North Korea threat hangs over Mattis visit

Defense secretary says diplomacy remains U.S. priority

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis arrived in Mountain View on Thursday intending to highlight the development of new military technology for the digital age. But the weaponry that stole the show was a throwback to the Cold War -- nuclear arms and their destructive power that still remains essentially unchecked.

The possibility of nuclear warfare gained new urgency after North Korea demonstrated last month that it has missile technology sophisticated enough to strike the U.S. mainland.

Tensions further escalated in recent days as President Donald Trump promised "fire and fury" against North Korea if it persisted in making threats. On Thursday -- just hours before Mattis spoke in Mountain View -- North Korea announced it was preparing plans to fire four missiles near Guam.

Asked repeatedly by reporters about the situation, Mattis gave assurances that U.S. efforts right now were "diplomatically led." He pointed to the recent unanimous vote by the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on North Korea as evidence that route was showing success.

"You can see the American effort is diplomatically led, and it has diplomatic traction and it's gaining diplomatic results," he said. "My portfolio and responsibility is to have military options should they be needed."

What "options" could those be? Mattis declined to give specifics, explaining that he wasn't going to tip his hand to the enemy. But the U.S. military is ready, he said.

The trip was officially organized so Mattis could visit the headquarters for the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), a relatively new arm of the Pentagon meant to nurture startups that develop technology useful to the military.

DIUx was launched in 2015 by Mattis' predecessor under President Barack Obama, Ash Carter. While the Trump administration has pledged to undo many programs from the Obama years, DIUx will remain in place and will likely grow its role in the near future, Mattis said.

During his West Coast visit, the defense secretary also toured the headquarters of Amazon and Google.

At the press conference, DIUx team members highlighted the new technology they were helping fund, such as autonomous sailboats for scouting, and Bluetooth communications devices that fit discreetly along your jaw.

But the new gadgetry was mostly ignored as Mattis fielded questions from the press scrum. He was asked repeatedly about the threat of nuclear war.

"If you're going to an objective down the track ... you need two rails," Mattis said. "We have two rails that are mutually supportive, and we have the diplomatic track out in front."

And the other track? Mattis didn't say.


16 people like this
Posted by Outstanding
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 11, 2017 at 4:45 pm

If ever there was or is a leader among troops and commoners...its this Man! He speaks intelligently, logically, cleanly, and directly. I very much admire his leadership and diplomacy skills. A leader among leaders.

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Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 13, 2017 at 11:38 pm

Gary is a registered user.

I gather the first poster is referring to Mattis - not Trump. Reportedly, North Korea already has 60 nukes and various missiles. If it can delivery one explodable nuke to Silicon Valley, North Korea just became a trillionaire by extortion. Time to neutralize the North Korean regime is running out. Pray Mattis has a plan. Trump probably hasn't a clue.

28 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 14, 2017 at 10:10 am

Well so far the President has done a great job with the economy ( GDP already at 2.6%, hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs coming back to the US, lowest unemployment rate in 16 years), has taken major steps to revamp the VA Health Care system so our Veterans receive the care they deserve after putting their lives on the line for our country, has reduced burdensome and unnecessary Federal regulations so that businesses are now starting to reinvest in themselves and their employees which in turn has led to a 20% jump in the stock market, which in turn funds retirement programs for most companies, unions and municipalities. He has taken a firm stand with Syria and North Korea (instead as the previous President did, drawing imaginary red-lines that everyone knew would be crossed without penalty), prevented a veto by either Russia or China of the UN Resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea, reduced illegal immigration, started to dismantle the MS-13 gang, and put a massive amount of resources into fighting the opiod epidemic.

It's strange how Reagan was an idiot, Bush Sr. and Jr were idiots, and Trump is an idiot, yet they all soundly defeated the best the Democrat party had to offer. Oh, well, I suppose now I'll start getting all the usual personal attacks and insults.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

12 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 14, 2017 at 10:21 am

No, @Jim Neal, you're not gonna get insults, people will just roll their eyes as usual. Especially since you are spouting talking points you obviously don't actually understand. For example, can you explain what GDP is, and what the statement "GDP is already at 2.6%" means?

We'll all just be thankful you're no longer on the Human Relations Committee. What happened with that, didn't you just get reappointed?

Finally, it's "the Democratic party", not the "Democrat party", but I'm pretty sure you already knew that. Letting your petty partisan politics come through, as usual.

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Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Gary is a registered user.

Hey Jim, LOL is picking on you this time. I do not contend, of course, that Trump is an "idiot." He not only has an impressive formal education consisting of a bachelor's degree from the University of PA majoring in draft dodging, but he successfully operated businesses that cheated customers, employees and creditors out of billions partly through his crafty use of bankruptcy laws. Trump is smart but inexperienced in world affairs (not counting Russian hookers) and is an lying, egocentric Vladimir Putin-want-to-be. Putin is the richest man in the world. And he earned every penny. In fact, you will find out that Putin has thrown a lot of those pennys Trump's way over the years. But one must credit Trump for raising some important issues - even if he accomplishes nothing of significance before his removal from the Presidency.

