- White House officials and aides reportedly dislike the “bloody nose” strike label.
- The term loosely refers to a limited strike, aimed at sending North Korea a message to curb its nuclear ambitions.
The “bloody nose” strike against North Korea that was reportedly proposed by White House officials appears to have brought about as much confusion now as it did shock when it was first reported.
The term has been circulating around foreign policy circles after The Telegraph published an article that cited “well-placed” sources in December. Since then, the two words have alarmed North Korea analysts for its brazen approach that could spiral into further conflict with North Korea on an unprecedented scale.
But White House officials denied using the term and said in classified briefings and in public that they would not support the policy, according to a Washington Post report on Monday. One administration official reportedly believed the term would have “petered out.”
“The phrase has never, ever been uttered by anyone in the White House,” a senior administration official said in The Post.
The apparent conflict between the widespread reporting of White House discussions of a limited strike, and the denials of the existence of a “bloody nose” strategy by several senior US officials, may just be semantics, foreign policy analysts said in The Post.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster, who reportedly denied having a plan to carry out a “bloody nose” strike, was previously believed to have been one of the main advocates for the plan, according to sources in a CNN report.
Despite the conflict between McMaster’s denials and reports of his proposal, he reportedly became frustrated with the term and joked to his aides that they ought to work on a “stubbed toe” strategy, The Post reported.
Though the exact scope of the strike remains unclear, the prevailing theory is that of a limited strike intended to send a message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. One former US security official described it as “options that would allow them to punch the North Koreans in the nose, get their attention and show that we’re serious,” according to The Telegraph.
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