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Updated:  Thanks for the recommends and it is a trashing headline.  But I think the issues are important for us to discuss and the hair on fire headline is in a long tradition here.

On March 26, North Korea sent a torpedo from a submarine and blew up a South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, near Baengnyeong Island in Yellow Sea.  Forty six South Korean sailors were killed and 58 were rescued.  Yesterday North Korea announced that it would scrap agreements intended to prevent clashes and attacks when ships strayed into one another's waters.

AP reported yesterday

South Korea flexed its muscles Thursday with anti-submarine drills and a U.S. general offered strong words of support as the allies sent a clear message to adversary North Korea: Don't try it again.

Pyongyang, however, wasted little time in responding, saying it would launch ''immediate physical strikes'' against southern ships that enter its waters as tensions spiked further a week after Seoul blamed the North for torpedoing a warship.

This international crisis, is rapidly escalating this very week, is off the radar.  However it started in March and no one has been discussing this major problem until May 18 here.  There have been a total of TWO (2) diaries on this topic on this site.  Thanks to Something the dog said and quaoar.  

Yesterday, North Korea cut off diplomatic ties to South Korea.  That is right, a nuclear power has aggressively attacked their major military rival, killing and injuring dozens and now it is escalating.  Hillary Clinton is speaking out as are American military personnel. She is visiting China this week and is trying to get them to commit to condemning this action.  link Russia is peeved not to be asked to send scientists to the investigation committee and is wanting to be 100% convinced of the North Korean torpedo attack before taking specific action against North Korea.  link.  Japan has cut off all ties with North Korea and there is a move to have the United Nations investigate and condemn North Korea's actions.

We remain preoccupied with criticizing Obama for not personally overseeing a oil spill.  Maybe Obama has been paying attention to other immediate crises.  

I have been following this crisis because of my South Korean colleague.  This is huge over there and they been very restrained politically, waiting for the results of the forensic examination of the attack, which came without warning.  Jooha tells me that people were talking to family and friends on cell phones and were cut off mid sentence- there was no warning for this horrible and completely unjustified attack.

The funerals were very traumatic for this nation- similar to 9/11 for South Korea.  The newly elected South Korean President Lee Myung-bak vowed a tough stance on North Korea.  There was a bit of a local scandal when it was revealed the North Koreans were using food aid money to buy fireworks for ceremonies celebrating Kim Il-sung's regime.  There was some video of an old woman condemning President Lee over this issue which made a big impact.  Remember this was only weeks after the viscious attack on the Cheonan.

"The North must get its senses back," Mr. Lee said this week, discussing what he considered to be a wasteful display of fireworks in the impoverished country on April 15, a national holiday in North Korea. The holiday celebrates the birth of Kim Il-sung, the founder of the modern North Korean state and the father of the current leader, Kim Jong-il.

"Can’t they realize how much corn they can buy with the money they spent on the fireworks?" Mr. Lee said.

link

A sick old man is thought to be creating this crisis so his son can take over when he dies.  Kim Jong-il has enough atomic fuel for 8 weapons and is trying to bolster the credentials of his designated heir, Kim Jeong-un, 27 link.  The term enigmatic is often applied to Kim Jong-il- but perhaps cruel and ruthless are better terms.  How many have starved to death or been tortured by his regime?  And Kim Jeong-il is escalating this crisis.  One action besides the fireworks was confiscating five South Korean owned facilities at Diamond Mountain, a jointly operated mountain resort on April 23.  The previous two South Korean administrations kept trying to work with North Korea and established this resort where families from North and Sout could have reunions.  North and South Korea  also started a joint industrial park, the Kaesong Industrial Complex, where 500 South Koreans work.  Today North Korea has blocked access to the complex, effectively isolating those 500 workers which some are referring to as hostages.  

SK President Lee Myung-bak declared in a major speech on Monday that SK would cut all trade with NK, deny NK ships use of South Korean sea lanes, demand the United Nations Security Council to punish the North for the deliberate sinking of the Cheonan.  The SK President is also stepping up propaganda broadcasts on the border.

"We have always tolerated North Korea’s brutality, time and again," Mr. Lee said. "But now things are different. North Korea will pay a price corresponding to its provocative acts. Trade and exchanges between South and North Korea will be suspended."

North Korea’s military immediately warned that if South Korea put up propaganda loudspeakers and slogans at the border, it would destroy them with artillery shells, reported the North’s official K.C.N.A. news agency.  link

 South Korea imports $250 million in seafood and North Korea imports $50 million in clothes.  The propaganda issues are important because North Koreans are isolated from news of the world- although increasingly there are smuggled devices letting the NK citizens know how bad their situation is.  Recall the end of the cold war was also precipitated by economic refugees.  China and South Korea fear economic refugees from the North.

This situation is very precarious.  South Korean sentiment is very strong on this issue- people have been tiptoeing around waiting for the forensic evidence and the UN to take action.  They don't really want war, but they did elect Lee Myung-bak in February to tighten up relations with North Korea.  The first shots in this potential war have been delivered and Obama administration is definitely paying attention to this situation- and their policy of "strategic patience" is being tested link.  Obama has directed the military to prepare for North Korean aggression.  There is an effort to convince China to express stronger support for South Korea- Hillary Clinton stopped off in Seoul to meet with Lee Myung-bak before traveling to China.

We are on a precipice and one of our loyal allies needs our support.  But while we really don't want a war on three fronts, Obama may be forced to do something dramatic in the near future.  Today South Korea conducted antisubmarine drills off the coast of North Korea, and the agreement to end accidental attacks was officially abandoned by South Korea (North Korea abandoned it yesterday.)

Should Daily Kos pay attention to South Korea/North Korea?  Is there no one here with connections in the South who can share with us how people are reacting to the escalating tensions?  My colleague is extremely concerned and expects the USA to support their country.  What should Obama be doing about this issue?

Updated:
BBC reports on anti-su maneuvers in South Korea. http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

Originally posted to murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:35 AM PDT.

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  •  Tip Jar (234+ / 0-)
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    Sharoney, bink, JekyllnHyde, Superskepticalman, Sylv, chuck utzman, keirdubois, Mogolori, ogre, copymark, Timaeus, Subterranean, Powered Grace, PeterHug, eeff, Matilda, MarkInSanFran, ssgbryan, RubDMC, JSCram3254, Dazy, Athenian, Wee Mama, mmacdDE, highacidity, Porfiry, antirove, jdmorg, SneakySnu, mwk, Dallasdoc, pat bunny, grannyhelen, JimWilson, NYFM, hazzcon, liberte, AbsurdEyes, annetteboardman, kalmoth, Democratic Hawk, DMiller, nswalls, econlibVA, tomjones, Aug6PDB, bay of arizona, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, nailbender, paige, kbman, maybeeso in michigan, historys mysteries, 3goldens, Treg, DianeNYS, SherwoodB, sc kitty, PsychoSavannah, ccasas, kefauver, eightlivesleft, dewtx, ChemBob, Blissing, owlbear1, majcmb1, aaraujo, skyounkin, blue jersey mom, noemie maxwell, neroden, psyched, Hirodog, BachFan, myboo, Ky DEM, stonemason, pengiep, NBBooks, StrayCat, bubbanomics, jerseyjo, Ordvefa, Preston S, MBNYC, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Jbearlaw, means are the ends, CharlieHipHop, Picot verde, Quicklund, Nulwee, Cliss, dov12348, dotsright, donnamarie, Loudoun County Dem, Lucius1113, milkbone, moodyinsavannah, ColoTim, canadianpuppet, psychodrew, teachergonz, jds1978, karmsy, wildweasels, Cofcos, DWG, Geek of all trades, malharden, artisan, mcgee85, vbdietz, millwood, Moderation, Rumarhazzit, LWelsch, BasharH, Desa, dizzydean, GANJA, KLS, condorcet, TX Freethinker, Phil N DeBlanc, Senor Unoball, mralex1974, elwior, lineatus, Sharon Wraight, beltane, TomFromNJ, pamelabrown, boatjones, TH Seed, Jake Williams, pademocrat, DanK Is Back, ShempLugosi, temptxan, petulans, Hawkjt, CeeusBeeus, MinervainNH, sydneyluv, legendmn, Fiddlegirl, SciMathGuy, Bule Betawi, J M F, Throw The Bums Out, MTmarilyn, Coach Jay, greengemini, Anne Elk, pvlb, tr GW, lookit, kevinpdx, vadasz, Little Flower, ArthurPoet, brushysage, ohmyheck, Livvy5, Adept2u, citisven, Contra, ozarkspark, BlueOak, Railfan, ETF, lompe, ppl can fly, RhymesWithUrple, marabout40, KroneckerD, flitedocnm, roadbear, LaughingPlanet, stunzeed, Klaus, ItsSimpleSimon, 2020adam, Egalitare, Lize in San Francisco, nickrud, addisnana, rja, elengul, otter 8, petesmom, ZedMont, grael, Actbriniel, DemHikers, MidwestTreeHugger, Hill Jill, I love OCD, ozsea1, ban nock, Amayi, BlueJessamine, Mistral Wind, soothsayer99, dbradhud, Haf2Read, marleycat, BarackStarObama, JWK, moldyfolky, volleyboy1, Joe Johnson, Imhotepsings, blackjackal, stunvegas, StepLeftStepForward, lol chikinburd, RockyLabor, jaebone, Auriandra, MichaelNY, No one gets out alive, weatherdude, ursoklevar, docrocktex, Knights of Dusk, Villagejonesy, jadethews, Liberaltarianish, Trotskyrepublican

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:35:59 AM PDT

    •  I am seriously concerned..... (66+ / 0-)

      that my headline is not an exaggeration.

      And I wrote the first dailykos diary about the oil spill 3 days after the accident.  I was very concerned then and predicted it would be a very serious disaster.  But it should be noted that the crisis inWest Virginia coal mining was going on at the same time.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:38:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Murrayewv ;if it doesn't rain it pours. We need (39+ / 0-)

        President Obama in our prayers.  So much stuff going on and people who are not in the know always B'tchn about his performance in the gulf.

        "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.";1 John 4:18.

        by Knights of Dusk on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:42:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  got to go to work.... (10+ / 0-)

          It is now 9:30 EST and I will check in and out.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:30:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  checking back in..... (13+ / 0-)

            so this is now recommended.  Thanks for the discussions folks.  I think this is a serious issue.

            You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

            by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:52:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Tect of speech by President Lee..... (0+ / 0-)

              http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/...

              Excerpt for the text....

              My fellow Koreans and our compatriots in North Korea,
              The overriding goal of the Republic of Korea is not military confrontation. Our goal has always been the attainment of real peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Our goal is to bring about prosperity for all Koreans. Our vision is to realize the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

              This year marks the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. The Republic of Korea is no longer what it once was-an impoverished nation, suffering from the scars of war. Rising above the ruins of war, the Republic of Korea has achieved an impressive miracle of progress guided by the constitutional foundations of liberal democracy and a free market economy. The Republic of Korea is continuing its confident march toward the center stage of the world.
              All countries across the globe are competing with one another to ensure the prosperity of their own citizens. At the same time, all nations are working together for the sake of co-prosperity and peace in the global community. The entire world is changing. Changes are taking place faster than ever.

              But, what is the situation in North Korea? Nothing has changed over the last sixty years. It is a country still holding onto an empty ambition of forcefully reuniting the Korean Peninsula under the banner of communism. It is a country that still believes in making threats and committing terrorist activities. North Korea’s goal is to instigate division and conflict.

              For what reason and for whom is it doing what it does?

              As compatriots, I am truly ashamed.

              It is now time for the North Korean regime to change.

              Response by North Korea's Kim Jong-il from another blog...http://agonist.org/sean_paul_kelley/20100525/nelson_on_north_korea_crisis

              "Traitorous Gang Can Never Shirk Responsibility of Concocting Anti-Republic Farce" — DPRK National Defense Commission (NDC) spokesman’s answer traitor (yo’kto) Lee Myung-bak (Ri Myo’ng-pak; Yi Myo’ng-pak), who has been cornered since we clarified at home and abroad our principled position on the incident of the ship Ch’o‘nan’s sinking, took it upon his bastard self (chenom) to announce a so-called address to the people on 24 May.
              Regarding this, a spokesman for the DPRK NDC gave the following answer to a Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reporter’s question on 24 May:

              The address to the people that traitor Lee Myung-bak issued is another clumsy farce aimed at concealing the identity of the fabrication and a farce the bastard himself enthusiastically threw himself into cooking up and a sophism by an anti-Republic confrontation fanatic gone crazy with crushing his fellow countrymen.

              This is a specially gross crime completely negating and abrogating the historic 15 June Joint Declaration and its practical program, the 4 October Declaration.

              We already know more than well that traitor Lee yung-nak, having received a directive from his master, concocted a fabrication and farce to secretly hurt his fellow countrymen in a hurry in order to pursue sinister objectives.

              In this vein, the address to the people that the traitor prattled is but a trick he is using for fear that the fabrication and farce that the master and the henchman put their heads together and cooked up might be exposed.

              This is the very reason why he cannot accept our NDC inspection team even though he is loudly publicizing about scientific and objective investigation results.

              If the traitorous gang (yo’kcho’k p’aedang) does not have anything to be ashamed of, it ought to accept our inspection team.

              The traitorous gang must keep in mind that it can never shirk the responsibility of concocting the clumsy fabrication and farce against us.

              Robert Gibbs for President Obama in news briefing....

              President Obama fully supports President Lee in his handling of the ROKS Cheonan incident and the objective investigation that followed. The measures that the government of the Republic of Korea announced today are called for and entirely appropriate. The Republic of Korea can continue to count on the full support of the United States, as President Obama has made clear.

              Specifically, we endorse President Lee's demand that North Korea immediately apologize and punish those responsible for the attack, and, most importantly, stop its belligerent and threatening behavior. U.S. support for South Korea's defense is unequivocal, and the President has directed his military commanders to coordinate closely with their Republic of Korea counterparts to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression. We will build on an already strong foundation of excellent cooperation between our militaries and explore further enhancements to our joint posture on the Peninsula as part of our ongoing dialogue.

              As President Lee stated in his address earlier today, the Republic of Korea intends to bring this issue to the United Nations Security Council. We support this move. Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice are each consulting very closely with their Korean counterparts, as well as with Japan, China, and other UN Security Council member states in order to reach agreement on the steps in the Council.

              In response to the pattern of North Korean provocation and defiance of international law, the President has directed U.S. government agencies to review their existing authorities and policies related to the DPRK. This review is aimed at ensuring that we have adequate measures in place and to identify areas where adjustments would be appropriate.

              The U.S. will continue to work with the Republic of Korea and other allies and partners to reduce the threat that North Korea poses to regional stability. Secretary Clinton is currently in Beijing and she will travel to Seoul for discussions with President Lee and his senior advisors on May 26 before reporting back to the President on her consultations in the region. Secretary Gates is in close contact with ROK Defense Minister Kim and will meet with him and other counterparts at the June 4-6 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. President Obama and President Lee agreed to meet in Canada at the time of the G-20 Summit.

              China's official response so far...

              BEIJING, May 24 (Xinhua) -- China Monday urged parties involved in disputes over the sinking of a Republic of Korean (ROK) naval warship to exercise restraint to avoid the escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula.

              China hopes the parties to maintain calmness and restraint and to properly deal with relevant issues, Chinese spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said during the second round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues (S&ED) Monday in Beijing.

              He said the Chinese and U.S. sides touched upon many important international and regional issues during the talks, including the issue of the sunken Cheonan corvette. Ma, spokesman for the S&ED's strategic track talks, told the press that China had been highly concerned about the development of the warship sinking issue and had clearly expressed its stance on the matter.

              "China has always been committed to maintaining the stability in Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula, promoting the six-party talks and denuclearization of the Peninsula," said Ma.

              He added that international and regional matters such as the sinking of the warship should be handled in an objective and fair manner and based on facts.

              The ROK unveiled Monday a series of punitive measures against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), less than one week after an international team of investigators invited by the ROK announced their findings and blamed DPRK for sinking the warship in late March, which killed 46 sailors, in a torpedo attack.

              Pyongyang has denied any involvement and threatened an "all-out war" in case sanction was imposed.

              You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

              by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:02:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Me too. Kim is a madman. Have to nuke him? (0+ / 0-)

        Seriously. I hate to kill millions but this guy is dangerously crazy, actually crazy and isolated.

          •  only if the DPRK uses their nukes first (10+ / 0-)

            ....and no, Kim Jong-il isn't insane.  Making our potential enemies into lunatics or "worse than Hitler" does nothing but muddy the waters.

            A genuine lunatic couldn't hold onto power in a totalitarian system (ie: might makes right; pure political Darwinism.)

            Both Stalin and Mao exhibited extreme paranoia (mental illness, not full blown insanity.)

            Hitler was lucid enough to understand the consequences of his actions which means he couldn't get away with an insanity plea

            •  I beg to differ (13+ / 0-)

              I think all three of those guys were insane, and so was Pol Pot. There are different kinds of insanity, and I don't believe that the American legal standard of knowing right from wrong is a medical standard.

              •  I think they were Axis 2....n/t (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RubDMC, jds1978

                to call them insane does disservice to many with true mental illnesses.

                You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:54:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  How? (6+ / 0-)

                  Calling insane mass murderers insane in no way deprecates insane non-mass murderers. Are you taking political correctness (I usually hate that term) to the point of absurdity? I do not need to use a current psychology term. "Axis 2" is not likely to supplant "insane" in ordinary conversation.

                  •  Agree (4+ / 0-)

                    I don't think we need a medical diagnosis to see that someone is unhinged from the better sides of humanity.  Fair enough to see them as crazy, insane, or madmen.  They are emphatically not like 'the rest of us', in significant ways.

                  •  All records indicate (11+ / 0-)

                    that the U.S. government tortured people to produce false confessions to justify a completely necessary invasion that directly or indirectly killed hundreds of thousands, all the time acting like they welcomed the effort. The British went right along with it, going as far as assisting us in manufacturing evidence to produce to the U.N. and our allies. Does any of that necessarily make Dick Cheney insane?

                    The last two centuries are rife with examples of both democratic and non-democratic governments executing genocides or crimes against humanity for purely political or economic objective. which are almost to numerous to list.

                    Hitler and Stalin were no more insane than King Leopold. They were all mostly greedy.

                    I don't know what's gonna happen, man, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames. -Jim Morrison "All Hail The American Night"

                    by James Kresnik on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:51:11 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Assume you meant "completely UNnecessary," but (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      murrayewv, 2020adam, MichaelNY

                      no worries.

                      I agree that Stalin and Hitler were "greedy," though for political power, of course, not for money.  Stalin's Great Purge was supposedly begun, with the internal deportations of ethnic Germans, Poles, and Ukrainians from areas near the borders of Germany, Poland and the Ukraine, to address a spy problem.  But in fact, it was largely--and obviously--carried out as a terror operation, without taking in many actual spies or saboteurs at all.  This terrorism, along with so many of Stalin's acts, seems to me to have been undertaken in order to consolidate Stalin's hold on political power.  

                      These acts were undertaken soberly, and possibly with a realistic eye to what the effects would be.  But being coldly realistic, predictable and sober isn't necessarily any more sane than being erratic and volatile.  One can be insane in many ways.

                      "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                      by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 01:24:22 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm not familiar enough with King Leopold (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      murrayewv

                      to know whether he showed any signs of insanity while he committed genocide. But Hitler and Stalin certainly showed clear signs of paranoia.

                      Is Dick Cheney insane? I don't know. I know he's a sociopath. Do Cheney's actions prove he's insane? No, we agree they don't necessarily make him insane. But he didn't constantly think everyone was trying to kill him, did he?

                      Your comment is intelligent and worth thinking about, and I've tipped it accordingly, but arguing that  because some evil people aren't insane, that shows that others are not doesn't convince me.

