Monday, October 04, 2004


In response to NK's continued desire to conduct missile tests, the US has responded by sending a destroyer to patrol the Sea of Japan. This move has been scheduled since earlier this year, but that's not going to stop NK from farting off more of the usual rhetoric:

North Korea’s state-run media was quick to denounce the deployment.

"The U.S. should clearly understand that a preemptive attack is not its monopoly," North Korea's Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary Friday, adding that the deployment of the destroyer "proves that the U.S. attempt to invade the DPRK has reached a serious phase of implementation."

Yawn. North Korea knows full well that any drastic change in the status quo means its erasure. This will likely occur at the cost of many lives-- SK, NK, and allied-- but the end will be the same no matter how the body counts tally up: no more NK. Knowing this, all NK can do is bluster and sneak. The less we appease it, the better.

Although I was impressed by Kerry's debate performance, the question remains: would we see this sort of Sea of Japan move under President Kerry?

UPDATE: Scott writes in (that was fast!):

Hi Kevin,

Re: "Although I was impressed by Kerry's debate performance, the question remains: would we see this sort of Sea of Japan move under President Kerry?"

The answer should be 'no', although Kerry isn't clear. I think the tally is greatest in the column lableled 'Ask the UN/Do Nothing Useful.' While technically Kerry made noise about addressing the Norks unilaterally, he was at the same time giving knee-jerk opposition to something Bush said (which makes Kerry's intention less than clear).

Since Kerry doesn't have the stomach to deal with NK, the better question is - How bad will NK have to get before Bush considers a pre-emptive strike? The USA clearly does NOT want the Chinese to move in NK (and deep down, the Japanese and South Korea feel this way, too).

As a follow-up question, how bad will NK have to get before the South considers a move? Would the South attack (and I mean a full-on, balls-to-the-wall take-over) if the North launched a single missile, a missile which crashed inside North* territory? What if the South finds a Nork boat with Commandos and a low-yield nuke on board?


The USA has its hands full with a decimated military (thanks for that Clinton). But a sincere missile strike against the Norks isn't out of the question. And given the harsh terrain & low-population of the North, a missile strike might be the USA's preferred method of dealing with Daffy Duck Leader - make some glass with Nork missile silos.

I'd be curious to see what, exactly, it would take to get the South to strike. And as a follow-up, what it would take for a full-on invasion from the South.


I don't think the South has any plans on striking the North. I suspect that most, if not all, of its projected war scenarios assume an attack from the North. The climate in SK is currently far too NK-friendly for serious discussion of this topic at the grass-roots level. This is important because politicians here are like politicians everywhere: to a greater or lesser extent, they have to test the winds, and the public's stance is NK-friendly: "They're our brothers!"-- this despite the defensive posture the South has adopted against the North.

The South blames the US for its "anti-reunificationist" actions (e.g., reminding SKers that NK is, you know, the enemy). In my opinion, if the South wants to drop its guard and stick its chin out to NK, it's welcome to. It'll learn very quickly what's actually going on (though my inner cynic thinks that the victim mentality will assert itself and America will still be blamed somehow, despite SK's status as one of the world's richest nations, and despite the fact that it can take care of itself militarily).

Yes, both sides want reunification, but the stupid college-age fuckwads here can't get it through their noggins that NK wants NK-style reunification, not SK-style, and certainly not some hybridized, watered-down synthesis. The wishful thinking here is embarrassing.

[NB: There are sober assessments, by Koreans, no less, of the peninsular situation. I don't want to give too bleak an impression of South Koreans, who are in many ways very commonsensical (I can hear IA Kevin's ghost laughing, but I'll say it anyway because I think it's true), but the dominant mood is undeniably pro-NK right now.]

It occurs to me, too, that SK's moving of the capital farther south on the peninsula makes the question of where to put a unified capital even starker. But I don't know how much that issue's already been discussed by the big boys on either side of the DMZ.

About the public's pro-NK mood: I got hold of a short article, in Korean, about the new Trey Parker/Matt Stone movie, "Team America: World Police." The article's focus is on the Kim Jong Il parody in the film. I have a feeling that "Team America" will either be banned in SK or, should it reach SK shores, will be excoriated by the SK public (is it unrealistic to expect possible protests of the film?). I'm going to try to translate this article (wish me luck); if I do, I'll slap it on the blog. While taking the subway, I was able to figure out one line of the article that notes that the "Team America" Kim Jong Il "speaks English with a strange accent."

UPDATE 2: Be sure to hit the Marmot's site for news about South Korea's having gone on high alert thanks to the Muslim threats. If you're a Muslim in Korea, life is about to get a lot more difficult for you. And just wait until the first Korean troops are killed in Iraq.

UPDATE 3: I wrote the following paranoid thought last year in August:

I must say, though: it's interesting to rub shoulders here with Iranians, Jordanians, and others. Let me indulge a paranoid thought: there seem to be more and more Muslims on the subways in Seoul. I see them every single day, especially as I trundle along Line 6. Like the Indians, they tend to move in packs of three or four. What if... what if... some naughtiness were being planned? What if some Muslims were plotting to precipitate war on the peninsula (more egg on America's face), and what if something catastrophic happened... but South Koreans realized the source was Muslim (just bear with me), and suddenly North and South found themselves united against the radical Islamic threat? Oh, that would make for some interesting fireworks.

Am I loopy to bring this up?


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