The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Great Debates

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #51  
Old 03-18-2017, 09:49 AM
Crane Crane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
LSL#48,

Good points.

The South also has massive artillery installations along the 160 mile border. This is an entrenched force that knows every inch of the enemies territory. The guy who fires first has the advantage.

The world is not ready for carpet bombing with nuclear weapons. At the DMZ, North Korea is facing 21st century ordnance with WW2 weapons and strategy. Cluster bombs are cheaper and more effective than nuclear. In the forested hills of central Korea incendiaries can initiate fire storms. Cruise missiles can take out ammunition dumps. The concentration of targets along a single line is ideal for attack. Something like the distance from San Jose to Sacramento CA. The North could not sustain a meaningful response for more than a few minutes.

Artillery is notoriously ineffective and the NK artillery is targeted at military installations along the DMZ. There would be civilian casualties, but not massive devastation.

The correctness of my argument is not the issue. The point is: an argument can be made that will appeal to a CIC who wants to attack, and who is unable to perceive consequences.

Crane
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #52  
Old 03-19-2017, 06:30 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan Drake View Post
Why the hell shouldn't they have weapons of mass destruction if the U.S. ( and others ) have them ?
Because the "they" in your question is one person. When he's not busy threatening everybody with total destruction he's busy killing off his own relatives.
Reply With Quote
  #53  
Old 03-19-2017, 08:25 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: South East Florida USA
Posts: 17,303
@Bayard 3 posts ago ...

Agree that from a professional geopolitical perspective it's a coin flip whether Iran or NK is the next truly yuuge crisis.

The personal psycho-dynamics strongly favor Trump and Kim getting into an escalatory spiral. By comparison to Kim, the current and plausible future leadership of Iran are quite sensible and status quo.

The wild card is that Bannon is a frothing anti-Muslim. And may well be the actual "brains" driving this presidency. Plus the US is already actively involved in a shooting war in the region. Which lowers the depth of the water in the Rubicon so to speak.

As you & HST say, hunkering down is not crazy talk.


@Crane. Yes, that will be the argument of the shoot first crowd. Not highly based in reality, but it may still carry the day.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 03-19-2017 at 08:29 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #54  
Old 03-19-2017, 10:27 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
I don't know how I'd feel about this. If the NK regime could be replaced w/o them firing WMD at Japan or South Korea, in the long run it would be a good thing IMO. They have the worst human rights on earth and are a major proliferator of WMD and missile technology. They have tried to help Iran, Libya, Myanmar, Syria and probably other countries develop nuclear weapons.

I know a lot of people look at what happened in Iraq, but would that happen in North Korea? North Korea is culturally homogenous, so there will not be various ethnic, racial and religious groups fighting a civil war like you had in Iraq. Maybe I just sound naive though like a lot of people did in the lead up to the Iraq war.
Reply With Quote
  #55  
Old 03-20-2017, 06:32 AM
RickJay RickJay is online now
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Oakville, Canada
Posts: 37,222
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Iran: "All options are on the table." I don't think that phrase means as much as you are portraying.
indeed, "all options are on the table" has been standard US policy for basically forever.

After all, a sovereign country always reserves the right to use force if and when it sees fit.
Reply With Quote
  #56  
Old 03-20-2017, 06:48 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crane View Post
The war is likely to take the form of the UK attack on Egypt
And that ended well, didn't it? Who might be in a position to pull the financial plug on the US these days, I wonder?
Reply With Quote
  #57  
Old 03-20-2017, 06:50 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crane View Post
At the DMZ, North Korea is facing 21st century ordnance with WW2 weapons and strategy. Cluster bombs are cheaper and more effective than nuclear. In the forested hills of central Korea incendiaries can initiate fire storms. Cruise missiles can take out ammunition dumps. The concentration of targets along a single line is ideal for attack. Something like the distance from San Jose to Sacramento CA. The North could not sustain a meaningful response for more than a few minutes.
Yes, also the US could so a surprise first strike with Stealth B-2 bombers and cruise missiles, then follow that up with wave after wave of B-52's. Yes the North has artillery in bunkers but the US has bunker buster bombs and also, how many of the Artillery crews are really going to stay manning their positions under continuous bombardment?

IMO, the threat to Seoul from the norths artillery has always been exaggerated. The major obstacles to a US first strike are really about getting China to at least stay out of it even if they complain and second the wild card of NK's Nukes.
Reply With Quote
  #58  
Old 03-20-2017, 06:50 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magiver View Post
Because the "they" in your question is one person. When he's not busy threatening everybody with total destruction he's busy killing off his own relatives.
Is that entirely so? There are a lot of senior personnel in the military and the party who may well be as invested in the system as the Kim family. And the South Koreans may not be that keen on taking on responsibility for integrating the north into a single state.
Reply With Quote
  #59  
Old 03-20-2017, 10:22 AM
XT XT is online now
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 31,370
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickLondon View Post
Is that entirely so? There are a lot of senior personnel in the military and the party who may well be as invested in the system as the Kim family. And the South Koreans may not be that keen on taking on responsibility for integrating the north into a single state.
I think lil' Kimmy 3.0 has put to bed any speculation that he isn't fully in charge at this point. Hell, he's had several of the general staff (at least one of who was a relative...uncle I think) executed in spectacular ways (one by anti-aircraft gun IIRC).

