July 9, 2006

"Under that Cheney risk-rubric, Kim is easily the gravest threat to American lives since Bush took office."

Andrew Sullivan detects incoherence:
[W]hat you cannot do is argue as Dick Cheney and Bush have consistently argued about the WMD threat, then look at their current position on North Korea and consequently make any coherent sense at all.

The Cheney argument, as outlined in Ron Suskind’s book-length brief for the CIA, The One Percent Doctrine, is clear. It is that if there is a 1% chance that terrorists can get access to WMDs, the US, after 9/11, must treat that chance as a 100% certainty.

Under that Cheney risk-rubric, Kim is easily the gravest threat to American lives since Bush took office. He has the materials; he has the motive; all he lacks is a delivery system.

And the failure of his missile delivery system is not a cause for relief. It merely means that if he is to deliver the nuclear goods to his enemies, he has to find another way.

A suitcase? An Al-Qaeda suicide bomber? A Pakistani intelligence agent?

You think these options aren’t available to him? If you live anywhere near a western city you should be concerned.

45 comments:

Wickedpinto said...

The caution that comes with that part of the world is that there is china who wants to take taiwan, you have north korea that is crazy, and we have pakistan not to far away, who may be culpable (is actually already) in NK's development of nukes, you have india who might use NK's nuke program as an excuse, you have japan, who has maintained a pascifist, or at least purely defensively military for 60 years.

The complexity of the NK problem is a lot more significant that Iraq, that is why the 6 party talks. The more people/nations involved in the talks, and the more nations that wash their hands of NK, the better stance we have in shutting them down military, without a gigantic cascade of directly related, uninteded, but clearly identifiable consequenses.

This isn't ideology, or just ideology. It's also strategic sense.

panther33 said...

Oh dear, Andrew Sullivan feels "conned" because the U.S. is engaging in "multlateral blather" on NK. What does he want, an invasion north across the DMZ next month?

The fact is that the countries most at risk from North Korean nukes are Japan and South Korea, democratic countries that happen to be allies of ours. Ignoring their interests would be both unwise and immoral,IMO. Sullivan's whining about anything GWB does is getting pretty old.

Seven Machos said...

We can't invade North Korea because of China. Just like China can't invade Taiwan because of us.

Somewhere in his weird mind, Sullivan knows this. Somewhere in his mind he is aware that the United States just might lose a war with China.

Also, by the way, the fact that we did not find WMD in Iraq addles us greatly when we talk of WMD elsewhere. Bush has to be kicking himself for allowing WMD to become such a centerpiece in Iraq.

John Thacker said...

The argument is entirely straightforward:

South Korea is a strong ally, and doesn't want us to do anything, and we respect that, not least because they would bear the brunt of casualties.

We are restrained by circumstances and reality in what we can do. Yes, the DPRK is a terrible threat. But strategic concerns (including allies) constrain us.

Palladian said...

This is classic misdirection by a man who is desperately trying to retain some shred of his "hawk" credentials.

That North Korea is a threat is not in dispute. They've been a threat long before Maddy Albright was clinking glasses with Kim Jon Il. The problem with dealing with them has everything to do with both our ally South Korea and their ally China.

Internet Ronin said...

As one who theoretically lives within the range of harm's way, I refuse to lose one wink of sleep over this despite Andrew Sullivan's hysteria.

Icepick said...

And the failure of his missile delivery system is not a cause for relief. It merely means that if he is to deliver the nuclear goods to his enemies, he has to find another way.

...

A Pakistani intelligence agent?


That is simply stupid. Pakistan already has nukes. Wouldn't it make more sense for a Pakistani agent to get hold of a Pakistani bomb?

Steven said...

Screw upsetting China, and screw the complexities. We can't invade North Korea because we physically can't.

Why? Because we don't have anywhere to invade from. China isn't going to offer itself as a staging area. As long as Seoul can be hit by a barrage of North Korean artillery, South Korea won't let us invade from there, no matter how much we demand it. An amphibious assault from Japan is well beyond our capabilities. Finally, we couldn't paratroop in enough forces to fight the North Koreans if they gave us a free month to drop and organize.

