kuenjato

War Drums: North Korea edition

428 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-nuclear-usa-senate-idUSKBN17Q1LR?mod=related&channelName=worldNews&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social

(Didn't see a dedicated thread)

So, I'm going to South Korea with my family in June (wife is a native of Seoul), and naturally all this recent barrage about NK is somewhat troubling, to say the least. I'm constantly reminded of the time when "Iraq" and "Saddam" were filtered through the newsphere with growing consistency leading up to 2003. My wife doesn't seem concerned, but she's one of those who have lived with the NK threat to such an extent that threats and saber-rattling is just garbled noise by this point. Having Trump brief the entire Senate on the NK situation is rather worrying, given what that traditionally means, and given that Trump desperately needs some distraction glaze right now. 

Edited by kuenjato

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What bothers me is the tone I hear of "lets get this over with" even from people who dislike and distrust Trump.

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10 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

What bothers me is the tone I hear of "lets get this over with" even from people who dislike and distrust Trump.

Yeah, I imagine the Bush and Obama admins had all sorts of plans of attack for dealing with NK all drawn up and awaiting execution.  All we need is for Trump to reach into a hat and pull one out, like he did in Yemen.

 

Still, I get the urgency.  Nobody wants a NK with balistic nuclear capabilities.

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It's a real potential shit-storm if ever I saw one.

You have that ever ticking countdown to NK having a viable nuclear missile ability and their open threats to use it, but have to balance that against the mess you'd be stepping into if you went to attack.
This is a country that has for the last 50+ years been brainwashed at almost every level to see all outsiders as the demon enemy. Their army will not just roll over and give up, they will potentially fight to the death. Their general population either don't know what the hell is going on outside or have been fed constant lies and will only see any aggressor as a monster coming to steal their children.

Fighting the Nazi's was difficult with their propaganda and war machine, even the USSR was a challenge to come up against. But NK has been so isolated and brainwashed for so long with little outside contact for most i dread to think what would happen if an invasion was attempted.

Plus you have the problem of how do you stop the almost instant retaliation the North will unleash? You'd have to remove every single artillery position aimed at Seol, together with those aimed elsewhere, plus all the aircraft, subs, patrol ships. No easy task.

I understand the wish for a hasty solution, but i really don't envy anyone making the call how to go about it.

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At the same time NK are not quite the crazy imbeciles we like to think of them as. They have realised that having nukes means you have a level of power in negotiations that other nations simply don't. Any country could have just walked straight into NK with a bunch of tanks before to sort out the mess, but the nukes have kept the status quo and the Kims in power. Plus all the aid and cashbacks they've managed to get off of us over the years just to stop them doing what they have always been planning to do anyway. 

 

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Surely the bigger problem is not that the North Koreans are 'brainwashed', or that they'll retaliate - though the latter is obviously a huge problem for the South Koreans. It's that the North Koreans are numerous, impoverished and malnourished already, even before any possible conflict. The result of any invasion will be a humanitarian catastrophe featuring mass starvation and enormous waves of refugees into both China and the South. This was true before NK had nukes and remains true now.

 

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Does anyone genuinely believe the US or anyone else will be invading North Korea any time soon? 

Surely this is all just posturing, and trying not to look completely soft against the Korean regime that has rinsed the west dry over the past few decades. I doubt there will be any war at all. There are far better ways to get rid of the Kims, war would be the worst and I'm sure everyone is aware of that.

The only risk is that NK get so spooked that they pre-emptively strike S Korea. But then my point above was that even KJU is not that stupid, that actually they are far more coherent in their thought patterns than we give them credit for.

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41 minutes ago, mormont said:

Surely the bigger problem is not that the North Koreans are 'brainwashed', or that they'll retaliate - though the latter is obviously a huge problem for the South Koreans. It's that the North Koreans are numerous, impoverished and malnourished already, even before any possible conflict. The result of any invasion will be a humanitarian catastrophe featuring mass starvation and enormous waves of refugees into both China and the South. This was true before NK had nukes and remains true now.

 

I think the biggest issue here is that any refugee crisis will be heading straight for China, because they can't go south on account of the massive DMZ/minefield blocking the path.
That's why China is getting worried, they know what is coming if this goes south in a hurry, and they haven't got a clue (or the wishes) to have to look after millions of refugees flooding their border.

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I read an article recently about the challenges the US would face in an invasion of North Korea.

It seems that if they have the military capabilities we think they do - and this is not a given, as they may have exaggerated their strength - then it is virtually impossible - short of a preemtive nuclear strike - to wipe out all the artillery aimed at Seoul and Japan before they are able to do major damage and cause tens of thousands of deaths in South Korea and possibly in Japan.

A normal areal bombardment to wipe out the artillery would first require the US to destroy the North Korean air defences, and this could take several weeks. During this time, artillery fire would be raining down on Seoul.

So since a pre-emptive nuclear strike is obviously out of the question, that leaves a bloody war with masses of civilian casualties as the only military alternative.

Personally, I still don't understand why the world's most powerful nation has such difficulty in assassinating despots around the world. If they couldn't even succeed in taking out Fidel Castro on their doorstep, then I guess Kim Jong Un inside a fortified country on the other side of the world is pretty much an impossibility.

