[Discussion] North Korea - Hot or Not?

Discuss current and near-future events and consequences of actions in the Korean Peninsula.

Kind of surprised not to see this thread already. Mike Pence did the rounds of regional capitals while two US carrier groups began their journey to the Korean Peninsula. We've deployed THAAD systems facing North Korea in South Korea, and Japan has issued its first post-WWII statement on what civilians should do in case of an attack. (Given that they will have less than 10 minutes warning, I suspect the real answer is soil themselves and try to find a basement...). Oh, and a US guided missile sub with about 150 Tomahawks is in the area as well. (I know we used to fire Tomahawks all the time, but now that they are no longer manufactured, this is a serious commitment, not something to be done lightly... Except in Syria, I guess, but then consistency is no longer a virtue in our leadership...). Oh, and some news sources are reporting Russian troop movements towards the North Korean border, for some reason.

So what's going on? Trump badly needs a lift, and while he claims he wants talks, he's setting the board very aggressively. A miscalculation here - one Fox anchor misreading a bulletin about a North Korean action - could kill tens of thousands of people, or more. Are we going hot, or not?

Should either diplomacy or a continuation of the war develop, this will be a place to discuss events and speculate on consequences

I think as far as North Korea is concerned, they have set the board for the unknown. Within the very limited framework of our interactions, North Korea has been predictable. However, outside of that small box no one knows what they'll do. When it comes to direct attack, they're an unknown quantity. My best guess is that the regime must (and will) respond to a direct attack overwhelmingly as that places them in the position of fight or die - perhaps even by their own people's hands. They're a wild animal in a corner of their own making.

We have two highly unpredictable national leaders squaring off against each other, at least one of whom is an narcissistic idiot who just realized that blowing up sh*t makes him appear like a powerful leader.

I honestly think it comes down to how the Trump administration is digesting the intelligence we have about North Korea and its nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile programs. North Korea claims it has a working disco ball, the miniaturized nuclear device that fits on top of a missile, and it's had two unsuccessful tests of a missile that *might* have the range to hit targets in the US.

If Trump believes that makes North Korea a clear and present danger then he might be operating under the belief that the US has to do what it takes to prevent North Korea from perfecting those weapon systems.

We don't know exactly how North Korea would respond, but I'd hazard a guess that the US openly attacking something that has been North Korea's go-to device for international leverage (and national pride) would end poorly. I'd also imagine that Kim Jong Un would interpret such an attack as jeopardizing his own personal power base considering he's spent the past few years very publicly executing high-ranking government and military officials (and family members) to consolidate power.

Oh, and don't worry about our Tomahawk inventories. The Navy's sitting on 4,000 of them. And it said that if Trump's $54 billion in extra military spending is approved that it'll order more.

Is it bad that I don't want to even talk about it for fear it might tip the scales?

Yep, we hosted Pence over the weekend.

Australia literally has nothing to do with N Korea except getting dragged into a conflict by the terms of the ANZUS alliance. But since we're hosting US Marines and the Pine Gap radar installation (Asia Pacific intercontinental missile detection and electronic warfare and espionage site that mysteriously has not been used to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines flight) we are a potential target of North Korea should they achieve its ambitious nuke and ballistics arsenal. People are calling for THAAD to be deployed in Australia. This is madness.

Fuuuuck

Reuters wrote:

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute.

"There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely," Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.

Nonetheless, Trump said he wanted to peacefully resolve a crisis that has bedeviled multiple U.S. presidents, a path that he and his administration are emphasizing by preparing a variety of new economic sanctions while not taking the military option off the table.

"We'd love to solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult," he said.

...

Trump spoke just a day after he and his top national security advisers briefed U.S. lawmakers on the North Korean threat and one day before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will press the United Nations Security Council on sanctions to further isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.

The Trump administration on Wednesday declared North Korea "an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority." It said it was focusing on economic and diplomatic pressure, including Chinese cooperation in containing its defiant neighbor and ally, and remained open to negotiations.

U.S. officials said military strikes remained an option but played down the prospect, though the administration has sent an aircraft carrier and a nuclear-powered submarine to the region in a show of force.

Any direct U.S. military action would run the risk of massive North Korean retaliation and huge casualties in Japan and South Korea and among U.S. forces in both countries.

