As McMaster must know, none of the things he mentions here has anything to do with whether the North Korean government can be effectively deterred from using its nuclear arsenal. He is trying to claim that the North Korean leadership is not primarily concerned with self-preservation, but nothing he cites here bears that out. Other nuclear-armed regimes have similarly engaged in “unspeakable brutality” against their own people and posed direct threats to the ., but they have refrained from using nuclear weapons against the . and its allies because they believed that they would invite their own destruction if they did so. North Korea’s government acquired nuclear weapons in order to secure its own survival, so it should be relatively easy to deter them from using those weapons. Aside from the worrisome echoes of the Bush administration’s pre-invasion rhetoric about the Iraqi government, the alarming thing about this statement is that Trump’s National Security Advisor either doesn’t understand how deterrence works or is flatly lying to the public about the nature of the threat in order to lay the groundwork for launching an illegal and disastrous attack.