This is not a case of Kissengerian realism; this is not a case of incoherence. This is a case of not being physically able to do something given the nature of reality, and accordingly not doing it. You know, basic sanity? Sullivan might as well complain that Bush is being incoherent because he hasn't repealed the law of gravity in North Korea, thus flinging the WMDs safely into space.

Sullivan stopped being an honest critic of the Bush Administration some time ago. Nowadays, he just uses whatever rhetorical club he can find to attack the man who dared endorse a national constitutional amendment against gay marriage. Remember when he tried to blame the less than life sentences for abusive Tennessee state correctional workers in Tennessee on Bush?

Another sad victim of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Seven Machos said...

Steven -- I think you and I probably would agree on a lot politically. Actually, though, it would be a lot easier to invade North Korea than it was Iraq. We have 40,000 soldiers on the border right now, and several warships always in the region.

Wickedpinto said...

Seven's right. we have the troops already in the ROK (always liked when peole would call it that, had some ROK service in oki and 29 for training, guys were ninja's, like really, ninja's only with another name)we have a complete Marine and Army division in Oki, we have a massive air assault option in Guam, and the naval presense in that region is massive.

I wouldn't say it would be easier, cuz of all the damage that would be done to seoul in the case of a direct conflict, but we don't have to move too many pieces to be able to establish a significant invasion force on NK.

Internet Ronin said...

North Korea has over 1,000,000 men in the Korean People's Army, of which 700,000 troops, over 8,000 artillery systems, and about 2,000 tanks within minutes of the demilititarized zone, while the United States has 37,500 men and women stationed all over South Korea.

Seven Machos said...

Ronin -- If the U.S. decides to attack with the military, it will probably move a few more assets in.

Internet Ronin said...

Seven - They can't do that without South Korea's permission and they aren't about to get that under the circumstances. Besides, the DPRK would be bound to notice and react before any significant build-up occurred. It isn't like it could happen over night ;-)

Kev said...

(the other kev)

'Andrew Sullivan detects incoherence'

No.

'Andrew Sullivan = incoherence'

Easily corrected.

Wickedpinto said...

Ronin? Direct numbers are not enough of an excuse. I believe that a mobilized US force of say 50K (not including air or sea support) would slaughter standing force of 1 million in NK.

Noone else on this planet fights wars like the US other than the UK and AU.

In truth if we were determined to go there without the ROK's permission it would actually make things better, we could free up those troops maintaining a positional defense along the DMZ, and throw them across the lines to destroy immediate threats like those artillery pieces, and all supporting troops we can route through a newly established beachhead in the north, like, Inchon? and just start pooring death in a green business suit into NK.

The outcome is without question, but the side affects are ugly. Thats why we don't move, MOSTLY cuz of the ROK, largely cuz of japan, and somewhat cuz of china, and the other things that might come about between pakistan and india.

peter hoh said...

I think certain people on the right hate Andrew Sullivan much the way certain people on the left hate Ann Althouse.

Gahrie said...

Internet Ronin:
North Korea has over 1,000,000 men in the Korean People's Army, of which 700,000 troops, over 8,000 artillery systems, and about 2,000 tanks

That's just more targets. The truth is, North Korea's technology is even more antiquated than Iraq's was, and our technology has gotten even better since the Gulf War and it's extension, the Iraq War. The war would be extremely bloody for North Korea, and the North Koreans would kill hundreds of thousands of South Koreans, but we could take them easily.

John Thacker said...

The war would be extremely bloody for North Korea, and the North Koreans would kill hundreds of thousands of South Koreans, but we could take them easily.

Well, anything that results in the death of hundreds of thousands of South Korean civilians isn't easily, and isn't something that is practical or doable unless something is really imminent.

It underscores the fatuous comparisons between the DPRK and Iraq. Yes, the DPRK is more dangerous, but when there's a reasonable possibility of so many South Koreans dying, our hands are largely tied.

John Thacker said...

I think certain people on the right hate Andrew Sullivan much the way certain people on the left hate Ann Althouse.

