This week commemorated the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a Navy-man, I think it’s imperative that we live the mantra “Remember Pearl Harbor,” not only on the 7th of each December, but particularly as we find ourselves inching closer to the brink of a disastrous war with North Korea.

As insults continue to fly between Kim Jong-un and our own U.S. President, the hope for diplomacy dwindles, but war should not be considered a forgone conclusion. Diplomatically-speaking, we should be leaning on China to get more aggressive with their unruly neighbor and hopefully, over time, this will lead to the bargaining table with a return to four-party talks, between the U.S., China, South Korea and Pyongyang. But hope is not a strategy; in the meantime, military planners should be exploring new, and more creative, ideas to curtail the threat from Kim Jong-un.

This week, I wrote an op-ed in the Nikkei Asian Review that detailed three military measures that should be undertaken to prepare for, counter, or prevent an attack from North Korea. They are:

  • Greater missile defense – across all phases from “boost” to “midcourse” to “terminal” – to more adequately cover the range of opportunities to prevent disaster from striking.
  • Utilization of cyber tools which, while difficult, might be a slightly more aggressive and effective means of curtailing North Korean confidence in their systems whilst slowing Kim’s ability to sell his weapons systems globally by sowing doubt into the marketplace.
  • Affect change through a naval blockade. This is a tactic which I have employed several times throughout my career as a naval officer and which, when done in cooperation with regional neighbors, has the benefit of both successfully producing behavior change from the target nation, while sending a message from a united, international coalition.

And because it seems there’s never a dull moment in the news these days, I also want to take a moment to share some of my thoughts on the latest on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Lt. Gen (ret.) Michael Flynn.

As I stated on Morning Joe this week, I know Mike Flynn well. He served under me in Afghanistan when I was the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. His direct boss, Gen. Stan McChrystal and I often spoke of how lucky we were to have then-Major General Flynn on our team in combat from 2009–2010. Flynn was – without a doubt – the best military intelligence officer who has ever worked for me.

But his enormous fall from grace – as I wrote this week in TIME Magazine – is a pointed lesson in the seductive allure of money, fame and power. Flynn’s story is perhaps not quite a Greek tragedy, but rather a kind of 21st-century parable with morals for us all.

There are distinct factors that set the stage for how Mike’s story has unfolded; how that story ends is yet to be determined. Much will depend on what Mueller’s ongoing investigation turns up and how he cooperates with that investigation. At his core, Mike has always struck me as forthright and honest and he’s done this nation a great service throughout his long and distinguished military career. Now, he’s in for the fight of his life, rebuilding his reputation; luckily for him, this is a nation built on second chances. The choices he makes over the coming weeks and months will tell us whether he will win this most challenging of battles.

As always, thank you for reading.

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