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Is War With North Korea Inevitable Now?

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Jan 1 in Politics & Government ✌ by Virginia (7,565 points)

Many of my questions seem a bit dismal lately...and I apologize for that! This morning on the US National Public Radio, someone has interviewed high-ranking US gov't. officials (I wasn't listening for exactly who) and they predict war with North Korea. 

The radio said that while President Trump is certainly not helping the situation, still the groundwork was laid in the Obama administration, which simply refused to address the problems.

Have you followed this situation with North Korea and may have some insight as to what is really going on? And btw, Happy January 1st...

4 Answers

Rooster Jan 2

Well, there really isn't much left for me to say to this. Tink pretty much nailed it.

Without Chinese help? N. Korea has no chance with conventional weapons against even the S. Koreans themselves. The R.O.K. has always produced top notch soldiers and I had four assigned to my unit back when and they were the best I ever saw. Right next to J.D.F. Someone else everyone is forgetting about. If N. Korea attacks S. Korea? The first one to jump in will be the Japanese. They have a deadly Navy and great Special Forces. Add our Hunter Killer Naval groups and conventionally? They haven't a chance. Probably not even With China's assistance. China is a good ten years behind us in production of naval vessels.

N. Korea's only shot at a possible victory is by un-conventional weapons. We all know about the Nukes but what about chemical or bio weapons? They have those also. I think if they nuke someone? China will stand aside and hopefully our Allies can knock them out with conventional weapons.

Virginia Rooster Jan 3

Thank you Rooster, I really do feel I learned more from the responses here than I did from the NPR program!

TheOtherTink Jan 1

I have a feeling (though no factual information) that our navy is prepared to shoot down any missiles from North Korea in their (slow) launch stage, when an intercept is relatively easy, and that the North Koreans (and the Chinese) have privately been told this.

Such an intercept was not possible during the Cold War, due to the large land mass of the USSR, but no part of Korea is more than 50 miles or so from an ocean, so I think the N Koreans (and the Chinese, who could certainly stop them) would be foolish to proceed. I think they will back down, much as the Soviets backed down during the Cuban missile crisis.

Maybe Rooster has a more expert opinion on this.

ty O'Tink, that makes sense...do you have an opinion as to the quality of POTUS Trump handling all this? His 'rocket-man' diplomacy style? 

I myself don't like it, but one must admit it is part of a style that won him the presidency, and his business success...

And I also will look forward to Rooster's evaluations, if he chooses.

No, Virginia, I don't like Trump's style, but if it scares the Chinese and N Koreans into behaving, who can argue with success?  On the other hand, if it starts a nuclear war... well, I still think the Chinese leadership is too sensible to let a nuclear war start over N Korea, just as the Soviets were, regarding Cuba. They both had/have too much to lose over some stinking client state with delusions of grandeur, N Korea being even worse in that regard than Cuba.

Your insights appreciated, O'Tink...back in the Kennedy/Cuba days, I had such confidence in the motives and infallibility of the US government that I did not even follow the situation, much less attempt to evaluate...

This NPR program (now I wish I had listened closer, sooner), they were indicating that much of this violent conflict would be in the form of N Korea attacking S Korea; huge devastation to the civilians there. This would be the form of the war, rather than all-out attack on the USA, even though Kim does threaten...would that seem to you a way for N Korea to get away with nuclear murder without risking global retaliation?

No, Virginia, I don't think they could get away with it, certainly not if they nuked S Korea (which has tens of thousands of US troops stationed there, who would certainly be casualties). If they hit S Korea (Seoul in particular) with conventional weapons, I think the response would be (at least) to hit the North's nuclear facilities and Pyongyang with conventional weapons.

And the Chinese have said they would not interfere if the N Koreans attacked first.