I guess the Black Project budget is not really spent as effectively as people speculate. Turns out they don't have secret space based lasers that can take out a human target on the ground, or insect sized explosive drones that can fly invisibly across a border and kamakazi into Kim Jon Un's head and so on.

Guess the old fashioned sniper on a rooftop is still the most effective method around, which is kind of a problem in the North Korean context.

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4 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

 

So since a pre-emptive nuclear strike is obviously out of the question

 

It was, 3 months ago. 

 

It no longer is. 

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52 minutes ago, TerraPrime said:

 

It was, 3 months ago. 

 

It no longer is. 

Would a pre-emptive strike actually take out the artillery that threatens Seoul.  Those artillery pieces are in hardened sites.  Further to get them doesn't the Nuclear weapon (or weapons) used run an extremely high risk of causing serious damage to Seoul too?

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16 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Would a pre-emptive strike actually take out the artillery that threatens Seoul.  Those artillery pieces are in hardened sites.  Further to get them doesn't the Nuclear weapon (or weapons) used run an extremely high risk of causing serious damage to Seoul too?

Yes, and yes, and that's a risk to South Koreans that Lindsey Graham is willing to take. 

And yes, there is a lot of press about going to war with NK, and it is precisely the kind of leadup that we've seen to other wars. I saw an article about this recently but can't find it right now - but basically the press is acting as if war is coming up, and is doing the kind of prep that they have previously.

Quote

Does anyone genuinely believe the US or anyone else will be invading North Korea any time soon? 

Surely this is all just posturing, and trying not to look completely soft against the Korean regime that has rinsed the west dry over the past few decades. I doubt there will be any war at all. There are far better ways to get rid of the Kims, war would be the worst and I'm sure everyone is aware of that.

I seriously hope you're right, but let's face facts: if you're wrong about this, it won't change any of your opinions one iota, will it?

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3 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Would a pre-emptive strike actually take out the artillery that threatens Seoul.  Those artillery pieces are in hardened sites.  Further to get them doesn't the Nuclear weapon (or weapons) used run an extremely high risk of causing serious damage to Seoul too?

These are wrong questions to ask. 

 

Right questions: 

 

Will a pre-emptive strike benefit the Trump brand and legacy? Will it boost his popularity rating domestically? Will it make him look strong and decisive? 

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2 minutes ago, TerraPrime said:

These are wrong questions to ask. 

 

Right questions: 

 

Will a pre-emptive strike benefit the Trump brand and legacy? Will it boost his popularity rating domestically? Will it make him look strong and decisive? 

To his fans... yes.  To those who already think he is flipping dangerous.  Absolutely not.

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Posted (edited)

I heard on CNN that the Korean Blue House (their equivalent of the White House) is closer to the DMZ than the White House is to Dulles Airport.

Just imagine the Russians (or whomever) sitting at Dulles Airport with massive artillery, ready and able to fire.

Edited by Fragile Bird

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27 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

To his fans... yes.  To those who already think he is flipping dangerous.  Absolutely not.

You sure about that? Look how the media, pundits et al. reacted to him bombing Syria. Look how they initially reacted to Iraq.

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36 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

To his fans... yes.  To those who already think he is flipping dangerous.  Absolutely not.

If we are talking about predicting Trump's decisions on the issue, absolutely those are the better questions to ask. The suffering of the potential fall out of his decision is at best, a passing curiosity to this man. Strategic planning and effectiveness are matter left to his generals to plan and execute. If we're talking about looking for clues as to how Trump will decide, I think analyzing the impact of his decision on his brand and his popularity will have a much better chance of getting us to the right predictions. 

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9 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Would a pre-emptive strike actually take out the artillery that threatens Seoul.  Those artillery pieces are in hardened sites.  Further to get them doesn't the Nuclear weapon (or weapons) used run an extremely high risk of causing serious damage to Seoul too?

I keep thinking back to when the USSR collapsed. There was also this talk before about the Soviet nuclear capabilities, but when the missiles were actually examined they were found to be dismantled by their crews and the parts sold off to get money for vodka.  NK being rather impoverished,  I would not bet on all the artillery being in working condition, but with essential bits missing as they were sold for food. And maybe vodka.

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5 hours ago, maarsen said:

I keep thinking back to when the USSR collapsed. There was also this talk before about the Soviet nuclear capabilities, but when the missiles were actually examined they were found to be dismantled by their crews and the parts sold off to get money for vodka.  NK being rather impoverished,  I would not bet on all the artillery being in working condition, but with essential bits missing as they were sold for food. And maybe vodka.

Also, the danger of artillery shelling of Seoul is greatly overrated. I lived through the Siege of Sarajevo, where 3600 artillery pieces and 110 tanks bombed the city at point-blank range for almost four years. Damage that several hundred obsolete North Korean artillery pieces could do during the couple of days before they are silenced by airstrikes (at 80 km range) is comparatively negligible. It is also negligible when compared to a WMD strike of any kind.

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But they don't have several hundred obsolete pieces. They have thousands, dug into the mountains and protected by blast doors that close during reloading. According to STATFOR, every volley would be equivalent to 11 B52 payloads. 

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