                      •  Hitler may have been paranoid, (0+ / 0-)

                        but by being paranoid he avoided several assassination attempts and was still almost killed by someone in his inner circle.

                        Joseph Stalin rose in a Soviet cadre rife with internal backstabbing. It can be safely argued that he was doing a very competent job of watching his back.

                        I don't know what's gonna happen, man, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames. -Jim Morrison "All Hail The American Night"

                        by James Kresnik on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 09:44:32 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  insanity is a purely legal term (8+ / 0-)

                not a medical one.

                •  a good point.... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MichaelNY

                  I stand corrected.  Medically I think it is a personality problem- but legally do we let someone who is a mass murderer escape justice?  I hope not.

                  You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                  by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:34:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We (the USA) have so far (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    3goldens, neroden, MichaelNY

                    At least Eric Holder's Justice Department seems to be letting them go without even facing charges (and I haven't even heard of investigations).

                    •  As evil as Cheney is (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      murrayewv, ColoTim

                      I'm not sure he's a mass murderer anywhere near the scale we're discussing, although looking at the casualties from his war of aggression in Iraq does show a large number of homicides, however they'd be defined legally (and I don't think they'd actually be legally defined as homicides, unfortunately).

                      But getting back to really huge mass murderers like Hitler, while Hitler, himself, may have been insane, many of the functionaries who carried out his orders, such as Eichmann, were not. It is always worth prosecuting those who committed crimes against humanity.

                  •  This gets into the philosophical question (0+ / 0-)

                    of whether we punish insane people or allow for a "not guilty for reason of insanity," "not guilty due to mental defect," or/and "guilty but mentally ill" verdicts. However, just because it's been determined that a person did something because he had no ability to stop himself from doing it, or because he didn't know what he was doing, or right from wrong, or whatever standard one uses to determine whether a person made an act of will to do something, rather than not do it, does not mean that the person escaped justice, or that he would be allowed to go free. If you believe that part of justice is not to punish people for actions they could not have prevented themselves from taking, not convicting them as guilty is just. But the most important thing is to protect society by restraining these individuals from killing again.

                    •  if you believe people can be delusional.... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      MichaelNY

                      and not in their right mind (like the psychotic woman in Texas who drowned her 5 children) then I think treatment and supervision is better than punishment.  Institutionalization may protect people from those who could act violently again and who should be isolated from society.

                      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 03:34:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Well, also a philosophical one (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MichaelNY, Villagejonesy

                  "in-sane" = "un-sound" of mind

                  So philosophically, any idea which is "unsound" can be called "insane".

                  -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                  by neroden on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:36:45 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  It's a popular term (0+ / 0-)

                  But I believe it comprises several DSM diagnoses, doesn't it?

            •  Kim's a pretty eccentric guy though. (4+ / 0-)

              Plenty of evidence of that. But the problem DPRK using nukes first is they'll probably use them against Seoul.

              The Raptor of Spain: A Webserial
              From Muslim Prince to Christian King (Updated Nov. 24)

              by MNPundit on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:07:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  where a good friend of mine is flying today (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                murrayewv, 3goldens, skyounkin

                his wife is Korean and he is going to visit her and bring her and her kids back after her sabbatical.  I would like them back here as soon as possible, but it will probly be stressful for her to leave.

              •  5kT nukes, while devastating, aren't even (3+ / 0-)

                Hiroshima scale (15kT) or Nagasaki scale (21kT).  People standing outside or in poorly built structures within half a kilometer or so will very likely die, and there will be significant damage for a kilometer and a half.  Large buildings will suffer significant damage, but will offer protection to their occupants who are not immediately on the blast side.  Only those near the epicenter are at risk of collapse.

                I don't think there's reason to suspect that NK is much beyond 5kT at this point in time -- if they're actually even that far along.  They only have a handful of weapons, and even if they're all attached to missiles, NK's missiles aren't the most reliable or accurate.  And who knows how reliable the bombs themselves are.  And there's still the chance to shoot them down.  If NK doesn't get first strike, they're probably not going to land anything, and even if they get first strike, who knows how much luck they'd have.

                They're a nuclear state... but only barely.  And they'd be flattened beyond measure if they tried -- even by our conventional weaponry.  The US probably wouldn't even bother with nuclear weapons in response unless it felt it needed to in order to make a point for MAD purposes.

                •  Their military, though, is 1.2 million (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  murrayewv

                  with over 3 and a half million reservists.  By all accounts, their hardware is archaic, but we would have a TREMENDOUS problem putting boots on the ground and pacifying the country.  Their guerrilla and sabotage efforts would be monumental.  Also, I would assume that they'd have sabotage planned that would hit us close to home.

                  Also, I would note the deaths that would occur from radiation poisoning, though their nukes be small.

                  North Korea can't wage much of an offensive war, but their defensive war would be a nightmare for us.

                  "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                  by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 01:28:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Their military is a joke. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JesseCW

                    It's large numbers of people, heavily propagandized, using outdated Soviet eq for the most part.  We've seen that countless times in the past; the US military cuts through that sort of thing like a knife through butter.

                    but we would have a TREMENDOUS problem putting boots on the ground and pacifying the country.

                    Quite the contrary; it's a cult of personality running the country in an information blackout.  Ala Japan, WWII.  If you've ever been to Japan, you'll find that the older Japanese tend to love Americans; its the younger generation that distrusts them.  Why?  Because they grew up for years (or their parents did) in a nation run by a cult of personality, with their leader as an infallable god, with everyone being told how the US was going to commit all sorts of atrocities if they won.  Instead, we were nice to them and rebuilt their country.  Once a nation run by a cult of personality falls, it falls hard.

                    •  Wait a second--the US military does WHAT? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      murrayewv

                      Cuts through large numbers of heavily propagandized soldiery like a knife through butter?  To the extent that they've no further capacity to wage a very tough guerrilla war, which is what I say they'll do?  And they'll welcome us with flowers and be pacified?

                      Vietnam!  Iraq!  Afghanistan!  

                      IEDs aplenty, and continuing, in the latter two, and a complete loss for us in the first one.  Ain't enough people from Saddam's heavily propagandized populace or military, or from Afghanistan, going to "love Americans."  The Vietnamese may, now, but only because they won the war.

                      The North Korean hardware may be largely a joke (though not even all of that is), but their resistance will be tougher than you're saying it will.  I hope you're right, but I don't think they'll welcome us with flowers and be at peace any time soon.  North Korea is not World War II Japan.  We will NOT be occupying that country and pacifying it, as we did in 1945 the Axis powers.  We really haven't won another World War II since 1945.

                      "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                      by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 02:13:41 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Villagejonesy

                        Vietnam!

                        Not a cult of personality.

                        Iraq!

                        Not a cult of personality (as much as Saddam tried).

                        Afghanistan!

                        Not a cult of personality.

                        Probably the best example of what we're talking about here is Iraq War I.  Saddam's grand army was pretty much the equivalent of NK's.  

                        I hope you're right, but I don't think they'll welcome us with flowers and be at peace any time soon.

                        That's the thing; they don't need to.  What are you expecting guerillas to fight over?  Resurrecting Kim Jong Il?  So that they can go back to starving again?

                        I opposed Afghanistan.  I said it was going to turn into guerilla warfare.  I opposed Iraq.  I said it was going to turn into guerilla warfare.  I oppose a war with Iran.  The same thing would happen.  And I oppose an invasion of NK (i.e., attacking NK if they're not attacking SK), and only would support backing SK in self defense to the extent necessary to eliminate the threat.  BUT, if we do end up in war with NK it's not going to turn into guerilla warfare.  There's just not the motive there.

                        The US would eliminate Kim Jong Il and the head of his military establishment, hand control over to the UN (who would support us on this one, unlike Iraq), who would form an interrim government and organize elections on self-determination of the North (whether to remain their own country, and if so, to elect a leader, or to join with the south).  But the US and SK would take over North Korea's airwaves within an hour of the war starting; nobody comes close to us in terms of SIGINT (although the Chinese are trying).  All of those NK radios and TVs tuned to special broadcasts Kim Jong Il's propaganda?  They'd be airing the truth about the world outside that they've been lied to about for decades.  A good chunk of them won't believe it, of course, but the US would support it with proof nonstop.  Once Pyongyang falls, the US would turn to video feeds of the opulence that Kim Jong Il lives in.  Then letting the public tour it.  And of course, during and after the war, extensive food and heating oil deliveries.

                        This is quite different from Iraq, which had a "pseudo cult of personality".  Namely, Saddam insisted that the Iraqi state deify him in the same way that Kim Jong Il does.  The problem is that Iraq was one of the most educated countries in the Middle East before the Iran-Iraq war.  Free college education, extensive knowledge of the world outside.  So the population never actually believed his portrayals of himself.  When the US took over, however, we made Iraq worse.  We let looting go on unabated.  We let the power grid collapse.  There was already terrorist organizations in the region who hated us for solid reasons (our unconditional support of Israel, for example), rather than the sort of nonsense myths Kim Jong uses in Korea, and they quickly migrated into the power vacuum.  And there was already a general anti-American sentiment for those same reasons.  We had an administration who openly talked about taking their oil to pay for the war.  So it's no surprise that they wanted to kick us out.

                        Now, explain why that would happen in Korea, where millions are starving, hundreds of thousands (or more) in horrid labor camps, where few have electricity, almost everyone out side Kim Jong's circle lives in poverty, etc.  It's simply not going to happen.

                        •  hopefully this won't become a shooting war..... (0+ / 0-)

                          since many would suffer on both sides.  But in NK, many are also suffering.

                          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                          by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 03:36:16 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Well Iraq isn't North Korea either, (0+ / 0-)

                          whether there was a true cult of personality around Saddam or not.  The Sunni-Shi'ite split, with a Sunni religious minority ruling Iraq on the border between the Iranian shi'ites and the Sunni west, doesn't obtain in North Korea.

                          Much of what you say is persuasive, but it hinges on the decapitation of the North Korean leadership, and the assumption that Kim Jong-Il and all his family will be removed from power.  Unless we target his person successfully, and leave his heirs out of power, AND destroy the capacity of the million men and women with boots on the ground to resist and throw up another leader, why would the North Koreans obey us and disarm?

                          "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                          by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 04:13:58 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Hitler said the same of Russia, (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      murrayewv

                      though he didn't bother trying to win their hearts and minds (much to the chagrin of some of his intelligence officers, who had done much groundwork among sympathetic Ukrainians, who would have helped the Germans, but who were treated with contempt instead).  He assumed that you had only to kick the door in, and "the whole thing will come crashing down" like a house of cards, in Hitler's words.  But the Soviets fought back, sustaining STAGGERING losses, in the bargain; and their military machines and men, both, were far less impressive than that of the Hitler regime that we DID pacify.  I think it's far from clear that North Korea would be more Japan and Nazi Germany than Stalin's Russia.

                      "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                      by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 02:32:59 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Many things wrong with that. (0+ / 0-)
                        1. Hitler tried to own Russia.  And didn't try to hide this fact.  They wanted it for keeps.
                        1. The Nazis committed countless atrocities as they went, practicing widespread scorched earth tactics (for which the Soviets later reciprocated).  Their reputation preceded them.
                        1. Most importantly, Russia never actually fell.  The Russian military and most of the Russian people remained under Stalin's control at all times.  The head of the cult of personality remained as the head of state.  It's just plain silly to think that would happen in a US vs. NK war.
                        •  I don't agree (0+ / 0-)

                          I agree with your point 2., and I HOPE we wouldn't be guilty of too many atrocities.  

                          On point 1., I'd say that whether Hitler tried to own Russia is irrelevant; did Japan or Germany ask whether we wanted to own them, or just rent them?  The more relevant point is that Germany's guerrillas and saboteurs, though they existed, didn't persist, and the reason why was that they still found themselves in a life or death struggle, with Communism.  The three-part war, between three giant movements, Communism, Fascism, and Liberal Democracy, made World War II a special case.  I agree that the fact that Japan's propaganda was shown to be wrong helped, but I don't think it's so clear that Korean psychology is like Japan's.

                          But on point 3., why is it silly to think that North Korea will fall so easily?  Remember, Stalin's Russia took quite a long time to cough up an airplane that was worth anything (the early MiGs were ridiculous, and there were half a dozen other lame fighter planes until, I think, the Yak-9 turned out to be a fairly good workhorse).  The T-34 was fine, but their military, on the whole, had far inferior hardware; also, after the purges, their officer corps was decimated by Stalin himself, so their men weren't in good shape either.  Why would a North Korea, relatively poorly equipped, but with vast manpower with which to resist an attack, necessarily fall?  Though they don't have the land area which Russia used to resist us, the fact is that a million and a quarter troops, plus 4 million reservists, are not so easy to do away with that we'd have it wrapped up in a bow like that.  They wouldn't have many ships or planes left, perhaps, but what's our Sigint going to do against five million potential messengers?  What's our air attack going to do against five million people?  You just don't get rid of a force like that as easily as you do a Saddam army or a Taliban army.  It's too huge.  And unless you get rid of all the boots, how do you make sure to get rid of all the ruling cabal?

                          "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                          by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 04:27:33 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Let me quote from Wikipedia on the Eastern Front: (0+ / 0-)

                        Now, please, tell me with a straight face that you think this even remotely applies to a situation of war with NK:

                        Occupation and repression
                        Soviet partisans hanged by German forces in January 1943

                        The enormous territorial gains of 1941 presented Germany with vast areas to pacify and administer. In Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, that the Soviet Union had conquered in 1940, the Wehrmacht was greeted by most of the population. Some Soviet citizens also, especially in the recently occupied territories of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus greeted Germans as liberators from the Soviet rule. However, nascent national liberation movements among Ukrainians and Cossacks, and others were viewed by Hitler with suspicion; some, (especially those from the Baltic States) were co-opted into the Axis armies and others brutally suppressed. None of the conquered territories gained any measure of self-rule. Instead, the racist Nazi ideologues saw the future of the East as one of settlement by German colonists, with the natives killed, expelled, or reduced to slave labour.

                        Regions closer to the front were managed by military powers of the region, in other areas such as Baltic states annexed by USSR in 1940, Reichscommissariats were established. As a rule, the maximum in loot was extracted. In September 1941, Erich Koch was appointed to the Ukrainian Commissariat. His opening speech was clear about German policy: "I am known as a brutal dog ... Our job is to suck from Ukraine all the goods we can get hold of ... I am expecting from you the utmost severity towards the native population."

                        Atrocities against the Jewish population in the conquered areas began almost immediately, with the dispatch of Einsatzgruppen (task groups) to round up Jews and shoot them. Local anti-semites were encouraged to carry out their own pogroms. In July 1941 Erich von dem Bach-Zalewski's SS unit began to carry out more systematic killings, including the massacre of over 30,000 Jews at Babi Yar. By the end of 1941 there were more than 50,000 troops devoted to rounding up and killing Jews. The gradual industrialization of killing led to adoption of the Final Solution and the establishment of the Operation Reinhard extermination camps: the machinery of the Holocaust. In three years of occupation, between one and two million Soviet Jews were killed. Other ethnic groups were targeted for extermination, including the Roma and Sinti; see Porajmos.

                        The massacres of Jews and other ethnic minorities were only a part of the deaths from the Nazi occupation. Many hundreds of thousands of Soviet civilians were executed, and millions more died from starvation as the Germans requisitioned food for their armies and fodder for their draft horses. As they retreated from Ukraine and Belarus in 1943–44, the German occupiers systematically applied a scorched earth policy, burning towns and cities, destroying infrastructure, and leaving civilians to starve or die of exposure.[62] In many towns, the battles were fought right within towns and cities with trapped civilians caught in the middle. Estimates of total civilian dead in the Soviet Union in the war range from seven million (Encyclopædia Britannica) to seventeen million (Richard Overy).
                        Victims of Soviet NKVD in Lviv, June 1941.

                        The Nazi ideology and the maltreatment of the local population and Soviet POWs encouraged partisans fighting behind the front, motivated even anti-communists or non-Russian nationalists to ally with the Soviets, and greatly delayed the formation of German allied divisions consisting of Soviet POWs (see Vlasov army). These results and missed opportunities contributed to the defeat of the Wehrmacht.
                        Homeless Russian children in occupied territory (about 1942)

                        Vadim Erlikman has detailed Soviet losses totaling 26.5 million war related deaths. Military losses of 10.6 million include 7.6 million killed or missing in action and 2.6 million POW dead, plus 400,000 paramilitary and Soviet partisan losses. Civilian deaths totaled 15.9 million, which included 1.5 million from military actions; 7.1 million victims of Nazi genocide and reprisals; 1.8 million deported to Germany for forced labor; and 5.5 million famine and disease deaths. Additional famine deaths, which totaled 1 million during 1946–47, are not included here. Soviet repressions seems also to be not included. These losses are for the entire territory of the USSR including territories annexed in 1939–40.

                        Belarus lost a quarter of its pre-war population, including practically all its intellectual elite. Following bloody encirclement battles, all of the present-day Belarus territory was occupied by the Germans by the end of August 1941. The Nazis imposed a brutal regime, deporting some 380,000 young people for slave labour, and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians more.[citation needed] More than 600 villages like Khatyn were burned with their entire population.[63] More than 209 cities and towns (out of 270 total) and 9,000 villages were destroyed. Himmler pronounced a plan according to which 3/4 of Belarusian population was designated to "eradication" and 1/4 of racially cleaner population (blue eyes, light hair) would be allowed to serve Germans as slaves.

                        Some recent reports raise the number of Belarusians who perished in War to "3 million 650 thousand people, unlike the former 2.2 million. That is to say not every fourth inhabitant but almost 40% of the pre-war Belarusian population perished (considering the present-day borders of Belarus)." [2]

                        Sixty percent of Soviet POWs died during the war. Large numbers of Soviet POWs and forced laborers transported to Germany were on their return to the USSR (in many cases forcefully repatriated by the Western Allies) treated as traitors and deserters and were executed or deported to the Soviet prison camps. The Soviet Union had not signed the Geneva Convention (1929). However, a month after the German invasion in 1941, an offer was made for a reciprocal adherence to the Hague convention. This 'note' was left unanswered by Third Reich officials.[64] The official Polish government report of war losses prepared in 1947 reported 6,028,000 war victims out of a population of 27,007,000 ethnic Poles and Jews; this report excluded ethnic Ukrainian and Belarusian losses.

                        Soviet repressions also contributed into the Eastern Front's death toll. Immediately after the start of the German invasion, the NKVD massacred large numbers of prisoners in most of their prisons in Western Belarus and Western Ukraine, while the remainder was to be evacuated in death marches.[65] Most of them were political prisoners, imprisoned and executed without a trial.[66]
                        [edit] Industrial output

                        The Soviet victory owed a great deal to the ability of her war industry to outperform the German economy, despite the enormous loss of population and land. Stalin's five-year plans of the 1930s had resulted in the industrialization of the Urals and central Asia. In 1941, the trains that shipped troops to the front were used to evacuate thousands of factories from Belarus and Ukraine to safe areas far from the front lines. Once these facilities were reassembled east of the Urals, production could be reassumed without fear of German bombing.

                        As the Soviet Union's manpower reserves ran low from 1943 onwards, the great Soviet offensives had to depend more on equipment and less on the expenditure of lives. The increases in production of war materiel were achieved at the expense of civilian living standards — the most thorough application of the principle of total war — and with the help of Lend-Lease supplies from the United Kingdom and the United States. The Germans, on the other hand, could rely on a large slave workforce from the conquered countries and Soviet POWs.

                        Germany's raw material production was higher than the Soviets' and its labour force was far greater, but the Soviets were more efficient at using what resources they had and chose to build low-cost, low-maintenance vehicles whilst the Germans built high-cost, high-maintenance vehicles.

                        Germany chose to build very expensive and very complicated vehicles and even though Germany produced many times more raw materials she could not compete with the Soviets on the quantity of military production (in 1943, the Soviet Union manufactured 24,089 tanks to Germany's 19,800). The Soviets incrementally upgraded existing designs, and simplified and refined manufacturing processes to increase production. Meanwhile, German industry was forced to engineer more advanced but complex designs such as the Panther tank, the King Tiger or the Elefant.