As for reunification, last I heard the younger South Korean's aren't too keen but the older generation still would be willing to try.
Reply With Quote
  #60  
Old 03-20-2017, 01:57 PM
spifflog spifflog is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crane View Post
The principal threat from North Korea is the line of artillery along the 38th parallel. Provoking North Korea then allowing it to initiate conflict, with an artillery barrage on the South, is not a smart strategy.
. . .

The problem is - what would the administration do next? Invade and occupy North Korea? That might help Trump's employment problem, but it would put a dent in his budget.

Trump's approval is steadily falling. There is no obvious way to stop it. Trump needs a war.

Crane
You keep trying to pound this square peg into a round hole. And like many others here, I just don't see it.

Even among it's supporters, Obama's foreign policy was pretty weak. So the new administration sees North Korea, now a nuclear power increasing refining missiles with the intent on being able to launch nuclear weapons into South Korea, Japan and ultimately, the United States.

So what should the Trump administration do? Say the only think on the table is too look at NK cross eyed, or mouth a stern "tsk, tsk?"

I think this administration is just trying to re-set foreign policy with a rouge nation with ambition to threaten the United States with nuclear weapons. Why wouldn't you want him to put them on notice that this isn't something US is going to push back on?

I see no evidence that he's trying to manufacture a war. And you need much more than you've shown, which is little more than a dislike for Trump.
Reply With Quote
  #61  
Old 03-20-2017, 04:18 PM
Crane Crane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
spifflog,

So, do you believe Trump will get into a military conflict with N. Korea?

Crane
Reply With Quote
  #62  
Old 03-20-2017, 04:44 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
I think lil' Kimmy 3.0 has put to bed any speculation that he isn't fully in charge at this point. Hell, he's had several of the general staff (at least one of who was a relative...uncle I think) executed in spectacular ways (one by anti-aircraft gun IIRC).

As for reunification, last I heard the younger South Korean's aren't too keen but the older generation still would be willing to try.
The fact that Jong Un is constantly shaking up, demoting and killing people is more a sign of a weak leader who is afraid of his underlings. I don't recall his father or grandfather behaving like that.

Kim Jong Il was middle aged when he took over, and he had been in government for 20 years at that point. Jong Un was barely 30 and had virtually no government experience when he took over. Korean culture tends to respect elders, so having a 30 year old with no experience run a country supposedly had some cultural pushback.

I have no idea what the future holds for NK. But I think Kim is dealing with credibility issues by constantly shaking up his underlings.
Reply With Quote
  #63  
Old 03-20-2017, 05:13 PM
spifflog spifflog is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crane View Post
spifflog,

So, do you believe Trump will get into a military conflict with N. Korea?

Crane
No I don't. Certainly not in some nefarious, shell game way to manipulate the news.

But . . .

It's not like we're talking about going to war with Canada. Our allies in the Pacific are nervous about NK. So Trump trying to take a hard line there isn't way out of the box.
Reply With Quote
  #64  
Old 03-20-2017, 05:21 PM
XT XT is online now
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 31,370
Quote:
Originally Posted by spifflog View Post
No I don't. Certainly not in some nefarious, shell game way to manipulate the news.

But . . .

It's not like we're talking about going to war with Canada. Our allies in the Pacific are nervous about NK. So Trump trying to take a hard line there isn't way out of the box.
Plus his options are limited. Obama took the route of covert cyber espionage against North Korea's missile program, which worked to a point supposedly, but the NK's are still on point to develop a real intercontinental missile that can hit the west coast at some point. His options are basically to continue the same thing (which I doubt...it was Obama's program and he seems to dislike continuing anything Obama did), ramping up the missile defense options like THAAD and similar things in the region as well as here at home, or some sort of first strike which supposedly Obama also looked into but rejected (wisely IMHO) since the risk far outweighs the reward. Regardless, I'm not seeing anyone, not even Trump et al being so stupid as to starting a war to try and get better ratings...not one likely to cost millions of lives and trillions in damage (a large non-zero part of which would directly affect him personally wrt the money aspect).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark
I don't recall his father or grandfather behaving like that.
They behaved exactly the same way. Seriously, you didn't know that Kimmy v1.0 and 2.0 had lots of folks executed, including top officials?
Reply With Quote
  #65  
Old 03-20-2017, 10:45 PM
Crane Crane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Xt et al,

Reason says you are correct, but reason does not seem to be the controlling factor in US conflicts since WW2. I am a Korean War vet (non-combat). Our involvement was controversial then because we weren't attacked and no war was declared - it was just politics.

