There's a meteor heading toward Pyongyang, North Korea. Should we do anything?

Using top-secret tachyonic hyperspace sensor imaging, US astronomers have discovered a meteor on a collision course with Earth. It’s not nearly big enough to threaten life planetwide, but it’s still dangerous–somewhat larger than the rock that caused the Tunguska event. It’s projected to destroy about 1200 square miles when it hits, and it’s gonna hit smack dab in the middle of Pyongyang, North Korea, in four days.

The Americans have consulted with their opposite numbers in Russia, China, Japan, and Great Britain, and everyone agrees with their conclusions. Unfortunately none of these nations have the tech to deflect the meteor. The North Korean government, informed of the peril and urged to get everybody the fuck out of the city, decide that the whole thing is some American trick; not even the Chinese can convince them otherwise. Thus they not only refuse to evacuate but have had their army cut off all avenue of escape; nobody will be allowed to leave Pyongyang until the four days are up. Kim Jong-un has set up camp on the city’s tallest building and has declared that on the off chance the meteor appears, he will deflect it by force of will.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “This is clearly the doing of Skald the Rhymer! Will no one rid us of this murderous fiend!” Well, fooey. I won’t deny that Rhymer Enterprises might from time to time participate in the obliteration of an inhabited metropolis, but that’s for PAY. Ain’t nobody paying us to whack Pyongyang, and if they were, that’s what wave motion guns are for. By the same reasoning, though, nobody’s paying us to save the North Koreans either. As RhE is not on the side of hugs, kittens, and lollipops, we’re not deploying our anti-meteor screen for free. If y’all want us to blast that meteor to atoms at a safe distance, it’ll be a cool $50 billion, payable in advance. (We offer meteor *insurance *at a substantially discounted rate.) We don’t care how y’all raise the money. Any individual nation can pony up if it likes, or the UN can pass the hat, or Bill Gates can bankrupt himself. That’s your problem. We just want the gold. (And no, I’m not calling the Fantastic Four for you, either. I’ve got their number, but I find it wise to avoid contact with Reed Richards and his crew. See also: Superman, Optimus Prime, Jean-Luc Picard.)

Do you want your nation to contribute to save the North Koreans? Why or why not?

Not a dime. Sucks to be a North Korean, but the impact will take out their command structure rather nicely, along with most if not all of the ruling class. That means China and South Korea can roll over the borders without too much opposition and drag North Korea into the 18th Century.

I cackle with glee that Skald is once again blamed for something I did.

:: shrugs ::

That only represents a lessening of your villain cred. “Who is it that’s endangering millions of lives for yuks & profit?” Nobody even *thinks *Chimera.

Wage a battle on several sides of the city and lead the people to freedom and safety. After the asteroid hits, those who believed us will have their lack of faith in the supreme leader confirmed and we will be saved the trouble of assassinating Kim.

I’m pretty sure there’s no way we could invade North Korea and Kay siege to its capital without killing significantly more than three million people.

Should we do anything? Yeah, take back what’s ours. Mount a raid to take back the USS Pueblo before it gets destroyed with the rest of the city. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the only thing we should do with the North Koreans, unless they come across the border into South Korea in which case we should blow them to hell by the numbers.

When they get tired of being starved to death, oppressed and tortured, mistreated, and generally abused they’ll take care of it themselves. Until then, I’m forced to assume that they like it that way and therefore I have absolutely zero regard for them.

Besides, once it hits the rest of the country gets to start over again. There’s no downside.

Four days? I’ll just put that on my calendar.

Not one cent. I assume this disaster won’t hit other nations, tho, right?

We can save several million lives by paying a little money? Of course we pay. I don’t care if they’re the “enemy” or not (and realistically, they’re far more of an enemy to themselves than they are to us).

Speaking as poster rather than OP:

Actually I don’t think that’s impossible. But it can’t be done in FOUR DAYS. And you really have less than that; it’s going to take time to mobilize your forces, and then withdraw them before the meteor hits. Hell, I think it’d take at least four days just to have an orderly evacuation of the three million people in Pyongyang, even if their own government were completely cooperative.

