Friday, March 23, 2018

Perfectly Legitimate

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in January that Pyongyang was within "a handful of months" of being able to deliver nuclear warheads to the U.S.  How long must America wait before it acts to eliminate that threat?

Pre-emption opponents argue that action is not justified because Pyongyang does not constitute an "imminent threat." They are wrong.  The threat is imminent, and the case against pre-emption rests on the misinterpretation of a standard that derives from prenuclear, pre-ballistic-missile times.  Given the gaps in U.S. intelligence about North Korea, we should not wait until the very last minute.  That would risk striking after the North has deliverable nuclear weapons, a much more dangerous situation. ...

In 1837 Britain unleashed pre-emptive "fire and fury" against a wooden steamboat.  It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current "necessity" posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons by striking first.

-- Incoming National Security Advisor John Bolton, The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First, Wall Street Journal Opinion page, 28 February 2018

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