                        •  Which of the elements in that vast quote? (0+ / 0-)

                          Look.  There are about a million ways in which World War II is different from the North Korean situation.  You were the one who first drew the parallel, comparing North Korea to a WW II Japan, whose military and general public would switch quickly to a peaceful footing, in your estimation.

                          I'm far more concerned with showing ways in which the modern North Korea is DIFFERENT to that WW II Japan and Nazi Germany, than in showing ways in which it is similar to Stalin's Soviet Union, which beat back Hitler's Germany, despite being inferior both in materiel and in the cohesion of the officer corps.  North Korea is inferior to us in materiel, like the USSR; according to you, their army is demoralized, and I have seen some reports suggesting that this is true, since the DPRK is so badly off with regard to feeding its people, even its soldiery.  There are many, many ways in which it is different, too.  It's geography is one obvious one, which I freely mention.

                          However, the ways in which it is unlike WWII Japan are likewise countless.  I might mention, in the first place, the fact that imperial Japan had been embarked on an aggressive war of conquest of all Asia for years beyond count (I think their conquest of China began in 1931, their annexation of Korea in 1910, and their conquest of surrounding Pacific islands in World War One).  North Koreans can say--and though I find North Korea highly noxious in many ways, in this case, they can say truthfully--that they have undertaken no such war of aggression.  Although I find Kim Jong-Il's constant alarmist rhetoric about American aggression against them to be nonsense, it is also true that aside from the Korean War's attempted conquest of Korea itself, North Korea has been guilty of no such war of aggression.  Therefore, where the Japanese people would have been aware of their hubris in their war of conquest and felt humbled, the North Koreans will feel no such thing, necessarily.

                          "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                          by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:53:56 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Which? All of it. (0+ / 0-)

                            Every last bit of it.  The Nazis were waging a campaign to rape, murder, pillage, and acquire every last bit of that which was the Soviet Union and its people -- openly and up front.  They were fighting a military that was not 50 years obsolete.  While the Soviet eq could not match the Nazi eq one on one, it could manage it 2 on 1 or 3 on 1 -- and they could outproduce them by greater magnitudes than that.  Modern US eq versus the sort of eq North Korea has is literally hundreds or thousands to 1, and the US's industrial production is thousands of times that of North Korea's.  The US would be doing the opposite of rape, murder, pillage, and acquire.  It's an utterly absurd comparison.

                            North Koreans can say--and though I find North Korea highly noxious in many ways, in this case, they can say truthfully--that they have undertaken no such war of aggression

                            If we will be fighting them, they will have undertook a war of aggression, because the only reason we would attack them is if they had attacked SK -- and more than just sinking one ship.  But bringing that up raises another point -- Japan's troops were battle-hardened veterans, while NKs are starving peasants.

                          •  Yes, a war of aggression, but not a decades-long (0+ / 0-)

                            war of territorial conquest of lands far and near.  Japan did that, and North Korea hasn't, not at all.  They've attacked just about exactly one other country, which was South Korea six decades ago, and in this case, they've done so again.  Therefore, again, it may well be that Japan was so easily pacified because they'd clearly embarked on a hubristic goal of conquering all of Asia, for which their people might well have felt humbled; while, on the other hand, with NO pan-Asian or any other war of great territorial conquest, North Korea could credibly claim that they had nothing to be ashamed of as far as aggressive war-making, and would have only those two attacks on South Korea to contradict that.  Therefore, they'd have a much easier time maintaining anger against any American occupation.

                            But for God's sake, don't EVER say "you've got a point there."  God only knows what would happen if you did that.

                            And, again, as far as the Soviet Union, I'm not interested in hammering home that "North Korea is exactly like Stalin's Russia against Nazi Germany!"  In fact, I NEVER said that, and on the contrary, I've repeatedly said that there are certainly vast differences between them.  But there are also similarities, which you haven't refuted, in that Stalin's Russia had vastly inferior planes and other eq to Germany's, and a highly demoralized army, as you say North Korea's is, due to Stalin's Great Purges.  

                            I only brought up the USSR TO ANSWER YOUR POINT, WHEN YOU SAID THAT NORTH KOREA WOULD BE PACIFIED BY IMPERIAL JAPAN, and I was merely saying that North Korea seems MORE like Stalin's Russia against Nazi Germany.  North Korea is NOT Imperial Japan.

                            Nor did I ever say that the point of guerrilla warfare was to hold territory.  When did I ever say that?  What I DID say was that North Korea's 5 million (it's around 5 million, per the Economist and other sources) regular military and reservists could not be slaughtered, imprisoned, or otherwise wrapped up in a neat package with a bow on it, and would remain a huge problem, simply by dint of their great numbers, and that they would continue to pose a problem for us, unless we could attack the person of Kim Jong-il and the other Kims and military leadership, in their entirety, no matter how antiquated their materiel is.  5 million people, over 1.2 million of which are regulars, form a defensive obstacle for which you haven't accounted yet.

                            "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                            by Villagejonesy on Fri May 28, 2010 at 04:09:56 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Why would I say "you've got a point there" (0+ / 0-)

                            when you don't?  When are you going to point out that I have a point when showing how ludicrous your comparison of the Nazis versus the Soviet Union was to the North Korean conflict?  Why on Earth would I call your comparison "a point" when it's utterly absurd?

                          •  You don't have to distort what I'm saying, though (0+ / 0-)

                            Or wilfully ignore large parts of it, as you just did.  Again--yet again--I was merely pointing out that the Soviet Union vs. the Nazis COULD BE more apt than your analogy of North Korea being pacified like Imperial Japan was.  MORE apt, not EXACTLY apt.  I offered reasons for this, which you have not refuted, never in all these posts, such as that Soviet eq, as in their fighter plane force, was just as inferior, and their post-Purge military just as demoralized, as the North Koreans are.  You never refuted these points, and so I take it you agree that these points support what I'm saying.  But, again, this is NOT my main point; I merely said that the USSR COULD BE considered more apt than your analogy of Imperial Japan, and supported it with these points, which you have ignored and not refuted, and so you cannot claim to have shown this is utterly absurd.

                            What WAS my main point was that you assume two things: first, that the 5 million strong military and reserves of North Korea will be easily liquidated and rendered pacified.  You also never refuted my statement that a 5 million-strong force constitutes a mammoth obstacle, simply by virtue of its great numbers.  Like the points above, you never once addressed it, though I repeated it.  Thus, you have not proved your case there either.

                            Secondly, you assumed North Koreans' psychology would be so much like the Imperial Japanese people's psychology that they would easily be pacified, like Japan was.  I pointed out a fairly substantial difference in North Korean vs. Imperial Japanese psychology, in response to your main point.  

                            Your main point, as I understand it, was that, in addition to having an easy go of it militarily, the US and South Korea would also be greeted with a psychological response of pacific gentleness from the North Koreans, because they'd been under a cult of personality, and would now be greeted by an American invasion that would be much more kindly than they'd been told.

                            I replied that whereas Imperial Japan had engaged in a decades-long war of conquest of all Asia, and therefore, would have known that they'd been too arrogant and might think they deserved their comeuppance, the North Koreans have attacked only one country, South Korea, and would have a far easier go at pretending they were the victims, and maintaining popular anger against the occupiers.  You did not refute this point either.

                            Keep screaming that what I say is "absurd."  I'll be waiting here any time you want to refute these points, but I think I've repeated them enough times to know that you're ducking them, and that you DO think they're good points, or else you'd have refuted them.  So, God forbid you should just admit that I've got a point in any of these things, which you've been ducking for so many times that it's obvious you can't refute them.  Very American of you.

                            "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                            by Villagejonesy on Sat May 29, 2010 at 12:53:30 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  None of that, of course, is to say (0+ / 0-)

                          that I don't stand by my assertion: that there is no reason, necessarily, why North Korea's weakness in materiel or troop morale should mean its defeat, any more than the USSR's weakness in materiel or troop morale did for them.  Again, although Russia's geography, raw materials and population were the strength for Russia, the signal factor in my saying this is the million and a quarter regular army, and the reservists nearing 4 million, that the North Koreans have.  

                          Again: you do not dissipate such a huge army, enough to make sure that you can decapitate their leadership, "like a hot knife through butter," as you put it.  Saddam Hussein and the Taliban didn't have five million people at arms.  Again, isn't that a signal difference?  And won't that make it impossible to decapitate North Korea's leadership, which is essential to your idea that the cult of personality will be removed?

                          "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                          by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:59:25 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Guerilla warfare is not about holding land. (0+ / 0-)

                            It's not about stopping you from capturing or killing leaders.  It's about attrition.  Your assertion is that a guerilla warfare waged by 4 million people will stop the US from overthrowing KJI.  This is simply not the way it works.

                            Yes, the US military can cut through literally millions of people using outdated Soviet eq, because outdated Soviet EQ has almost no ability to hit modern US eq, and is readily hit by it.  The numbers are irrelevant; the tech is simply obsolete.  They might as well be charging at tanks with swords.  Now, that's not to say that they won't rain huge numbers of shells down on Seoul before being bombed flat; the civilian casualties of even a short war will be terrible.  But it's simply nonsense to pretend that a military made mostly of 1950s-era Soviet eq can do anything to the modern US military in open warfare (i.e., trying to stop the US from taking Pyongyang and overthrowing KJI).  The numbers of troops are nearly irrelevant in this regard, esp. since it's magnified by the fact that the overwhelming majority of them are anything but well trained.

                            To go back to the Soviet analogy, it's just like the Nazi invasion of the Soviet union -- except instead of the Nazis trying to take land and murder and enslave the population en masse as official policy, the Nazis brought the starving people food and electricity and Stalin was attacking the Panzers primarily with cavalry charges, shooting at the Luftwaffe with shotguns, and attacking Nazi destroyers with cannons mounted to wooden frigates.

                •  Nukes aren't their only missiles. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  murrayewv, Rei

                  NK has hundreds of conventional missiles, many of which are likely pointed directly at Seoul. Their accuracy may be questionable, but with just under 25 million living in the Seoul metro area, I doubt Kim is especially worried about where each and every missile will land.

                  •  Oh, indeed, they would pelt Seoul. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    murrayewv, 2020adam

                    And lots of people would die.  And 1-2 orders of magnitude more would die in the north, both through warfare and through the after-affects, which is why we really don't want this.  I just wanted to address the nuclear issue.

            •  NK isn't very nuclear. Yet. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              murrayewv, JesseCW

              I think they're overplaying their hand.  Their first bomb, it's hard to classify it as much more than a failure.  The estimated yield was 0.5 to 0.8kt and used 6kg of plutonium.  Their more recent test was most likely under 5kT -- and we're still not sure it was nuclear, although NK says it was.  It's doubtful that NK's nuclear tech has advanced too tremendously since their first test, so that probably consumed more plutonium.

              By comparison, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 15kT and the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was 21kT.  Both were towns largely dominated by poorly built structures.  The largest nuclear weapon ever tested was about 50,000kT.

              NK probably has a plutonium stockpile of around 50kg, of which only a fraction will have been weaponized (probably 30kg or so).  So NK's total yield clearly isn't going to be very high.  Combine that with unreliable delivery systems, possibly unreliable bomb hardware, and the possibility of shooting them down, in the boost, flight, and descent stages.  NK simply doesn't have the power to rain mass nuclear destruction on SK -- although a couple small hits would be possible if they launch first-strike, with potential casualties in the upper four or lower 5 digit range per successful hit to an urban area.  If they don't launch first strike, they don't have much of a chance of hitting with anything.

              It would be very damaging to SK, but it would not be apocalyptic in scale.

              •  I don't understand you, as in: I don't get you... (0+ / 0-)

                You seem to have a pattern of minimizing human tragedy and ecological travesty.

                You wrote a diary intended to undercut those who were appropriately panicked by the Gulf oil leak. You spouted BP's bullshit numbers to claim that it was nothing like the Exxon Valdez, and that anyway, the Gulf gets a couple of Exxon Valdez's naturally. Well, now we all now that BP was trying to bullshit all of us and you were putting lipstick on a pig. It's an ecological catastrophe on a scale probably never seen before - at least, not in the ocean. Not the end of the entire world, but the end of the world and life that millions of Gulf residents depend on.

                Now you're calling a low-level nuclear strike "very damaging to South Korea? How about "disastrous?" "Devastating"? What about just "Deadly"? The thousands killed or poisoned won't care so much that attack won't be "apocalyptic" in scale -- and, of course, the city will be largely uninhabitable for years...whatever's left standing after DPRK artillery strikes.

                I don't get you.

                Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

                by FischFry on Fri May 28, 2010 at 07:15:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Because he's a madman, of course! (7+ / 0-)

            Same justification for killing millions of Iraqis.  Get with the program, man!  

        •  I don't agree.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lineatus

          but what should we do realistically?

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:45:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We do what a truly mature nation should do: (19+ / 0-)

            allow the respective Koreans employ their disputes.

            North Korea is a paper tiger. The extent of our involvement is to make sure that the situation does not escalate by ensuring that China does not get too involved in this matter.

            We should endeavor whenever possible to refrain from intervening in the modern worlds' internal conflicts. If we take some economic loss from the conflict, then that's the price we pay for exporting too much of our manufacturing. Deal with it.

            I don't know what's gonna happen, man, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames. -Jim Morrison "All Hail The American Night"

            by James Kresnik on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:15:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, I still haven't recovered yet. (5+ / 0-)

              allow the respective Koreans to resolve their disputes.

              I don't know what's gonna happen, man, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames. -Jim Morrison "All Hail The American Night"

              by James Kresnik on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:25:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The problem here... (14+ / 0-)

              ... is that we have an obligation to defend South Korea.  If we stepped away from that, the North would overrun them in a matter of hours.  It's true.  North Korea is much more militarily potent than their wheeling-and-dealing brothers in the south.

              North Korea has 2,500 multiple-launch rocket launchers pointed at the south and Japan.  South Korea has 186.

              South Korea has 1692 anti-aircraft weapons.  North Korea 11,000

              North Korea 1.1 million active duty military (and very highly trained at that) plus 4.7 million reserves.  They have 189,000 active paramilitary units.

              South Korea: 690,000 active duty military and 4.5 million reserves, but only 22,000 active paramilitary units.

              Remember that South Koreans are brainwashed to make money, North Koreans to destroy the oppressor and reunite the motherland.  I had the opportunity to meet some North Korean loyalists, and they are some hard m*thrf*ckrs.  This is not a war we want.  It won't be anything like rolling over Iraq or Afghanistan.  It will cause tens of millions of deaths.

              •  That being said, (10+ / 0-)

                I agree with you in theory that we should let other countries resolve their own disputes.

                But we also have an obligation to protect our friends.  The U.S. can't back down from this.

                The thing few have considered is how our misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan have contributed to this crisis:  North Korea is more liable to be actively belligerent when facing a demonstratively worn down U.S. military.

              •  You're absolutely wrong. (10+ / 0-)

                North Korea has a huge army on paper. But in reality they're a lot like "Saddam Hussein's formidable battle-hardened army" we heard so much about in 1999. It's a million man army armed almost exclusively with small arms and towed artillery.  It's equipped with obsolete tanks, antiquated electronics, and crude communications gear. South Korea's military is not as large, but it's extremely capable and very well equipped with thoroughly modern tanks, missiles, radars and communications. U.S. and South Korean air power is vastly superior to North Korea's antiquated air arm.

                Most knowledgeable military analysts are in agreement on what will happen if the North attacks the South. The huge number of North Korean conventional artillery pieces will pulverize much of Seoul, but most of them will be destroyed by radar-directed counterbattery fire from South Korean and U.S. forces within 24 hours, just like Saddam's artillery was wiped out. Any large formations of North Korean troops or tanks will be obliterated by vastly superior U.S. and South Korean firepower within days.

                The real threat will be from chaos, guerrilla warfare, and the monumental human tragedy of mass starvation as the North collapses. Starving North Korean children on your television 24/7 will be far more effective than any actual weapons.

                •  No comparison (6+ / 0-)

                  You don't know what you're talking about.  I wish you did, believe me.

                  Unlike Saddam Hussein's Iraq, they haven't been softened up by consistent bombing for 13 years (and many years of war before that).

                  Unlike Saddam Hussein's Iraq, they are fully capable of (and well prepared for) launching a brutal offensive.  

                  Unlike Saddam Hussein's Iraq, they do have a large stash of WMD, including nukes and long-range missiles capable of hitting Seattle.

                  Unlike Saddam Hussein's Iraq, their military is incredibly well trained and highly motivated.  You have no idea just how brainwashed these poor people are -- no idea.

                  Unlike Saddam Hussein's Iraq, they have one of the world's most formidable anti-aircraft defenses, including a lot of deep bunkers and well hidden installations.

                  They don't have the most sophisticated weapons, but they don't need them.

                  If it came to war, I would hope you are right.  But you're not.  Hillary Clinton and our high-level brass know this.

                  •  One more big factor... (12+ / 0-)

                    ... Unlike Saddam Hussein's Iraq, they're holding guns to the heads of two of our most important allies -- Japan and South Korea.  

                    They can launch 10,000 missiles and hundreds of thousands of long-range artillery rounds within the first hour and lay waste to some very populated cities within minutes of a launch order.  

                  •  Gotta disagree on most of your points. (6+ / 0-)

                    The fanaticism and brainwashing, absolutely true. The North Korean military is relentlessly, thoroughly indoctrinated.

                    But incredibly well trained? Not so much. It's relatively simple to hold huge training exercises, employing stereotyped Soviet-style offensive maneuvers. Creating a flexible, competent, innovative military force that actually functions under fire is vastly harder, and runs directly counter to the 'virtues' required to run a police state. And a massive conventional assault on the South plays directly to all the strengths of the U.S. military in firepower, sensors, electronics, airpower, PGM's etc. in ways that Afghanistan so obviously doesn't. The huge commando forces maintained by North Korea are probably the biggest menace.

                    North Korea's antiaircraft defenses are a lot less relevant than you'd think. Thousands of antiaircraft guns and outdated SAM's are not much of an impediment to the much more modern electronic warfare and PGM resources of the U.S. and South Korea, though they do represent a lethal threat to Apache helicopters.

                    As far as WMD's, no matter how crazy the North's leadership, they know precisely what would happen to them and all of North Korea if they launched a single missile toward Seattle. Chemical weapons deployed against the South are much more of a concern, if they decide to go out in a genocidal mutual pyre.

                    •  Let me ask you something... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      murrayewv, Villagejonesy

                      Creating a flexible, competent, innovative military force that actually functions under fire is vastly harder

                      Do you have any idea how hardcore the training is in the North Korean military?  You don't peel potatoes for screwing up -- you get shot.

                      How do you think that sort of hardcore training affects a soldier's ability to function under fire?

                      Don't kid yourself about weapons, either.  If the Iraqis and Taliban were able to make things hard for us with the few IEDs and RPGs they had, what do you think 187,000 North Korean commandoes (trained on about the same level as a SEAL) are capable of doing with a boatload more materiel?

                      High-tech gizmos are great if the enemy can't shoot back at you while you're in the sky, but they don't work so well when shit gets shot down, which it does.  Ever seen Blackhawk Down?  It'll be like that times 10,000.

                      •  The North Koreans.... (0+ / 0-)

                        make a lot of weapons for export around the world.  It wouldn't take much for them to have a lot of weapons that were pretty effective.  I agree with the air power concept.  But carpet bombing civilians or conventionally armed soldiers is sad way for a great country to win.

                        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                        by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 03:41:24 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Yeah. Hard to shoot down a Tomahawk. (0+ / 0-)

                      But I have heard this story before. NK issues hysterical threats like an alcoholic barfs. SOP. This is a bit of a soap opera.

                      •  Not hard to hit the ship that launches it (0+ / 0-)

                        If you're already in the water waiting for it to get in range.  

