What are the odds that President Trump will order a preemptive strike on North Korea?

Posted 11 Aug 2017. 

The answers provided by others are very interesting, however many have not cast light upon one individual in the whole decision-making process who has (from my perspective) a bit more “pull” than is typically considered: the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis.

A quick Google search shows that Mattis is very much a realist when it comes to the idea of employing nuclear weapons against North Korea. For good reason: aside from the international reactions, the guaranteed refugee/humanitarian disaster that will immediately follow poses enough of a threat to the nations in close proximity to North Korea – as well as the responsibilities that the US would inherit as a result of such action – complicate any considerations in the use of force.

If the President issues such a strike, it will be interesting to see what resistance he will get from Mattis. I have no doubt that the Secretary of Defense will comply, if it comes to that, but the conversations and advice given on the matter will be scrutinized for decades.


Gray Wilton provided a very detailed answer to the question Step by step, what is the process required for the United States to launch a nuclear weapon? While I am not an expert in the field of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) and the steps to properly descend into such… um… madness, the steps he provided mirror everything I have found on the topic…


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