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Old 11-23-2010, 08:19 PM   #16
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I spent two years in TDC or Camp Casey, formerly the headquarters for 2nd Infantry Division in S Korea. I think we were 11 miles from the DMZ or something like that. I'm no expert on Korea by any means, but a little piece of me will always be there, and vice versa.

The terrain is rugged, mountainous, very bitterly cold in the winter, the roads are not what we are accustomed to here in the states (as in, there aren't enough of them so they are always overcrowded), and the South is flooded with people. Good people, very open and caring people, hard working, big hearted, thankful, hopeful, generous people.

After the long winters finally break the steamy summers begin usually with a two or three week long monsoon season, where it rains almost constantly. Then it's very hot and humid for the rest of summer. I don't ever remember there being an autumn on the peninsula.

Korea is not a good place to have a war, the main arteries and bridges can be taken out almost immediately from the north. Rockets from the north could eastily strike the massive metropolis of Seoul. Chaos would ensue....massive casualties....famine...riots...disease...suffering....utter fucking devistation and hell on earth.

As much as i might like to see the bastards in Pyongyang taken out and a new "friendly" bunch installed, or even one glorious unified Korea, im not exactly sure how that thing would work. Can the South handle this on their own? Has the world learned anything from Saddam's removal in Iraq? Most of the Americans stationed in my former playground near the DMZ would be killed very quickly, much of Seoul would be destroyed before the South were able to gain the upper hand...and reinforcements were able to come into play. Unless of course, all options are kept on the table, and im pretty sure they are. At this point all bets are surely...off. I think if you start seeing US military families who currently reside in Yongsan heading for the airports in big numbers, civilians too, then there's a sure sign the shit is about to hit the fan.

I really really pray that somehow this comes to a peaceful resolution. I don't see how these actions can be justified, but the consequences of what could potentially happen are....awful and unfathomable.
Feck. You know a lot more about Korea than me or anyone else here so you have me worried.

But, it's a last chance powerplay by a dying regime, surely? Or is that naive?
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:44 PM   #17
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Feck. You know a lot more about Korea than me or anyone else here so you have me worried.

But, it's a last chance powerplay by a dying regime, surely? Or is that naive?
Who knows, the North has been posturing for years, but nothing quite like this has happened since the cease fire.

There was a rumor back in the early 90's that Kim II Sung made Kim Jong II promise him he would be "buried in Seoul" once he died. I remember after Kim Jong II took over tensions were pretty high...but then seemed to die down.

On my second tour in Korea in 97 there were several isolated incidents of fence line shootings on the DMZ, North Korean defectors showing up in the South, and even a North Korean submarine appeared in South Korean waters with all of the crew members executed.

The North is obviously a very poor, isolated, and desperate country. A lot of the aid that is sent to them goes to feed the military. One has to feel sorry for the people of North Korea, brainwashed for generations into believeing that the rest of the world is evil while they are enslaved into poverty and isolation by the actions of their own righteous dear leader.
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:16 PM   #18
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Do you think it's posturing because Kim Jong Il wants to prepare for this son's ascension?
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:28 AM   #19
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If this interests anyone ...

Now I know numbers don't tell the whole story but it's still quite interesting.
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:31 AM   #20
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I have no idea how they come up with the numbers for North Korea.
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:31 AM   #21
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Can we count on China to fix this?
What would we be asking Beijing to do, really? More scolding, more temporary sanctions? Their leverage is limited nowadays; no one on the CPC Politburo has North Korea ties anymore, and they've clearly been both unprepared for and angered by Pyongyang's unnerving tantrums several times over the last decade. In theory, they always have the trump card of cutting off aid, but a power vacuum and massive humanitarian crisis on their northeast border is the last thing they'd want--that'd mean a flood of refugees into an already depressed region of China, and in all likelihood, US troops stationed even closer than we already are in short order, too.
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Old 11-24-2010, 04:08 AM   #22
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Do you think it's posturing because Kim Jong Il wants to prepare for this son's ascension?
The siege mentality is vitally important internally, and every now and then they have to stoke the reality a bit. The best internal propaganda comes from triggering one of these incidents. The other side of it is about basically being a bratty kid and trying to get more leverage in negotiations.

But yes, on this occasion, many are suggesting the extreme nature of this is to do with the son - Kim Jong-un - consolidating his new found leadership/power internally, within the military. Look at me, I'm in charge now, and I've clearly got big fucking brassy balls, so don't even consider crossing me.

I don't think an event like this, on it's own, would ever start a war - as Mrs Garrison said, it's a pretty unique situation in that the opposition do have the initial upper hand in a pretty terrible way. They often say that Nth Korea could possibly kill up to a million people within the first 24hrs or so. And to pre-emptively stop that from happening... only one option really. The risk though is that of course you retaliate in any way to something like this, and their response might be something on a "right, that's fucking it" level. But then you can't do nothing. Tricky.
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Old 11-24-2010, 09:54 AM   #23
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What would we be asking Beijing to do, really? More scolding, more temporary sanctions? Their leverage is limited nowadays; no one on the CPC Politburo has North Korea ties anymore, and they've clearly been both unprepared for and angered by Pyongyang's unnerving tantrums several times over the last decade. In theory, they always have the trump card of cutting off aid, but a power vacuum and massive humanitarian crisis on their northeast border is the last thing they'd want--that'd mean a flood of refugees into an already depressed region of China, and in all likelihood, US troops stationed even closer than we already are in short order, too.
So, really no.

