From Rod Lyon, The Strategist (ASPI): “Finding a solution to North Korea’s accelerating nuclear and missile programs grows more urgent by the day. Our previous strategies—delay and denial—will no longer avail us. But the three standard options—diplomacy, sanctions or use of force—all have downsides. Diplomacy’s proven ineffective; sanctions are difficult, slow and uneven; and the use of force might well beget a wider war. Is there a sleeper option—regime change? In the wake of Iraq and Libya, regime change has a bad name. But the question’s worth revisiting, precisely because of the recent killing of Kim Jong-nam.”
"...● “Mutual respect” and “win-win solutions.” In Beijing, Tillerson parroted the Chinese when he said that U.S.-China relations should be built on “nonconfrontation, no conflict, mutual respect and always searching for win-win solutions.” As a general rule, it is not a good idea for senior U.S. officials to repeat such Chinese formulations nearly word for word, since they will be interpreted in China based on the official narrative of the Communist Party. But this was a minor mistake compared with the Obama administration’s 2013 embrace of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proposal for a “new model of great power relations” between Beijing and Washington. That six-character Chinese phrase cast the United States and China as the two powers that should decide the future of Asia, implicitly downgrading U.S. allies and partners such as Japan and India to second-tier status. In contrast, Tillerson’s use of mundane Chinese Foreign Ministry rhetoric described a bilateral process and did not place China in a privileged position over democratic U.S. allies. Still, in the future, the secretary will want to find his own words to characterize relations with China, which — as he pointed out in other parts of his public remarks — are highly competitive but do hold the potential for greater cooperation.
●“All options are on the table ” with North Korea. Tillerson also took a bit of heat for this statement at his Seoul news conference Friday. But this is exactly the warning that a Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush administration would probably be sending right now. Over the past year, Pyongyang has raced toward its goal of fielding an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the continental United States with a nuclear warhead. It has deployed hundreds of missiles capable of reaching Japan, South Korea and U.S. bases on Guam and showed a willingness to employ biological or chemical weapons when it allegedly ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Un’s half brother in Malaysia using VX nerve agent. The United States is unlikely to choose a preemptive military strike, but it is critical at this moment to reiterate long-standing U.S. policy toward North Korea: that all options, including military and even nuclear options, will be considered, as necessary, to deter attacks on our homeland or allies....