Um, I think the Pueblo’s something like 40 years old. Ain’t no US personnel on board; the tech’s hopelessly out of date; you’ve only got four days to plan and carry out the operation; and if things go south for the Marines or whatever involved, they’re stuck in a city about to get hit by a meteor, and Nancy Pelosi will then insist that the US only up the Danegeld to save them. I see why RhE would favor this course of action, but I’m not sure why you do.

Speaking as OP rather than poster:

A necessary assumption, I think. If the meteor were large up to fuck up the entire region, then you wouldn’t have to persuade China, Japan, and South Korea to help pay; it would be in their logical self-interest. Likewise, China & Japan are mentioned in the OP specifically because their own government must be convinced that the astronomers’ analysis is correct – that is, that the meteor’s course is certain enough that they know it’s not gonna hit one of their cities.

Back to being a poster and not the OP:

Maybe. But the rest of the world is strengthening Kim’s hold on his people if they save Pyongyang for him. It’s cost him nothing, for one thing, and whether his people think the threat was non-existent in the first place, think that he tricked the US/UN/China/Japan into footing the bill, or think he stopped the meteor telekinetically, the outcome helps him create a cult of personality even stronger than his father or grandfather’s.

This was a toughie between “It’s three million lives” and “It’s freaking North Korea!”.

In the end I chose the second option: no shield because it’s North Korea. My reasoning is that, while 3 million is a lot of lives, more lives that than will be ruined/lost under the autocratic regime than would be lost if the autocratic regime is destroyed in a celestial holocaust. It would be one of the few ways to re-unite the Korean Peninsula without millions of casualties and trillions in property damage. (Ok, there will be millions of casualties and probably at least a couple thousand in property damage to NK. But it will be far less than other methods).

Well, Seoul might want to duck and cover. Who knows what kinds of shenanigans North Korea will try to pull when they figure they’ve got nothing left to lose?

Which is a net positive as far as I am concerned.

How cold-blooded are you willing to be here?

RhE, being only in it for the money, would probably accept a mission that went something like this:

**President **yellowjacketcoder: Okay, Skald, here’s the deal. We don’t want to prop up North Korea, but there’s like a 1% possibility we’ve got the trajectory wrong and the meteor’s gonna strike South Korea, China, or Russia instead. So we passed the hat at the UN. Here’s $10 billion. If the meteor’s course changes and it’s going to either strike another or uncomfortably close to NK’s border with another country, vaporize the sucker. Otherwise, let Zeus’s will be done."
Evil!Skald: I will also need assurances that Pauley Shore will be delivered alive to our agents so that we can dump him into this volcano we have here.

Would you make that arrangement?

You’re not gonna blackmail the world with that attitude.

There’s a lot more than 3 million lives at stake. Any meteor sufficiently large to more than inconvenience Pyongyang will also cause seismic events, dust clouds, &c that will effect Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, &c.

Slight tangent. This would make an interesting plot for a movie: Several leading nations conspire to tell N Korea that a meteor is heading their way and to get people out of the city because it WILL be destroyed. N Korea has spent so much capital and time building nukes and wooden missiles that they have no astronomers to validate the situation. What are they going to do?

Meanwhile, those conspiring nations plan to nuke the city and destroy N Korea and it’s nuclear capabilities as we know it, and are able to save face with this ruse.

Perhaps, but not necessarily. The Tunguska meteor (assuming that it was in fact a meteor hit that forest) didn’t cause world-wide or even regional devastation (though it was visible for thousands of miles). It doesn’t seem impossible to me that an impact event could be mighty enough to devastate the city, yet not mighty enough to devastate Japan or China.

Because it’s OURS, and it will be destroyed in a few days if nothing is done. I want to deprive them of their trophy. I want the Kims to die feeling like total failures who accomplished absolutely nothing just before they are incinerated.

Besides, there’s already a plan. There’s ALWAYS a plan.

Are we assuming that the destructive force of this impact is going to be polite enough to stop right at the DMZ?

Because unless we are, it’d be foolish and shortsighted not to prepare for regional chaos.