Trump, asked if he considered North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to be rational, said he was operating from the assumption that he is rational. He noted that Kim had taken over his country at an early age.

"He's 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime. So say what you want but that is not easy, especially at that age.

"I'm not giving him credit or not giving him credit, I'm just saying that's a very hard thing to do. As to whether or not he's rational, I have no opinion on it. I hope he's rational," he said.

OG_slinger wrote:

Fuuuuck

Reuters wrote:

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute.

"There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely," Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.

Nonetheless, Trump said he wanted to peacefully resolve a crisis that has bedeviled multiple U.S. presidents, a path that he and his administration are emphasizing by preparing a variety of new economic sanctions while not taking the military option off the table.

"We'd love to solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult," he said.

...

Trump spoke just a day after he and his top national security advisers briefed U.S. lawmakers on the North Korean threat and one day before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will press the United Nations Security Council on sanctions to further isolate Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.

The Trump administration on Wednesday declared North Korea "an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority." It said it was focusing on economic and diplomatic pressure, including Chinese cooperation in containing its defiant neighbor and ally, and remained open to negotiations.

U.S. officials said military strikes remained an option but played down the prospect, though the administration has sent an aircraft carrier and a nuclear-powered submarine to the region in a show of force.

Any direct U.S. military action would run the risk of massive North Korean retaliation and huge casualties in Japan and South Korea and among U.S. forces in both countries.

Trump, asked if he considered North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to be rational, said he was operating from the assumption that he is rational. He noted that Kim had taken over his country at an early age.

"He's 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime. So say what you want but that is not easy, especially at that age.

"I'm not giving him credit or not giving him credit, I'm just saying that's a very hard thing to do. As to whether or not he's rational, I have no opinion on it. I hope he's rational," he said.

IMAGE(https://www.theatlantic.com/static/img/upload/2013/09/04/3d2.gif)

At this point I'm hoping the Hawaiian islands are tricky enough to hot that nothing from North Korea is pointed out way.

Of course, that's assuming China doesn't hop aboard this train.

The reality is that China will stop N Korea from causing a hot war if only to prevent radiation drifting across its borders and contaminating resource exports from North Korea.

The other reality is that you need north and south Korean populations to reunite if you want long term peace in the region. But the powers that be don't necessarily want that as they can exploit the region and create client states to further their own interests.

I kind of think a lot of this is media generated. Using terms like 'crisis' and such like Reuters above. North Korea is no threat to the U.S., anyone who argues they are is lying to further an agenda. This is just the U.S. playing world police again and if there is anything the last 50 years has shown it is that as a nation you MUST have nuclear weapons if you want to ensure your independence, so is it any wonder that North Korea wants them?

This "crisis" is entirely manufactured for American domestic consumption.

Paleocon wrote:

This "crisis" is entirely manufactured for American domestic consumption.

I agree. No one involved has anything to gain from an actual hot war. If we really think Trump is spoiling for a hot war for approval ratings, he'd be more likely to get involved in another Middle Eastern quagmire.

Paleo, Demyx, you're right. Good thing that Trump always does the rational thing...

I kinda wish North Korea was much closer to Israel. Then the whole long-rage nuclear capability issue would've magically sorted itself out by now.

Robear wrote:

Paleo, Demyx, you're right. Good thing that Trump always does the rational thing...

There's a difference between irrational and unpredictable. Trump's irrationality has actually been fairly predictable so far. For that matter, so has Kim Jong Un.

The only reason why Kim Jong Un's actions have been perceived by the West as inscrutable or unpredictable is because we are deliberately ignorant to our shared history.

Paleocon wrote:

The only reason why Kim Jong Un's actions have been perceived by the West as inscrutable or unpredictable is because we are deliberately ignorant to our shared history.

To me it seems relatively simple. So far (other than the internal consolidation of power) it's mostly showmanship. Bluster when you want something, and see what you can get. Distract the people. Give them goals. Make the other side flinch, and make it look like you're actually doing something while doing only as much as necessary to convince the ones who matter.

Am I talking about North Korea or the US?

Yes.

There's little that's confusing about the above. To me the unpredictable part comes with actual war. We can make some educated guesses, but it's foolish to go to war with any confidence in a particular outcome. Especially long term.