Viet Nam, Grenada, Iraq didn't make sense either. Trump will need and excuse to increase military spending by $54 billion. N. Korea may be it.

Crane

Crane
Reply With Quote
  #66  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:45 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
North Korea can't be attacked without first evacuating Seoul and Tokyo, neither of which is feasible without tipping NK off, I would expect. And certainly, if you wanted to do it, talking about it in front of a bunch of reporters is pretty dumb.

So...the safe bet is that they will not attack North Korea, except maybe through hacking or targeted infiltrations to destroy particular installations.

Trump may be President, but he is not God-Emperor and a straight-out attack on North Korea would never get off the ground short of him firing 90% of the military command structure and re-hiring only crazies. By the time he'd finished, NK would already have let everything loose.
Eh, I don't think this is a correct view of the strategic reality. We don't think that North Korea has very many missiles, and we're unsure if they have any nuclear warheads that can be delivered via missile. Almost certainly those stealth bombers that absolutely could bomb North Korea before they knew what happened would be used in a first strike, and it would hit NK C&C, NK nuclear facilities and any visible missile launch infrastructure. These expensive bombers have largely been a waste of money versus what we've been bombing (primarily countries that can't reliably shoot down ordinary planes), but they'd be well suited for this task. Shortly after the stealth bombers have done that large scale cruise missile strikes would follow. They wouldn't go first because their launch would be impossible to conceal, but with the first wave doing serious damage to NK's response capacity in the ~15 minutes before area cruise missiles start slamming into NK's anti-aircraft and conventional military infrastructure they'll probably still be recovering from a very devastating set of bombing attacks from stealth bombers.

After that the U.S. can do its normal thing where it has absolute air superiority because it's destroyed NK's AA and just start bombing any large scale groupings of NK military force, at some point during all this Kim is probably killed and displaced in a coup.

I'm pretty sure my military summation is about accurate, the reason no American President has done this is:

1. We can't know how China will respond. If I had to put money on the table I'd say China doesn't outright declare war on the United States, but it might take aggressive hostile actions, like issue force-backed ultimatums that could then escalate into a shooting war if we didn't back down pretty quickly.

2. The strategy I outlined above will almost certainly work "pretty well", and I think a lot of NK's ability to strike Japan with missiles will be wiped out. Tokyo never would have needed to be evacuated anyway, North Korea lacks any credible "destroy Tokyo" functionality. What it has is conventional missiles it could launch at Tokyo, but it'd do limited damage. It'd definitely kill people though. America would hope that most of these missile launch sites or vehicles would be destroyed before they could launch, but again, these are conventional missiles. Saddam launched several into Israel during Gulf War I, it sucked but it didn't destroy any cities anymore than me firing an artillery shell into downtown NYC would destroy NYC.

3. The question of how much damage the huge conventional artillery batteries aimed at Seoul would do before they could be destroyed is an open one, with wildly varying theories. There would almost certainly be enough shelling that we'd need a goodly number of body bags.

4. The final thing is we can't know for sure NK won't get a nuke off. I'm reasonably sure it lacks the ability to launch one in a missile, but I could be wrong. That means that their options for detonating one would probably be a bomber, probably one that takes off real quick in the night and flies over Seoul and drops the bomb--this could happen even after a very successful first strike generally puts a fuck-ton of hurt on NK's C&C, nuclear facilities and missile launch facilities. We can't prevent the North from getting a plane in the air and dropping a bomb, at least we can't guarantee we can prevent it. More exotic possibilities is NK might keep a warhead on a submarine or something and just order the crew to sail into some major Asian port and detonate it.

Last edited by Martin Hyde; 03-20-2017 at 11:47 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #67  
Old 03-20-2017, 11:58 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crane View Post
The principal threat from North Korea is the line of artillery along the 38th parallel. Provoking North Korea then allowing it to initiate conflict, with an artillery barrage on the South, is not a smart strategy.

Any attack on North Korea has to begin by destroying the artillery installations along the 38th parallel. The war is likely to take the form of the UK attack on Egypt rather than our invasion of Iraq. Eliminate the artillery, air force and missile sites and use drones to pick off key personnel.

The problem is - what would the administration do next? Invade and occupy North Korea? That might help Trump's employment problem, but it would put a dent in his budget.

Trump's approval is steadily falling. There is no obvious way to stop it. Trump needs a war.

Crane
The artillery would be an early target but not the first, our first strike would have to utilize stealth bombers because that's the strike we can deliver in which the first sign of it are things blowing up. The North would see cruise missiles coming and respond, albeit their operational competence probably is overrated and they wouldn't respond as well as say, Cold War USSR/USA would've, they'd have time to react and would do so.

We only have so many stealth bombers (although they carry large payloads), initial targets would be our best guess as to where their nuclear weapons are, their nuclear facilities (so they can't try to smuggle stuff out or etc), any suspected missile batteries and their C&C. Hitting important military centers and communications infrastructure creates chaos and makes it harder for North Korea to respond. They almost certainly have a set of processes in places for commanders in the field to act semi-independently in such situations, but more communication and information is always better in war, and the ability to strike at that early and hard is a huge advantage in any conflict.

