"I'm not sure the direction we're headed in is curbing tensions," Bruce Bennett, senior defense analyst at Rand, told CNBC on Monday. "If we're not going to negotiate, which seems to be what the [Trump] administration is saying, we're likely going to be taking actions — missile launchers, bomber overflies, and so forth — that will actually heighten tensions."
The White House has long expressed frustration with conventional policy measures to halt Pyongyang's nuclear ambitious, namely multilateral discussions and sanctions, instead suggesting the need for a more forceful approach. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson publicly acknowledged that two decades of American efforts to denuclearize North Korea had failed.
"I don't believe there's any diplomatic solution that gets North Korea to give up its weapons," said Phillip Lipscy, assistant political science professor at Stanford University.
A military solution is now the primary scenario to deal with North Korea, added David Roche, president and global strategist at research firm Independent Strategy, who said he believes the West could launch a military strike on North Korea within six months.
"The U.S. has two options: either blow the head off the North Korean regime and deal with a collapse five times the size of the East German collapse or pointedly take out as many of these missile sites and nuclear facilities as possible," Roche told CNBC.