Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Korean Tensions

Well this is just what the world needs !

It seems clear to me that nuclear North Korea believes that it is now much less likely to be attacked due to its nukes. This explains their belligerent action this week with the shelling of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in addition to the sinking of a South Korean war ship in March. These attacks have really surprised me. I thought that North Korea which is the most oppressive country in the world was on the way out, the last Stalinist outpost in a capitalist world. But it appears I was wrong. I would imagine that the tension in Seoul right now cannot be under stated. The eight million citizens of the southern capital are a mere 30 miles distance from thousands of northern artillery batteries, not to mention the face that Kim Il Jong is now a member of the elite nuclear club. My fear is that some kind of internal power struggle in Pyongyang will result in a robotic character of some description ordering further attacks whilst he makes the case to his comrades that he should succeed Kim Il Jong. Because who knows where that might end ? I am beginning to fear that the situation on the Korean peninsula is not one which will naturally run its course as I previously though, but will in fact have to be confronted and dealt with. In other words, war !

4 comments:

Gary said...

Ted,
Welcome to the club. I have been paranoid about these guys for years. China is the key here but they will not lift a finger unless they think it is their interests.
The South Koreans have asked for tactical nucs. We should publicly say we are considering it and then go to Japan and enter talks about the possibility of arming Japan. China is so paranoid of a nuclear armed South Korea and Japan they would immediately take action to control North Korea.
Gary

Ted Leddy said...

Gary

Apologies for the delay in responding to your comment.

I see your logic on this. The Chinese still appear to greatly fear Japanese aggression, even though the Japanese have been virtually pacifist for 65 years. I suppose its the psychological legacy of the rape of Nanking and other atrocities.


Can you please explain something to me. South Korea is not a nuclear power, but what exactly is the relationship between Seoul and Washington in terms of nuclear weapons ? Is America officially prepared to back up South Korea with nuclear weapons ?

Gary said...

Ted,
The United States is committed to the defense of S. Korea in exactly the same way we are committed to Israel. No one knows quite for sure how we would react to a nuclear attack on either county but we would certainly be expected to go to their defense.
My suggestion is more a political move --publicly entering talks about the possibility of arming these two countries. China would not like that at all and if the price to prevent it was keeping N. Korea in line, they'd do it.
In reality arming these countries would violate the Nonproliferation Treaty and would be a very bad idea.
Sometimes it is best to be a little unpredictable and the US should start playing the game more like the N. Koreans (who have been bluffing and getting away with it for 67 years).
Gary

Ted Leddy said...

Gary

Very interesting ! Making it in China's interests to control the North Koreans seems to be key.

"Sometimes it is best to be a little unpredictable". I believe it was Syngman Rhee, the South Korean leader who first came up with that. He passed this along to vice President Nixon who used it himself in later years as President, particularly when dealing with the North Vietnamese.