If you strike the artillery first, then all the other components I mentioned have a better chance to be part of the response to the attack.
Reply With Quote
  #68  
Old 03-21-2017, 12:14 AM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by LSLGuy View Post
Anyone in the know about the practical realities on the ground is not confident they can destroy the embedded artillery.

Certainly it can be degraded. But that's talking about reducing it by, WAG, a third over 12 hours and 2/3rds over 48. Which is not at all the same as reducing it by 100% at a stroke.
At the opening US move it's almost certain the NK side is going respond full force. Which still results in widespread destruction in SK even if we get lucky and catch them flat-footed.

The frontier is 160 miles long, with about 2/3rds of it close enough to major SK population centers to matter in the opening hours. A carpet bombing of the relevant real estate with nukes at couple-mile intervals is just barely within the US technical capacity. And would utterly trash SK & Japan with the ensuing fallout.

In all, any thought by the US that they can decapitate or defang the NK mostly painlessly before NK causes great damage is crazy talk.

The sad reality is that wars in or about small, densely populated, and heavily armed countries result in society-collapse levels of death and destruction. And in a matter of hours or days, not years. This is definitely a game where the only way to win is not to play.

Like the OP, I think Trump's a fucking psycho unfit to command a chauffeur. But unlike the OP, I recognize that Trump's not the point. I have enough faith in the rest of the institutions and particularly the DoD that his toys will be taken away before his eventual tantrum gets out of hand.
Like I said, Japan is relatively safe, they likely are out of range of current North Korean nuclear capacity unless NK literally flies a plane toward Japan, and I have decent belief given that much time for radar to pick it up and react it'd be shot down long before it delivered its payload. Even if NK launched a couple dozen missiles at Tokyo that's bad, but probably not even as bad as say, the major 1999 earthquake in Turkey that killed ~15,000 people. That was a terrible catastrophe, but didn't leave Turkey in ruins or anything. I also think there's decent odds between a first strike targeting NK's missile launch capacity and ABM systems in the theater Japan would have decent odds of coming away unscathed.

NK's artillery has always been a much harder problem to solve, artillery is cheap and NK has a ton of it, and they're well dug in. Sans some sort of theoretical tactical nuclear attack, which would be far beyond the realm of the insane in terms of behavior, there's no way Seoul doesn't get at least some artillery shells in it. Also nuclear weapons aren't actually all that great at penetrating to depth, so it's possible batteries underneath a small yield nuke could survive and keep fighting, depending on how they're dug in.

FWIW I'm not suggesting a first strike is wise, the simple truth is we've never had good options on North Korea. Back in the early 90s when we knew they started their nuclear weapons program, we could've used force to put an end to it more definitively, with less risk to Seoul (albeit there still was significant risk); but the problem of China was still there. China really doesn't want any sort of U.S. allied occupation of North Korea because that puts the U.S. on China's doorstep, and it also doesn't want the regime to collapse because that puts a lot of refugees on China's doorstep. Once the North started detonating nukes, as a responsible country first strike basically went off the table.

I don't think a war with North Korea is impossible, but despite all his stupidity and flaws I don't think Trump will execute a first strike on North Korea. To me it's more likely that if a war came it'd be because something finally convinced Kim he had to strike and he does something crazy like fire a missile that actually looks like it'll hit Japan or the U.S. mainland, every doctrine of international affairs would basically require a significant military response to that, up to and including a nuclear one if said missile happens to have a nuclear warhead in it.

The obvious hope as to why that wouldn't happen, is it's unlikely Kim is insane enough to think he could actually launch an ICBM at the U.S. mainland and remain in power/alive for very long, the U.S. doesn't want trouble with China but there's no way China would (in the tens of minutes involved) try to stop a U.S. response to an ICBM launched at the homeland, it knows that no country is going to allow an ICBM to be launched at it without a military response so by getting in the way it'd just be saying "time for World War III", which China has no interest in starting.

