View Poll Results: What is the best course of action in dealing with North Korea?

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  • Full scale preemptive military strike

    4 28.57%
  • Limited preemptive military strike

    0 0%
  • Appeasement in the form of recognition and aid

    1 7.14%
  • Strategic Patience - Neither negotiation nor military action

    9 64.29%
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Thread: The Korean Dilemma

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amled View Post
    I sure hope that you are right, in that there is a solution that’ll save a modicum of face on both sides.
    I may be entirely wrong... I know next to nothing of Asia let alone NK but I know a little of the nature of dictatorships who's primary motivation is to maintain the Dictator and those who benefit from his regimes theft. This is not 'madness' but merely a calculated game of self survival; Putin, Lukashenka et al play much the same game. They are not about to sacrifice all in some moment of aberration that ends in the slaughter of millions including their regimes. Therefore they are amenable to a form of stick and carrot. It is really just about judging the size of the stick and carrot correctly.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    There's the entire SK army.
    As I've said elsewhere, North Korea is a defender's wet dream on Red Bull.
    The natural topography alone is enough to make one shudder. Now add the fact that North Korea has been tunneling underground and into the sides of mountains since 1953.

    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Their nuclear delivery systems are still immature.
    Yes it is. Again as I've said elsewhere: North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are are essentially a couple of newborn babies: Completely useless, ridiculously fragile, voracious consumers of resources and laughably inept at even the most basic motor skills. But babies don't remain newborns forever.

    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Their artillery systems are problematic but manageable.
    Only after thousands (at a minimum) of dead South Korean civilians. It'll make 9/11 look like a skinned knee.

    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    How much more provocation do you want?
    I don't want any provocation. I also don't want to see Seoul (for starters) burned down to a pile ashes.

    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Do you really think we could live with the world where NK is nuclear armed and striving to proliferate, with a long queue of authoritarian regimes to follow?
    How far after that do you think we'll see mushroom cloud in some unfortunate corner of the world (eg, los angeles)?
    I don't know. I don't have the answers to those questions. North Korea is a frighteningly absurd situation at best.
    I do know that a first strike against North Korea would guarantee that China and Russia would react...unfavorably toward the United States.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

  3. #33
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    I just wonder how an insignificant state like NK is able to effectively blackmail the world economy...who are the enablers and what are their motives...because it would seem to me that no China or Russia and you would have no NK....so my only conclusion is talking to NK is futile...as the puppet master resides elsewhere..
    Kim Il-sung managed to play China off of Russia (or, vice-versa) for a long time, but Jong-il and Un-jong aren't finding a lot of folks in Moscow who care as much. China's key interest is in not having a hostile border, either US troops on the Yalu, or ROKers. The second objective is to keep Koreans on their side of the border. A few million refugees are not in China's best interest.

    Keeping the DPRK alive is the cheapest solution.

    Add to that the history of China's involvement in the Korean War. The soldiers who rose up the ranks over the subsequent 25 years managed (rather badly) the 1979-88 war with Vietnam. That proved their undoing, but the history of both wars shaped PLA thinking.
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  4. #34
    Senior Contributor Toby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Kim Il-sung managed to play China off of Russia (or, vice-versa) for a long time, but Jong-il and Un-jong aren't finding a lot of folks in Moscow who care as much. China's key interest is in not having a hostile border, either US troops on the Yalu, or ROKers. The second objective is to keep Koreans on their side of the border. A few million refugees are not in China's best interest.

    Keeping the DPRK alive is the cheapest solution.

    Add to that the history of China's involvement in the Korean War. The soldiers who rose up the ranks over the subsequent 25 years managed (rather badly) the 1979-88 war with Vietnam. That proved their undoing, but the history of both wars shaped PLA thinking.
    Would you describe NK as a buffer state?