Probably so, but I hate it when ANYBODY brings up the DPRK card in such a way, ESPECIALLY when they claim to be concerned about our allies, international opinion, or civilians in other contexts.

I'm opposed to torturing suspected terrorists in Guantanamo, certainly. But I'm surely MORE opposed to starting a war with the DPRK opposed by the ROK which could kill hundreds of thousands of their civilians. If torturing suspected terrorists is never acceptable, even if it produces good intelligence (and I agree), then certainly sacrificing so many civilians of an allied country is not acceptable, and nor is proposing it in order to talk tough.

Freeman Hunt said...

As long as we're discussing Korea, I'd like to recommend the movie JSA. It's about a group of soldiers on either side of the Joint Security Area (border between North and South Korea) who become friends. Very good.

I think certain people on the right hate Andrew Sullivan much the way certain people on the left hate Ann Althouse.

I don't think that's true. He used to be a favorite blogger on the right. I remember when my father used to read him everyday. Then the gay marriage issue came up, and it's been Sullivan's sole compass ever since. (Not just on politics either.) His arguments have become weaker, and the argument above is a great example of that. He's a smart man. He must be aware that the NK situation is not comparable to the Iraq situation.

panther33 said...

"I think certain people on the right hate Andrew Sullivan much the way certain people on the left hate Ann Althouse"

Pointing out that his position is nonsensical doesn't constitute "hate". And I don't seriously believe that AS supports military action against North Korea. He's just talking tough because he knows that no one's going to take his lame advice.

ben wallace said...

The One Percent Doctrine was applied to terrorist organizations, not governments. A more relevant risk calculation is as follows: if North Korea uses a nuclear weapon against the US, the probability of massive destruction of NK is nearly 1. The logic of mutually assured destruction should hold for NK just as it holds for other states with nuclear capabilities.

Wickedpinto said...

Using NK as an example of US impotence or incompetance is an outright LIE!

The reason that I made so many points about the success the US would have were we to engage in War ("War" should always be capitalized, since it is the most extreme nature of humanity to wage it, an needs to be recognized as such) with NK, isn't built on my own arrogant assumptions of how to wage war. It is built on the fact that I was in the service, in oki, during the late 90's, and I don't think there is a single person, after 1993, that served in that theater without recieving numerous lectures, and tactical briefs that conserned the nature of the most expected enemy, at least prior to the Iraq War.

NK.

It was a 4 times a year event, we would spend all day getting lectures from generals colonels and majors and even retired enlisted who knew about the situation. NK is a JOKE as a warfighting nation, the problem is, that SK is too friggen lazy to push their friggen populace outside of seoul. Regularly the major statements made was that the UN destroyed any hope of peace, and sabotaged the south with being the on the recieving end of the worst aspects of war for writing the armistice as they did.

Once again, you can CLEARLY blame the UN for the Korean situation in all ways. the UN had "control" of the army, though we fixed that, and the UN authorized mobilization of that armed force, and the UN caved in and drew the borders where they did.

Those lines are not an armistice, they are a blackmail against reasonable regional defense, and I think the UN knew it at the time, After all, china was a part of the negotiation.

Zach said...

Like a lot of people, I read Sullivan a lot during the runup to the war. He was unusually strident back then, too, but the subject was so emotional and controversial that I misattributed the source of the stridency as being the issues instead of the man. It would have been nice if Sullivan hat put a little disclaimer by the arguments he wasn't going to stand behind when the fighting actually started.

"WMDs are the biggest issue in the world*"

*except gay marriage

"Saddam is the most dangerous tyrant existent*"

*except George Bush

"It is imperative that we invade Iraq immediately*"

*and win in two months, or I'm bailing on the whole thing.

When Bush supported the gay marriage amendment, it took about two days for him to go from being incapable of wrong in Sullivan's eyes to incapable or doing anything right, even on issues that have no connection with gay marriage. It wasn't the new positions that repelled me, it was how easily the old positions vanished into the ether. If the man places so little value on his own analysis, why should I value it any higher?

