On Wednesday, President Trump will host all 100 members of the Senate at the White House for an extraordinary briefing on North Korea’s nuclear program. Given all the saber rattling so far, it would not be surprising to hear Trump issue more warnings to North Korea. In just the past week National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Vice President Mike Pence have both warned that “all of our options are on the table” regarding North Korea’s burgeoning nuclear program.

Stern sounding words, certainly, but in fact their statements were in keeping with an American foreign policy tradition. In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised that “all options were on the table” to keep Gaddafi from using military force against civilians in Libya. And in 2008 while running for office, Barack Obama said he would “take no options off the table” to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The years of repetition by both political parties makes it pretty clear that the United States wants its adversaries to know that, well, all options are on the table. Unfortunately, they aren’t.

Read my piece at The Hill.

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About Trevor Thrall

I am a professor at George Mason University and Director of the Biodefense Graduate Program.

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