The long term hope is the less mentioned stuff about Kim ultimately undermines what North Korea is. Kim seems even more bellicose than his father, but he's actually quietly (at least it's covered in press yet) been opening up more and more of North Korea to outside economic activity, and there has been reported greater tolerance for black market activities. That's dangerous for a regime like North Korea's, which has largely only been sustainable because of its historic ability to enforce almost complete isolation from the rest of the world. Kim wants more foreign currency in North Korea to buy stuff with, and so he's liberalized (liberalized by North Korean standards) and expanded the ability of outside investment (almost always through Chinese entities) and also let up a little bit on prohibitions against the black/gray market to facilitate more economic growth, but doing so also weakens the totalitarian nature of the regime in ways that could long term spiral out of control. That's basically exactly what happened in the USSR, it never happened in China because China chose to do this in a very slow, controlled way always with regard to keeping the Communist Party in power. But China also accepted that part of this process would be more liberties for its people, it just managed the granting of those liberties. Kim's struggle is the sort of power he wields is incompatible even with the "moderate" liberties of a semi-free country like China.
Reply With Quote
  #69  
Old 03-21-2017, 12:22 AM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
...they seem to be rethinking the deployment of THAAD which has pissed off the Chinese so much. China is currently hammering South Korea pretty hard with trade sanctions and economic warfare to pound them back in line.
To be honest I've questioned the THAAD deployment myself. Obviously I don't have the full specs of THAAD since they're classified, but everything publicly known about THAAD is that it only works against medium range or long range missiles, in the terminal phase of a high altitude flight. The last publicized test it successfully shot down a medium range missile. My understanding is that short range missiles (North Korea doesn't need even medium range missiles to hit South Korea, it barely needs more than a slingshot) simply fly at too low an altitude and too short a path for THAAD to be any use. Something like the Patriot style system or its variants has shot down missiles of this type occasionally (but is useless against the high altitude/velocity missiles THAAD is designed to hit), but at least in theater the Patriot had a lot of misses too. I think it had (and this is disputed) either zero successes in Gulf War I, or one or two disputed successes, and a handful of successes at various points in the Bush era Iraq war, but a lot more failures than successes.

So the THAAD deployments we have on Guam and Hawaii...make sense, since anything in their region would be the sort of missile THAAD is designed to kill. One would arguably make sense in Japan, maybe, but Japan hasn't shown an interest in getting one.

But unless there's something I don't know about THAAD, it really does nothing to protect South Korea from North Korean missiles. What it does do is put a really freaking big and powerful radar array in Korea, that is so powerful it can actually track all the way into China. FWIW China hates this because it basically gives the U.S. a "leg up", in a theoretical nuclear exchange because we have earlier detection capability than China does versus us now.

Last edited by Martin Hyde; 03-21-2017 at 12:23 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #70  
Old 03-21-2017, 12:46 AM
Velocity Velocity is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
What it does do is put a really freaking big and powerful radar array in Korea, that is so powerful it can actually track all the way into China. FWIW China hates this because it basically gives the U.S. a "leg up", in a theoretical nuclear exchange because we have earlier detection capability than China does versus us now.
The odd thing is that China has made comparatively much less fuss about the United States selling Pave Paws to Taiwan, a radar system which sees far deeper into China than THAAD does.
Reply With Quote
  #71  
Old 03-21-2017, 12:48 AM
Velocity Velocity is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
Tokyo never would have needed to be evacuated anyway, North Korea lacks any credible "destroy Tokyo" functionality. What it has is conventional missiles it could launch at Tokyo, but it'd do limited damage.
Given that it is the largest metropolitan area in the world, and the immense role that it plays in Japan's economy and the world's, there's an argument to be made that evacuating Tokyo would pose a greater cost than the price of absorbing a conventional North Korean missile strike, and with the logistics, it's questionable as to whether evacuation of Tokyo-Yokohama is even possible or feasible.
Reply With Quote
  #72  
Old 03-21-2017, 08:17 PM
Onyerbike Onyerbike is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
I absolutely doubt it will be NK. NK is too far away, too close to China, and is an absoulte shit hole that Trump could make no money from after blowing up. Guys, its going to be Mexico. Think about it for a sec; Mexico is:

a) close, real close.
b) related to a hot button issue; illegal immigration - easy to stir up the otherism
c) currently suffering from cartel violence and the narcotics trade
d) not playing nice with trumps ridiculous wall idea

Mexico has:

e) a tiny army, no real navy or airforce or nukes
f) loads of corrupt politicians to parlay with
g) a lot of beautiful beaches to build trump towers on

Trump is:

h) exactly the kind of person to start a war to appear manly
i) thin skinned enough to take insults personally
j) a person with poor impulse control
k) the sort to think making the map of America YUUGER is the hallmark of a great leader

NK is too valuable a mouthpiece to blow up. I mean how else can a country prove how great its democracy is other than by whining about some distant craphole? Not going to happen. Mexico is on the BORDER.
Reply With Quote
  #73  
Old 03-21-2017, 09:56 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
They behaved exactly the same way. Seriously, you didn't know that Kimmy v1.0 and 2.0 had lots of folks executed, including top officials?
No they didn't. Kim Jong Un has supposedly demoted, transferred, arrested or executed up to half of the higher ups in North Korea in the last few years. That wasn't happening under his father or grandfather.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/29/asia/k...un-executions/

Quote:
"For example, in the five years he has served as leader of North Korea, he [Jong Un] has purged (his) Defense Minister five times, while his father changed his Defense Minister only three times in his 17 years ... and two of those changes were because (they) died of old age," he said.
Five defense ministers in five years while his father only had 3 (and two died of old age) in 17 years? It is not the same situation.
Reply With Quote
  #74  
Old 03-21-2017, 09:59 PM
Velocity Velocity is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onyerbike View Post
I absolutely doubt it will be NK. NK is too far away, too close to China, and is an absoulte shit hole that Trump could make no money from after blowing up. Guys, its going to be Mexico. Think about it for a sec; Mexico is:

a) close, real close.
b) related to a hot button issue; illegal immigration - easy to stir up the otherism
c) currently suffering from cartel violence and the narcotics trade
d) not playing nice with trumps ridiculous wall idea