What really changed is Sullivan's opinion of Bush. The stridency -- before and after the change -- was just selection bias, where Sullivan buttressed his opinions with anything that came to hand.

I'm sure that this article is sincere, for whatever value of sincere that applies to Sullivan. But I'm also sure that he would sincerely change positions the instant anything went wrong -- even if it was something utterly predictable like Seoul getting shelled during the war.

John in Nashville said...

Sullivan correctly observed that there are differences between North Korea today and Iraq four years ago. One difference that he omitted is that Kim Jong-il does not pose oedipal issues for the Cheerleader-in-chief.

Troy said...

What are you saying John in Nash?

What in the hell does Bush's suppressed desire to schtupp his mother have to do with Saddam or Kim Jong Il?

Do you even know what "Oedipal" means?

Should someone from Tennessee even be making incest jokes?

Troy said...

That last part may sound a bit snarky. unintended on the last sentence.

Seven Machos said...

Barbara Bush was upset that she failed by not invading Baghdad when she was president. President Bush loves her and wants to have sex with her but cannot, so he instead corrects her failure by invading during his presidency.

Everyone knows this.

What else do you have, John? That the sky is blue? That water is wet?

J said...

Sullivan returned from Provincetown in 04 with a fairly severe case of BDS that has gotten progressively worse. I've never understood his (or the LBGT rights movement in general's) rabid hatred for the guy who wants to destroy terrorists who would burn them at the stake or stone them to death, while avidly supporting politicians who would appease those terrorists, solely because those politicians support gay marriage. The LBGT crowd needs to rethink their priorities.

The idea that the NK and AQ situations are analogous is idiotic, but sadly representative of journalistic knowledge and understanding.

J said...

"What in the hell does Bush's suppressed desire to schtupp his mother have to do with Saddam or Kim Jong Il?"

He said cheerleader, not commander. All he's saying is that Bill O'Reilly thinks KJI is his mother. Or something.

Bruce Hayden said...

What must be remembered here is that NK (DPRK) is a client state of China (PRC), and the last time we invaded NK, in the early fall of 1950, the PRC intervened, with deadly results. Ultimately, the U.N. forces were able to push the PRC+NK back out of SK (ROK) again, but not until a lot of Americans had died.

What must be remembered is that the Chinese see this as a matter of face. If we (re)invaded NK, they would have to invervene. By all indications, they aren't happy with NK, but also by all indications at present, would come to their rescue if invaded.

Let me add that we never did get a peace treaty there, just a cease fire. And, for the most part, that cease fire has held for the last 53 years. I haven't read it, but rather suspect that the PRC was a party to the same side as the DPRK.

Indeed, has the DPRK done anything here more egregious than the constant sniping, etc. that they have been doing across the DMZ, etc., for that 53 years? Could we justify invading NK w/o violating the cease fire?

And that is the big difference between NK and Iraq - Iraq didn't have any major power patron state willing to go to war with us, and NK does.

And that, BTW, is the real reason that we are insisting on mult-nation discussions with NK - we aren't going to get anything done there without the cooperation of the PRC. The Chinese are supplying food and energy to NK, and could force that country to heel, by cutting such off. They haven't yet.

reader_iam said...

Some scattered, not-comprehensive, observations, the implications of which to ponder:

China has balance of power issues with which it is contending. N.K. serves as a buffer state. China, which really is not all that concerned about a nuclear threat from Korea since it has its own nukes, among other reasons. It has no particular interest in dismantling the N.K. regime, and quite a bit of interest in maintaining key aspects of the status quo. Its concern is to prevent the spread of nukes to Japan, S.K. and, it goes without saying, Taiwan.

A complicating factor is that South Korea identifies far less with us than China, which is its top trading partner. It's also critical to remember that South Korea and North Korea, despite their vastly different experiences and situations over the past 60 years, are artificial constructions. Korea was one country which, with the strike of pen wielded by Dean Rusk and Charles Bonesteel through the 38th parallel. This was largely to establish a surrender line that would prevent the Soviets from seizing all of Korea. This division was never intended to be permanent.