                        Besides, so much of North Korea is so deep underground that the usual bombing look pretty weak.  They've been preparing for exactly this war for 57 years.

                        •  Kinda figure we have that "in range" (0+ / 0-)

                          thing under control. Tomahwaks can be launched from far, far way, dude.

                          •  It has a max range of about 700 miles (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            murrayewv

                            That's really not very far.  It's also subsonic -- top speed about 550 mph so it's not exactly invulnerable to air defenses.

                            It's not a football game, though.  Nobody wins this hypothetical war, no matter whose phallus-proxy missiles are bigger and badder.

                          •  Not really very far? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Anne Elk

                            That'd take at least a Nodong-1.  And the Nodong-1 isn't exactly an anti-ship missile.  In fact, it's pretty much impossible to use as an anti-ship missile; it has a CEP of about 2km.

                          •  Subs (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            murrayewv

                            They have quite a few of them, and they're out a lot further than 700 miles.

                            Go ahead -- tell me how noisy and inferior they are and how they could never ever sink one of our mighty ships (which has not really been challenged in the past 50 years).

                            I'll chuckle at the irony because that's exactly the delusional mindset the average North Korean has about their military -- that it's the best in the world, nobody can ever defeat it, blah blah.

                            In case of war, none of it will matter.  Millions will die, including more than a few mighty, invincible Americans (who can't even pacify a bunch of goat herders).

                          •  North Korean subs versus the US military in a war (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Anne Elk

                            ?  Come on...

                            Go ahead -- tell me how noisy and inferior they are and how they could never ever sink one of our mighty ships (which has not really been challenged in the past 50 years).

                            Only because they are.  They've lost subs to freaking fishing nets, for god's sake.  They have 35 little submarines that look like underwater fishing boats and 65 even smaller submersibles -- most of which are for special forces, not direct combat.   This is split up into east and west coast squadrons which cannot provide support for each other.  The US has 11 carrier strike groups, each with its own top-of-the-line: 1) supercarrier, 2) air wing with dozens to hundreds of aircraft, 3) an entire squadron of destroyers (usually 3-6), 4) 1-2 Aegis cruisers, 5) 2-3 guided missle destroyers, 6) two attack subs, 7) a whole logistics convoy.

                            Here's a NK attack sub, the largest indigenously produced type in their fleet.  Here's a US attack sub.  The foreign subs they have are a "Whiskey" class sub (1940s design) and  "Romeo" class subs (1950s design).  

                            It's simply absurd to pretend that these things pose a wartime threat to a modern US fighting force.  Their tech has been militarily obsolete for nearly half a century.  The only reason they sunk a SK craft was because it's peacetime, so they weren't hunting for or defending against submarines.

                          •  It only takes one shot (0+ / 0-)

                            to sink a battleship.

                            It's called asymmetrical warfare.  Look it up.

                          •  Battleship? (0+ / 0-)

                            How quaint.

                  •  not really (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    murrayewv, Quicklund, condorcet

                    I'd argue the Iraqis had better equipment, now better trained? Probably not.

                    The main concern is Seoul.

                    There is little doubt we'd win in the end, I'd say zero doubt. The concern is the initial bombardment from the North. That's a lot of artillery raining down on Seoul and that could mean tens of thousands of people killed, or more.

                    THAT's the main concern, and obviously it is legitimately so.

                    The concern is not that the South would be overrun, it wouldn't be.

                    Now as for WMDs. It depends. IF the N. used WMDs they have to know we'd more or less wipe them off the face of the Earth, euphemistically speaking. We probably wouldn't nuke them, although we might, but we'd bomb them back to the stone age.

                    They'd also lose any hope of having Chinese or Russian support. In fact, I'm not 100 percent sure China wouldn't invade, and set up their own, much more controllable puppet government.

                    Initial loss of life is a huge, valid concern, over-running S. Korea is not.

                    •  Argue all you want (4+ / 0-)

                      I'd argue the Iraqis had better equipment...

                      ... and you'd be dead wrong.  As I said before, there is no comparison.

                      The North Koreans have much better military hardware than the Iraqis did, and a lot more of it.

                      Saddam never had anything remotely like..

                      a South Korean security analyst suggested that DPRK artillery pieces of calibers 170mm and 240mm "could fire 10,000 rounds per minute to Seoul and its environs." North Korea has about 500 long-range artillery tubes within range of Seoul, and the total rate of fire of thjese artillery pieces would be between 2,000 and 4,000 rounds per minute. The DPRK's two hundred 240mm MRLs fire either 12 or 22 rounds, providing a maximum single salvo of no more than 4,400 rounds.

                      Source

                      ...for one example.  Do you know what 10,000 170mm artillery rounds per minute looks like?  Neither do I, and I hope nobody ever does.

                      Operational thinking reflects both Soviet doctrine and the North Korean experience of heavy bombing during the Korean War. The result has been in reliance on air defense. Military industries, aircraft hangars, repair facilities, ammunition, fuel stores, and even air defense missile systems are placed underground or in hardened shelters. North Korea has an extensive interlocking, redundant nationwide air defense system that includes interceptor aircraft, early warning and ground-controlled intercept radars, SAMs, a large number of air defense artillery weapons, and barrage balloons.

                      Source

                      We're talking about a country that developed homegrown nukes and multi-stage rocketry under intense international scrutiny and pressure.  Give them a little "credit."

                      •  I'm willing to give them credit, but I (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        murrayewv, Villagejonesy

                        think you are giving them a bit too much. How old are their interceptor aircraft? I certainly think their artillery is a threat to Seoul, but I don't think it would survive very long.

                        They don't have missiles capable of hitting the US mainland and the only accurate missiles are short range.
                        They also must know that the Chinese are unlikely to allow them to initiate a war without serious consequences. The Chinese tolerate the regime because they don't want to deal with millions of refugees.

                        God has no religion. - Gandhi

                        by OIL GUY on Thu May 27, 2010 at 01:12:00 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  They have MiG-29s and SU-25s (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          murrayewv, Villagejonesy

                          The specs on either are better than the F-18.  Look it up.

                          They have demonstrated multi-stage rockets, and most analysts believe they could chunk a couple at the West Coast.  I don't think they would do that because they know they'd get nuked in retaliation.

                          You're right about the Chinese, but I also don't think the Chinese are exactly heartbroken about the very distinct possibility of completely de-fanging our military, as if the impending defeat in Afghanistan hadn't done that already.

                          It's not that the North Koreans are these badass super-soldiers, but realistically they are a HELL of a lot more formidable than anyone we've faced since WWII, including the Viet Cong.  They are also quite crazy.

                          It's so funny that everybody still thinks our military is so superior.  We have some gizmos and gadgets for video game-style bombing, but when it comes to controlling territory on the ground, we basically suck.

                          •  That's it in a nutshell: air, good; ground, bad. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            murrayewv

                            Afghanistan and Iraq should show that.  It's a drag, but that's the truth.

                            "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                            by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 01:55:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You're wrong about their air-force. (0+ / 0-)

                            They do have the Mig-29 and the Mig-23, but they are not well maintained and their pilot training is very poor. Their pilots only get 7 - 25 hours of flight per year. This is in part due to the poor condition of the aircraft. The few Mig-29s are used exclusively for air defense of the capitol. Everything in their arsenal is pretty dated.

                            God has no religion. - Gandhi

                            by OIL GUY on Thu May 27, 2010 at 02:25:03 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't know anything about the... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            murrayewv

                            ... condition of their planes, and neither do you.

                            I do know that they have MiG-29s, which are faster, more heavily armored, and more heavily armed than the F-18.  Their ceiling is higher too.

                            The SU-25 is a bit dated, but so is the whole F series of our planes since the F-22 didn't happen.  What was the last new American plane, the stealth fighter?  When was that?  1989?  

                            The truth is that the U.S. is now about 20 years behind.

                            Check this bad boy out

                            It's faster, more heavily armed, and well, as you can see, far more maneuverable than anything we have.  Has a higher ceiling, greater range, bombs and fights... yeah, America had better get its head out of its ass about how "superior" we are before we piss somebody off and get ourselves conquered.

                          •  a couple of points (0+ / 0-)

                            if you don't think most folks have a pretty good idea of the condition of the NK military in general you are wrong.

                            The moment they start fighting their supplies are gone. That means making choices, do I use my limited fuel for my tanks, or my troop carriers, or my planes?

                            If you seriously think a NK pilot with less than 10 hours of training is going to beat an American pilot with hundreds of hours of training not to mention actual combat experience from the last ten years, you are crazy.

                            You don't just look at which plane has a higher ceiling, this isn't 1940s dogfighting. Air combat today is about two things, who's got the better radar and who's got the better missiles.

                            That's us. And let's assume you are right, and the F-18 is outclassed by the MIG-29. We have 145 F-22s in our inventory right now. (The F-22 DID happen, the numbers were simply reduced). We are not "20 years behind" the 22 is the only 5th generation fighter out there.

                            The F-35 will be the second 5th generation fighter.

                            So the MIG-29 is out, what else ya got?

                            When it comes to the military, in a basic, traditional confrontation, we are the apex predator.

                          •  The F-22 is totally inferior - an embarrassment (0+ / 0-)

                            Read up.  The reason the numbers were reduced is that the plane flat-out sucks compared to the Russian planes it was supposed to counter -- the SU-27 -- 15 years ago.  Now the Russians are up to the SU-47, two generations ahead of a plane that's already inferior.

                            We may be the "apex predator" but we can't seem to defeat a bunch of goat herders with considerably fewer weapons than the North Koreans have.

                            We can thump our chests and think we're superior.  We're not.  In fact, we suck.  Bang-for-the-buck-wise, we have the worst military in the entire world.

                            I truly hope that you are afforded the luxury of continuing to believe your delusional fantasy because the only way you will ever see the truth involves lots of death and destruction.

                          •  ok (0+ / 0-)

                            and you've lost all credibility you might have had.

                            The reason the numbers were reduced is because it was very expensive and there are no other fifth generation planes even out there yet and because the F-35 is more versatile, less expensive and the cost is spread among our allies.

                            You lose even more credibility when you try to compare counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan with force of force operations in Korea. I will tell you what, if we didn't care about secondary casualties, we'd beat those "goat herders" real quick, but since we can't just indiscriminately blow up villages and since they can slink back into them after firing at us, it's a wee bit tougher.

                            This truly is all about whatever perverse "we suck" mentality you have going on. You don't know what you are talking about.

                            You didn't even know the F-22 was in our inventory, you thought it was canceled. You were comparing their planes to F-18s.

                            Here's a hint, F-15s took out 36/39 planes in Iraq, including 5 of those "superior" MIG-29s, it took another 4 of those "superior" MIG-29s in Bosnia. The F-22 is at LEAST as good as the F-15, even if it "sucks" because it has better radar and better missiles.

                            It is the F-15 that is our main air superiority fighter, not the F-18, and it is being replaced slowly by the F-22.

                            You. Don't. Know. What. You. Are. Talking. About.

                          •  You're the one who is ignorant (0+ / 0-)

                            The F-22 was killed because it would get slaughtered against the plane it was designed to counter -- 20 years ago -- the SU-27.  It might do OK against MiGs (which are 40 years old at this point), but it can't hold a candle to the SU-27,37, or 47. It is a complete embarrassment.

                            We do suck. You're a fucking moron if you can't see that we are unable to beat a bunch of cavemen even though we've gone bankrupt and gotten a lot of people killed trying to do so.

                            You think we'd fare well against a formidable opponent, let alone one like the Russians who have far more advanced weaponry at this point?  Dream on.

                          •  Oh, and by the way... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... we've had plenty of aircraft shot down in Iraq and Afghanistan.

                            And if your response is, "Well, a lot of those were just accidents," I have two words for you: Pat Tillman.  

                            The North Korean air defenses are considerably more formidable, and we would probably lose a great many planes in a war there.  

                            Thank goodness our top brass are aware of this, even if rootin', shootin', tootin' cowboys still harbor delusions of America's military supremacy.  We bleed like everybody else.

                          •  shot down? (0+ / 0-)

                            really? How many of those fighters were "shot down" and how many of them crashed?

                            The answer to the first question is zero. The answer to the second question is 12. 12 in 7 years. Less than 2 a year during continuous combat operations.

                            you are an idiot.

                          •  Wrong -- but when did that ever stop you? (0+ / 0-)

                            A number have been shot down.  A very suspiciously high number have "crashed," including a number of mid-air collisions.  Those highly trained pilots sure do crash a lot of planes and choppers!  God forbid they ever face an enemy that can actually shoot back.  

                            Again, two words for you: Pat Tillman.  The Pentagon can tell you whatever it wants under cover of the fog of war.

                          •  not one of them have been shot down (0+ / 0-)

                            unless you are going to call friendly fire "shot down."

                            Not a single F-15 has been shot down in actual combat by the enemy. Not one.

                            Your response to this, which your own link supports is, "Pat Tillman."

                            I can deal with actual facts, but I readily admit I can't deal with the ones made up in your head.

                          •  the F-22? (0+ / 0-)

                            You mean the plane you didn't know we had in stock until I told you?

                            Yeah, you are an expert on the F-22.

                            Let's use your own link, global security:

                            "The F-22 is an air dominance fighter with much-improved capability over current Air Force aircraft. It is widely regarded as the most advanced fighter in the world, combining a revolutionary leap in technology
                            and capability with reduced support requirements and maintenance costs. It will replace the F-15 as America's front-line, air superiority fighter, with deliveries to operational units in 2005."

                            http://www.globalsecurity.org/...

                            So global security is a great link when you want to try and make a point about artillery for NK, but I'm sure you know more than them when it comes to the F-22, a plane 24 hours ago you thought had been scrapped.

                            How about all the noise you made about "ceiling"

                            "Ceiling:
                            60,000 feet
                            The F-22 and other fighters can reach this altitude, but only the F-22 can perform tactical maneuvers at this level, which is about twice the altitude at which other jets can perform tactical maneuvers."

                            http://www.globalsecurity.org/...

                            Don't like that? How about Jane's which I'm sure you will concede knows something about weapons?

                            http://www.janes.com/...

                            No, you, who didn't know we had the F-22, who didn't know that the F-15 is our air superiority fighter, not the F/A 18, a multi-role aircraft, knows more about the F-22 then global security or Janes or anyone.

                            I bow down before your amazing ability to know more than these folks in the 24 hours since you learned we actually have F-22s in our inventory.  

                          •  With regard to this comment... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...if we didn't care about secondary casualties, we'd beat those "goat herders" real quick...

                            You brainwashed, militarist piece of shit -- this is disgusting.  We've killed hundreds of thousands of innocents in these effots.  All your macho "woulda' coulda shoulda" tough guy bullshit rings hollow.  We're losing.  If we could "beat them real quick," we would.

                            Our military sucks.  It's a total waste of money, and if we end up at war with a country that we can't easily bully, we'll find that out "real quick."

                        •  Agreed except for the "China wouldn't allow" part (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          murrayewv

                          China has less sway over North Korea than you might think.  Kim Jong-il's blithe unconcern for his economy and for money (properly Stalinist, I guess) has rendered him invulnerable to this sort of suasion.  Kim Jong-il therefore tends to show rather more nerve when China is trying to coax it, though this may be theater for our benefit.  Over the years, I've read a lot of news reports alluding to this.

                          I also think that the North couldn't hit the US mainland, or at least not too a great extent; I worry more about them using dirty bombs, suitcase bombs, or other sabotage against us.  You can bet that they've got stuff like that planned.  Also, their million-man military, although I don't agree with Charlie Hiphop that they'd overrun South Korea, won't BE overrun either.  Expect a heavy, heavy guerrilla and sabotage war.

                          "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                          by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 01:54:42 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I agree that we wouldn't likely overrun them (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Villagejonesy

                            in the sense that you are dealing with a whole lot of fanatical folks who can go into hiding and conduct counter-insurgency ops which we aren't exactly set up for (who is?).

                            But I do believe that we'd deal so much damage that the corrupt system would finally collapse. There has to be someone in that system smart enough to say, enough is enough, time to join the 21st century.

                            A bad military defeat usually does the trick.

                          •  I can buy that (0+ / 0-)

                            As long as we don't stay too long, not only making us a target for an insurgency, but making the oppressive regime seem like courageous liberators.  How to balance this with the imperative to neutralize the North Korean army's opposition, and the weaken the Kims' hold on power enough, would be a delicate question.

                            "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                            by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:25:51 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  the fact that you are pointing to pure numbers (0+ / 0-)

                        without addressing quality shows you simply don't know what you are talking about.

                        Saddam didn't have that artillery but he had a whole lot of other things like better AA batteries, radars, better tanks, better planes, better assault vehicles, nearly unlimited access to fuel.

                        You don't win a war with a lot of artillery. You cause some initial death and destruction with it, but that artillery will be taken out, very, very quickly and then what?

                        What happens when their meager fuel supplies run out and they can't run their tanks or troop carriers?

                        Yes they have nukes, and if they are truly stupid enough to use them, it will be the last thing they ever do.

                        The only "credit" they get is that for a short while, they can kill a lot of people, after that, they will cease to exist.

                      •  p.s. (0+ / 0-)

                        they didn't develop those nukes because they are really smart, they got it in part thanks to others, like the Pakistani scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan.

                        They've sold bulk weapons to finance everything, they are a paper tiger every much as Saddam was, the only difference, and admittedly it is a big one, is that Seoul is so close to the border that the artillery will cause a lot of damage and death before it is neutralized.

                  •  offensive invasion across a hardened DMZ (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Democratic Hawk, Villagejonesy

                    and a mountainous border region, when the other side has had 60 years to dig in?

                    they can fuck up seoul, but they'd get ground up trying to make an invasion. same, as should be said, of ROK or american troops doing it the other way. china invading across the yalu R from the north might have an easier time of it, but they wouldn't do that unless NK hit them with a nuke.

                    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

                    by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:51:24 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Ah, so sure about China? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      murrayewv

                      China's been awfully border-expansionist.

                      I wouldn't be surprised if a Second Korean War, should it start god forbid, was immediately used as an excuse by China and Russia to seize large portions of North Korea.  How surprising would a Russia-China carveup of North Korea really be?  I suspect the northern-facing defenses aren't that great.

                      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                      by neroden on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:19:55 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  taking north korea would be a loss (0+ / 0-)

                        not a gain. the cost of governing it (and the huge strategic cost of losing a tough as nails buffer state and gaining a border with a US base positioned right on top) would not be outweighed by whatever natural resources north korea might have. additionally, incorporating north korea would enable the migration of even more ethnic koreans into the northeast, where tensions/resentments over korean migration/immigration are already pretty bad.

                        there's a huge difference between wanting exclusive drilling rights in island chains rumored to have gas/oil fields, or sovereignty over globally strategic shipping lanes, or controlling the high ground between themselves and a geopolitical rival (india), or forcing an extremely affluent country that shares your ethnicity and whose government has had a long and storied history with the PRC to become a province (taiwan) on the one hand, and just taking places over out of a general desire to have more land. china is strategically expansionist, but ideologically expansionist. they'll leave north korea the hell alone, and try to influence the successor to kim, it's worth much less to them as a province.

                        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

                        by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:08:04 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  NK an appendage of China (0+ / 0-)

                      I would think it is more likely that China would come to the assistance of NK if it is attacked, particularly by the US if we respond to an attack upon Seoul.

                      "Sisters, brothers and the whities, Blacks and the crackers, Police and their backers, They're all political actors"--Curtis Mayfield

                      by Cynic in seattle on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:25:01 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  At least Saddam Hussein's Iraq (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    murrayewv

                    could at least manage keep the lights on in their capital city.

                •  It's a hostage situation (5+ / 0-)

                  qazplm sums it up though I'd say he is way south on his estimate of the damage Seoul would take.

