Expert Voices

There are no easy answers

From our Expert Voices conversation on war with North Korea.

The Trump Administration insists that it will prevent North Korea from deploying a nuclear-armed ICBM that could target the continental United States, or preempt an imminent launch of a missile against the United States or the territory of a U.S. ally.

Any military actions against North Korean territory would necessitate the employment of overwhelming force that would be certain to trigger major retaliation against South Korea and Japan, and possibly against U.S. territory.

The U.S. could try to intercept any future North Korean missile tests that approach U.S. territory. Secretary of Defense Mattis has already warned Pyongyang that the U.S. would seek to shoot down any missile landing close to Guam, thereby denying North Korea the means to reach U.S. soil. It would be by far the least destructive military option, and (if successful) might enable avoidance of a horrific armed conflict on the peninsula, and beyond.

Bottom line: However, if anyone is seeking low cost, low risk military options, Korea is the wrong place to look.

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Trump: Transgender people "disqualified" from the military

SecDef Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

President Trump late Friday issued an order disqualifying most transgender people from serving in the military.

"[T]ransgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Why it matters: Anything short of an inclusive policy for transgender troops will be viewed as a continuation of the ban Trump announced on Twitter in August.

Haley Britzky 12 hours ago
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Both Bush and Obama also requested line item veto power

Donald Trump.
Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday evening that to avoid having "this omnibus situation from ever happening again," he wants Congress to re-instate "a line-item veto."

Why it matters: This would allow him to veto specific parts of a bill without getting rid of the entire thing. Trump was deeply unhappy with the $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress early Friday morning, but signed it anyway on Friday afternoon.