Mexico has:

e) a tiny army, no real navy or airforce or nukes
f) loads of corrupt politicians to parlay with
g) a lot of beautiful beaches to build trump towers on

Trump is:

h) exactly the kind of person to start a war to appear manly
i) thin skinned enough to take insults personally
j) a person with poor impulse control
k) the sort to think making the map of America YUUGER is the hallmark of a great leader

NK is too valuable a mouthpiece to blow up. I mean how else can a country prove how great its democracy is other than by whining about some distant craphole? Not going to happen. Mexico is on the BORDER.
Poe's Law....
Reply With Quote
  #75  
Old 03-22-2017, 05:43 AM
Onyerbike Onyerbike is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Poe's Law....
Oh don't get me wrong, I am aware of the absurd nature of the thread - but I thought as long as people are discussing absurd hypotheticals and being a bit silly in general I might as well put my best foot forward. Is this what you mean? I dont think Trump invades anywhere to be honest but if a few marbles do come loose they will roll south.

Sent from my SM-G900I using Tapatalk
Reply With Quote
  #76  
Old 04-03-2017, 08:15 AM
Crane Crane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Absurd?

North Korea may yet provide the distraction Trump so disparately needs.

Trump is beginning to claim that he alone can solve the Korean problem.

Crane
Reply With Quote
  #77  
Old 04-03-2017, 08:22 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 20,310
Yes. Absurd. You haven't noticed that this president posts meaningless bullshit on a daily basis?
Reply With Quote
  #78  
Old 04-03-2017, 08:39 AM
Crane Crane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Agreed, and that is the danger. It's like a small child with a large weapon.

Crane
Reply With Quote
  #79  
Old 04-03-2017, 10:39 AM
XT XT is online now
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 31,370
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
No they didn't. Kim Jong Un has supposedly demoted, transferred, arrested or executed up to half of the higher ups in North Korea in the last few years. That wasn't happening under his father or grandfather.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/29/asia/k...un-executions/



Five defense ministers in five years while his father only had 3 (and two died of old age) in 17 years? It is not the same situation.
Yes, they did. Your point seems to be that Jong Un has killed a lot more. I don't dispute that. He has. But that's not necessarily a sign of weakness in North Korea. You'd need to dig into WHY he's purging more people, and I think it has to do with the fact that his daddy and his daddies cronies were in bed with a faction in China that has since been purged (for the most part) by Xi's 'corruption' campaign. At this point, just about ALL of the Chinese advocate factions in North Korea are under the gun (literally), since relations are...strained.

Again, this isn't an indication of weakness on lil' Kimmy 3.0's part...just the opposite. He is ABLE to do a wide-ranging purge without anyone basically telling him no. Your assertion would be like saying Stalin was weak in the 30's because of the massive purges he did during that time.
Reply With Quote
  #80  
Old 04-08-2017, 08:18 AM
Crane Crane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
First Blood

Trump first tasted real power by ordering a military set piece strike on a Syrian target. The action was in response to something Trump saw on TV, not part of a consistent policy. Russia has responded with diplomatic tolerance.

As a result, Trump should get a positive bump in the polls - his first. When the effect quickly fades he will be looking for another target.

Crane

Last edited by Crane; 04-08-2017 at 08:19 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #81  
Old 04-08-2017, 10:14 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: South East Florida USA
Posts: 17,303
One could as easily take the opposite lesson. Namely:

He's discovered a new and inexhaustible toy in the Middle East. Pretexts for polls-boosting adventurism there will come at least weekly until forever.

In that reading NK will never, never, rise to the level of mattering to Trump.

So which is it? Time will tell.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 04-08-2017 at 10:16 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #82  
Old 04-08-2017, 08:19 PM
XT XT is online now
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 31,370
So, CNN says that there is a US 'carrier-led strike group' headed to 'the Western Pacific Ocean near the Korean Peninsula'.

Quote:
(CNN)A US aircraft carrier-led strike group is headed towards the Western Pacific Ocean near the Korean Peninsula, a US defense official confirmed to CNN.

Admiral Harry Harris, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, directed the USS Carl Vinson strike group to sail north to the Western Pacific after departing Singapore on Saturday, Pacific Command announced.

The move of the Vinson strike group is in response to recent North Korean provocations, the official said.

It is not uncommon for aircraft carriers to operate in that area, and the US regularly deploys military assets, such as aircraft, to the region as a show of force. In fact the Vinson was in South Korea last month for military exercises.

Earlier this week, North Korea launched a Scud extended-range missile, which US officials said exploded in flight. The regime also has recently conducted several missile engine tests as it works to improve its ballistic missile technology.

