The Chairman of the United States Chief of Staff no longer considers Russia, America’s greatest threat, rather North Korea, Iran, and China are among the top concerns of the United States.
Two years ago, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, considered Russia to be the greatest threat to America but now other actors are threatening US national security, with North Korea now constituting the “number one challenge.”
“I said at the time from a state actor perspective it’s Russia. And I said that because of their nuclear capability and their cyber capabilities,” Dunford said at a recent security forum in Aspen, Colorado. However, he said the US military does not “actually have the luxury today of singling out one challenge…”
“I just want to put it into context. If I was to say Russia is the greatest threat – it is one of the threats that we face right now and the one that is most militarily capable,” Dunford said…
“Obviously, North Korea today from a sense-of-urgency perspective would be our number one challenge,” the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said…
“When I look at Russia, first and foremost we have to be able to deter a nuclear war… secondly, we have to be able to deter a conventional war,” he said.
The de-escalation of the Russian crisis and the escalation of tensions with China, North Korea, and Iran further provides evidence that while America fixated on the former Soviet Union and fighting terrorism in the Middle East, other countries crept up to challenge the United States.
As the crisis in North Korea deepens, the General pointed out that military action with the rogue nation is no longer unimaginable, rather Dunford warned that the nuclear program is an ‘urgent threat.’
“Many people have talked about military options with words like ‘unimaginable. I would probably shift that slightly and say it would be horrific, and it would be a loss of life unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes, and I mean anyone who’s been alive since World War II has never seen the loss of life that could occur if there’s a conflict on the Korean Peninsula. But as I’ve told my counterparts, both friend and foe, it is not unimaginable to have military options to respond to North Korean nuclear capability. What’s unimaginable to me is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver, Colorado. That’s unimaginable to me. So my job will be to develop military options to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
The General’s comments just as the State Department also is preparing to issue a travel ban to North Korea for American citizens, which could be a signal that military action is on the horizon, however, only time will tell.
The North Korean crisis could also lead back to a crisis with Iran, Russia, and or China as all of the countries are linked in some way. For example, Russia wiped away 90% of North Korean debt in 2014 because Russia was eyeing a pipeline in the region, China, on the other hand, is North Korea’s largest trading partner. Iran and North Korea partake in educational, scientific, and cultural cooperation, as well as cooperating in the nuclear program of Iran.