In a stunning foreign policy victory, today President Trump announced three Americans being held captive in North Korea were being released. The Americans are being freed following high-level talks with newly minted secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.
While this is good news for America, it’s less great for the credibility of many experts who confidently predicted Trump was making war with North Korea inevitable.
Last year when Trump began ramping up his rhetoric against the rogue regime, many in the media said the ratcheting up of tension would likely spill over into military conflict.
“We’re actually closer, in my view, to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we have ever been,” said Admiral Mike Mullen, a visiting professor at the Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “And I just don’t see how — I don’t see the opportunities to solve this diplomatically at this particular point."
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough all but assured war with North Korea is coming.
“We should be talking about North Korea every day," Scarborough said. "There is a coming war, most likely. Richard Haas, I think you would agree. It is more likely than not that there is a conflict, possibly a full-blown war, with an emerging nuclear power.”
Scarborough's co-host, Mika Brzezinski, said Trump's interested in war with North Korea because he wants to launch nuclear weapons.
"He wants to use nukes," Brzezinski said. "That’s what I think he feels ... You heard him over the past year. He’s excited about the concept.”
Another Naval admiral, James Stavridis, who is also an NBC national security analyst, put the chances of conflict at 30 percent: "I’d say there is probably a 10 percent chance we end up in an all-out, wheels-off war on the Korean peninsula, I think there is a 20 percent chance we will end up exchanging ordinance with North Korea at some point in a fairly significant way. About a 30 percent chance of war from where I sit right now."
Former journalist Dan Rather said Trump has brought America dangerously close to "outright war" with North Korea: "We’re probably closer to an outright war with North Korea than we have been in a very, very long time"
The former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said Trump's rhetoric will likely be construed as a "declaration of war" within North Korea, sparking hostilities.
"They can easily construe what he’s been saying as a declaration or at least a threat of war, which really heightens the paranoia there. And what concerns me about North Korea is — and the fact that the — all the decisions are vested in one person," Clapper said. "You know, President Trump is surrounded by some exceptional advisers who are sober, sane, mature and seasoned, and Kim Jong-un, the leader in the DPRK or North Korea is surrounded by sycophants, medal-bedecked generals who tail after him writing down his every utterance in a notebook. They’re not about to push back. And I do think about or worry about what is the fuse — what is the ignition point for Kim Jong-un’s fuse with this provocative rhetoric?"