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Werthead

Rocket Man vs. Orang-Utan: Korean Krisis

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I'm not as familiar with the geopolitical nuances of the area as some of the folks around here are, so i guess I've got a question. Just how big a stick does Japan have to swing if the worst happens and push comes to nuke?

 

 
Japan has a significant air force and AWACS capability, and could provide significant support in the event of a US/South Korean military strike (200 combat aircraft with the ability to operate over North Korea, including 155 F-15s).
 

 

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The only way a pre-emptive US military campaign is in its interest is if China does not respond, which would be a decidedly naive assumption.

 

 
China has said it would not respond, as long as North Korea fired the first shot. That doesn't mean China wouldn't invade North Korea themselves with "peacekeepers", but China has already said that if North Korea starts the shooting and the US responds, China will not intervene against the United States, but this might change if the US was the aggressor. Exactly how it would respond if it deemed the US was the aggressor is unclear, as whilst China is tooling up it's nowhere near the USA's level of military power.

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Can someone with more knowledge of the affairs of the region give an indication of what South Korea and Japan would like to see happen at this point? Are they ok with North Korea having nuclear missiles? And by "ok", I mean do they prefer it over a hot war with North Korea right now to prevent it?

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Can someone with more knowledge of the affairs of the region give an indication of what South Korea and Japan would like to see happen at this point? Are they ok with North Korea having nuclear missiles? And by "ok", I mean do they prefer it over a hot war with North Korea right now to prevent it?

Long story short, they're divided on the issues of the day, but I don't think ether country wants a nuclear armed NK.

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5 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Can someone with more knowledge of the affairs of the region give an indication of what South Korea and Japan would like to see happen at this point? Are they ok with North Korea having nuclear missiles? And by "ok", I mean do they prefer it over a hot war with North Korea right now to prevent it?

All evidence points towards North Korea already having nuclear missiles.  There is nothing to prevent. 

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8 hours ago, Werthead said:

 

 
Japan has a significant air force and AWACS capability, and could provide significant support in the event of a US/South Korean military strike (200 combat aircraft with the ability to operate over North Korea, including 155 F-15s).
 

 

 
China has said it would not respond, as long as North Korea fired the first shot. That doesn't mean China wouldn't invade North Korea themselves with "peacekeepers", but China has already said that if North Korea starts the shooting and the US responds, China will not intervene against the United States, but this might change if the US was the aggressor. Exactly how it would respond if it deemed the US was the aggressor is unclear, as whilst China is tooling up it's nowhere near the USA's level of military power.

Which is possibly part of the reason DPRK has tried to claim the US had already declared war via Tweet, so if DPRK fires the first weapon (at a US military plane) they will try to get China to be involved because they were already at war.

I don't see China having a bar of that excuse, but DPRK will probably try anything to make sure China has it's back militarily.

China will not accept a US occupying force indefinitely stationed on its border. So IF there is a shooting war I imagine China will try to time things right to deploy its peacekeepers to take over the country once the DPRK military is sufficiently degraded that it can't do anything to oppose Chinese "peacekeepers".

DPRK becomes an complete vassal state of China, out of necessity to maintain regional and global stability of course, and China gets to station its own nukes in DPRK, and the US won't be able to do squat about China putting nukes in there.

The US will want to occupy North Korea and unify the countries and establish bases as far north as they can get away with. But can they be certain of achieving this outcome before China gets their peacekeeping force in there first.

The race to Pyongyang will be firmly in China's favour. China will set up a naval blockade (only to protect shipping lanes into Dalian, an important trading port, of course) in the 200km stretch between the DPRK coast and Shandong(?) peninsula. And whoever has Pyongyang claims the moral right to keep the peace in North Korea.

I don't really see an upside for the USA to go to war, because if the USA goes to war in any conventional sense China wins, at the US's expense. And I don't see the US, even under Donald Trump deciding that committing nuclear genocide is a good move.

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1 hour ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Great title, by the by. Nice work.

Agreed, but I still prefer "Fat Man and Little Boy."

I just can't decide which is which...

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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4 minutes ago, Let's Get Kraken said:

Agreed, but I still prefer "Fat Man and Little Boy."

I just can't decide which is which...

Yeah, that one is solid as well. I wanted to try and work Korean BBQ into a title regarding this subject, but I suppose it is a bit too dark given the circumstance.

