|North Korea Remains Very Unpredictable!|
For over six decades North Korea, also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against outside influence. Part of this policy is displayed by how North Korea has demonized the U.S. as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda coupled with political, economic, and military policies around the core objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang's control. Kim Il Sung's son, Kim Jong Il, was officially designated as his father's successor and took control of the government following the death of his father in 1994. Kim Jong-un was publicly unveiled as his father's successor in September 2010. Following Kim Jong Il's death in December 2011, the regime began to take actions to transfer power to Kim Jong-un who has now assumed his father's former titles and duties.
Decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation have haunted North Korea and forced the country to rely heavily on international aid to feed its population since the mid-1990s. The DPRK began to ease restrictions to allow semi-private markets, starting in 2002, but then sought to roll back the scale of economic reforms in 2005 and 2009. North Korea has a history of being a regional bad boy with its military provocations, the proliferation of military-related items, long-range missile development, supporting unstable nations, and WMD programs including tests of nuclear devices. They have also developed long-range missiles capable of reaching targets in Japan and U.S. bases in Guam, Okinawa and the Japanese mainland.
|Seoul Only 35 Miles From The DMZ|
Any conventional attack from the North aimed at South Korea would likely begin with an artillery barrage, which could include chemical weapons. “They would try to overwhelm U.S. and Korean forces with volume,” Klinger said. Any initial assault would face about 28,500 U.S. troops and about 600,000 troops in the South Korean armed forces. “In the war game simulations eventually we prevail, but it’s World War I (levels of) casualties,” he said. While analysts say a full-scale conflict is extremely unlikely they note that the Korean Peninsula has remained in a technical state of war for 60 years. Still the recent and continued threats toward Seoul and Washington, including a vow to launch a nuclear strike, have raised worries that a misjudgment between the sides could lead to a clash.
Most North Korea watchers have traditionally urged the West not to take the regime’s wild language at face value and have downplayed its military capabilities. Still, following growing provocations from North Korea and it’s launch of four missiles into the Sea of Japan on Monday and claims from Pyongyang the launch was a drill for striking American military bases in Japan some are beginning to take a different line. Chris Hill, a former U.S. diplomat like many of those keeping an eye on the situation see the threat of war by miscalculation is increasing. While many people do not think the Kim regime wants a conflict he may underestimate how much the sabre-rattling has raised the possibility to a new and dangerous level that could accidentally lead towards a broad conflict. Adding to the uncertainty is that just last week South Korean President Park Geun-hye was forced from office plunging the key U.S. ally into political turmoil.
|North Korea Launches Five Ballistic Missiles|
The real problem is how best to resolve the issue before it becomes a full-blown crisis. For years many "tough guy Americans" have seen the answer as to, just "Nuke the bastards," but this is easier said than done and has some huge negative ramifications. In the current political environment, even an attack from the North that falls well short of anything nuclear will probably provoke what might be considered a very harsh response. While there are still many people in the West, who because of its long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats have come to discount the threat of North Korea as a joke doing so could be a big mistake. This situation highlights the difficulties of dealing with rogue nations. We should not be downplaying this threat and it is possible we may be facing a watershed event that makes limited nuclear war commonplace.
None of us has any real knowledge of the motivation, or how years of propaganda have affected the average North Korean soldier. Several times in history the ink has only begun to dry on a peace accord before one of the participant attacks totally unprovoked and this means what may happen is often hard to predict. Forthcoming events may well dictate and set in motion war game scenarios that have been played out hundreds of time and are to be used as a blueprint for our future actions. It is very important America and people throughout the world realize and internalize the potential for a million or more dead North Koreans and many of their neighbors to the south, this does make this situation dire indeed. There should be little doubt the situation in Korea has the potential in a very short time to make the events having taken place in Syria over the years appear tame by comparison.