[fast-forward through years of history since then]

There is also an "age gap" in attitudes toward North Korea between South Korean youth and those old enough to remember the Korean War and the historical period to which it belongs. This gap in attitudes is reflected in views toward North Korea, China and--largely as an extension of those entities rather than actual anti-Americanism as we usually understand it--the U.S.

Younger South Koreans tend to hold some romantic (I do not use this term dismissively) views of North Korea, and in many cases are revisiting the vision of unification into a single country, which after all was what was originally promised. A very significant proportion of younger South Koreans not only say they'd support North Korea over the U.S. should the latter attack the former, but that they identify China as the power with which it is important to maintain good relationships--and by a significant margin over the U.S. (This, by the way, it can be argued, isn't really a reflection of anti-Americanism, but rather of some of the factors to which I have already alluded.)

All of this, and implications emanating thereof, make the situation very complex indeed, not just in terms of what we actually do or do not do now, but the long-term fall-out not just for the Korean Peninisula, but a much larger chunk of Asia.

This really may not be our hand to play, or at least to win with, at least not as it appears to stand now.

Just some thoughts ... .

Steven said...

Seven, Wickedpinto:

That's all true. But it doesn't matter how many troops we have in South Korea, even though yes, we'd have plenty there to invade North Korea. The problem is we cannot invade North Korea with them without South Korean permission, because that be an act of war against South Korea. The odds of a successful invasion of North Korea from South Korea in the face of South Korean opposition to us are nil; that's what makes the invasion a physical impossibility.

South Korea is not a U.S. colony; over and above their soverign status, they have enough military muscle that they can veto our staging from their soil. And Roh's not going to trade Seoul to calm our fears about maybe losing L.A., no matter how much we demand it.

Now, if you have an argument that will cause Roh to give us permission to launch from South Korea, then yes, it becomes physically possible to invade North Korea. Similarly, if you have an argument that will cause ther Chinese to let us stage from China, it becomes physically possible. But without the permission of either (or maybe Russia), we cannot sucessfully invade.

Which is all to say Bush cannot unilaterally order the invasion of North Korea Andrew Sullivan is criticizing him for not ordering. He must—not as a legal matter, but as a matter of making it possible—have permission from at least one of North Korea's neighbors. As long as they all say no, no invasion is possible as a practical military matter. It's not a matter of respecting our allies or world opinion—it's a matter of logistics.

Ernst Blofeld said...

A war with North Korea would be expensive in terms of US lives. The North Koreans have enough artillery lined up on the DMZ to send a lot of steel downrange, and they've had fifty years to dig it in. It would take a long time to supress all of it, and in the mean time they'd take a steady toll of US lives. You don't shoot thousands of rounds of artillery into an area occupied by troops and not kill a lot of them. If the artillery was suppressed that would have to be followed by an allied assault through fixed fortifications. Against a nuclear power.

The US would eventually win, assuming the Chinese didn't intervene or threaten to intervene, which isn't a very good percentage bet. But it would be expensive and insanely risky. The only way the South Koreans would agree to any of this is if their own existence was threatened by a North Korean attack.

I don't hate Sullivan. I think he's become increasingly hysterical, and i flipped on his bozo bit some time back.

Wickedpinto said...

Ernst? It wouldn't cost many US lives at all, it would cost a whole buttload (approximate 156 imperial gallons) of ROK lives.

Steven? You are right, seven and I are right. We have just been saying the same thing with different words. No reason to bore eachother with the same argument again, until some lunatic makes a comment about how the US is affraid of NK nukes or some such.

John Jenkins said...

Wickedpinto, afraid is the wrong word, but I'm confident that U.S. war planners are concerned about DPRK nuclear weapons and consider to what extent an invasion might provoke DPRK launch of any weapons that might exist against Japan or ROK.

Not to burst anyone's bubble about the invicible U.S. soldier/Marine, but our sub-50k would get run over by the sheer numbers of the DPRK force. That's a factor of roughly 20:1. The only real question would be whether the DPRK would have the will to fight, and I don't know that and probably neither does anyone else commenting here. If we invade them, they almost certainly would because almost anyone will fight to defend his home.