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9 hours ago, Werthead said:

China has said it would not respond, as long as North Korea fired the first shot. That doesn't mean China wouldn't invade North Korea themselves with "peacekeepers", but China has already said that if North Korea starts the shooting and the US responds, China will not intervene against the United States, but this might change if the US was the aggressor. Exactly how it would respond if it deemed the US was the aggressor is unclear, as whilst China is tooling up it's nowhere near the USA's level of military power.

Sorry I missed this - weird how used you get to the notifications once they're available.  Anyway, to your last sentence, the answer is...Yes.  Exactly how China would respond if US was the aggressor (which was the situation I was referring to) is completely up to debate.  But, they have the ability to hurt us in a multitude of fashions, and that's the point.  They undoubtedly will respond if they think we are trying to assert dominance over the Korean peninsula (which will inarguably be their interpretation if we preemptively attack), and they have the capability to hurt us in myriad ways.  Thus, to arrive at the original point, it's not in our interest to preemptively attack unless we're sure an attack from the DPRK is imminent, which is incredibly dubious in and of itself.

7 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Can someone with more knowledge of the affairs of the region give an indication of what South Korea and Japan would like to see happen at this point? Are they ok with North Korea having nuclear missiles? And by "ok", I mean do they prefer it over a hot war with North Korea right now to prevent it?

I'm not an expert on the region, but the ROK has lived with the existential threat up north since my dad was born - so I think it's safe to say nothing's changed in their calculus.  As for Japan, that's more difficult to discern.  I don't know.

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4 hours ago, Lord of Rhinos said:

All evidence points towards North Korea already having nuclear missiles.  There is nothing to prevent. 

There is considerable doubt that NK has a deliverable nuclear weapon in warhead form at this point. And if so, it is very crude and not properly tested from a functional perspective. That's why the window is closing fast. In the near future they will have this problem solved.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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North Korea has Nuclear missiles

“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles,” the assessment states, in an excerpt read to The Washington Post. Two U.S. officials familiar with the assessment verified its broad conclusions. It is not known whether the reclusive regime has successfully tested the smaller design, although North Korea officially claimed last year that it had done so."

Like I said, there's nothing to prevent.  It has already happened.

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

There is considerable doubt that NK has a deliverable nuclear weapon in warhead form at this point. And if so, it is very crude and not properly tested from a functional perspective. That's why the window is closing fast. In the near future they will have this problem solved.

I have avoided directly conversing with you because the whole thing is ridiculous, but wtf, I'm curious - what do you anticipate China's response will be to your proposed action?  What about Russia?  How about the entire world's reaction after you act like an impetuous child that's willing to kill tens to hundreds of thousands of people based on what the DPRK might due - in your jaded judgement?

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8 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

There is considerable doubt that NK has a deliverable nuclear weapon in warhead form at this point. And if so, it is very crude and not properly tested from a functional perspective. That's why the window is closing fast. In the near future they will have this problem solved.

They have tested six times now, with the most recent test being a hydrogen bomb. Every one of the original nuclear powers had, or was on the path to compact missile-deliverable nuclear devices by their sixth test, and unlike them NK's weapons program didn't start from scratch. Mating a warhead to missile is not the hard part. The window to North Korea holding South Korean and Japanese cities at risk is closed. Deal with it.

Edited by Horza

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6 hours ago, dmc515 said:

I have avoided directly conversing with you because the whole thing is ridiculous, but wtf, I'm curious - what do you anticipate China's response will be to your proposed action?  What about Russia?  How about the entire world's reaction after you act like an impetuous child that's willing to kill tens to hundreds of thousands of people based on what the DPRK might due - in your jaded judgement?

FYI, FNR has argued in the past that he needs to keep a gun on him at all times because someone might punch him, and that could kill him, so he needs equalizing force, and that we can’t restrict the number of guns he can have because, and I quote, “A marauding horde of barbarians might attack his property and family if and when society breaks down.” Keep that in mind when debating things with him.

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12 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

There is considerable doubt that NK has a deliverable nuclear weapon in warhead form at this point. And if so, it is very crude and not properly tested from a functional perspective. That's why the window is closing fast. In the near future they will have this problem solved.

Maybe not to the US, but certainly to SK and Japan. Their missiles have tested reasonably so far, and they've already demonstrated the kind of warhead needed. 

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Can someone with more knowledge of the affairs of the region give an indication of what South Korea and Japan would like to see happen at this point? Are they ok with North Korea having nuclear missiles? And by "ok", I mean do they prefer it over a hot war with North Korea right now to prevent it?

They are not keen on NK getting nukes. They are not keen on the most destructive war for generations breaking out on their doorstep either. South Korea's policies are informed by the need for defence, but also concerns over the cost of reintegrating North Korea in the event of a war which is won, which would be unfathomably expensive and probably wreck the South Korean economy for generations.