The Vinson strike group will operate in the Western Pacific rather than executing previously planned port visits to Australia, Pacific Command said. The group will remain under the operational control of the Third Fleet.

Last edited by XT; 04-08-2017 at 08:20 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #83  
Old 04-09-2017, 08:19 AM
Crane Crane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Propaganda shift

TV news this morning signals a shift in administration propaganda. The strike on Syria is being framed as a warning to North Korea. A carrier group is moving toward North Korea. Trump was on the phone this morning with the acting president of South Korea. And, the phrase "going it alone" is repeated in news broadcasts.

Propagandizing the public is a key preliminary to an attack.

Crane
Reply With Quote
  #84  
Old 04-09-2017, 08:32 AM
QuickSilver QuickSilver is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
So far, China is silent on the subject. Will be interesting to see if they come out with a statement. Usually China complains loudly when the US military makes a deliberate show of force in their neighbourhood.
Reply With Quote
  #85  
Old 04-09-2017, 08:41 AM
Crane Crane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Q#84,

Good point. It'll be interesting to see if China stays on the sidelines.

Crane
Reply With Quote
  #86  
Old 04-11-2017, 03:50 PM
Crane Crane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Propaganda on both sides is escalating.

Crane
Reply With Quote
  #87  
Old 04-11-2017, 03:59 PM
XT XT is online now
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 31,370
What this actually looks like to me is that the carrier group is positioning itself to do a missile intercept. I believe that next week is the anniversary birthday of lil' Kimmy 3.0's grandpa, and everyone is expecting the NKs to launch another rocket to celebrate. I THINK that what the US Navy is doing is positioning itself to knock down the missile if they launch. If so, it's a pretty risky (from a 'we will look like fools if we miss it' perspective) endeavor.

The NKs of course are going nuts, but that's what they always do whenever the US does anything in their region...so, that's pretty much business as usual for them, wrt propaganda.
Reply With Quote
  #88  
Old 04-11-2017, 07:46 PM
Crane Crane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Could be spectacular if the Navy scores a hit!

Crane
Reply With Quote
  #89  
Old 04-12-2017, 02:17 AM
Malden Capell Malden Capell is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
If it ends up a shooting war, and rockets fired at Tokyo and Seoul cause damage and death, wouldn't this cause massive damage to US relations to these other countries that aren't China?

Especially as they don't seem to be involved in the question of whether or not this war that massively involves their security happens or not.

Even if DPRK is conquered with minimal SK/Japanese deaths, it would literally piss off every country in that corner of the world, drive a wedge between the US and its allies there and drive China into the arms of Putin.

Especially as China and SK would be left to carry the can of restoring DPRK into a functioning region, whether as part of a unified Korea or as a separate state.
Reply With Quote
  #90  
Old 04-12-2017, 06:11 AM
Velocity Velocity is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
What this actually looks like to me is that the carrier group is positioning itself to do a missile intercept.
Why wouldn't the USN just send Aegis then, no need for the carrier?
Reply With Quote
  #91  
Old 04-12-2017, 07:15 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: South East Florida USA
Posts: 17,303
I think that depends a great deal on whether the e.g. Japanese decide the war happened here and now because of something the US did or something NK did.

And that's a matter for spin doctors and the vagaries of public opinion to decide. If indeed shooting starts there'll be enough honest tits and tats along the way for various thoughtful observers to plant their flag on either side. And that's before the fog of war and the smokescreen of competing propaganda add their confusion to the mix.

You're a UK person. If you're old enough, think back to the bad old days of the Soviets. Had WWIII gone hot across the inter-German border in the 70s or 80s, whose fault would you have assessed it to be? Was it the US or the USSR? NATO or the WP?

Most of us then in the West had the feeling that WWIII wasn't inevitable, but it was far more likely than not eventually. Most everyone's goal was not to prevent it, but to prevent it this week. With the recognition that the opposition could, at any time, take that option away.

Most of what I read then or since about the Soviet establishment's view was the same. Whether we're talking the military, the foreign ministry, or the Politburo, they were playing essentially a delaying game while warily watching for us to upset the chessboard & force their hand into hot war.


IMO that's exactly where NK & the UN/US is today. Except we've got hotter heads in charge of both sides now.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 04-12-2017 at 07:18 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #92  
Old 04-12-2017, 09:22 AM
XT XT is online now
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 31,370
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Why wouldn't the USN just send Aegis then, no need for the carrier?
Well, speculating, because it's a show of force as well, plus if you send a single cruiser out and it shoots down a missile it might be vulnerable all by itself, whereas if you send a carrier task group it's unlikely NK will fuck with them. But mostly I'm guessing it's a show of strength.

If I'm right, I hope they don't fuck up the intercept. Would be a serious blow to the confidence of our allies AND might be a dangerous boost to lil' Kimmy 3.0's to do something even more stupid than usual.
Reply With Quote
  #93  
Old 04-12-2017, 12:57 PM
Doubticus Doubticus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
We've talked about this subject in the past and came to the following conclusions for a preemptive strike on NK.