That's assuming that PRC doesn't decide to use any kind of attack as a convenient time to test its doctrine against ours, reinforcing and supplying DPRK with equipment and possibly even soldiers (they have enough of them, after all).

All of that is ignoring the fact that the Korean peninsula is not a good place to fight if you don't have to. There's a reason that Korea was essentially sovereign for a long time between two competing regional powers.

The terrain you'd be invading is heavily mountainous, denying U.S. forces their primary advantage: mobility. It's slow and dangerous going and people advocating it need to get a bloody clue. Seriously, who in his right mind attacks an enemy fortified in mountains going uphill? And I thought Market Garden was a pipe dream.

Ernst Blofeld said...

I'd guess US combat deaths in a North Korean war would be well into the thousands. The North Koreans can shoot about 500,000 artillery rounds per hour from a standing start, and US bases are within artillery range, though in the process of being moved south. The North would presumably also use chemical weapons. The DPRK has about 12,000 artillery pieces and it would take allied forces days or weeks to supress them. Sending that quantity of artillery downrange is simply going to cause a lot of deaths. It doesn't have anything to do with superior US training. It's just a matter of statistics. Yes, _eventually_ the North Koreans would be chewed up, but the facts on the ground don't play to the recent US strengths, namely standing off, shooting them in place, and then manuevering to destroy them.

In an invasion the North would have to move through a limited number of north/south roads, which the US would obviously bomb and mine. So the good news would be that they are unlikely to be able to maintain momentum all the way to Pusan.

DPRK troop motivation is an unknown, but their special forces at least are fanatical. There have been some scrapes with them after they've been landed by sub in South Korea, and they've been to-the-last-bullet affairs. (In a war I'd also expect DPRK special forces attacks on US bases in Japan, and probably Okinowa and Guam.) The regular forces may be substantially less well motivated.

LoafingOaf said...

What must be remembered is that the Chinese see this as a matter of face. If we (re)invaded NK, they would have to invervene. By all indications, they aren't happy with NK, but also by all indications at present, would come to their rescue if invaded.

What is it that China sees as most important to their own interests to keep propping up the North Korean slave state? Is it that they want a buffer on their border, or is it that they'd be afraid of millions of North Korean refugees pouring into China if North Korea's government fell?

I've been told that any war with North Korea would lead to the complete destruction of Seoul, South Korea and perhaps millions of lives. Someone even told me that Seoul has natural gas lines piped all through the city and would be engulfed in flames in a matter of hours, but I'm just going by what some dude said to me at a bar.....

I feel unable to evaluate the job our leaders in the Clinton and Bush administrations have done because it's so tricky. But from my layperson point of view, I'm pretty sick of countries like China and Russia undermining every attempt to civilize this world and since they're being enablers of evil in North Korea they should be paying a higher price for that. But if China's agenda is partially about fearing refugees from North Korea, I'd think we should be able to negotiate away those fears.

Wickedpinto said...

John? If the US disenganged from the ROK, then, NK would be an aggressor.

if the ROK wants a REAL military deterent? they should remove the US forces from the ROK, cuz the ROK forces are bad ass mofaku's. Also, it would give the US forces their greatest advantage.

OUR form of War fighting is built on mobility, even our defense is built on mobility. If you are a swimmer, or ever been taught how to swim, think of the US method of defense, and assault as the breast stroke.

We Strike deap, spread out, allowing others to fill the gap, while the point of the spear moves to a defensive patrol, and the next layer of offense becomes the new point and they strike deaper, and repeat.

War for the US isn't a single line against another line.

Someone said their are 40K US troops in the ROK, that is 40K plus the almost 80K troops in oki/japan. That is a MAJOR invasion force.

The only reason to not HUMILIATE NK, and by humiliating NK we would humiliate china, is because NK could engage in a disgusting slaughter of the populace of the ROK. and though the US and Japan, and the ROK would have every right ot wage "TOTAL WAR" they won't.