                  Because the notion that counterbattery fire would take out the NK artilly in 24 hours is fanciful. From the Somme to Omaha Beach to Iwo Jima to Haiphong harbor to Operation Desert Storm, militaries worldwide have overestimated the ability to bombard defenders out of dug-in positions.  And the NK arty has been digging in for 57 years.  Yes, I know about rader-guided counterbattery aiming and smart shells and that sort of stuff.  Yet the advantage in an arty duel here is clearly NK's - they merely have to pump shells as rapidly as possible into a target 16 million souls big.

                  •  Our top people... (4+ / 0-)

                    ... are aware of all this, thank God.  

                    The NKs would lay waste to a big chunk of Japan, too, and who knows what surprises their rickety old sub fleet has in store.

                    Nobody wants this, and we seem to have forgotten that neither Iraq nor Afghanistan have exactly been cakewalks.  

                    This is why Machiavelli himself warned against cavalier use of military power -- once the enemy sees you bleed a little bit, you look a lot more vulnerable.

              •  Yeah the North Korean citizenry is indoctrinated (3+ / 0-)

                What interesting is the racial element. They feel that the SKs are no longer true Koreans because they've mixed with other cultures, especially blacks.

                The Raptor of Spain: A Webserial
                From Muslim Prince to Christian King (Updated Nov. 24)

                by MNPundit on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:11:07 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You're exactly right about the numbers (0+ / 0-)

                Although I would put South Korea's strength as sufficient that North Korea would not roll over them.  But South Korea, with or without America, would not roll over the North, either.  I think the North's offensive capabilities aren't all that, and Koreans of either side can be some tough SOBs, but the North's defensive capacity is intense.  Your conclusion is also correct, IMO: this is not a war we want.  Let the South and the North resolve it, unless the South is really clamouring for us to be there with them.

                "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

                by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 01:36:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Paper tiger? They are ALL military. Many many (5+ / 0-)

              soldiers with many many guns.  They may not be the most technological country but they are no paper tiger....If tehy invaded SK, without US help they could reach Seoul..

              •  Two words: Air Superiority (5+ / 0-)

                The DPRK's air force is a complete joke. Cannon fodder.

                It has been proved over and over again that unopposed air-power can stop virtually any conventional thrust. Even the truly formidable, well-equipped and well-structured NVA had to wait until we pulled our air umbrella before making any decisive thrust. The ROK is much, much better equipped, led and motivated than South Vietnam.

                I don't know what's gonna happen, man, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames. -Jim Morrison "All Hail The American Night"

                by James Kresnik on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:36:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Air power stops thrusts, but (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  murrayewv

                  ...there questions of where and when have variable answers. Being as Seoul is within a hour's drive or so from the border, it is not clear at all that that NK would fail to reach it.  If they tried to reach it at all, that is.  They might just decide to pound it with conventional artillery.

                  •  ROK has been planning for such a scenario (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    murrayewv, Quicklund

                    for decades. Targeting Seoul will create a bottleneck that and leave their positions open to a devastating counter-offensive.

                    I don't know what's gonna happen, man, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames. -Jim Morrison "All Hail The American Night"

                    by James Kresnik on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:08:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  NLF, not NVA. (0+ / 0-)

                  No public option. Well, at least we are no longer in Iraq or Afghanistan...

                  by Pierro Sraffa on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:25:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  it's all fun and games (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  murrayewv, skyounkin, Anne Elk

                  Until the north uncorks a nuke.

                  Talk all you want about "air superiority", but if the north starts to think they are losing control, they will pop a nuke or two in South Korea.

                  And then it really won't matter who wins.

                •  tell New York and DC about air superiority! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  murrayewv

                  The US air force is what it is, and the attacks on US soil took place anyway.  Look where "air superiority" got the US that time.

                  My husband saw children shoot down plenty of aircraft standing on the ground with hand-held weapons in Nam.  Whatever else one says, New York and the Pentagon never should have happened.  But it did.  After that, why are we to put faith in the high tech stuff, if it was possible to attack the US once to such devastating degree?  

                  On the contrary, were it to come down to any kind of ground combat I don't see the US troops having near this kind of discipline:

                  •  our military has never been about defense (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    murrayewv, neroden, stonemason

                    9/11 made it as clear as day that our gigantic military is imperial. noone guessed that anything would ever actually hit us at home, without a massive fleet or ICBMs.

                    in korea, where the invasion routes are well known, and satellites have been mapping emplacements for decades, it'll be a matter of saturation bombing whatever moves across the DMZ.

                    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

                    by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:56:33 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  interesting (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      murrayewv

                      that it is assumed all movement is known.  Even if they know where all North Korean forces are, would nukes go flying to everywhere on earth if they mustered forces?  

                      Spent time on a boat in Long Beach harbor where 10's of 1,000's of ships are anchored off-shore from every nation under the sun.  Understand most ports are foreign-owned now in US harbors, that fewer than 5% of container vessels coming by sea have any inspection process.  No one even knows what's coming in on commercial airliners according to what I understand.

                      Therefore I'd like to know why US people think MAD (mutually-assured destruction) will prevent invasion forever.  The North Koreans are not afraid to die, and would be crazy enough to actually show up no matter what the consequences here or there.  The North Koreans are hellish fighters.  Should a few thousand of them ever somehow make it ashore, how would the US defend itself without simultaneously annihilating its own population?  And its for sure that US troops, in ground combat, are absolutely no match for North Koreans.

                      You bring up the point that if anyone ever does get stateside I do not see the capacity for defense.

                      "It can't happen here."  Still say that New York should never have happened... but it did.

                  •  If those hijacked planes (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    murrayewv, neroden

                    had been North Korean bombers instead, I can assure you they would have been shot down almost immediately. The possibility of the North Koreans fighting asymmetrically through terrorist attacks is real and shouldn't be overlooked, but is irrelevant to actual air combat.

                    "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

                    by McWaffle on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:00:24 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  please elaborate (0+ / 0-)

                      you believe that 3,000 odd people were sacrificed in NY to spare 300?  

                      •  Huh? Most certainly not. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        murrayewv

                        We are talking about too completely incomparable scenarios. 9/11 represents a failure of many things, but not of the general capacity of the US military to establish air superiority.

                        "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

                        by McWaffle on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:32:58 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  but it was a failure (0+ / 0-)

                          the only question is as to what kind of failure and why.

                          •  also (0+ / 0-)

                            things happen on the ground

                            We're talking about a nation that doubts its grip on its southern border, without going into our viewpoints on what that means.  We're talking about a people worked into a froth about its migrant worker class invading it for private economic motives..

                            How much more so a class of people who really intend nothing but harm.

                          •  Ummm... alright... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            stonemason

                            I only meant to reply to your previous statement that 9/11 proved the inability of the US military to shoot down aircraft (which it certainly did not). I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at here, so I'll let it be.

                            "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

                            by McWaffle on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:47:27 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  OK (0+ / 0-)

                            what I'm getting at, is that if the New York/DC attacks taught the US anything, it is that a few individuals can conspire to do a lot.  

                            I'm not saying I abide by the "official story" but we have the 16 suicide bombers ostensibly wreaking all this damage on the US, to the tune of heightening "national security" issues in private citizen life to the debated levels at present.

                            If 16 (let's just say that the "official story" is correct for argument's sake) individuals can wreak that, what about 5,000?

                            North Korea, then?  I'm talking about a society that is dedicated, fixated, on destroying the US.  Full strength with the first bottle of milk they are taught to destroy the US.  No less cunning a people than any putative 16 suicide bombers.  

                            My concern is that all debate about national security entertains the vision that any given conflict with North Korea will necessarily occur offshore.  New York and Washington should have taught us otherwise.

                            Which in the end is to adamantly agree with the diarist here, that this is an extremely important issue.  Also to say that faith in MAD has resulted in a security myopia of sorts which should have been put to rest by the New York/DC attacks... but most arguments about the possibly efficacy of a North Korean offensive still seem to be based in faith of the impregnable fortress guarded by US offshore powers.  A potentially fatal oversight, IMO.

                          •  Oh, alright, yeah. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            murrayewv, stonemason

                            I agree that if they were to pursue a strategy of using operatives in the US to carry out mass-casualty terrorist attacks it would be difficult to defend against. A big potential risk. We're much more prepared to deal with them in the DMZ than around NYC.

                            "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

                            by McWaffle on Thu May 27, 2010 at 02:21:20 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  thanks (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            murrayewv

                            You see, I find an absurdity at work overall in the majority of what I read here, in what I hear friends say, in just about all of US people's dialog of whatsoever kind about the subject of war.

                            I call it "faith-based security" meaning that people think "it can't happen here."  What that does is to animate an absurd level of tolerance and indifference to what happens abroad in the name of the US taxpayer and on his tab.  "So what does that have to do with me?"

                            If people thought they really might suffer consequences from grievous official statecraft executed abroad on their behalf, perhaps they might speak up more, or stop tolerating the ceaseless wars/police actions/secret ops etc that not once since WWII have resulted in truly "winning a war."  This indicates that indeed, the rampant militarism is a case where the means is the end.  The idea is to bloat the military aspect of the national economy, which is somewhere between highly significant and foremost depending on whose figures one accepts.

                            But it all rests on a "faith" that the great military organism will keep on protecting the US somewhere "out there" - eliminating the idea that maybe just maybe what the US people tolerate abroad just might come home to haunt.

                            This is the absurdity of the New York/DC attacks.  It has been reduced to an angry dialectic about whether it was an inside or outside job.  Nobody has learned anything, I believe.  Because whether you have an external or an internal menace, they will certainly act again.  Whichever side of that entire debate one embraces, things CAN happen on US soil and they will again.

                            This is what is so tragic to me.  Look at all the comments here.  Pro and con about this party, that party or the other party doing this or that OVER THERE.  

                            Man.  I think I can name this hubris.  It looks to me like a David and Goliath story here on the horizon with North Korea.  Simply because of that blindness.  

            •  Maybe I'm mistaken, but (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              murrayewv

              I thought I read that China was more or less backing us--for now.  

              •  more or less.... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                James Kresnik, Grumpy Young Man

                but we need a public statement from China of support.  They aren't backing NK, which is a backhanded way of saying they are concerned.

                You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:56:08 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  heard an expert on NPR.... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  side pocket, Quicklund, signals

                  from San Diego- Korean Pacific study center of some sort.  He was indicating what was needed was saving some face and getting NK to back down gracefully.  They are puzzled why this is happening- even suggesting it might not have been authorized.  But he thought economic sanctions were very strong.

                  You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                  by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:40:25 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Actually, if China invaded NK? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                murrayewv

                Very unlikely but would China let NK start a war and do nothing? Ultimately China is going to have to decide whether it is a great power or not. If it makes that decision, military occupation of NK might be its declaration. But, it seems improbable for China to forsake its many decades of non-interference as a policy. There's a first time for lots of things though. This might be one of them. It would start with China squeezing NK economically if they did not hew to Chinese policy. All depends though on how intense the succession struggle is inside NK.

              •  they're playing their own role (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                neroden

                my guess is they're more involved trying to game/manage the succession process, and trying to work with the korean opposition party to come up with a decent detente once the right loses its majority.

                surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

                by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:57:29 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  NK has massive strike capabilities (5+ / 0-)

              The tricky problem is that NK has massive conventional missile batteries pointed at major SK population centers.  Our forces are primarily there to stop a a ground invasion and could not prevent or blunt such an artillery or missile attack and would be devastating to SK. We could only retaliate for such an attack.  So, it is better for a war to not start and especially not over stupid crap.  

              --Mr. President, you have to earn my vote every day. Not take it for granted. --

              by chipoliwog on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:44:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  North Korea is no Paper Tiger. Seoul is 35km from (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              condorcet

              the border, and NK can easily destroy it with conventional artillery, not to mention nukes, if they can deliver them in anything bu a truck

              "It's called the American Dream, 'cause you have to be asleep to believe it" Mr. Geo. Carlin

              by Mark B on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:35:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Agree they should resolve their disputes (0+ / 0-)

              although I would not refer to North Korea as a "paper tiger."  People discount them because much of their military hardware is down at heel and old, and because their economy is a measly $15 billion a year.  But in a defensive war, their million-person army and millions of reservists would make the attackers' lives hell, I think.

              Still, South Korea has them matched in numbers, and has better technology; I wish we'd leave it to them.

              "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

              by Villagejonesy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 01:31:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Um, no. That train stops at Auschwitz. (19+ / 0-)

          Seriously, you don't rain thermonuclear death upon millions of starving North Koreans because their grotesque murderous kleptocratic leadership engineers a last-ditch military provocation in an effort to wind up some patriotic fervor.

          North Korea is on the verge of socioeconomic collapse. We need patience, not chest-thumping jingoism. The end isn't going to be pretty. It's crucial for the leadership of South Korea and the U.S. to recognize this for what it is, and not be drawn into a completely pointless war. Better to struggle to pick up the pieces after North Korea collapses than to be known forever as the muscle-bound terrified superpower that murdered millions of innocent civilians with nuclear weapons.

          And just imagine what the lesson will be for potential nuclear powers like Iran, Egypt, or Brazil: build lots of nuclear weapons as soon as you can, and strike first, or the U.S. will nuke you. That would be excellent.

        •  Stop Escalating (3+ / 0-)

          In case you ever wondered why you don't work for the State Department, you should look at your post, which recommends nuking someone with the disclaimer "I hate to kill millions".

          De-escalate yourself. It'll make it easier to de-escalate the Koreas.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:44:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What good would that do? (0+ / 0-)

          The main strategy here is a massive information campaign so that North Koreans realize that they'll be better off if they just defect to the South.

          Including North Koreans in the military.

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:39:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  well nukes aren't the answer (0+ / 0-)

          as a preventive measure. I guess even more economic measures are due- although the North citizenry is already living in horrific poverty. All the previous power and economic deals should be scrapped.

          But this also brings up why it is imperative that Iran NOT get N weapons. When you have that trump card, it allows you a lot of conventional weapon mischief, economic blackmail, and even blatant attacks- because the rest of the world abhors the very idea of a nuke bomb being used at all.

        •  if you say but after "i hate to kill millions" (0+ / 0-)

          you're a madman too.

          surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

          by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:46:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Without the bare minimum (0+ / 0-)

          of a leadership structure, the tens of millions of North Koreans who are on the verge of starvation will surely perish.

        •  We wouldn't nuke Pyongyang anyway (0+ / 0-)

          any nuking (note: very unlikely) would probably only be on artillery/missiles etc poised to strike Seoul, Tokyo, etc. Military targets, their civilians are screwed enough already.

          "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

          by McWaffle on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:57:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Is this a joke? (0+ / 0-)

          You "hate to kill millions", but you think we should?  

          Please tell me this is snark.

          "Kindly go render the fat in your head in a large kettle of boiling water. Thank you." - Bumblebums

          by balancedscales on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:27:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  South Korea is a seriously patient country. (25+ / 0-)

      Cultural/racial ties to the North aside, South Korea is (both fortunately and unfortunately) part of the modern world and thus has to take into account the interests and reactions of the US, Japan, and China when making policy and defense decisions regarding the North, putting it in a very stressful and complicated place when incidents like the Cheonan happen.

      •  Several keys to understanding the ROK (21+ / 0-)

        position (and I happened to have been there for the Team Spirit Operation in the 90s):

        1.  While heavily militarized itself, the South fears war with the North more than the North does with the South.  This is due to the South having a modernized economy, which would be shattered by a war.
        1.  Seoul is easily within field artillery range.  North Korea has built up hundreds of long-range artillery pieces with the intent of bombarding Seoul (pop. 10 million) in the event of a conflict.  There's no way that airstrikes could take most of them out before they inflicted serious damage to the city.
        1.  The people of South Korea are generally against a war.  They much prefer diplomatic efforts, especially since many have family in the North.  The current conservative government has been accused of using this as an excuse to beef up security measures.

        I think that the risk of a conflict is small, but not improbable. Playing brinkmanship with an irrational opponent is always dangerous.  The scariest part is that the US military on the ground is fully integrated with the ROK military, so we would almost have to be drawn into any conflict should things go hot.  What China would do in this event is hard to say...

        When the storm blows hard you must stand firm, for it is not trying to knock you down, it is trying to teach you to be strong. Lakota saying

        by dizzydean on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:47:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Saddam Hussein.... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dizzydean, Imhotepsings, MichaelNY

          lesson in failed brinkmanship- has made me leary.  Why say that you have WMD and then say you don't but won't let in inspectors?

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:00:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly (4+ / 0-)

            on top of that, we don't know how insulated Kim is from real decision making or from real information.  We assume he has "perfect" info and is making the calls based on that, but, as was certainly true during the Soviet period in Russia, the folks at the top often get skewed reports from those lower down because of fear/toadying.  What Kim really knows versus what is reality may be two entirely different things...

            When the storm blows hard you must stand firm, for it is not trying to knock you down, it is trying to teach you to be strong. Lakota saying

            by dizzydean on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:10:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Because in the Middle East things are different. (6+ / 0-)

            Western logic does not work there 100% of the time.

            In the Middle East that last thing a dictator can afford is to look weak - because there is always someone ready to take his place.

            Admitting that he has no WMD would make Saddam look extremely weak in the eyes of the Arab world. After all, he built his image as the "protector of all Arabs" against Iran's Islamic revolution. The Syrians at his back were not that friendly either.

            So he found himself between a rock and a hard place. Either pretend that you have WMD and risk a war with the west or admit you don't have WMD and look like a weakling in the eyes of your own people.

            If he chose the latter option his days in power were numbered.
            His experience with the corrupt "Food for Oil" program convinced him that the west has no heart for fighting and is weak. And remember- in the Middle East if you are showing signs of weakness nobody takes you seriously.

            "Yeah Yeah. You vow - we MOVE!!" --Avery Schreiber

            by The Revenge of Shakshuka on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:19:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  See below (15+ / 0-)

              Saddam admitted he didn't have WMDs and allowed the UN to check his claims. After three months of inspections that turned up only dry holes. Bush went to war anyway.

              Not everything went down the Memory Hole. It was clear to anyone who examined the available evidence that Saddam was neither connected to 9/11 nor  was any kind of existential threat to the U.S. Chemical weapons delivered on balsa wood drones? Canvas sided mobile biological weapons plants? How the fuck do you culture biologic weapons while bouncing down dusty Iraqi roads without any kind of temperature or humidity controls? How do you have underground installations in a country where the water table is so shallow that any such facility would have to be pumping groundwater to the surface like crazy? And if so how would you avoid the surface effects? Add water to desert and you get Oases, ya think maybe satellites or aerial reconnaissance wouldn't turn that up? Most of this country simply refused to use its cognitive capacities. The rest of us were reading Steve Gilliard on dKos (RIP big guy).

              Bush/Cheney bet big that the US Iraq Survey Group would after the fact turn up enough evidence to show that Saddam had lied and that the UN Inspectors had failed. By the time that the ISG had to admit that there really was nothing there we were already destroying cities in the Sunni Triangle and in the Shi'ite south.

              Oh yeah and Kos was getting slagged because he said 'screw-em' when some Blackwater Mercs got killed in Fallujah, a town we nearly destroyed. Look 2002-2004 happened, you don't get to revise the history books just because things started getting less worse around 2007.

              •  You're both right (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                murrayewv, Jagger, neroden, ColoTim

                Prior to Saddam allowing the inspectors in he did all he could to portray himself as still armed to the teeth for the above-mentioned reason.  Once he recognized that bu$h/cheney were set on stealing his oil he let down the facade, gave the inspectors access, and essentially offered the country to the bu$hies in exchange for being allowed to live.  He didn't count on bu$h being an irrational puppet with a Daddy complex.

