Striking North Korea will be catastrophic: US ex-NSA

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Washington, Aug 11 : Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice has said that the US should rule out a pre-emptive strike on North Korea and termed President Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” remarks as “dangerous”.

“A pre-emptive war, if one were actually thinking of executing that, would be catastrophic,” Rice said on CNN’s “Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” on Thursday. 

She said the “hot rhetoric” coming from both Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could move the nations closer to war.

Rice, who was US Ambassador to the UN under President Barack Obama before becoming his top national security aide, said the US should instead continue to rely on deterrence. 

Washington should warn Pyongyang of a swift and massive military response if North Korea moves to attack the US or its allies, as a way to dissuade North Korea from attacking, Rice said.

She said the President had articulated the logic of deterrence in his comments on Thursday.

“The core of what President Trump said today, discounting for the rhetoric, was if North Korea were to attack the US, and obviously Guam is part of the US, we would respond with the full force of our capabilities,” Rice said. “That’s common sense. That’s deterrence. And that’s the appropriate approach.”

However, she said Trump’s improvised threat earlier in the week, that the US would potentially respond to further North Korean threats and nuclear developments with unprecedented force, outlined a dangerous proposal.

On Thursday, Trump went further, saying his warning to unleash “fire and fury” on North may not have gone far enough.

Rice said North Korea always reacts to outside pressure “with vitriol” and warned Trump not to respond to Kim’s heated rhetoric in kind.

Last week, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to increase sanctions on North Korea, and Rice said those sanctions, paired with military exercises in the region, meant it was “almost inevitable” that Kim would make threats.

“We just can’t react to every statement or verbal provocation,” she said.