But, would NK be better off if China invaded? I'm sure South Korea wouldn't like it, but any stability in North Korea would go a long way toward easy tension in the area. Although, it would put U.S. troops on a direct border of China, and things are tense enough between the U.S. and China in regards to Taiwan.

I was just throwing China out there since it's their backyard.


Also, even if NK doesn't have the best nuclear weapons technology yet, I am willing to bet they have put radioactive material into artillery shells for a maximum scorched-Earth campaign.

And NK has 63 submarines? WTF?
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:40 AM   #24
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Obviously the U.S. won't be putting troops on the ground in NK. They are already stretched thin strategically.

It'll be interesting to see what happens. I have read that, unsurprisingly, there are many elements in the North Korean military not so jazzed about the upcoming handover of power, so we might see a coup up there.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:00 AM   #25
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You know, considering the years leading up to World War I, the Korean peninsula is certainly quite reminiscent of the "powder keg of Europe," the Balkans, and the series of wars that the European power states attempted to mute for years as a matter of preserving the balance of power. And certainly, since the end of the Vietnam War, we've become quite accustomed to quick and largely bloodless (relatively speaking) conflicts between powerful first world nations and weak third world nations. This one, though, is shaping up where the only way I imagine it could be resolved--whether that be today or another 50 years from now--through a catastrophically bloody conflict that wears down all sides and ultimately results in setting the global power structure for the next century. After all, the current structure is still exactly the same since the aftermath of World War II; historically speaking, is it still viable?

God help us all.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:13 AM   #26
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Doesn't anyone think there are upper level military people in North Korea that look at the prosperity of the South and thinks that looks like a pretty good idea? Power is great, but profit and wealth are seductive without as many demands. How about offering NK military leaders seats on some SK corporate boards?



It would be ideal if there was just a bloodless reunification of the two countries, and the North could share in the manufacturing and industrial might of the South.
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Old 11-24-2010, 03:21 PM   #27
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Where's Barry?
USS George Washington carrier group is headed for the Korean peninsula.
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Old 11-24-2010, 05:54 PM   #28
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This is very unnerving, I hope they can find a peaceful solution to this
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Old 11-26-2010, 07:08 PM   #29
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Doesn't anyone think there are upper level military people in North Korea that look at the prosperity of the South and thinks that looks like a pretty good idea? Power is great, but profit and wealth are seductive without as many demands. How about offering NK military leaders seats on some SK corporate boards?
They've more or less already tried this; that's what Kim Dae-Jung won the Nobel Peace Prize for, the "sunshine policy" which prevailed from the late 90s until Lee Myung-bak's election in '08. Though it took the form of South Korean investment in the North (Hyundai, rail, limited tourism, aid) rather than bringing Northerners south, even as it was, there were heated accusations of SK pols and businessmen regularly bribing the North Koreans to encourage 'good behavior'--to fairly little avail, obviously. In light of that, it's tough to imagine SK corporations okaying Northern officials in the boardroom, not to mention the fears of spying, unfair cheap-labor competition, and US alienation (Washington never liked the policy) which were there from the get-go. At any rate, Lee Myung-bak made further "sunshine" contingent on denuclearization, then effectively scrapped the policy altogether following the warship sinking last spring.
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But, would NK be better off if China invaded? I'm sure South Korea wouldn't like it, but any stability in North Korea would go a long way toward easy tension in the area. Although, it would put U.S. troops on a direct border of China, and things are tense enough between the U.S. and China in regards to Taiwan.
I can't imagine they're contemplating invasion; if they were, I think they'd have tried or at least threatened that after the 2006 nuclear test, which was the most openly livid Beijing's been with Pyongyang in recent memory. It would not only further strain China-US relations, but also their relations with the rest of Asia; and, while I suppose the PLA would get a warmer public reception in North Korea than US troops would, they could hardly count on a smooth takeover, either. At this stage in China's history, it's just very hard to see benefits for them in risking it.

I'd almost be inclined to turn the proposal around: might Seoul be able to convince China that warmer East Asian political relations (read: less South Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese dependence on the US) are in the offing if Beijing can show it possesses the political skills, not just the economic savvy, to be a true leader in the region, by effecting a nonmilitary end to the Pyongyang regime followed by internationally mediated negotiations between the two Koreas, which have yet to sign a truce formally ending the Korean War? I don't much see this happening either, though, not least because distrust and resentment of Chinese meddling has such literally ancient roots in Korean history; indeed Seoul might find it more palatable to humble itself before Pyongyang than before Beijing.



Unfortunately, I doubt that anyone, Seoul and Beijing included, really understand what's going on in North Korea well enough to have good ideas who to cultivate, what supports they'd need, and how good their prospects are, as far as covert support for a possible overthrow goes.
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Old 11-26-2010, 07:12 PM   #30
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Meh. It'll all blow over in a few weeks hopefully. Dollar's looking good to buy right now though.
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