                Free online (PDF) Dr. Robert Altemeyer'sThe Authoritarians, one of the most important books ever written.

                by kbman on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:32:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Saddam let inspectors in (16+ / 0-)

            They found nothing so Bush ordered them out and got his war on. Don't buy into that Saddam/brinkmanship story, it just isn't true in the end.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...
            "In late 2002 Saddam Hussein, in a letter to Hans Blix, invited UN weapons inspectors back into the country. Subsequently the Security Council issued resolution 1441 authorizing new inspections in Iraq. The carefully-worded UN resolution put the burden on Iraq, not UN inspectors, to prove that they no longer had weapons of mass destruction. The United States claimed that Iraq's latest weapons declaration left materials and munitions unaccounted for; the Iraqis claimed that all such material had been destroyed, something which had been stated years earlier by Iraq's highest ranking defector, Hussein Kamel al-Majid. According to reports from the previous UN inspection agency, UNSCOM, Iraq produced 600 metric tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, VX and sarin, and nearly 25,000 rockets and 15,000 artillery shells, with chemical agents, that are still unaccounted for. In fact, in 1995, Iraq told the United Nations that it had produced at least 30,000 liters of biological agents, including anthrax and other toxins it could put on missiles, but that all of it had been destroyed.[citation needed]
            In January 2003, United Nations weapons inspectors reported that they had found no indication that Iraq possessed nuclear weapons or an active program. Some former UNSCOM inspectors disagree about whether the United States could know for certain whether or not Iraq had renewed production of weapons of mass destruction. Robert Gallucci said, "If Iraq had [uranium or plutonium], a fair assessment would be they could fabricate a nuclear weapon, and there's no reason for us to assume we'd find out if they had." Similarly, former inspector Jonathan Tucker said, "Nobody really knows what Iraq has. You really can't tell from a satellite image what's going on inside a factory." However, Hans Blix said in late January 2003 that Iraq had "not genuinely accepted UN resolutions demanding that it disarm."[70]'

            Bush thought Saddam was lying and rather than allow UN Inspectors to continue work, got his war on. Oops, turns out that for once in his life Saddam was actually telling the truth but was put in the impossible position of having to prove a negative.

            "Why say that you have WMD and then say you don't but won't let in inspectors?"

            Sorry dude that was the cover story not the actuality.

            •  good clarification.... (6+ / 0-)

              I just find the whole bluffing thing to have been strangely disfunctional, but as posters above have stated, what were Saddam's alternatives?

              You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

              by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:57:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              liberte, neroden

              It's really sad how many people, even on the left, still remember this the wrong way.  It absolutely blows my mind how many people just conveniently "forget" that WE are the ones who told inspectors to get out of Iraq because we were about to start bombing.

              "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

              by greywolfe359 on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:16:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  not quite.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dizzydean

              according to 2003 Blix report

              While we now have the technical capability to send a U-2 plane placed at our disposal for aerial imagery and for surveillance during inspections and have informed Iraq that we planned to do so, Iraq has refused to guarantee its safety, unless a number of conditions are fulfilled.  As these conditions went beyond what is stipulated in resolution 1441 (2002) and what was practiced by UNSCOM and Iraq in the past, we note that Iraq is not so far complying with our request.  I hope this attitude will change.

              They deserve to be taken seriously by Iraq rather than being brushed aside as evil machinations of UNSCOM.  Regrettably, the 12,000 page declaration, most of which is a reprint of earlier documents, does not seem to contain any new evidence that would eliminate the questions or reduce their number.  Even Iraq’s letter sent in response to our recent discussions in Baghdad to the President of the Security Council on 24 January does not lead us to the resolution of these issues.

              I'm not saying the invasion was justified by any means, but Iraq brought a great deal of this on themselves and yes, they could have proven their claims many times but preferred to keep up a (dangerous) charade and never thought (nor did I) that the we would actually invade.

        •  Good Points (9+ / 0-)

          I believe that what we see here is a classic jockeying for power in North Korea.

          Dear Leader is not well (he might still bury us all, but who knows).

          His so-called "designated heir" (if one to believe the press) is an unknown and probably young and inexperienced.

          The Military sharks sense blood in the water.

          As always when a political transition in a totalitarian entity is afoot, people in the higher echelons either feel their political influence is threatened or detect an opportunity to bolster their position. Thus, they manufacture a crisis (usually against an "external" threat) to consolidate their power and get rid of potential opponents.

          "Yeah Yeah. You vow - we MOVE!!" --Avery Schreiber

          by The Revenge of Shakshuka on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:10:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  IMO China has more to lose by getting involved (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          murrayewv, dizzydean, MichaelNY

          than by standing by watching us get involved in another pickle, even if it does border their country.

          Stand up for human rights. Boycott Arizona.

          by Alfonso Nevarez on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:13:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's about face (3+ / 0-)

            which cannot be underestimated in China...China loses face if there is a conflict and they do not support their long-term ally.  

            Furthermore, we cannot forget, that despite the symbiotic economic relationship between the US and China, the Chinese people (at least, the majority) have become increasingly nationalistic...remember when they captured the US spy plane in 2001?

            When the storm blows hard you must stand firm, for it is not trying to knock you down, it is trying to teach you to be strong. Lakota saying

            by dizzydean on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:16:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Actually point 3 has changed. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          murrayewv, neroden

          The Koreans are generally against a war, but they did vote in the current conservative government and the recent actions by the north have upset the southerners. (Not just the ship sinking thing). They're more willing to fight than they have been in a while though they want to avoid it obviously.

          The Raptor of Spain: A Webserial
          From Muslim Prince to Christian King (Updated Nov. 24)

          by MNPundit on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:12:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  More importantly (4+ / 0-)

        they have to take into account the devastation that North Korean conventional missiles would wreak upon Seoul.

        •  Significant, but not critical. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden

          Five decades of detailed planning will heavily mitigate the economic, military and collateral effects on Seoul.

          I don't know what's gonna happen, man, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames. -Jim Morrison "All Hail The American Night"

          by James Kresnik on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:17:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I live in New York (0+ / 0-)

            and I got a little taste of what it's like to be in a city under attack in the aftermath of the 9/11/01 terrorist atrocities. Those targeted two buildings and killed under 3,000 people, yet the pall of acrid smoke filled the air on and off for about 3 months.

            Would you volunteer to live in a city of 10 million people that gets hit by thousands of missiles? What do you think THAT would be like? Maybe something like Baghdad in the aftermath of the American terror attacks (excuse the expression, but that's my opinion) of 2003? Those left palls of smoke over the entire city, too, but at least some of the missiles - such as those targeting some government ministries - were deliberately shot after midnight, directly killing only the night watchman and whoever was passing by. As callous and indiscriminate as American targeters could be at times, expect the North Koreans to be much more indiscriminate and deliberately shoot at all kinds of high-population civilian targets. They've clearly shown how little regard they have for civilians, in their own country and elsewhere.

    •  Thanks for putting the focus on this (50+ / 0-)

      I've been worried about it, but almost nothing comes out in the US press.  I haven't had time to go looking through the world press for more news, and appreciate your update.

      North Korea loves to ratchet up tensions and beat the war drum, for whatever opaque domestic reasons they have.  But it strains credulity that they would really want war.  Maintaining the regime is their real goal, and a war would put that aim in jeopardy like nothing else.  Can't discount their capacity to act stupidly, however.  All countries are only too capable of that.

    •  N. Korea routinely threatens war (9+ / 0-)

      and never follows up with action. Could be different this time, but I doubt it.

      •  DPRK should know that any war would break them. (3+ / 0-)

        The ROK military will crush any offensive within a week.

        I don't know what's gonna happen, man, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames. -Jim Morrison "All Hail The American Night"

        by James Kresnik on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:18:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And what the ROK doesn't crush (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James Kresnik

          US bombers will.

          If the North fires one artillery shell towards the South, they're toast. One big bomb would take out everything they have on the border (and their nuke sites would probably be taken out at the same time, just because it would be prudent), and I doubt they've got much else.

          •  Short of being overrun (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            annetteboardman, murrayewv

            the U.S. will not target North Korea proper.

            Our main job should be to minimize Chinese intervention and keep the shipping lanes safe for allied nations. The U.S attacking North Korea would be counterproductive to that purpose.

            I don't know what's gonna happen, man, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames. -Jim Morrison "All Hail The American Night"

            by James Kresnik on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:10:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, thinking about it, (0+ / 0-)

            you're right about NBC production. We could fly in with our latest toys, take out all the NBC factories and launch sites then book without them knowing what actually happened.

            I don't know what's gonna happen, man, but I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames. -Jim Morrison "All Hail The American Night"

            by James Kresnik on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:21:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think you need to stop reading tom clancy (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              catwho

              If you think it would be that simple.

              Oh yeah, the US and the ROK would probably prevail in short order, but at what human cost?  How many civilians on both sides would have to die.

              Do you really think we know where the north korean nukes reside?  Really?

              We thought we knew in Iraq as well...oops.

      •  but they don't (5+ / 0-)

        sink South Korean vessels all the time.   That may have been an 'accident' in the sense that it wasn't authorized from higher up the chain of command.

        A few bullets in the DMZ is different to my mind to torpedoeing a ship.

    •  North Korea is not going to war with anyone (11+ / 0-)

      North Korea is in no position to start a war with anyone, they know it, we know it, China knows it.  Their economy is in a shambles, dependent on other nations for the survival of their population.  I have no idea whose bright idea it was to torpedo a South Korean ship, but it is at least possible that it was a rogue operation by an extremist in the North Korean Navy, rather than a brainstorm from the top of the political ladder.

      And no, they are not going to war.  Not now, not ever.  They are saber-rattling, but that is hardly a new or surprising phenomena.  This is rather like the tribes on the borders of China saying "Give us tribute or we will invade".  It usually was more economical to buy them off, just as it will be in this case.  North Korea will get something, things will crash and bang along, war will be avoided and something will eventually change in North Korea and the two Koreas will reconcile.  But not any time soon and not while the current leader is alive.

      In the meantime, diplomacy will be used, for what it does best.

      •  yep (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CharlieHipHop

        just ship em some oil and potatoes and shut the nut up.

        (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

        by dark daze on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:11:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not so sure about that (4+ / 0-)

        Their whole society has been geared around a mythology featuring a destiny to destroy the U.S. and reunite the motherland in a glorious war.

        They're nuts.  It's not an act.  

        The weakened state of the U.S. is read differently by North Korea than by the rest of the world.  The rest of the world sees it as a pain in the neck because we can't buy so much of their stuff.  North Korea sees it as an opportunity.

        I seriously hope you're right though and that this is just more idle sabre rattling.

      •  I think I agree. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming, murrayewv, neroden, ColoTim

        There was a good article in Newsweek about this today.  The author argues that Kim Jung-il is looking for a way out.

        But this isn’t quite the meltdown it appears to be. While Kim is publicly holding firm, behind the scenes his government seems to be trying to find a way out of the fracas. Its language has become more moderate, it may be contemplating an apology, and it may already have punished a naval commander in connection with the torpedo attack. That means the crisis is likely to fall far short of the "all-out war" the North initially promised. The softer side of Kim Jong-il’s regime, it seems, wants out of this crisis, stat.

        And that the military may have attached the Cheonan without his authorization.

        The remaining problem is the level of discipline and restraint among the Korean People’s Army, as it still remains unclear whether the torpedo attack was directly ordered by Kim Jong-il. During his visit to Beijing earlier in May, Kim reportedly told Chinese President Hu Jintao that the North had no involvement with the torpedo incident. Given the close relationship of the two countries, it’s less likely that Kim would have lied but entirely conceivable that the attack could have been ordered by someone lower in the chain of command without his knowledge. If that’s true, Seoul’s decision to blast anti-North propaganda cross the DMZ could be a problem, as a commander of the KPA threatened to shoot down the loudspeakers if the South turns them back on next month. If lower-ranking members of the KPA take matters into their own hands, they could thwart upper-echelon attempts to stanch the flame war. But as long as Kim can do so without looking weak, he seems to be serious about finding a way out.

        I'm gay, I'm pissed, I'm not giving up, I'm not giving in, I'm not shutting up, and I'm not going away. Deal with it.

        by psychodrew on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:32:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Good post (0+ / 0-)

        I think that about covers it.

      •  An Economy in Shambles...Reason for War? (0+ / 0-)

        I think there's a counterpoint to what you've said.  An economy that is in dire straits is often a reason to go to war, not a reason to avoid one.  North Korea has been slowly losing the battle for decades, its people starving and dying.  They have a huge military that only falls behind more technologically every day.  At some point, even a rational person would reach the conclusion that they've got to use that military or lose it, that you can't starve your people forever and not have them revolt, that war may be the last option--even if that option is highly unlikely to work.  It might in some minds have a higher probability of success than definitely starving to death.

        "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

        by greywolfe359 on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:23:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  my guess is someone fucked up (0+ / 0-)

        or panicked, and now everyone's milling around trying to figure out a resolution that makes everyone look tough but doesn't devolve into war.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:05:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  here is my thought (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv, neroden

      if he is trying to pass on the regime, then we have nothing to worry about, if they go to war there is no regime or country left to pass on and they are not so nuts to not know this.

      This is just NK posturing, and as you say, possibly kabuki so his kid can take over.  If thats the case, this is just their usually crazy talk that happens every few years.

      I would be much more worried if the crazy sick old nut wanted to go out in a blaze of glory.

      (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

      by dark daze on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:09:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where did you read about kaesong.. (0+ / 0-)

      ..being cut off?  The last thing that I read was that the SK government officials in the park had been expelled, but that South Korean managers were still being allowed to enter (and exit) the complex and that business was continuing as normal.

      I'm gay, I'm pissed, I'm not giving up, I'm not giving in, I'm not shutting up, and I'm not going away. Deal with it.

      by psychodrew on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:41:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it is in news today..... (0+ / 0-)

        from asian site- not hitting US MSM so not as sure what is speculation vs. facts.

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:47:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This was all I could find... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OIL GUY, condorcet

          From the Korean Herald.

          The North Korean military also said in a statement that Pyongyang would soon be banning South Korean personnel and vehicles from entering a joint venture located at the border city of Gaeseong, but did not release the actual date.

          I'm gay, I'm pissed, I'm not giving up, I'm not giving in, I'm not shutting up, and I'm not going away. Deal with it.

          by psychodrew on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:02:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  straw man (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden

      We remain preoccupied with criticizing Obama for not personally overseeing a oil spill.

      No one expects Obama to "personally" oversee the oil spill, but stop letting BP be in charge of the operations, because they have an enormous conflict of interest by wanting to minimize their liability.  Case in point: their use of dispersants more toxic than the oil itself, because they don't care if it's more harmful to the Gulf it it means less oil going into the gulf stream.

      Hell, if it turns out that a certain former Halliburton CEO would be the best person to be in charge, then go ahead and pick him.  The point is to not let the foxes be in charge of restoring the hen house.

      I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

      by Uberbah on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:44:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama fire MMS director today.... (0+ / 0-)

        and an Admiral has been heading response.  Taking over from BP sounds like a great way to become liable for all the costs- we don't own the equipment.  Are we really ready to nationalize this?

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:49:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  firing MMS director only relevant to *future* (0+ / 0-)

          ...drilling issues, not the current disaster, so that's a red herring on top the of the straw man.

          Taking over from BP sounds like a great way to become liable for all the costs- we don't own the equipment.  Are we really ready to nationalize this?

          Another red herring.  Not letting BP manage the situation is nationalizing them how, exactly?  And no one is saying that BP can't be involved, the point is to not let them be in charge of so much of the response effort.

          But for some reason, a great many people are going right on by that point to argue about things that no one is actually saying.

          I'm a part of the reality-based community, not the personality-based community.

          by Uberbah on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:58:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for this news. I do have to say -- (0+ / 0-)

      nobody is blaming Obama for not doing enough "personal overseeing" of the oil spill. The criticism is in fact that the administration's response has been too much about "overseeing," and not enough about action -- whether that action is at the site of the spill, or in BP's conference room, or in the halls of Congress.

      HERE.am
      Music//Philosophy//Analysis//Revolution

      by FedUpDan on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:40:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I feel great about HRC being so on-top of it. (25+ / 0-)

    That's her job, so I see that as an extension of Obama's interest and vigiliance on the issue.

  •  Thanks for the superb diary (21+ / 0-)

    You answer many questions I had about this situation, providing info the msm has chosen not to relay.  I don't like to "rank" events as to which is most serious but I certainly do feel just as great a sense of alarm over this as I do over the oil spill.  
    Both are major threats to our planet.  

    "In our century, we've learned not to fear words" - Lt. Uhura

    by ShempLugosi on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:43:39 AM PDT

    •  I mean no disrespect..... (12+ / 0-)

      to the oil spill crisis-but there are some other big issues here.  I think this extreme focus on the spill is myopic- we need a broader, more comprehensive vision.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:45:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think we can afford it. (4+ / 0-)

        In time, money, lives.

        A major part of our own country is being destroyed right before our eyes. That shoud take priority over everything.

        No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, `less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

        by dov12348 on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:50:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But maybe bitching (11+ / 0-)

          about Obama doesn't need to take all our energy?  It's about balance.  The BP disaster is huge, but so is a nuclear power going on the attack, especially this one.

          I am, at heart, an optimist, which I consider to be spiritually necessary and proper, as well as intellectually suspect.

          by I love OCD on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:30:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  so it the coal mining destroying mountains.... (6+ / 0-)

            with MTR and ruining health with burning dirty coal.  We have lots of problems, but expecting Obama to drop everything and pay sole attention to the Gulf is not reasonable.

            You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

            by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:33:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, in fact it's laughable, (7+ / 0-)

              if it wasn't so infuriating.  And the fact that RW memes get such huge play on progressive blogs makes me want to give up.  There must be sane people somewhere who are actually getting things done.

              I am, at heart, an optimist, which I consider to be spiritually necessary and proper, as well as intellectually suspect.

              by I love OCD on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:41:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, man, but I reject your premise (0+ / 0-)

              Obama and the WH can walk and chew gum at the same time.  Both are significant crises, but the president has lots of advisors and people who can handle each event as it should be.  

              No reason whatsoever that the Gulf crisis should be less in the public eye or the president's right now, given that it is a disaster greater than 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina combined.

              People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. -- "V for Vendetta"

              by Vtdblue on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:37:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  11 deaths worse than 4,300+ ???? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                OIL GUY, catwho

                No reason whatsoever that the Gulf crisis should be less in the public eye or the president's right now, given that it is a disaster greater than 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina combined.

                Not by my math is ain't.

                •  Economically and socially, this is going to r (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  neroden

                  reverberate for a generation or more.  Likely price tag when it's fully tallied will be in the many hundreds of billions, and probably close to $1 trillion.  That far exceeds both of the other disasters combined.  One does not have to be murdered to have one's live ruined, or to die of poverty-related causes that will be related to the economic devastation this will cause.

                  And what might your math tell you, by the way, that underplays this catastrophe?

                  People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. -- "V for Vendetta"

                  by Vtdblue on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:11:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Already answered (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    OIL GUY

                    And what might your math tell you, by the way, that underplays this catastrophe?

                    11 deaths are not worse than 4,300+.

                    Plus, one trillion is cheap compared to just 9/11 alone.  If we are adding up decades of reverberations, the pricetag for that disaster is already measured in excess of $1 trillion-with-a-T-trillion.  So by my math (lives) or your ($$$) your calculations are in error.

                    but let teh hyperbole flow. It's what DKos is about, after all.

                    •  Well, if you count Bushco (0+ / 0-)

                      as a consqeuence of 9/11, then your math works, but I don't think that's fair, they got into power before 9/11.  So yeah, 9/11 was cheap compared to the BP oil disaster.

                      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                      by neroden on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:49:50 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Pentagon budget alone (0+ / 0-)

                        In 2001, under Bush, was a bit under $400B per annum.  Since 9/11 it's hovered around $700B.  Thast does not count war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, which as you'll recall were  treated as "off budget" during Bush.  So in terms of just a raised defense budget alone the 9/11 disaster has resulted in an expenditure of over $2 Trillion.

                        Not to mention the effects of the recession triggered by the desruction of the WTC.  The jobs lost then have yet to be replaced.