1. Seoul would be devastated and perhaps Tokyo nuked.

2. A flood of North Koreans would flee to China.

Considering how vested the US is in trade with China and given what a nuclear strike would do to the stock market I think we would have to factor another Great Depression in as well.

There would be no winners, only losers.

Whether Trump has the wherewithal to understand this is an open question.
Reply With Quote
  #94  
Old 04-12-2017, 04:34 PM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Really China would have to be the one to take out NK's leadership.
Reply With Quote
  #95  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:26 PM
Crane Crane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
D#23,

NK does not have the ability to deliver a nuclear warhead to Tokyo.

Seoul would suffer minor damage if any, unless it was a pre-emptive strike by NK.

There would definitely be refugees into China.

Crane
Reply With Quote
  #96  
Old 04-12-2017, 06:05 PM
Johnny Ace Johnny Ace is offline
Suspended
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 3,304
Love how Trump, the expert on all things military, calls a carrier task group (7 ships) a 'powerful, powerful armada.'

He is sort of the perfect counterpoint to Un, though; he's every bit as reality-challenged and crazy.
Reply With Quote
  #97  
Old 04-12-2017, 06:12 PM
XT XT is online now
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 31,370
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Ace View Post
Love how Trump, the expert on all things military, calls a carrier task group (7 ships) a 'powerful, powerful armada.'

He is sort of the perfect counterpoint to Un, though; he's every bit as reality-challenged and crazy.
I don't think Trump is quite and crazy as lil' Kimmy 3.0, nor QUITE as reality challenged. On the raw intelligence scale though I'm pretty sure Kimmy has the Trumpster beat though. Plus, his daddy hit 11 holes in one the first time he played golf, bowled a perfect 300 the first time, was born under a double rainbow and controlled the weather based on his mood, and never had to pee or crap! What's Trump got? Nuffin! His dad was just a multi-millionaire. Freaking piker, in comparison.
Reply With Quote
  #98  
Old 04-12-2017, 08:07 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Trump is backing into the same problem JFK faced with the Cubans the US had trained to "Free Cuba!".
Namely:
You've got them in position, what are you going to do with them?

You now have, amid way too much fanfare, a carrier group off NK's coast.

Now what?

Do they launch a couple of missiles and then go home?
Stay around until NK "Crosses a Line"? What "Line"?

JFK let the Cubans charge across a beach. A heavily defended beach. None of the air support they thought they'd get.
It was called "Bay of Pigs". But it did get rid of the Cubans everyone in Central America knew were being trained by the US.

Kim sitting on some reasonably reliable scud's, and the carrier acting as a target - is Kim stupid enough to try a shot?
If he does, is Trump stupid enough to retaliate?
Reply With Quote
  #99  
Old 04-13-2017, 08:42 AM
Crane Crane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
The offense is likely to be more like the Gulf of Tonkin incident - minor, ambiguous events that provide a convenient core for administration propaganda.

The response depends on what three options are offered to Trump by the military. The counter response will depend on the palace politics of NK. The counter/counter response will depend on Trump's 'policy' of the day. The counter/counter/counter response............

Crane
Reply With Quote
  #100  
Old 04-13-2017, 09:41 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: South East Florida USA
Posts: 17,303
Quote:
Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
Trump is backing into the same problem JFK faced with the Cubans the US had trained to "Free Cuba!".
Namely:
You've got them in position, what are you going to do with them?

You now have, amid way too much fanfare, a carrier group off NK's coast.

Now what?

Do they launch a couple of missiles and then go home?
Stay around until NK "Crosses a Line"? What "Line"?

JFK let the Cubans charge across a beach. A heavily defended beach. None of the air support they thought they'd get.
It was called "Bay of Pigs". But it did get rid of the Cubans everyone in Central America knew were being trained by the US.

Kim sitting on some reasonably reliable scud's, and the carrier acting as a target - is Kim stupid enough to try a shot?
If he does, is Trump stupid enough to retaliate?
I think you're grossly overegging your comparison here.

The US has a carrier group off Korea a significant fraction of every year. And has done so for decades. Yes, this particular move was not scheduled months in advance. But there's not much "fanfare" above and beyond the long term normal for DoD saber-rattling, as multiplied by Trumps' general tendency to shout about everything more than previous administrations.

Unlike the Cuban irregulars, this is not a use it or lose it hair trigger force. The carrier and support ships can drive around there for a couple weeks, Trump can loudly announce "I showed Lil Kim who's boss!", and the ships can drive off to their Philippine R&R as planned.


To be sure, Kim might rise to the bait and start shooting, Trump might invent a Tonkin-style provocation from whole cloth, or some other Tom Clancy-esque thing might happen. But that's not the way to bet. It's certainly not the way to assert things must happen.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 04-13-2017 at 09:44 AM..
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.