    Might be a good point in this thread to point out how the split in Korea came about after WW2. I leave that in your court pal....as you are more qualified than me. I know Japan ruled Korea and after WW2 it was split by the US and Russia after the Soviets had turned their attention on the Japanese empire....but I don't know how it came about in full and how it became so removed from the states around it.
    Last edited by Toby; 01 Sep 17, at 15:21.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    I just wonder how an insignificant state like NK is able to effectively blackmail the world economy...who are the enablers and what are their motives...because it would seem to me that no China or Russia and you would have no NK....so my only conclusion is talking to NK is futile...as the puppet master resides elsewhere..
    Precisely because of their insignificance. They're so poor that they have nothing to lose.

  6. #36
    Senior Contributor Amled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    I may be entirely wrong... I know next to nothing of Asia let alone NK but I know a little of the nature of dictatorships who's primary motivation is to maintain the Dictator and those who benefit from his regimes theft. This is not 'madness' but merely a calculated game of self survival; Putin, Lukashenka et al play much the same game. They are not about to sacrifice all in some moment of aberration that ends in the slaughter of millions including their regimes. Therefore they are amenable to a form of stick and carrot. It is really just about judging the size of the stick and carrot correctly.

    Your contentions; as I read it, that no sane person would willingly bring about a Ragnarok simply as bargaining tool is probably correct.
    Putin is probably an excellent case in point of a pragmatic player of realpolitik as can be found in the world today.
    Yet can the same be said of Tiny Kim?
    Here we are talking about a man who is reputed to have had a once favorite uncle tossed to a pack of starving dogs!
    After which he had the entire family of the aforementioned uncle sent to the wall! Wife, children, grandchildren together with their in-laws!
    Had opponents executed by having them shot with anti-aircraft cannons!
    Are these the actions of someone playing with a full deck?
    Of a believable negotiating partner?
    He wouldn’t be the first demented dictator who was willing to tear down the whole house if things didn’t go his way!
    When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. - Anais Nin

  7. #37
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amled View Post

    Your contentions; as I read it, that no sane person would willingly bring about a Ragnarok simply as bargaining tool is probably correct.
    Putin is probably an excellent case in point of a pragmatic player of realpolitik as can be found in the world today.
    Yet can the same be said of Tiny Kim?
    Here we are talking about a man who is reputed to have had a once favorite uncle tossed to a pack of starving dogs!
    After which he had the entire family of the aforementioned uncle sent to the wall! Wife, children, grandchildren together with their in-laws!
    Had opponents executed by having them shot with anti-aircraft cannons!
    Are these the actions of someone playing with a full deck?
    Of a believable negotiating partner?
    He wouldn’t be the first demented dictator who was willing to tear down the whole house if things didn’t go his way!
    Demented? Maybe. Full deck? Yes.

    I can think of no better way to keep people in line than acting like you are crazy enough to do anything to them. I know it works most all the time. The crazier the better but remember it can all be an act. So be careful assuming he must be a madman because he used an anti-aircraft gun to execute opponents. If I were a fellow dictator I might say nice touch given the impression it makes after asking what size.

  8. #38
    Senior Contributor Amled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    ... So be careful assuming he must be a madman because he used an anti-aircraft gun to execute opponents. If I were a fellow dictator I might say nice touch given the impression it makes after asking what size.
    It wasn’t using AA-guns as weapons of executions that raised my hackles.
    After all it was just a modern version of what the British did to some of the rebel Sepoys in the wake of the Mutiny.
    No, it was his methods of quelling dissent within his family.
    Bit too much Keyser Söze in his methodology.
    As a bone curdling story element in a fictional novel it works.
    As a real-life event carried out by a man who now has his finger on a nuclear trigger…not so much!
    When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. - Anais Nin

  9. #39
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    So be careful assuming he must be a madman because he used an anti-aircraft gun to execute opponents. If I were a fellow dictator I might say nice touch given the impression it makes after asking what size.
    Agree, same was said about those mullahs in Iran. Hah, really...

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    As I've said elsewhere, North Korea is a defender's wet dream on Red Bull.
    The natural topography alone is enough to make one shudder. Now add the fact that North Korea has been tunneling underground and into the sides of mountains since 1953.