23 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2017 at 9:13 am

@LOL - For you, anything. As a Black man I'm used to people questioning my intelligence. GDP is Gross Domestic Product. Under Obama, the GDP never reached 3%, which is considered to be healthy economic growth. The fact that we already have 2.6% is an indicator that we could be at or over the 3% threshold by the end of the year.

I also don't see anything "Democratic" about the Democrat party. No diversity of opinion is allowed. Kind of like some companies and organizations I could name.

@ Gary- Please remind me which branch of the service Obama served in again? I'm also really disappointed that you chose to use the universally discredited so-called "dossier" ( Web Link )that was filled with demonstrably false accusations (Russian hookers, golden showers, etc) provided by the very same Russians that his critics claim he wants to impress,to try to prove your point. It also amazes me that you think that it is somehow cheating for people or companies to keep money that they legally earned. There is no 'crafty use of bankruptcy laws". The bankruptcy laws are the same for everyone and are applied by the courts. Also, remind me again what experience Obama had with world affairs before becoming President?
Where is the proof that Putin paid anything to Trump? And if he did, how is it that neither the FBI nor CIA found anything before the election or after? Are they that incompetent? Where is the proof that the President cheated anyone? You've thrown out a lot of accusations, but I notice that you haven't backed any of them up.

As far as impeaching the President, the Dems let slip that that was the plan from the day after the election. I am not surprised that since the President is trying to drain the swamp, the thoroughly corrupt swamp (both parties) are fighting back to keep their perks and keep draining the resources of the people.

Lastly, I've already outlined several of the President's accomplishments. Calling them talking points or ignoring them won't make them go away.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

6 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2017 at 9:22 am

@Jim, if you were not just regurgitating talking points you'd know that GDP is a measure of value, not a percentage.

That you let your partisan politics seep into even calling the other political party by its name is truly sad. How you ended up appointed to the Human Relations Commission boggles the mind, but thankfully you're no longer there. Why is that? You were just reappointed. Did you have any intention to serve the full term?

17 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 15, 2017 at 10:39 am

@LOL - If you're really that interested in finding out why I left the HRC, stop by my house any time and I'll tell you all about it, it's really no big secret. Since you're so well informed and also live in Old Mountain View, I'm sure you know where I live.

As far as the GDP, I was referring to the rate of Growth in the GDP which is one of the things that economists use to determine the relative health of the economy, not what the GDP itself measures. But you knew that. Never let facts get in the way of personal insults, right?

I love the fact that people who can'r refute facts instead resort to petty personal attacks to distract from the real topic, which is that the President has plenty of positive accomplishments, including the recent verbal smack-down he put on North Korea's leader, who has since decided maybe it's not such a good idea to mess with the US. Coincidence? I think not!

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

2 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 15, 2017 at 8:14 pm

Gary is a registered user.

If it is just 3 of us posting, most readers will stop reading. Jim probably has no time to follow developments concerning Trump. Trump will soon demand that the special counsel investigating his many ties to Putin be fired. As to Obama, he did not dodge the draft. There was no draft. Obama probably joined the CIA but not to risk his life. It got him into Harvard Law. But returning to the topic of Korea, Trump did not get us in this awful situation. He is just trying to fix it but lacks the relevant experience and common sense to succeed. Trump needs to learn to listen. But it is beyond his ability.

10 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 16, 2017 at 11:19 am

@Gary - How nice of you to speak for me. Obviously you know nothing about me, because anyone that does knows that I very closely follow developments concerning the President and most political news in general. The media has been coming up with one hysterical lie after another concerning the President. The media has been claiming he was going to fire the special counsel for the last month or so ( Web Link )without one shred of proof. He has no reason to fire the special counsel because just like the fake dossier you quoted, this is a lie that the media is using to get people worked up, and it's working.

Resuming the North Korea topic, the President has all the relevant experience he needs; a background in negotiating tough international deals and working in a hostile environment, while being beset by press who care more about sensationalizing a story and attacking conservatives than they do about facts and getting the story correct. He also has made sure to surround himself with experienced Generals who can advise him. Obama had no experience negotiating anything and fired a good many of his generals or ignored their advice about pulling troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq.
When the president does succeed, I'm sure the media will be there to ensure that the credit goes to someone else just like they are trying to credit China for North Korea backing down from their Guam threat. The President has shown that he is far more capable of learning and listening than his predecessor, but in the end, he is not there to be a puppet President. The role of an executive is to get all the best advice he/she can, but then to make the hard decisions if he/she thinks it is best, even if it isn't popular with the press or people who get their information from a slanted press and the experts in Hollywood and late night tv.

Jim Neal
Old Mountain View

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Posted by @Jim Neal
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2017 at 4:33 pm

"The President has shown that he is far more capable of learning and listening than his predecessor..."

My word -- not only have you drank the Trump Kool-Aid, you went for seconds and thirds.

Love to see your reaction when 45 is ousted from the White House.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Jackson Park

19 hours ago

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