Over the past couple of weeks, speculation about an imminent US attack on North Korea has centered heavily around the USS Carl Vinson’s carrier strike group, which White House officials had hyped as having been sent to the Sea of Japan to send a “powerful message.”
The White House and other top officials had reiterated this deployment many times since the initial announcement, presenting it as steaming rapidly toward North Korea for an apparent confrontation. Imagine everyone’s surprise, then, when the US Navy released a picture of the USS Carl Vinson off the coast of Indonesia.
You’ll immediately notice that Indonesia is nowhere near North Korea, and also that the ship was announced as having left Singapore en route to North Korea, and actually sailed in the opposite direction. The White House is now insisting that they were just telling the media what the Pentagon had told them about the USS Carl Vinson’s destination.
So what does this all mean for US policy toward North Korea? It’s not at all clear, nor is it clear if the Trump Administration is even sure, with the Pentagon saying the Carl Vinson will arrive off the Korean Peninsula next week, despite being even farther away from it than ever.
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