                        This oil spill - so far - is a pipsqueak compared to 9/11.

              •  not sure that your assessment.... (0+ / 0-)

                of the Gulf crisis is correct.  There were thousands who directly died in those crises while 11 have died to date.  More died from neglect after both crises- bad medical care and other bad information.  Those crises crashed the stock market and led to tons of unemployment.  This crisis won't even crush BP is my guess.

                It is serious and bad for the environment.  But not the same impact in my opinion.  However I am certain others blogging here agree. I am old enough to remember all the major oil spills- from Santa Batbara to Ixtoc to Exxon Valdez and beyond our immediate borders as well.  They are all very very bad.  But not economically or in human life as bad as 9/11 and Katrina.  The sad part is they were mishandled at the drilling rig, but to say that makes it sound like we COULD completely regulate oil production, and we can't.

                You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:56:09 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  This will well eclipse any other ecological and (0+ / 0-)

                  economic/social disaster we've seen in this country, particularly given that the flow estimates are now into the previous "worst case" range, given the unlikely event that they manage to plug this without making it worse.

                  The deaths will primarily be quiet, sad ones related to the poverty this will cause.  It will also be responsible for considerable economic devastation, even sufficient to contribute to a double-dip recession.  

                  Particularly if this goes gushing on for months, the overall direct and indirect costs to the economy will be staggering, beyond the comparatively more localized impacts of Katrina, and even the broader indirect costs (esp'ly to air travel) of 9/11.  

                  People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. -- "V for Vendetta"

                  by Vtdblue on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:18:38 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  well I am a little more optimistic..... (0+ / 0-)

                    than you are.  It will be bad, and we will lose quality environment.  But we may learn more from this and benefit ultimately to turn back from offshore drilling with its dangers.  I hope Obama uses it to push for renewable energy and conservation as well as tough regulation and sanctions.

                    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

                    by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:30:49 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  ...except for global warming (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Vtdblue

                    global warming will eclipse this.

                    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                    by neroden on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:50:16 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I was speaking past-tense, but you're right, of (0+ / 0-)

                      course.  That will kick all of our asses (those who survive long enough to feel the full effects).

                      People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. -- "V for Vendetta"

                      by Vtdblue on Thu May 27, 2010 at 02:28:03 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  I hear ya. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            murrayewv, I love OCD, MichaelNY

            Of course we can't completely ignore the Korea thing.  And we don't have to.

            No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, `less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

            by dov12348 on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:53:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know that we have a choice (7+ / 0-)

          The Gulf is being poisoned.

          Crazy guy with nukes committed a blatant act of war on the other side of the ocean.

          Both require immediate and thorough attention.

          I'm kind of stalling for time here...They told me what to say. George W Bush, 03-21-2006 10:00 EST Press Conference

          by Tamifah on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:33:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Speaking strictly for myself (11+ / 0-)

        I can rouse equal concern about more than one thing at a time.  I always try to look at things from the planetary viewpoint.  I consider myself first and foremost a resident of Planet Earth.  I can only imagine a day where the divisive device of "nationhood" is no longer used as a vehicle by the rich and the mad to pit people against one other.  

        "In our century, we've learned not to fear words" - Lt. Uhura

        by ShempLugosi on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:50:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'd argue that this is the BFD issue (12+ / 0-)

      going on right now. If there's any good luck in the world, this will blow over like so many times before, but if war hits the Koreas, it will be the worst thing in the world.
      I'm pretty well aware of how much bad shit is going down at any given moment around the world, and I'm still saying this.
      Good diary. Let's keep on top of this.

      •  I'd put war with Iran ahead of that, but (5+ / 0-)

        Korean War 2.0 would be very, very bad indeed.
        We have IIRC 28,500 troops near the DMZ, and NK has tons of artillery on a hair trigger right next door.
        If Crazy Kim goes for broke, he will launch what he has. That means massive US casualties, which means we're in it, no matter what we might want.

        The Republican Party will never die until there is a new political home for racists.

        by kamarvt on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:24:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But Iran is a long way away from war (11+ / 0-)

          while it could blow up in mere days in the Koreas. Also, Iran seems to have a bit more of a sense of self-preservation and consideration for the welfare of their people than does N.K.
          Otherwise we're in agreement.

          •  Iran is a big issue..... (11+ / 0-)

            but Iranians themselves don't want a war.  They are in communication with the rest of the world and they want change.  North Korea is hard to predict and people have been brainwashed and intimidated.  They trust no one.  They are like living under Stalin, complete with famines and insane leaders.  They are a risk.

            You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

            by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:35:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Even Hillary admitted that Iran poses no (10+ / 0-)

              current threat.

              A bit to the east, in NK, I think it is fair to say that a shooting war has already broken out, low grade as it is.
              It can either be stopped. It can stay low grade, with a few pot shots taken by one side or the other (Mainly instigated by NK), or it can deteriorate into something massive. A massive war could spark problems between China, Russia, South Korea, North Korea, and would automatically involve Japan, Australia, the US, Canada, and more. Tibet may use China's distraction for even more rioting and upheaval. Pakistan and India, both of whom have their own worries about each other, AND fret over a militarized China might be sucked in by accident.

              The safest bet would be to buy military industrial shares of stock, because you know stockpiling will be going on by everyone in the region.

              What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

              by agnostic on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:46:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There is no such thing as a surgical war (8+ / 0-)

                As the Vietnam era poster reminded us: "War is not good for little girls or other living things"

                That being said if war broke out tomorrow, the entire N. Korean Navy would be smouldering wreckage by Sunday, as would be their missile launch facilities on the East Coast, and every airport and air defense facility in the country. And if needed we could establish a No-Fly Zone over N Korea just as we did over Iraq  after Gulf War I. Meaning we would have 'won' and easily. Unfortunately that 'victory' might come at the expense of a few hundred thousand S. Koreans killed and Seoul having sustained serious damage.

                The US doesn't really have that much skin in this game even with 30,000 troops exposed, it is not easy to inflict mass casualties on a prepared dug-in military  with artillery attacks alone, and you could expect the U.S. to establish air superiority in quick enough order to make armor attacks literally suicidal, our troops would on the whole be just fine. But the S. Koreans literally have skin in the game, millions of units of skin, and I for one don't relish a repeat of Iraq where the net effect of 'freeing' them from tyranny was hundreds of thousands killed, millions displaced, and continuing bombings on a near daily basis.

                The U.S. can win a war with N. Korea just as we were winning the first Korean War prior to the entry of the Chinese. But there is the rub. I can't see China sending troops across the Yalu, or trying to challenge US air power directly. But you never know, and literally millions of Korean lives hang in  the balance. But on the narrow question of whether the U.S. Navy and Air Force could destroy all sea and air capability of N. Korea and blunt an armor attack, the answer would be immediately clear. Unfortunately there are all too many people in this country who think of war in terms of a game of Risk and simply discount that whole "little girls and other living things" factor to zero.

              •  The low-grade shooting war (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                neroden, agnostic, teachergonz

                ...has been underway since 1953.  The armistance signed did not end the state of war. NK and SK are officially in a state of war even to today. There's been clashes on and off all this time, from the USS Pueblo to the US Army major murdered with axes, to some NK sailors (presumably) killed just about a year ago in a clash between NK/SK ships.  Among many many similar events.

                NK today is probably basing some of its calculations on the fact Mister Bush broke the US strategic reserve by tying us down in Iraq. We will be paying for the Iraq fiasco for decades.

                •  Too true. How easy it is to forget (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  neroden, Quicklund, teachergonz

                  that no peace exists between NK and SK.

                  And our moral, ethical, military, financial and blood debt re: Iraq will last for decades.

                  What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                  by agnostic on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:01:18 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Seoul would be target #1 of that artillery (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          murrayewv, kamarvt, jfromga, MichaelNY

          Yes, our trip wire troops would take horrendous casualties, but Seoul, with a popluation of over 10 million - one fifth of the whole South Korean population - I don't want to think about what that would be like.

          "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

          by Egalitare on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:08:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Who do you mean by "we" ? (5+ / 0-)

    We remain preoccupied with criticizing Obama for not personally overseeing a oil spill.

    The denizens of DailyKos?

    Yeah, like 1017 diaries a day on any particular topic *really* changes anything . . .

    Like somebody else said, I'm perfectly happy if HRC handles this quietly behind the scenes (it's a huge relief, actaully, from 24/6 war/fearmongering).

  •  For Starters They'd Require Entirely Different (5+ / 0-)

    arms of government and advisors. If any two crises could be handled at the same time, I'd think environment vs regional war threat would be such a pair.

    I can't see how either one is moving so fast and is so complex that it would tie the President up all day and keep him from working on the other.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:46:51 AM PDT

  •  China is trying to rachet down rhetoric. Chinese (15+ / 0-)

    officials have stated N Korea is seriously destabilized already and is "not a rational actor". No one wants a collapse of the regime, as loathsome as it is.

    "Nothing is so complex and fucked up that engineers cannot make it more complicated and fuck it up worse." - Fishgrease

    by the fan man on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:51:30 AM PDT

    •  how much should we pay off irrational people.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teachergonz

      and expect their behavior to change?  It can work but many will suffer.  Kim Jeong-il will allow children to starve- he has done it already.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:57:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Many, many MILLIONS will perish in war. (5+ / 0-)

        Something to consider, isn't it? So we have only bad or worse options, shitty world isn't it?

        "Nothing is so complex and fucked up that engineers cannot make it more complicated and fuck it up worse." - Fishgrease

        by the fan man on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:02:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  oh god that is so sadly true.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          teachergonz

          NK is a really big mess- I am reminded so much of the somewhat effective Iraq economic blockade.  Saddam let children starve and die and he still lived in a palace and lied to bluff.  NK is likely to be better armed.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:04:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thousands of missles aimed at S Korea, maybe (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            murrayewv, teachergonz

            a few nukes. Maybe one for Hawaii or the west coast. (Probably won't make it, but they can try, can't they.) The weight of the US on the side of the south. Ugly, ugly, ugly. It will be an incinerated peninsula.

            "Nothing is so complex and fucked up that engineers cannot make it more complicated and fuck it up worse." - Fishgrease

            by the fan man on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:08:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not sure NK can really deliver a nuke. (5+ / 0-)

              Even their controlled detonations were not full successful, according to the intelligence, so I'm not sure they'd be able to manage getting one to work on top of their missles.

              I think the key to the war would be waiting the DPRK out; they can probably manage an all-out offensive for about a month, then will quickly run out of ammo and supplies to mount much of a resistance to an invasion and air attacks.

            •  Enough to destroy Seoul. (0+ / 0-)

              They have enough conventional arms aimed at Seoul to destroy the city and that's exactly what they'll do if armed conflict breaks out.

              I'm gay, I'm pissed, I'm not giving up, I'm not giving in, I'm not shutting up, and I'm not going away. Deal with it.

              by psychodrew on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:36:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  They don't have the range (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              murrayewv, Quicklund

              "Maybe one for Hawaii or the west coast. (Probably won't make it, but they can try, can't they.)"

              No they can't. If you actually take a globe and plot N. Korean missile ranges what you find is that they could potentially reach some outer islands in the Alaskan Aleutian Chain and maybe Kure or Midway in the Hawaiian Chain, which some jokers translate "West Coast" and "Hawaii" as if Seattle and Honolulu were actually at risk. They aren't.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              Millions of S. Koreans live in artillery range of the North and we have a duty to humanity (and not only to a steadfast ally) to do all we can to keep them safe and alive. But while only a crazy person would want this war, maybe I have a little too much lunacy lurking in my soul, because God knows it would be satisfying to take the truly evil N. Korean leadership out. Just as I would have welcomed a series of 'accidents' that took out Saddam and his murderous kids. But all out war is never a first or even third option. Because there is an image from 2003 that haunts me.

              On one of the first days of the Iraq War we had actionable intelligence that Saddam was going to be in a particular restaurant in the al-Mansour District of Baghdad. So we launched a cruise missile. Well it turns out that the missile would have missed Saddam by minutes even it had been on target, which it wasn't. Instead it overflew its target in a dense neighborhood and blew up an apartment building. And press reports showed that one casualty was a 13 year old girl-who was extracted from the building in two parts, one the body and the second her head. This story barely drew a blink here, and if she and her family had been at the next table to Saddam and that cruise missile had actually taken him out nobody would have cared, or so it seems. But to me launching a cruise missile into a densely populated civilian neighborhood on the off chance you might catch Saddam was pretty damn close to a war crime. And while no one else seems to remember that thirteen year old, I hope I will never forget.

              "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs". Those aren't eggs those are little girls, and we should never forget the difference. And while American deaths are an important metric we can't let it be the only one that matters.
              http://cursor.org/...

      •  kim's more rational than he's given credit for (6+ / 0-)

        and for all the pronouncements of his warmongering hawkishness, it's worth remembering how many wars mr. kim has begun in the past 15 years, and how many "peace-loving" "rational" ones like our own has begun.

        north korea is well aware if the consequences of their starting an actual hot war. skirmishes and accidents are fairly common, and now and then a belligerent missile fired into the sea, but neither side has actually escalated the korean cold war beyond that in many decades.

        kim's regime has made some utterly horrifying decisions, some of their own making and some compounded by natural disasters and oil crashes, but they have remained pretty consistent on not starting a full-on war with america, and on not attacking seoul.

        nuclear deterrence has, in fact, worked on the north koreans because they are, in fact, rational in a self-preservation sort of way.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:38:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Concern is he's not completely in charge. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pd, Trotskyrepublican

          Sinking an SK boat is not a rational act.

          Maybe, ala James Bond, it was SPECTRE using an NK torpedo to start a regional war.

          "Nothing is so complex and fucked up that engineers cannot make it more complicated and fuck it up worse." - Fishgrease

          by the fan man on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:44:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  as long as the other players are in NK (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden, the fan man

            and stand to be vaporized if this gets out of control, they'd be subject to the same deterrance.

            my money's on a fuck-up (no saying which side) that noone wants to admit to, but even if a sub commander decided to willfully plug a boat in disputed waters, that's a wholly different thing than a full-on war. incidents may or may not be controlled from the center, but major actions will be.

            surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

            by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:15:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Several subs were being tracked.... (0+ / 0-)

              from satellites by SK and went underwater before the incident.  There is some thought in SK (my colleague tells me) that this was intentional because of this.

              You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

              by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:22:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  If by "more rational" you mean "not suicidal" (0+ / 0-)

          I guess we can agree.

    •  Agree, fan man...NK is irrational. (12+ / 0-)
      The Chinese don't need or want 5 million refugees to come running across their border. They would be a net drain on their economy for years. The Chinese have enough internal problems as it is. I doubt they welcome Kim's latest stunt, but they tend to be pragmatic and take the long view.
      I don't see too many NK refugees going south, as the heavily armed and mined DMZ is in the way and they'd be going into the dragon's mouth, so to speak.

      I think every rational commenter realizes that a new Korean War would be a high-tech bloodbath for all sides. There is the potential for death tolls in the millions. The NK's may not be as advanced in weaponry, but there's a lot of them, thewy're dug in deep and they're tough fighters. They have also proven very capable of infiltrating SK and most likely have people in position. The SK's also would have to deal with their own civilians fleeing south away from the battlefield. This would not be anything like Gulf War I - More like the original Korean war.

      There's also the possibility that Kim might go nuclear, whether he was winning or losing - and not just on SK territory. Japan is within range as is Guam, possibly. I suspect in that event even the Chinese would balk and turn on Kim.

      "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." -7.75/-6.05

      by QuestionAuthority on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:06:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  North Korea is on the verge of a famine (6+ / 0-)

      And no one is quite sure if Kim is in charge. Or even alive. View is the generals may be taking over, may be more likely to want a war.

      "All politics is national."

      by Auriandra on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:08:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of course we want a collapse of the regime (0+ / 0-)

      The whole country is a Gitmo for those people.

      •  I agree on the conditions, but you'd be wrong (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Trotskyrepublican

        on the assumption of wanting collapse. We want a stable nonbelligerent regime first. A regime willing to comply with international commerce law second. Humane and open is a distant third in the running, as it always is, sorry to say.

        "Nothing is so complex and fucked up that engineers cannot make it more complicated and fuck it up worse." - Fishgrease

        by the fan man on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:49:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not collapse of order. (0+ / 0-)

        The NK-SK border is mined so heavily that people would flee the famine and chaos north into China.  The Chinese cannot (and will not) handle such a flood of refugees.

        I'm gay, I'm pissed, I'm not giving up, I'm not giving in, I'm not shutting up, and I'm not going away. Deal with it.

        by psychodrew on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:37:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  which statement should be much (0+ / 0-)

      scarier to more people than it apparently is.  A nuclear non-rational actor.  A crazy old man in charge of rabid ideologues with 60 years of hatred of the South and the Western powers that have isolated and starved the North.  For good reasons in many cases, but just as we always point out with terrorists, they are made by events even if their response is not rational.

      •  Actually, the North (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        has isolated and starved the North. If their leaders had been willing to reconcile with the rest of the world and not just run up to their room and pout for 60 yrs, they would be as modern and accepted as the South.

        Don't put this on the world. The majority of the world would have been more than willing to help the North if they'd been willing to be a little more open.

        Look at China. They're hardly isolated or backward now, but at one point they were almost as bad as NK.

        •  the North (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden

          has done some pretty awful things, and have been crazy for generations, but again, our side is: we are justified.  Inside the North, they see it differently.  Even if "we" all agree "they" are wrong, it doesn't change what they think.  

    •  If China's cooperating with the US on this (0+ / 0-)

      That just leaves Russia.  If Russia is also cooperating, the worst North Korea can do is lose quickly.

      Starting the South Korean information campaign up was critically important.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:52:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the diary, and the reminder. This (6+ / 0-)

    situation could spiral out of control at any minute. I do feel good about Secretary Clinton being engaged, but there may be nothing anyone can do to prevent war there and North Korea is crazy enough to lob it's arsenal of nuclear weapons towards the south. Who was it that said something about the "end of history?" Yea, right...

  •  The US has planned a show of naval force (12+ / 0-)

    via some joint operations with South Korea in the near-term as well.

    That said, while it's been a while, such provocations, even direct military attacks as provocations, are not unprecedented by North Korea.

    There are a few things that give me both comfort and pause here, though...

    On the comforting side, China is in a much different place on the world stage than it was 10-15-20 years ago.  It is in China's best interests to defuse this situation, the Chinese know it's in their best interests, and they are the only ones with any real influence on North Korea... I'm not holding my breath for any sort of UN-sponsored agreements - but I have no doubts the Chinese are unilaterally exerting all the influence they can muster onto their rogue protectorate.

    On the less comforting side, during previous instances of heightened tension and direct conflict -- most of the news I was reading out of South Korea had protesters and rallies that were, while not 'supportive' of North Korea, more directed towards peaceful agreements, detente, etc.   This time around - I'm reading of protests and demonstrations that seem more in favor of a forceful response.

    Of course - as you say - the media doesn't seem to have much time for this situation, so it's entirely possible that neither impression (then or now) is all that accurate due to the inability of the western press to pay attention to two things at once.

    I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

    by zonk on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:56:32 AM PDT

    •  thanks for this update.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, I love OCD

      the print media is covering it.  But for some odd reason, we aren't hearing it on teevee except in headlines.  Probably because the calm measured thoughtful conservative approach is working for damping out world crises better than the hair on fire approach.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:02:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually it's in China's best interests (6+ / 0-)

      to wait on the side a bit and let an armed conflict start. After the peninsula is tore up, stage an overtly Chinese-backed coup by a couple of handpicked N Korean generals in N Korea. Have N Korea surrender to the US/ROK forces. Then the US and South Korea have to worry about the refugees, and China looks like big damn heroes for brokering the peace deal. US military power in the region is severely weakened as a result of the conflict, creating a vacuum that China can potentially fill.