    Yes it is. Again as I've said elsewhere: North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are are essentially a couple of newborn babies: Completely useless, ridiculously fragile, voracious consumers of resources and laughably inept at even the most basic motor skills. But babies don't remain newborns forever.


    Only after thousands (at a minimum) of dead South Korean civilians. It'll make 9/11 look like a skinned knee.


    I don't want any provocation. I also don't want to see Seoul (for starters) burned down to a pile ashes.



    I don't know. I don't have the answers to those questions. North Korea is a frighteningly absurd situation at best.
    I do know that a first strike against North Korea would guarantee that China and Russia would react...unfavorably toward the United States.
    The realistic estimates I've seen project a few thousand civilian casualties IF NK was allowed to initiate along the DMZ.

    Let me emphasize: IF, ALLOWED TO INITIATE

    If you let the prospect of, say 10k civilian casualties stop us from wiping out an existential threat to the US Japan, and SK in a situation where we have the strongest ready concentration of Western military prowess currently on earth prepared in the highest state of military readiness any where literally ready to go at any time.

    If the above were to occur, well, then Putin just found out our bottom line and got his marching orders for Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe. Literally, at any expedient time to him.

    And that would be the least urgent of our problems.

    I think we can give diplomacy more time, but as we do the entire time we need to be making concrete preparations for offensive operations (which of course we are).

    There is, realistically, likely no negotiating with Kim on this. Put yourself in his shoes. I don't mean in the superficial way of some of this drivel that serves as "analysis" in the press. I mean really do it. Think thorough who he is and how he'd run his country. Think about what comes next after this. Really live in his skin.

    I think you'll see that there is literally nothing we could ever offer him that would make him stop.

    We can talk and hope for a miracle, but when the time comes we need to be ready to drown this nuclear baby in the bathwater. Kim can survive, his weapons program cannot, and neither can the artillery he has pointing at Seoul.
    Last edited by citanon; 02 Sep 17, at 00:05.

  11. #41
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    The realistic estimates I've seen project a few thousand civilian casualties IF NK was allowed to initiate along the DMZ.
    Care to share? Links? I've seen analyses held up as 'realistic' and lower end that put the figure at 60,000 in Seoul alone the first 24 hours, and these were made before the DPRK acquired longer range rocket artillery.


    If you let the prospect of, say 10k civilian casualties stop us from wiping out an existential threat to the US Japan, and SK in a situation where we have the strongest ready concentration of Western military prowess currently on earth prepared in the highest state of military readiness any where literally ready to go at any time.
    It isn't up to America to decide if these people die unless there is an act of war committed. The ROK has decided to tolerate periodic low level attacks rather than go to war and will suffer the consequences of any conflict. They are the ones who need to take the lead here.


    If the above were to occur, well, then Putin just found out our bottom line and got his marching orders for Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe. Literally, at any expedient time to him.
    America can establish that 'bottom line' in a very short time without killing a single Korean. How about just going about it that way?

    There is, realistically, likely no negotiating with Kim on this. Put yourself in his shoes. I don't mean in the superficial way of some of this drivel that serves as "analysis" in the press. I mean really do it. Think thorough who he is and how he'd run his country. Think about what comes next after this. Really live in his skin.

    I think you'll see that there is literally nothing we could ever offer him that would make him stop.

    We can talk and hope for a miracle, but when the time comes we need to be ready to drown this nuclear baby in the bathwater. Kim can survive, his weapons program cannot, and neither can the artillery he has pointing at Seoul.
    .....says the guy who doesn't live in the northern suburbs of Seoul.

    Here's an idea, put yourself in their shoes. I don't mean in the superficial way of some of this drivel that serves as "analysis" in online forums. I mean really do it. Think thorough what it would be like to have an allied power start an unnecessary war that destroys the place where you live & kills many of your friends & family. Think about what this would mean to you. Really live in these people's skin.

    They have lived almost 2 generations in the shadow of this dictatorship and have built a prosperous, peaceful, democratic nation. Then a nation that is supposed to be their friend decides that because the dictatorship to the north might one day present a threat then these people's lives get destroyed. Left to its own devices the DPRK might do this one day, but it hasn't in over 60 years. If the US attacks it will unleash hell on your home, friends & family. Doesn't look like a great idea from that perspective, does it?

