Blogs May 27, 2010 at 8:23 pm


How do you "cut a deal" worth anything with a regime which is, using your word, "nuts"?
Well the North only favors reunification under the Dear Leader. They want to run the show. The only way those two countries are getting back together is when the South comes in to pick up the pieces after they collapse.
Indeed, war might not be eminent.

It might not even be imminent.
Thanks for the links. I'm just not finding enough intelligent blogging about this topic -- nice to see more.

I'm still going around and around in my head about what scenarios will bring about war, and what the outcome will be.

1) DPRK takes a shot at a ship, ROK shoots back, kicks ass, and then goes in after the rest of the fleet.
2) DPRK takes a shot at a loudspeaker, ROK shoots back, and it escalates.
3) DPRK does what they say they've been going to do for the last 50 years, and sends troops over the DMZ, along with shelling Seoul.

Of the two, I think 1 and 2 are more likely. With the ROK primed to take no shit, I really wouldn't want to be the DPRK soldier who bought into the hype and loosed the first shot.

So what happens if it does come to war?
1) Seoul gets shelled, at least until the ROK and US army silence the artillery that is doing it. Yeah, there's a lot of artillary there, but it never trains, is old, and might just blow up when it fires. I say on the order of 5-10,000 casulties on the ROK side.
2) Air warfare. Total wipeout of the north. Some of their planes are vintage first korean war, their pilots only get 7 hours of flight time per year (source),
and the pilots only get 850 calories per day. Outcome: 0 casulties on the ROK side.
3) Invasion of the north. This is the ugly part. If China stays out of it, it's a cakewalk. The only problem is logistics, and using air drops to get around the emplaced defenses. Hell, if they just broadcast "Free Food for surrendering!", they'll hardly be any fighting at all. ROK casulties: 15-25K.
4) The only real question: Does the DPRK have a working nuclear bomb, can it be delivered, and will Kim Jong-il be crazy enough to use it. My guess is "yes", "no", "yes". If I'm wrong, we're talking maybe 100K to 1M deaths in the south, followed by the same number of deaths in the north when the US retaliates.

1) North is absorbed by south, like East Germany was absorbed by West.
2) News comes out that the north was even nuttier than we thought.
3) People in the north take a while to see how brainwashed they were. Food, fuel and clothing will go a long way to fixing that.

The big questions:
1) Is the north stupid enough to start it?
2) Will China defend the north?
3) Does the north have a bomb?

What am I missing here? I really think there will be a war, but it will be a short one, with relatively little loss of life, and the end of an evil dictatorship.
Dismissing North Korea and Kim Jong Il as "nuts" and "crazy" only serves to exacerbate the problem. It is through a complete lack of understanding - and lack of any attempt to understand - how the North Korean government behaves and why it behaves the way it does that has caused the US to make fumble after fumble, resulting in a regime that we not only don't understand but one that also has nuclear weapons.

It is not in China's interest for the DPRK to collapse, and they do not have the resources to absorb the DPRK or its problems.

And while no one in the ROK will admit it in polite company, reunification is not in South Korea's interest, and they also have no desire to absorb the DPRK. Very little, if any, progress will be made while Lee Myung-bak is in office, either.

The last thing the DPRK will do right now is agree to an "orderly reunification" of the Koreas. If the US works through their back-channel connections, they might make some progress in "un-freezing" the situation, but there won't be any public cooperation in the near future.
There's also not going to be a war. But... if the DPRK invaded South Korea, there would be approximately 1 million casualties in Seoul within the first 24 hours, spudbeach.
the key is the transition kim is planning to his son after his immanent demise. if there's a time to change the situation, that's it. and i assume that's part of what hillary was talking with the chinese about. maybe the planet has some secret plan to convince jr. not to take up the crown.
War on the Korean peninsula would undoubtedly be a human and humanitarian disaster

both China's and South Korea's options are pretty limited though, if the DPRK peacefully collapsed instead of going out in a spasm of violence pretty much the whole country is a humanitarian disaster as-is, though not as bad as war

it's a sad, lose-lose worse situation
also everyone should watch the Vice Guide to North Korea, it's really good
Reunification? Are you kidding me? In what universe?

(1) There is no way the US would allow unification of a communist Korea under the leadership of Crazypants Jong Il.

(2) There is no way China would allow unification of a democratic Korea, under the protectorate of the US, right on its border.

Given those two facts, I see no possible path to unification any time soon. This stalemate has existed for 50+ years. There will have to be significant changes in world politics to allow the reunification of Korea.
#6: A million casulties within 24 hours? From an atomic bomb? From artillary? From armor coming through? How? Other than an atomic bomb, I just can't see it. Please, show me how I'm wrong.
10- "Crazypants" is the best way to sum him. Perfect name.

Regime is another name that never seems to be peacefully involved.
#11 - North Korea has a truly epic amount of artillery within range of Seoul, they could reduce much of it to rubble in a fairly short period
Even if all sides could agree on a some form of treaty or accord, how can you possibly trust North Korea to honor its future commitments? How many times do they have to shit in the soup before your begin to think that maybe this will never be an honorable regime?

Unlike 1950, China's problem with the US isn't Korea. It's Taiwan. It's my understanding that the People's Republic of China only care about North Korea insofar as they don't want to see anything that would cause a migration of North Koreans into China. The good news is that China and the US are now each others largest trading partner (Canada has fallen to #2), and historically speaking, people don't declare war on people with whom they trade.
As the SLOG writer and commenters say, North Korea is simply a pit bull at the doorstep of China. However, it's usually not a good idea to annoy or attack someone's pitbull. Especially if the owner is a really big guy with weapons.
I doubt that China will get involved if the North fires the first shot; they've been the aggressors the whole time, and China hasn't even made an effort to back them up on the issue of who sunk the ship.
we hope you girls on the left coast have aired out and restocked your bomb shelters.
you DO have bomb shelters, don't you.....
This is a manufactured crisis because the North is finally losing control. Rally the people around the common enemy one last time. It won't work like it has in the past.

@4 Yup. The Northern Military is waaaay over hyped. A million starving soldiers can't get much done. I say lets get it on and end the misery for those millions of poor schmucks.
Golob, Korea blahblah thanks for writing a motherfucking post at last. With you MIA (I know, you're busy as always, a doctor now, whatevs) plus Fnarf trying to preserve his sweetness by staying in Questionland, those of us left are simply ruining the place. Hope for more posts from you, sir.
not so
N Korea can do a pantload of damage if it comes to war.
careful what you wish for
@11, spudbeach: Rocket artillery. Much of the Seoul metroplex lies within tactical rocket range of the DMZ.
@3 -- no kidding. And if it does come to war, it will likely be fought on an Eminence Front. It's a put on...
The notion that North Korea has been begging the US for reunification is a weak reading. This latest action only affirms how nuts North Korea is. Were they at all interested reunification, this wouldn't have happened. I really hope this is the "shot heard round the world," whatever comes next. Even a war (which would end, very quickly, with a South Korean victory, albeit with significant damage to Seoul), is preferable to having the DPRK regime linger on for another decade.

Please wait...

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