South Korea's preference is for a return of the peace talks of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when SK's assistance after the famine was helpful and there appeared to be some hint of a long-term rapprochement, a process torpedoed by GWB's Axis of Evil declaration.

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All evidence points towards North Korea already having nuclear missiles.  There is nothing to prevent. 

They have nuclear bombs and they have missiles. They haven't successfully tested a missile-tipped nuclear bomb and they need to, which they know is also the most likely catalyst for a US attack. They also can't really just nuke a bit of ocean without warning in case they vapourise a passing sub or something and also trigger a war, hence these claims they're going to test a bomb over the ocean as a way of establishing both a warning and also that their technology is very close to delivering on that threat.

They are also lacking certain  infrastructure to be help deliver the missiles long-range (like satellite guidance), but this is really only an issue for an attack on the US itself, not SK or Japan.

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Which is possibly part of the reason DPRK has tried to claim the US had already declared war via Tweet, so if DPRK fires the first weapon (at a US military plane) they will try to get China to be involved because they were already at war.

Technically, the first Korean War never ended, so they're still at war now, just under an unusually long-lasting armistice. Legally, there are arguments on both sides.

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I don't really see an upside for the USA to go to war, because if the USA goes to war in any conventional sense China wins, at the US's expense. And I don't see the US, even under Donald Trump deciding that committing nuclear genocide is a good move.

Trump has repeatedly said, for decades, that he's baffled why people don't use nukes. It's a bit of an obsession for him, so hopefully the advice of his generals wins out. I don't think he'll hesitate for a nanosecond to nuke Pyongyang if NK uses nuclear weapons first, which at least is setting a clear red line - or orange one - for the regime (even if an insane one).

The problems with how you deal with a post-Kim NK are legion and China, SK and the US have studied it for decades without any clear notion on how you do it without killing a large chunk of the population (NK's food situation is precarious in the extreme), bankrupting several major economies (with SK's gone and the US and China likely taking heavy hits) or throwing SK into chaos as it has to deal with a sudden 50% population increase and integrating them into a modern, high-tech economy and democracy with limited frames of reference. If we look at the problems Germany has had reintegrating even after 30 years and the differences between East and West Germany were orders of magnitude smaller than between North and South Korea.

As for China's view on this, they have a sliding scale of preferences. Their #1 preference is a North Korea which follows their model, liberalises its economy in a similar way and becomes a trading partner that China can make money out of whilst continuing to act as a bulwark against South Korea. The continuation of the pre-nukes status quo is also probably acceptable. A Korean Peninsula reunited under South Korea's rule (with an effective US presence) is highly undesirable, but is probably preferable to other outcomes, especially if SK takes the economic hit for paying for reunification more than China and if a deal is worked out where American forces leave the Korean Peninsula. A unified Korea could be a useful trading partner for China, but it could also be a dangerous rival as part of a US-allied bloc in the region alongside Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines.

At the bottom of the list of China's preferences is either a military confrontation or an outright war with the United States, where the US would take advantage of the situation to wipe out China's navy and its new bases in the South China Sea, and of course would risk going nuclear. North Korea is very definitely not worth that danger to China.

Edited by Werthead

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

They have nuclear bombs and they have missiles. They haven't successfully tested a missile-tipped nuclear bomb and they need to,

This is not true but if people keep saying it, it will become true.

Do the people who make this a requirement for North Korean credibility realise that just four end-to-end nuclear tests have taken place?

The Soviets tested this way twice. The US did it once in 1962 as a big fuck you to the Soviets for restarting atmospheric testing. The only other time a nuke has been test detonated on a missile was the 4th Chinese nuclear test, and they did it because people kept saying "they have nuclear bombs and they have missiles but they haven't successfully tested them both".

Put another way: the US built thousands of nuclear missiles without feeling the need for such a test, and I haven't heard any skepticism about Britain, France, India, Pakistan or Israel's ability to stick a bomb on a missile. It's not the hard part.

But if everyone insists that it's box Kim has to tick for certified deterrence he's going to oblige.

 

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They are also lacking certain  infrastructure to be help deliver the missiles long-range (like satellite guidance), but this is really only an issue for an attack on the US itself, not SK or Japan.

You don't need satellite guidance if you're delivering a hydrogen bomb to a city.

Edited by Horza

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1 hour ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Well yeah, but the FedEx rates are a killer.

A bad customer service call in 1983 convinced Kim il-Sung there had to be a better way to get his goods from A to B.

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