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comment by blackbootz
blackbootz  ·  342 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Winter Olympics: Kim Jong-un calls for further reconciliation

I am still agonizing about whether or not to study abroad in Seoul this September through December. While I believe that Kim Jong-un desires the long-term preservation of his regime, and acts rationally with that end in mind, Trump is still a categorical wild card.

It's hard for me to rule out Trump simply starting a war in North Korea if he thinks he's losing too much popularity with his base. Commanders-in-chief are more popular, and he's so unpredictable as to create total uncertainty. My not having a semester abroad in Seoul is hardly the only cost to Trump's baser instincts.

kleinbl00  ·  342 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Do it. You'll be fine.

Nobody is going to war with North Korea. There is zero upside and infinite downside. I don't know if you've been watching the presidency but it's pretty clear we've got a Madness of King George situation going on there. Everybody with any real control is exerting all they can to keep their jobs and keep this thing on the rails; Trump for his part is using security council meetings to demand we drive 80-ton M1A1 Abrams tanks down Pennsylvania Ave because it would look impressive.

This man doesn't give a fuck about North Korea. He doesn't give a fuck about policy. He wants to appear tough, he doesn't want to appear as an indiscriminate butcher and even if he did, there is no one of any seriousness who wants to open that charnel house.

Military engagement with North Korea would look like Saipan, except Saipan is the size of Manhattan Island and North Korea is the size of Pennsylvania.

With biological and chemical weapons.

snoodog  ·  342 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There will be no 2nd Korean War. It would mean complete destruction of both Koreas, nither side wants that even if the west doesn’t give a damn about it

OftenBen  ·  342 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Not to mention a big chunk of China if someone starts getting antsy with 'buttons.'

China won't let NK go to war, but they also need to keep up the illusion that they definitely will let NK go to war.

kleinbl00  ·  342 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm not willing to believe North Korea has any nuclear readiness. By the time the USSR was parading ICBMs through Red Square they had six (6) missiles with any operational readiness and they could be ready to launch on 48 hours notice. Yes they have missiles. yes they have nukes. Nukes on missiles you can launch at any moment is an order of magnitude more complicated.

North Korea has ample regional deterrence through sheer conventional weaponry, as well as a demonstrated willingness to use chemical weapons. Their nuclear program has certainly captivated the world's attention but any nuclear detonations associated with Korea are going to be local.

OftenBen  ·  342 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I'm not willing to believe North Korea has any nuclear readiness.

They don't have to. They just have to scare a certain somebody badly enough. Though, if that certain somebody gave the order to launch nukes, and nobody listened to him, I don't know what would happen next. Anarchy probably.

Korean-local detonations are still bad news for China I'm pretty sure.

kleinbl00  ·  342 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Dude you don't get to argue "they don't have to" when you just said "a big chunk of China" would get nuked. You're either making the point that China is in danger or you're not. You don't get to spasm out maladroit dudgeon to see what lands.

    Though, if that certain somebody gave the order to launch nukes, and nobody listened to him, I don't know what would happen next.

Nothing. Nothing would happen.

    Moreover, Defense Secretary James Schlesinger recalled years later that in the final days of the Nixon presidency he had issued an unprecedented set of orders: If the president gave any nuclear launch order, military commanders should check with either him or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger before executing them. Schlesinger feared that the president, who seemed depressed and was drinking heavily, might order Armageddon. Nixon himself had stoked official fears during a meeting with congressmen during which he reportedly said, “I can go in my office and pick up a telephone, and in 25 minutes, millions of people will be dead.” Senator Alan Cranston had phoned Schlesinger, warning about “the need for keeping a berserk president from plunging us into a holocaust.”

I think the further you are from the nitty-gritty of nukes the more determinist you are - there's this idea that the dude in the Oval Office says "cry havoc and unleash the dogs of war" and everyone on down the line goes "whelp, I guess that's it! Nice knowing you, honey, see you in Thunderdome" and we all start singing "Christmas at Ground Zero." There's a whole lot of people between order and execution and not a one of them was a bored real estate developer two years ago.

OftenBen  ·  342 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I didn't say that a big chunk of China would get nuked. I used too few words to describe the idea that any military engagement in NK would almost certainly lead to damage to the bits of China on the border.

My point about 'they don't have to' was to illustrate that perception is super important. If they are perceived to have fast-response capable nukes, then they are going to be treated as if they do.

kleinbl00  ·  342 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Two books into Japan during WWII and I no longer have any confidence that anybody knows what a war with North Korea looks like.

I know everyone would rather not.

snoodog  ·  342 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Soft infrastructure in all of Korea will get destroyed in the first couple hours with conventional weapons after that it will be a long painful slog. Even if you beat the north eventually the entirety of the south will lie in ruin.