Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Remember Korea?

Well, most of our contributers and friends do. But I'm sure CNN doesn't. At least not today. As I type this there is no mention of the smoldering crisis in the Korean peninsula on the CNN website.

BBC news is covering it though. You may remember that on March 26, a South Korean navy ship, a corvette called the Cheonan, sank under mysterious circumstances in South Korean waters that are disputed by the North Koreans. After the usual round of denials and investigations we now know that the Cheonan was sunk by a North Korean torpedo. They even have "the smoking gun" of parts of a North Korean torpedo found inside the wreckage area of the Cheonan.

North Korea is continuing to deny responsibility and is threatening war if economic sanctions are imposed. CIA World Fact Book says that 42% of N. Korea's exports go to China. 38% go to South Korea. 57% of North Korea's imports come from China and 25% from South Korea. China has consistently been the shameless enabler of the North Korean regime. It would be nice if China began behaving like a responsible world power and started working towards making some changes in its rogue protectorate. But I wouldn't hold my breath. That leaves South Korea.

South Korea's government is furious. So is Japan's. The US response is one of clear reassertion of US support for South Korea but is more moderate in tone than the South Korean statements. The Chinese government is urging "calm and restraint" which I take as the response that they figure is the most pro-North Korean statement they could make without completely losing all moral credibility.

North Korea has nothing to offer. All they have is threats. These threats are serious. North Korea probably has several nuclear weapons. But even if those don't come into play, the South Korean capitol and largest city, Seoul, is so close to the North Korean border that North Korea could wreak havoc in the city with conventional weapons without conquering any South Korean territory. I've heard that the North Koreans have conventional artillery capable to shelling the city from the North Korean side of the border.

The problem in North Korea is that the country has been so badly managed that there little no basis of government other than a relatively small, closed, and apparently psychotic elite dominated by one family. The military has influence, certainly, but if they could take power, I'd've expected them to have done so long ago. My best guess is that China's government is the main impediment to a regime change from within in North Korea.


The Law Talking Guy said...

There are probably people in S Korea who would want to provoke N Korea into using a nuke, because at that point China would have to withdraw all support for Kim-Jong-Crazy, and conquest by the US/S.Korea would follow very quickly. I doubt the current govt feels this way, but it wants to try some other means of separating China from N. Korea.

I would trade N Korea for Taiwan, but that's because i'm a cynic with no interest in either.

Raised By Republicans said...

LTG, I would hope you are wrong about that. At the very least I would think it would depend who the North Korean's use the nuke on. If they use it on South Korea, what you propose would be self defeating preference.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I dunno, RBR. Are there South Koreans who would accept the nuking of Seoul for the permanent elmination of North Korea as a threat? I suspect there are. The willingness to make that trade grows as you move away from Seoul, of course, although diminishes with respect to one's distance from North Korea and its threat. I suspect Tokyo is the place of greatest willingness to engage in such a trade. =)

Raised By Republicans said...

Surely you aren't serious that there are anything other than lunatics who would be willing to accept the incineration of half the population of the country just in the hope that it would modify Chinese Korea policy.

Even in Japan, the fall out would blow west to east... so...