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Unverified images from the North Korean government are said to show the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile. Photo: "KCNA," the Korean Central News Agency via AP

The real danger with North Korea, according to CFR President Richard Haass, author of "A World in Disarray" (out in paperback Jan. 2) is that "if there were to be some kind of an incident — say, North Korea puts radar on an American B-1 bomber, and ships collide or get too close to one another at sea," he said talking to Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on "Morning Joe."

Why it matters: "Does anyone seriously think that these two governments, given the level of vitriol, are in a position to manage a crisis — say, in the way that Kennedy and Khrushchev managed to do at the Cuban missile crisis?"

  • "So, it's not necessarily the bolt from the blue that either side introduces — long-range missiles. What worries me is more that something would escalate out of an incident, that simply we don't have the diplomatic capacity and the relationship to control. It's one of the many reasons we should be talking with North Korea."
  • "[P]eople say: Well, you can't just start a war with North Korea, because there's South Korea to worry about, there's Japan, there's Congress."
  • "But if something grows out of an incident, then it allows you to bypass the question of who started [it], because you're reacting to a situation. It becomes tactical. It becomes self-defense."
  • "And, as a result, that's the scenario that concerns me most. Again, not the out-of-the-blue cold attack, but something that grows out of things which allows us to bypass the normal checks we'd have to make on our ability to use military force."

Go deeper

Big Tech lobbies hard against looming antitrust bill

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech CEOs, including Apple's Tim Cook and Google's Sundar Pichai, have been jawboning lawmakers as a Senate committee takes up a key antitrust bill Thursday.

Why it matters: The bill prompting this lobbying frenzy could upend how tech's giants do business, and tech's critics see this as a "now or never" moment for Congress to check the industry's power.

Biden stock market gets Trumped

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

U.S. stocks markets performed worse during the first year of Joe Biden's presidency than during the first year of Donald Trump's presidency.

By the numbers: The S&P 500 rose 19.3% between the market close before Biden's inauguration and yesterday's market close, compared to a 24.1% increase for Trump during the similar period.

First look: Biden's Year One turnover

Expand chart
Data: Brookings Institution; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Low first-year turnover among President Biden's senior staff marks a "return to normalcy" and a sign of stability after the Trump years, says a new Brookings Institution report reviewed by Axios.

Driving the news: The departure of five out of 66 "A-Team" officials puts Biden's departure rate as the third lowest since Ronald Reagan's presidency, above only George H.W. Bush and son George W. Bush, the report found.