So who would choose to go to war in this instance? The people who don't care about the outcome. Either because they think they're not going to survive anyway, or because they think they're going to come out better off anyway.

We've done our best to place Kim Jong Un in the former spot, and he's helped! As far as the latter...

Who benefits from an Asia that's in turmoil as long as they avoid nuclear disaster at home?
Who has an ensconced oligarchy and corporations which have been consistently padding their pockets for a rainy day/decade?
Who has become especially nationalistic of late?
Who has a history of profiting by expending their lower class human capital on conflicts?

Have no fear, South Korea! Your greatest ally is here to help!... for a price...

The South Korean government reeled Friday over President Trump’s sudden insistence that it expects Seoul to pay $1 billion for a missile defense system that many here do not want, the latest in a series of slights against one of the United States’ leading allies in Asia.
...
Trump on Thursday revived — in a particularly blunt way — his campaign-trail complaints that South Korea was not paying enough for its defense and was getting the better of a trade deal.

This followed his assertion that Korea was once part of China — which angered many South Koreans — and his phone calls to Beijing and Tokyo over the current North Korean problem but not to Seoul.
...
In another slight, Trump said the U.S. trade agreement with South Korea — forged during the George W. Bush administration and implemented in 2012 — was “a horrible deal” and threatened to terminate it.

“It was a Hillary Clinton disaster, a deal that should’ve never been made,” he said in an interview Thursday night with The Washington Post.

Kehama wrote:

Have no fear, South Korea! Your greatest ally is here to help!... for a price...

The South Korean government reeled Friday over President Trump’s sudden insistence that it expects Seoul to pay $1 billion for a missile defense system that many here do not want, the latest in a series of slights against one of the United States’ leading allies in Asia.
...
Trump on Thursday revived — in a particularly blunt way — his campaign-trail complaints that South Korea was not paying enough for its defense and was getting the better of a trade deal.

This followed his assertion that Korea was once part of China — which angered many South Koreans — and his phone calls to Beijing and Tokyo over the current North Korean problem but not to Seoul.
...
In another slight, Trump said the U.S. trade agreement with South Korea — forged during the George W. Bush administration and implemented in 2012 — was “a horrible deal” and threatened to terminate it.

“It was a Hillary Clinton disaster, a deal that should’ve never been made,” he said in an interview Thursday night with The Washington Post.

Don't be surprised when the South Korean government (backed by the near unanimous support of the South Korean people) tells him to politely go fornicate with himself.

They generally see this as for what it is: Trump trying to distract the American people and Kim playing into it.

Any South Korean leader that even considers this will find himself dealing with crippling street protests.

My wife's family in Japan is very very afraid of what's going on. I'm researching how to get them out of the country on an emergency basis.

North Korea unsuccessfully tested a short-range, non-nuclear ballistic missile today. The missile had the range to reach Seoul, but not Japan.

Trump responded by dropping 2016 electoral maps on Pyongyang.

OG_slinger wrote:

North Korea unsuccessfully tested a short-range, non-nuclear ballistic missile today. The missile had the range to reach Seoul, but not Japan.

Trump responded by dropping 2016 electoral maps on Pyongyang.

Honest question: who would win in a golf match, Trump or Kim? More accurately, who would hit the most holes in one?

Chairman_Mao wrote:

Honest question: who would win in a golf match, Trump or Kim? More accurately, who would hit the most holes in one?

The same, but Trump would have more strikes while Kim would have the most bullseyes.

Gulfing is much harder than I thought it would be!

cheeze_pavilion wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

Honest question: who would win in a golf match, Trump or Kim? More accurately, who would hit the most holes in one?

The same, but Trump would have more strikes while Kim would have the most bullseyes.

This metaphor is collapsing like a house of cards.

The hands on the doomsday clock do feel closer than ever to midnight. I never thought I would see nuclear war in my day. Or at least before November I never thought I would.

Imagine living 25 years of your life with this feeling.

Robear wrote:

Imagine living 25 years of your life with this feeling.

Cold war?

Yep.

4 plus possibly more seems more than enough for me. Kinda makes me miss the innocent atrocities of W.

For example this went up north of the cities when Obama was elected and I feel it is more relevant in today's discussion of the GOP than ever.IMAGE(http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.194834.1314071945!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_1200/alg-billboard-miss-me-yet-jpg.jpg)