    A nuclear armed DPRK is a very, very bad thing, but it doesn't give the DPRK the ability to anything it wants to. If it uses the nukes it ceases to exist. Within minutes. Kim wants to be a God King, not ruler of the rubble. In an ideal world China would fix this. America can't without a LOT of people dying, very few of them American, very many of them notionally US allies. There are lots of choices here. The military option is by far the worst and should only be used if there is literally no choice. Living with a nuclear DPRK is choice, especially for those people who live nowhere near you but within artillery range.


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  12. #42
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    Would you describe NK as a buffer state?

    Might be a good point in this thread to point out how the split in Korea came about after WW2. I leave that in your court pal....as you are more qualified than me. I know Japan ruled Korea and after WW2 it was split by the US and Russia after the Soviets had turned their attention on the Japanese empire....but I don't know how it came about in full and how it became so removed from the states around it.
    Yes, the DPRK is a buffer state and between it and the ROK is a buffer zone. It is the most heavily militarized Demilitarized Zone on earth. Very pretty area, except when the land mines go off and kill the deer or wild boar that have repopulated the DMZ over the years.

    It is important to note that 1948 was not the first time Korea was divided into two Korean states. In the 8th and 9th centuries, there were two dynasties, the Later Silla (south) and the Balhae (north). The Later Silla beat the tar out of the Tang Dynasty, colonized bits of Shandong and near Shanghai and had the fourth largest city in the world, at Gyeongju (which I still want to call Kyongju). More recently, Japan and Russia had discussed splitting the country, along the 38th, back in 1905.

    1945: As per the UN trustee plan, the USSR (north of the 38th parallel) and the USA (south) take the lead in disarming the IJA in Manchuria and the 35 year-old Japanese colony of Korea. As in the Japanese colony of Taiwan, a very short-lived popular government was briefly formed, but joint administration by the US, USSR, UK and ROC takes over by year-end.

    1946: Crossing the 38th without a permit is made illegal. Sporadic uprisings against the US military administration. Legislative elections held in September. Moderate politicians assassinated. Cho Man-sik (a/k/a Kodang) is replaced by Kim Il-sung in the north. Massive south-flowing refugee movements following land reform and nationalization of industry.

    1947: The UN resolves that free elections should be held in both Koreas, and foreign troops should be withdrawn. USSR boycotts so elections are held only in the south.

    1948: South Korean troops put down a revolt in Jeju (Cheju) with heavy loss of life. Military uprising in South Jeolla (Cholla) province. Two separate Korean governments are formed. The USSR installs Kim Il-sung in the north while UN-supervised elections in the south see Syngman Rhee elected president. Only the south is recognized by the UN.

    1949: A series of provocations along both sides of the 38th raise tensions in Korea. PRC founded (Oct 1st).

    1950: Chinese civil war ends (May). North invades the south (June 25th). The UN authorizes the US to intervene. The Pusan Perimeter halts the NK advance in August. Incheon amphibious assault (Sept) cuts NK army in half. UN forces drive to the Yalu, triggering PRC intervention (Oct).
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  13. #43
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    So what kind of a deal does this guy want to do and what does SK and Japan etc get back in return. I mean he's clearly not after the latest Iphone. Unfortunately appeasing dictators has a history of turning bad at some point

  14. #44
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    Protection.China is supposed to have leverage.But right now,Kim's backers in China are on Xi's hitlist and they've been there for a good while.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  15. #45
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toby View Post
    So what kind of a deal does this guy want to do and what does SK and Japan etc get back in return. I mean he's clearly not after the latest Iphone. Unfortunately appeasing dictators has a history of turning bad at some point
    Peace treaty with the US. Recognition of the regime means legitimacy. He's isn't too particular what the neighbours think. I don't know whether he will try to conquer the south if he gets what he wants and finish his grandfathers job.

    The reason he threatens Japan is because that is where forces for any invasion of NK would be based.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 02 Sep 17, at 12:45.

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