A war with NK, or china, or any other former soviet vassal, would be a horrible and humiliating bloodbath.

That is why we don't do it. The ROK would suffer horribly, and we would destroy the army of every enemy to the point of putting them in a flogging juicer.

We Can't fight NK, cuz the ROK wouldn't tolerate it, and the American press would depict it as an ATROCITY.

MORONS! on all sides. NK and china should have been destroyed back when we had the upper hand.

50 years ago.

Casey said...

Cheney never made a One Percent Doctrine. Suskind has elaborated on one sentence in all of the speeches that Cheney has made. Any idiot can see that this was never an official administration position rather it was a stray perhaps unfortunate remark in one single speech. The Iraq war was a war of Preemption the goal being to stop Iraq before they aquired a nuculear weapon. Once a country aquires nuculear capabillity the entire equation changes which is one of the primary justifications of a policy of preemption. If North Korea was about to aquire instead of already in possesion of a nuclear weapon it would be a situation where the doctrine supporting the Iraq War would apply but they already have a nuke and so everything is different. This is such a completely bogus meme that has been circulating in the left lately. It shows how far Sullivan has gone that he would repeat it uncritically.

Edgehopper said...

One thing you're all leaving out is the possibility of NK using its nukes as theater weapons rather than against a civilian population. What would our response be if NK nuked a U.S. carrier group in response to an invasion? The U.S. would have a lot of trouble responding with a nuke against a civilian population, as that would be a significant escalation.

Meanwhile, NK doesn't need nukes to decimate South Korea's civilian population, they have artillery for all that.

Worst plausible scenario (because NK using nukes against civilian populations seems unlikely, that would trigger MAD)--The U.S. starts an invasion, which immediately results in NK killing tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of South Koreans with entrenched artillery along the DMZ. U.S. soldiers on the peninsula are also decimated in the initial artillery attack. A U.S. carrier group is either nuked or simply attacked by Nodong conventional missiles. With the U.S. presence in Asia severely weakened, China launches its invasion of Taiwan and declares NK's civilian population to be under its nuclear umbrella. The U.N. does nothing because of China's veto. The U.S. military has to settle in for a long slow land war, as NK's remaining nukes are held in wait for further U.S. carrier groups.

Wickedpinto said...

Long ago, the tactical application of nuclear weapons has been disregarded, because of the clear damage that is done to all the area. There is no reasonable tactical application of nukes.

Also it's clear that the NK missiles don't have any sort of guidance system, they can only hit an approximate area, and that area isn't that approximate, it's random.

Absent a reasonable guidance system, and delivery system, there is no way that any nuke can be used in a tactical capacity.

Not to mention, would NK waste a nuke one of the 2 lhd's in the area? or wait for a carrier group to hit the seas?

Naval air, is no longer the doolittle naval air, we can have a carrier group outside of midway engaging in long range action without putting the carrier into threat distances, because the MC and navy have the LHD's floating combat support planes rather than relying on oversized carriers.

Fact is, that as long as we have the long range choppers, with carrier based re-fuelers, and the harrier and guam, and oki, we don't need any carrier groups in the area to maintain a murderous airborne presence.

ATMX said...

Regarding Korean youth affinity for China:

Korean youth are extremely fickle. They turn on China whenever there is a perceived slight, whenever China makes a claim on some damn island Korea claims, or when China tries to rewrite some aspect of ancient Korean history that might support a Korean claim on areas of China. And whenever that happens, they change their minds on who they should have better relations with, the US or China.

M. Simon said...

Internet Ronin said... North Korea has over 1,000,000 men in the Korean People's Army, of which almost all are inadequately fed.

I propose a food drop into the DMZ.

In any case it appears we have outsourced the problem to the Japanese.

paul a'barge said...

"It is that if there is a 1% chance that terrorists can get access to WMDs, the US, after 9/11, must treat that chance as a 100% certainty"

Yes, Andrew ... "CAN". In the case of the NOKO's, it's not "CAN" it's "Already have".

Sullivan's inability to understand even the fundamentals of verb tense makes you wonder why he doesn't just slink away in abject shame.