territory.

- A halt to joint exercises

- A reduction (eventual elimination) of US forces/bases in the region (S.Korea/Japan)

- A N/S Korea peace and non aggression treaty

- A cooperation and development agreement between all four.

And the US can go quietly back to the other side of the Pacific Ocean and carry on rotting from within by itself.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

Clever what you did there, excluding the US from the meeting. Regrettably, it probably has to be done that way because the US refuses to engage in diplomacy.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, speaking in India on Tuesday, said the U.S. wants to keep engagement with North Korea in the diplomatic realm as long as possible.

This statement shows the disconnected-from-reality environment in which the Vichy DC government operates. Engagement can not be kept in the diplomatic realm if it never entered the diplomatic realm. The State Department definition of "diplomacy" is threats and sanctions.

dogismycopilot's picture

McMasters is a boozer. He probably killed those brain cells already.

roadhazard's picture

If he's aboozer then you need to start drinking.

secretargentman's picture

But once they do that, you know the S is about to hit the fan. 

in_xanadu_did_kubla_khan's picture

So, just curious what everyone thinks and perhaps someone knows the answer, but would the evacuation of Seoul be looked at as a provocation by NK?

SK/USA decide to tell everyone to could only imagine that NK would assume that a strike was imminent...if they responded to the provocation, one wonders how China would respond.

Evacuating Seoul might be harder than we think. Perhaps the ONLY answer to all of this is diplomacy.

Rapunzal's picture

All politicians are puppets, their masters are the money changers. On route to destroy the US. All wars are bankers wars. The only hope and saving grace the gun grabbing organized by the bankers didn't work out.

BennyBoy's picture


Time to open a new franchise in NK called a central bank, infinite debt style.

Uchtdorf's picture

The answer is to flood North Korea with food. Let the common people get healthy and decide what they want to do. Maybe add some hacksaw blades to the cakes we send them so those who so desire may escape from NK.

johnduncan78's picture

Somebody needs to be. We haven't won one since 1945 !  They get worse in fact. 16 years, trillions of dollars and thousands andd thousands of lives in Afganistan and no win yet.........................................................

Stan522's picture


<---We are going to war

<---We are blustering at best

tmosley's picture

We are negotiating in public. Both Kim and Trump have to convince their underlings that they are personally at risk, and each side is doing that while also signalling to the other side that they aren't actually going to go to war (each side is pacing each other, with Trump adopting NoKo style propoganda and Kim assigning catchy nicknames.

Everything is going to be fine.

BennyBoy's picture


MaMaster, how about picking up your murder weapons and go home.

NK aint gonna do shit.

cossack55's picture

If anyone knows ugly it would be McMasters (and Weiner)

Winston Churchill's picture

I thought the NFL was the real threat.

Veritas X-'s picture

Come'on now Winston....

"McMaster Says..." ...nothing.

What'da you think about him still bein' around would/could be a more pertinent response.

Concerns intellect/hft-ai(autonomous intelligence)-intellectual response.



A. Boaty's picture

If you have nukes to test and you want someone else to take the blame, would you make a deal with NK? If you sell big weapons, wouldn't you want to keep fear alive?

A. Boaty's picture

Looks like someone here has a long position in Lockheed.

spanish inquisition's picture

Sad part is NK has 8 different scenarios...China 10 and Russia 12. Best the US could do is 4 or 5....

RagaMuffin's picture

Military McMasterbation ?

Veritas X-'s picture

-Military McMasterbation ?-

Absolutely positively the best description I've heard corncerning this

.....cummin' ?

He stutters ya'know.

'effing clown commander...."aaa-daaa-ahhaaa-a-daa-haaa".

F_ckin' reject personified!

Lickin' the NWO-betrayus-hillary the c_nt; that's why he's tongue-twisted.

'effin' freak.




shimmy's picture

Who cares about North Korea and a potential world war? Get back to the more important things like millionaire black athletes taking a knee and president pumpkin being triggered by it.

opport.knocks's picture

Its funny that you think Trump was the one triggered. He always has his finger on the Twitter trigger to get others to respond.

Trump is just playing to his base by doing a harmless weekly diversion of attention from the fact he has walked back from almost every campaign promise.

Eyes Opened's picture

If he wants to "play to his base" ... he should






Isn't this what he promised ?? 

MAGA ... my shiny metal ass....  lol


tuttisaluti's picture

Russia and China should take Nordkorea under theyr umbrella in exchange of the nuclear program

Mr T's picture

That is an interesting statement, in fact China

Déjà vu all over again

Psychopaths have no Imagination and are never wrong in their reptile like linear thinking.

I have and anyone can find 100s of examples.

It is a Tell.

cat-foodcafe's picture

NK doesn't have any of its own nukes.  NK IS China's nuke program.

There will be no NK war.  This is ALL ABOUT the So. China Sea and U.S. dominance thereof.

The public shit-spouting is just that....all diarrhea, no fire.

NoWayJose's picture

The touch-point to start the war is now established. The US will continue to fly ‘close’ until some 19 year old brainwashed Norkie fires an anti aircraft missile at the US planes. This will invite a big US response since “NK shot first”. Which will then cascade into escalation.

Rapunzal's picture

Ahh you mean another false flag ;)

opport.knocks's picture

Maybe that is who Otto Warmbier was trying to recruit.

silverer's picture

The S Korean army is well trained, dedicated, and follows orders. You must be thinking of the US. Maybe one of the self obsessed and depressed sex change recruits, doting over how well the surgery went and not paying attention to what's going on. Or maybe a lunatic Jihad dude at the switch, pulling the typical "not really a terrorist" act.

NoWayJose's picture

I said Norkie, not Soukie!

silverer's picture

RE: South Korean citizens:

"...That danger [to S Korea] “is certainly taken into consideration in all our planning and war gaming"

Bullshit. Just like you took into consideration the citizens of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and so forth. You have a special phrase you use to not have "victory" denied to the overwhelming forces of the oh-so-wonderful and righteous US military: It's called "collateral damage". Maybe the ever so peaceful, tolerant, and "never harm the innocent" US planners should start your war by dropping leaflets over S Korea, instead of N Korea. It's obvious to me you owe them at least a "heads up" before they lose 15% of their population due to the next US military "game".

small axe's picture

Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

60 Minutes (5/12/96)