I did not know the Chinese had indicated that, O'Tink. Perhaps the outlook is not as terrible as that news program made it seem!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/china-warns-north-korea-youre-on-your-own-if-you-go-after-the-us/2017/08/11/a01a4396-7e68-11e7-9026-4a0a64977c92_story.html?utm_term=.234d15f7c672

To be more precise, the Chinese said China won’t come to North Korea’s aid if it launches missiles threatening U.S. soil and there is retaliation.  Now if that includes attacking S Korea and killing US troops there, I'm not really sure, but it's hard to imagine the Chinese intervening in that case either.

In any case, I'd be surprised if the NPR program wouldn't have mentioned that Chinese statement.

Well, it's true I did not hear the whole program, and at first was not even paying attention...however, your assessment seems much more fact-based, and truthfully? I am tentatively losing respect for whoever assembled that program; there seems much more to it than a simple "There's almost certainly going to be war with N Korea" from US authorities.

See what Trump wants.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/948355557022420992

Many Americans do not support a war.

Kninjanin Jan 2

I cannot tell if there will be a war. If war begins, it would not be good for world because North Korea and USA have nuclear weapons. I cannot tell which country would win.

Virginia Kninjanin Jan 3

Thank you Kninjanin! Your insights are appreciated very much.

Marianne Jan 2

Yes, Virginia, the threat is real:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/08/in-the-court-of-kim-jong-un-ruthless-bellicose-despot-not-mad

Information is too sparse to get a clear idea about how things will evolve.


Think and Rooster nailed it, indeed.


Virginia Marianne Jan 3

Marianne, isn't that an excellent article? My computer can still open THE GUARDIAN, and their reporting seems well done. This explains much about WHY Kim acts as he does, such as this quote I lifted:

"An arsenal of functioning nuclear weapons represents North Korea’s only chance of survival in the face of US aggression and its ultimate aim, regime change. Failure to build a nuclear weapon capable of striking US cities could put Kim at risk of meeting the same fate that befell Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein, who relinquished their weapons programmes only to be overthrown."

Thank you!

Marianne Marianne Jan 3

You're very welcome, Virginia - and I can only confirm your impression

 

Marianne and Virginia, one point that the Guardian article (and many like it) overlooks is that Gaddafi and Hussein did not have a powerful protector, unlike N Korea has China, who would not stand by to see N. Korea overthrown, so the Middle East analogy is not well taken.

On the other hand, N Korea has its long-standing "juche" (self-reliance) policy, which means they probably don't fully trust the Chinese either.  :ermm:

Virginia Marianne Jan 4

O'Tink, China is probably a valuable piece of the N Korea puzzle...very good point, I think!

Does that shaky analogy with the mid-East lead to a different assessment then of Kim's pre-occupation with nuclear weapons? One could imagine, for instance, that Kim might wish to carry a big stick with China, also, even while under China's protectorship?

Yes, Virginia, exactly, as nuclear insurance against the day China becomes tired of Kim or his successor dynasts.

Virginia Marianne Jan 4

Received O'Tink, ty!

Marianne Marianne Jan 5

T(h)ink and Virginia, oh yes, and there's also another detail (i.e. China is tired of its cumbersome neighbour since long, but in a very uneasy position (and with little support from its "allies"), as, besides South Korea and Japan, they are also the most threatened (Dalian, for instance, is 359 km from Pyongyang and Beijing 808 km):

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/04/china-what-can-beijing-do-about-north-korea-donald-trump-kim-jong-un


Virginia Marianne Jan 5

Marianne THAT is another fascinating article...fits in with Tink's observations... 'the apparent lack of effective options to halt Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions underlines what a shrewd strategtist he is and how successfully he was toying with both China and the US: “He is a smart cookie – a very, very smart cookie.” '

This article tells about the oil pipeline, which China could shut off if it gets really really irritated with Kim's nuclear stuff, and would likely bring down Kim's regime. But that itself would have negative strategic implications for China! 

' “This (i.e. NK) is an insane country, and he is an insane leader,” says Zhu Feng, an international security expert from Nanjing University.'

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