Free Markets, Free People

Korea heats up

South Korea has determined it’s ship, the Cheonan, was torpedoed by a North Korean submarine.  46 South Korean sailors died.  In most people’s minds, that was an overt act of war.

Yesterday, NoKo severed all ties with South Korea.  Of course, technically, they’re still in a state of war, but this is a significant step in the wrong direction.  Said NoKo:

“The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea… formally declares that from now on it will put into force the resolute measures to totally freeze the inter-Korean relations, totally abrogate the agreement on non-aggression between the North and the South and completely halt the inter-Korean cooperation,” KCNA reported.

That certainly ratchets up the tensions between the two countries. It makes you wonder, as if anyone could figure him out, what the Elvis-loving tin pot dictator of NoKo is up too.  As mentioned, these are significant steps in the direction of war, and you have to be wondering what is going on internally in NoKo to drive this sort of provocation.

South Korea and the US will be holding some naval exercises off the coast to emphasize their unified position and status as allies, but other than that, there’s not much that can be done but wait and see what Kim Il Jung has up his sleeve.  In the meantime, this is about all SoKo has available to it:

South Korea has also said it will drop propaganda leaflets into the North to tell people about the sinking, as well as setting up giant electronic billboards to flash messages.

I’m not sure how it intends to drop leaflets, but the giant electronic billboards will only be seen by those NoKo trucks in every morning to work the model farms that can be observed from the DMZ.  South Korea is also resuming propaganda broadcasts to the North and using loudspeakers on the DMZ. 

It has also said it will take its case to the UN Security Council where China has a veto.  Any action (not that long time observers would expect much more than a strongly worded resolution) therefore is dependent on convincing the Chinese to go along with whatever the rest have planned.

Analysts say China’s attitude is key, because it holds a veto in the Security Council and has in the past been reluctant to impose tough measures on Pyongyang.

So – State Department – you mission  is to get China to the table and on the team.  Additionally, seeing that NoKo seems to be on a path to some sort of military action, whatever is decided should be aimed at lessening tensions, not heightening them.  It would be nice if you remembered we have 28,000 American troops there, and their fondest desire is not to be involved in the third simultaneous US war.  And trust me, if NoKo decides “to hell with it” and launches across the South Korean border, we’re not talking about casualty counts trickling in – we’re looking at a flood.



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13 Responses to Korea heats up

  • Wthat’s going on?  NoKo has finished their appraisal of Barack Obama.  They’re probably more confident of success in saber rattling and extortion than they’ve been since Jimmy Carter.

  • Here’s hoping that China doesn’t veto the UN’s attempt at sending Kim a sternly-worded memo.

  • North Korea only does threats and minor provocations. There are two objectives. First and foremost is internal, to control the population by using South Korea and the US as boogeymen to keep their natives in check. Second, to see what if any bribes they can coerce out of the West. It’s like a man sitting on a pile of explosives threatening to light a match. We know how that ends, we just don’t know how badly it will impact everyone else. We’ve spent 50 years dealing with these lunatics and while I respect the concerns that South Korea has, it’s time to ignore these fools.
    My preferred approach would be to dump this in China’s lap. Along with a not so subtle review of how China depends on foreign trade for much of their growth. It’s their problem, let them solve it. They can be friends and trading partners with us, or they can sponsor the North Koreans. Time for choosing!

    • Correct. My only fear would be if he felt power slipping or his family did, and they decide all out war is the only way to keep power.

  • On the other hand, it might be good to eliminate the NoKo regime while it is still a non-nuclear threat. We can only speculate on how belligerant NoKo will be when it possesses a few nukes and the means to deliver them, but I will wager they will be worse. Then what do we do?

    • I know, I know!  THIS IS EASY!!!!!!!
      then take a brief vacation and do some campaigning for a Democrat in a safe district, maybe take in a Paul McCartney concert.

      • Make sure the concert is some distant city, so the date night involves using Air Force 1.

  • I looked at this from two angles:
    1. KJI did not know and his Navy did it. The thought here was that the military was unhappy with KJI’s choice of his son as successor and decided to show KJI who is the boss here. This was my initial reaction to the results of the investigation leading to the discovery of the torpedo remains.
    2. KJI did do know. The thought here, which I read someplace, is that KJI wants to burnish his credentials as someone who can kick SK and the USA with impunity because he is such an internationaly recognized Great Leader. Therefore his son will also be a Great Leader so accept him as thus.

    So what to do? I’m with Steve C above, let China deal with it. Let SK and Japan know that we stand with them but let China drive it. Also let China know that our future relations will be influenced by what it does in this matter. I don’t want any American blood shed over this. NK will eventually grind to a halt because it will cease to be of any value to China. I think NK’s value to China is as a buffer keeping a democratic SK away from its border and also as a threat – do what we want or we will let NK collapse, sending millions of refugees to SK.

    It’s sad to leave the NKs to suffer. I have read “The Aquariums of Pyongyang”. RR said “We cannot help everybody but everybody can help somebody” so we have to pick our battles.

  • Here is a thought. Let’s say NK does invade, as soon as their troops get across the dmz, many will just throw down their weapons and become SK citizens. Dictatorships don’t seem very good at inspiring loyalty among their military cadres. I don’t know much about NK, except that they are desperately poor. Maybe they have a strong military that is disciplined and loyal. No real way to tell until the SHTF. I could use a lesson on the NK military. I’ve found this to be a good place to get one. Thanks

  • Don’t forget that many (most?) NK soldiers have families living far from the DMZ. Defect and your family will suffer.

  • I didn’t forget that.  If otoh  NK invades, SK will have no choice but to retaliate. At that point the entire game changes. I don’t really think it will come to that. It seems to me that China wants to test Obama’s meddle. What better way than to instigate an incident between NK and SK.

  • Time to call their bluff. They have a massive army but it is obsolete and has low moral. They should not be feared as long as you don’t let them surprise you.  According to Hackworth, The massive, starving NK army would be pulverized by artillery and Air power in a few days as they would be massed up near the border.