      "I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough" -Eugene V Debs

      by jabbausaf on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:21:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yikes, your scenario correctly (IMHO) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        murrayewv

        identifies the path of least resistance. Economic and political forces are driving events in that direction. The only real contra-balancing force I can immediately think of in this mess might be from Li'l Kim himself who would realize that his son and his dynasty would not survive this series of events if he actually let things get to armed conflict.  And I don't think we are certain Li'l Kim is still calling the shots are we?

      •  I don't know about that... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        weasel, murrayewv, nailbender, BachFan

        When you're clearly aiming to expand your international prestige and power economically -- a war in your own backyard is never a good thing.

        I might see China getting Machiavellian about it all if there were no other choice but an armed conflict, but I think the Chinese government would still consider that no more than a least-bad option under the worst case scenario.

        I guess everyone's got their own blog now.

        by zonk on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:31:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  total fail, for china (9+ / 0-)

        the refugees would start flooding across their border the moment things blew up, it's a huge long land border so they'd have a hard time patrolling it (esp. without a korean regime on the other side keeping folks in), and they'd be put in a position of having to use military force to keep people out, the resulting mess of a country would keep bleeding people into the already-depressed northeastern china, there's then a risk of both nativist attacks on korean refugees (and ethnic korean chinese citizens), and korean attacks on ethnic chinese.

        plus, instead of having a mean little north korean buffer state with a heavily mined DMZ guarding its flank, it gets american troops right on its border juts a hop skip and a jump from its capital, with better potential for espionage and increased likelihood of accidental clashes on the border.

        china gets fuck-all from that scenario, and prob. has to spend a whole lot more in refuguee assistance than it spends right now.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:51:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think China has the power to control NK (0+ / 0-)

          I suspect that if they had the power to run a coup in North Korea and replace it with a government which would open merger talks with South Korea, they would be seriously considering it -- North Korea has become a liability.

          But China probably doesn't have that power.

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:56:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it has contacts and some influence (0+ / 0-)

            and most importantly it has better knowledge of WTF is going on in there than the american govt and certainly any of us (which i find maddening, and is itself a strategic reason to normalize relations, just for the embassy alone). i think they'd be loath to pull a coup, but i'm sure they've got favorites and are doing what they can to push their own interests where they find receptive audiences. NK is not their puppet, or even their friend, it's just a neighbor they have to deal with.

            not sure they'd favor a unified korea. if it involved kicking the US out, they might welcome it, i suppose, but they get some utility out of having a buffer state. when the lips are gone, the teeth get cold, after all.

            surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

            by wu ming on Fri May 28, 2010 at 11:06:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I say that it depends (0+ / 0-)

        on the resources, gold, silver, copper, coal, uranium, water, as to how badly China wants to take over.

    •  One thing to worry about is how tough the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      defluxion10, murrayewv, Quicklund

      Koreans are. They are VERY tough people. They have a long martial tradition. And they remember a friend for 100 years, and an enemy for 1000.

      If it starts it will be an unimaginable merciless horror.

  •  I've been thinking that's been keeping Obama busy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv

    Monday in the middle of the night this was really heating up in the foreign press, but the US press hardly mentioned it. There's going to be a meeting of the leaders of South Korea, Japan and hopefully China this weekend.

    "All politics is national."

    by Auriandra on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:01:21 AM PDT

  •  Kim Jong-il has nothing to lose (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, catwho, Auriandra

    From his point of view, at the end of his life, or near it, why not light the big firecracker and go out with a bang? It is sort of like the gambler, at the end of the game and losing, puts in all his chips and goes for the "big win."  

    •  He's got his progeny to worry about. Li'l (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv

      Kim is a sociopath and ruthless, but he's NOT crazy. His goal is to stay in power and hand off power to his dynastic heir. We just aren't used to totalitarian regimes and absolute dictators so much in this day and age. Historically, they all pretty much acted like this. Their end usually comes when they overstep their limits and that usually comes much earlier in their life cycles, not right at the end.

      Mistakes could still touch off this powderkeg, but it's not yet a hopeless situation either. At least we are playing a supporting rather than leading role here. How we Americans respond is much harder for other cultures to predict than how similar cultures will respond, and as long as the major decisions are being made by NK, SK and China, the political calculus of this brinksmanship is probably well understood by them.

      •  Thankfully for us (0+ / 0-)
        - his handpicked successor isn't exactly the brightest crayon in the box.

        A stupid dictator is still capable of great damage, of course, but he lacks the charisma of his father.

        You say you want your country back. I'd like my country forward, thank you.

        by catwho on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:18:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think he's dreaming of Gotterdammerung (0+ / 0-)

      Now will his General go along with him or not that is the "$64,000 question".

  •  China (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, Pd, weasel, murrayewv, neroden, Quicklund

    China does not want the instability of a war on its border.  Because North Korea has positioned all of its troops near the DMZ, North Korea is vulnerable to Chinese military action and the cutoff of trade with China.

    That is why I think that this is mostly kabuki on North Korea's part.  The part that wasn't is the torpedoing of a South Korean warship in disputed waters.  South Korea is likely to assert its sovereignty over these waters again. (It is a boundary dispute, probably having to do with how to survey the boundary once it leaves land -- along the parallel or perpendicular to the coastline.)

    The next thing to watch is what North Korea does when South Korea asserts its sovereignty again.  Because, whatever China does will not be visible to the world (unless they do take military action against North Korea, which would be a last resort action to maintain stability).

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:06:06 AM PDT

  •  You're right, this is huge. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, BachFan, poxonyou, DWG, beltane

    North Korea is the prototype of the rogue state. Among other things, they fake our currency so well that even our government can barely tell the difference. And the money they make from that counterfeiting - along with producing some of the best synthetic drugs, apparently, in the world, Ecstasy, crystal meth and so on - goes to support the lavish lifestyle of the Kim family.

    And meanwhile, their people are starving.

    It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.

    by MBNYC on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:07:45 AM PDT

  •  Did You Just Wake Up (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GlowNZ, sherijr

    There's a hell of allot more then the oil spill and North Korea going on, most of it left from the previous eight year reign and the longer congressional reign, and the government, now, is getting blasted from mostly the sides that brought it all on, and has been!!!

    "What is the difference between an al Qaida terrorist and a misguided American terrorist?" "The planes they fly!"

    by jimstaro on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:07:57 AM PDT

  •  I recc'd your otherwise excellent diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miriam, poxonyou, Trotskyrepublican

    But why did you have to use potential war in Korea as a defense for Obama?

    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

    by Grassee on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:09:58 AM PDT

    •  Because I admire Obama.... (7+ / 0-)

      and support him.  I find this blog disfunctional and insane.  I am not out to pick a fight- I avoid the creepy Obamasux diaries. I won't back down from supporting Obama when he is at least doing a B- job on running the government in difficult times.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:13:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But aren't you doing the same thing? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poxonyou

        In reverse? Going to all lengths to defend Obama. Presidents always have a ton of things on their plate. I just find it disrespectful to the Koreans who have lost their lives and who may lose their lives. Their purpose is to build a defensive case for Obama.

        It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

        by Grassee on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:17:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Did you read the diary? (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pd, cappy, OIL GUY, Coach Jay, drache, moonpal

          I am not going to lengths to defend Obama.  I am talking about a world crisis and discussing what he is doing- and how right now his decisions are critical.  Obama could make some crappy decisions here- you can condemn them if they happen.  I am just pointing out his attention is on this issue too.

          I think we have a coal mining crisis in this country and the damned oil spill is distracting us from that too.  We need to revisit all the Department of Interior mining and oil inspectors- and we need to do it now.  Daily Kos is right to pay attention to oil, but it is far from the only crisis.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:20:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Its in your headline (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            poxonyou

            But again, you are correct in that what is happening in Korea is extremely troubling and needs to be highlighted. So thanks for the diary.

            It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

            by Grassee on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:26:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  i think you're right about this (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bob Love, Pd, cappy, Quicklund

            A President who is not an engineer can do exactly nothing to help solve an engineering emergency that is underway: his or her role is in terms of setting policy to prevent future emergencies and assure accountability.

            However the President (and the VP and the Sec of State) are exactly the people who are required in the case of an international crisis: they are the ones with the authority to deal with it, and their tasks are urgent and operational.  Particularly when dealing with Korean issues, as DPRK/ROK is a well-known red hot flashpoint.

            Obama does not let secrets leak.  He's exceptionally good at keeping the secrets that need to be kept: as good as anyone with a TS/SCI clearance who's been through training on dealing with spies.  We will not be able to tell from the outside if he & the VP & SOS are wrapped up fulltime with the Korean crisis.  Instead it will look like business as usual until a decision is made about what to do.  

    •  because it's highly likely to be correct. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pd, cappy, Quicklund

      The Korean peninsula is considered one of the most dangerous flashpoints in the world, thanks to the nutcase regime in the North, which now is likely to have one or more usable nuclear weapons.  

      When that shit heats up, it's a first-class emergency that requires full attention.

      And unlike the Gulf Gusher, which is operationally being dealt with by engineers and suchlike, an emergency between DPRK and ROK requires the operational attention of the President, VP, and Secretary of State.  

      •  Plus it puts China in a precarious situation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        North Korea attacking South Korea would most likely bring about a U.S.-led response, and China is quite supportive economically and politically of North Korea.

        •  good point. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pd, cappy, neroden

          Though, the Chinese leadership are highly rational people who will not risk triggering WW3 over the excesses of a nutjob dictator who is an embarrassment to them in the first place.  

          More likely, China would utilize diplomatic pressure to obtain some kind of concessions or advantages on some other front, from the US and other parties supporting ROK in a war against DPRK.  

  •  I thought, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miriam, tnproud2b

    the President said that, for this job, one should be able to multi-task. I could have misunderstood though....

    "If you run with the Big Dogs, you cannot pee with the Puppies".

    by secret38b on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:10:19 AM PDT

    •  Since we are currently embroiled in two wars (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quicklund, catwho

      already, and the most dangerous territory in the world is the 38th parallel along the DMZ, I think Obama has his plate pretty full, plug the leak and clean up the gulf, win the war in Afghanistan, pull the troops out of Iraq by end of summer, fix the banks and the economy, fix the auto industry, fix health care, end gay discrimination in the military, stop the greenhouse gases from destroying the planet, end the decades long strife between Israel and the Palestinians, stop Iran from going nuke, chill the Thai government out, knock heads with China so they don't manipulate their currency and trade policies to run us out of business, get Kagan approved to sit on the bench, AND walk Bo everyday. I know I forgot about 100 other crises. I have enough trouble multitasking chewing gum and peeing at the same time.

      Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature...Einstein

      by tazz on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:58:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You said: (0+ / 0-)

        "I have enough trouble multitasking chewing gum and peeing at the same time."

        But presumably you don't plan to run for POTUS.

        OF COURSE a president has many areas to deal with. That's why he's supposed to have competent advisors and receive copious reports.  No one should aspire to the presidency without the ability to multi-task effectively.  I'd say it's a moral imperative.

        •  I was being tongue in cheek (0+ / 0-)

          The best thing Obama does is he does his job regardless of what we say or go apeshit about. That isn't easy when the world is now full of know-it-alls who have access to information 24x7, anytime, anywhere from every conceivable source. He isn't going to please everybody, and he doesn't have an S on his chest and wear a cape.

          Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature...Einstein

          by tazz on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:29:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sudies show no one multitasks effectively (0+ / 0-)

          Not even for something as simple as driving and talking on the phone. It's all well and nice to demand the POTUS posess superhuman powers, but in actuallity we humans have finite capabilities.

  •  The North Korean government (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, Snud, BachFan, OIL GUY

    is so unpredictable, so irrational, and so well armed that any outcome is possible. I have no idea how this will work out, but I do know that Obama has been presented with some impossible problems here.

    You don't bring a knife to a gunfight and you don't bring a chicken to the doctor.

    by beltane on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:12:33 AM PDT

  •  I think NK and China want South Korea and Taiwan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, ohmyheck

    The real question is not, "Will North Korea's saber rattling distract Obama from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill," but, "does the oil spill distract Obama from critical foreign relations and war planing tasks to the benefit of North Korea?"

    From my perspective, here's the situation:

    - North Korea has been testing the Taepodong 2 missile with a reported 10,000 kilometer strike radius. This map shows that the missile has the capacity to strike anywhere on the west coast of the United States, as well as along the upper reaches along the Canadian border on the east coast.

    - North Korea has been repeatedly testing fission based nuclear bombs. They almost certainly have working units ready to field. The only question is: Do they have a bomb ready to mount on the Taepodong 2?

    - China and North Korea are still close allies. They would both benefit tremendously if forward United States' forward bases in South Korea were removed.

    - WRT China holding US treasury debt as a deterrent to military action, I think that China recognizes that the US has been debasing its currency in order to pay back devalued dollars to its creditors. I don't think they much like funding our military adventures throughout the South East Asian seas and not even getting a financial return in the process.

    I don't think North Korea and China will declare war against the United States. I think their goal is deterrence. They wish to deter the United States from meeting its obligations to South Korea under the old '53 Armistice agreement.

    North Korea would then take, unify, and then plunder the South for its industrial capacity and technical know-how. China would step back and allow it all to happen, as they gain from the United States' military loss. When China thinks the United States is weak enough, then they will take Taiwan. And Japan will be left very much alone, surrounded by enemies and not too certain of the United States' willingness to defend Japan given this new situation.

    The goal is to oust the United States from South East Asian and nearby Pacific waters. They would use a combination of their newfound nuclear capacity along with the overbearing resource consumption from our overstretched military commitment to Iraq and Afghanistan, to distract and deter the United States from defending South Korea as a first step toward taking naval control of their local territorial waters. The oil leak is just additional luck for them.

    Most Americans regard North Korea as a puny enemy who regularly barks seeking crumbs. But they have a huge multi-million man army, thousands of artillery pieces pointed at Seoul, and nuclear weapons that could potentially strike cities throughout the United States. Wouldn't you call that a real deterrent?

    •  Formatting problem, repost (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv, Sharon Wraight, ohmyheck

      The real question is not, "Will North Korea's saber rattling distract Obama from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill," but, "does the oil spill distract Obama from critical foreign relations and war planing tasks to the benefit of North Korea?"

      From my perspective, here's the situation:

      • North Korea has been testing the Taepodong 2 missile with a reported 10,000 kilometer strike radius. This map shows that the missile has the capacity to strike anywhere on the west coast of the United States, as well as along the upper reaches along the Canadian border on the east coast.
      • North Korea has been repeatedly testing fission based nuclear bombs. They almost certainly have working units ready to field. The only question is: Do they have a bomb ready to mount on the Taepodong 2
      • China and North Korea are still close allies. They would both benefit tremendously if forward United States' forward bases in South Korea were removed.
      • WRT China holding US treasury debt as a deterrent to military action, I think that China recognizes that the US has been debasing its currency in order to pay back devalued dollars to its creditors. I don't think they much like funding our military adventures throughout the South East Asian seas and not even getting a financial return in the process.

      I don't think North Korea and China will declare war against the United States. I think their goal is deterrence. They wish to deter the United States from meeting its obligations to South Korea under the old '53 Armistice agreement.

      North Korea would then take, unify, and then plunder the South for its industrial capacity and technical know-how. China would step back and allow it all to happen, as they gain from the United States' military loss. When China thinks the United States is weak enough, then they will take Taiwan. And Japan will be left very much alone, surrounded by enemies and not too certain of the United States' willingness to defend Japan given this new situation.

      The goal is to oust the United States from South East Asian and nearby Pacific waters. They would use a combination of their newfound nuclear capacity along with the overbearing resource consumption from our overstretched military commitment to Iraq and Afghanistan, to distract and deter the United States from defending South Korea as a first step toward taking naval control of their local territorial waters. The oil leak is just additional luck for them.

      Most Americans regard North Korea as a puny enemy who regularly barks seeking crumbs. But they have a huge multi-million man army, thousands of artillery pieces pointed at Seoul, and nuclear weapons that could potentially strike cities throughout the United States. Wouldn't you call that a real deterrent?

      •  Make that up to 10,000 km-maybe, without payload (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, Trotskyrepublican

        From the article accompaning that map:

        The Taepodong-2 long-range missile is estimated to have a range of between 4,000km and 10,000km and, like the Taepodong-1, it requires a fixed launch site.
        The first launch of the missile, in July 2006, appeared to be a failure after it crashed within seconds of launch - according to US sources.
        If the missile was successfully launched, the increased power of the Taepodong-2 could put the UK, Australia, and even the US mid-west within range.
        However, it could only carry a small payload to its maximum range and is not thought to be particularly accurate.

        There is a hell of a lot of difference between 4K and 10k, quite apart from the payload and targetting issues. To jump from the above to say "the missile has the capacity to strike anywhere on the west coast of the United States" is ludicrous fearmongering. That the North Koreans could potentially launch a conventional artillery shell that would land somewhere in Oregon or California, but probably not, shouldn't deter anyone

        •  Neither you nor I know the actual range (0+ / 0-)

          Further, if the goal is deterrence North Korea need only be able to target one city within range of its weapon. How about Los Angeles? If not there, what about Honolulu?

          As for "Fear Mongering", is this your only rebuttal?

    •  your bleak prediction is one reason (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Trotskyrepublican

      I'm ready to leave Jp. Jp may turn out fine as I don't think the current DPRK or Chinese govt have much reason to wage an attack on them, except if a war broke out with the US actively involved. I imagine Jp wouldn't want to get involved, but the US does have bases stationed there in Okinawa and Kanagawa, though the Japanese people and many politicians want them out these days.

      I watched one report on this and they said the attack was to show the govt was still in control and strong despite its ailing leader. I hope that's all it is, but I imagine they have bigger plans than that. They see an opportunity as the western powers are weaker atm and they now possess nuclear technology. I'm uncertain how close an ally China and Russia truly are except perhaps they see North Korea as another means to strengthen their power against the west if they can rattle or push out the US.

      "I think we're an Oligarchy and I think it's getting worse." - Sen. Bernie Sanders

      by PoxOnYou on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:26:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Japan is dropping ties to NK.... (0+ / 0-)

        which is very resource rich and desired as a raw materials trading partner.

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:29:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I suspect you underestimate them (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, Quicklund, ohmyheck
        I suspect you underestimate the Japanese. Though they are constitutionally limited to a "self-defense" force, they still wield considerable military and economic power.

        I would not be surprised at all to find out they have high-tech weaponry we don't know about, including nuclear warheads. (I am well aware of the Japanese aversion to nukes due to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WW II. However, "What the public doesn't know won't hurt them," according to many military leaders...) They also have the advantage of a stretch of open ocean between themselves and North Korea, so they make a much more challenging target for anything other than missile/aerial assault.

        The Japanese also have a strong history of defending the Home Islands against all comers. If the NK started a shooting war (especially if they hit Japanese soil, say with an attack on the US bases), I think the Japanese public would do an immediate about-face and support the US presence fervently. It would be their only hope against NK and/or China. You might even see the ASEAN countries or the Aussies backing the US/Japanese/SK's.

        If war were to break out, we might see some very unusual alliances. I also don't think the US would let economics stand in the way of defending SK. The US might repudiate the debt to China as a tactic to damage their economy. China's economy would fall flat on its face overnight, in that case.

        "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." -7.75/-6.05

        by QuestionAuthority on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:07:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Taepodong 2 is the least of our concerns (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, Trotskyrepublican

      The USN keeps a modified AEGIS cruiser in the vicinity of NK. These ships have the modified SAM missile that is quite capable of blowing any hostile Taepodong launch out of the sky in the boost phase.

      Sorry I can't think of the system name ATM, but it is the same missile used to down that failed satelite a couple years back.

      •  I'm not so bullish on socalled "Missile Defense" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quicklund

        I would not want to risk a US city on the hope that AEGIS could stop even one target in its boost phase, never mind multiple simultaneous targets.  

        •  Well then, never fear (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden

          I would not want to risk a US city on the hope that AEGIS could stop even one target in its boost phase, never mind multiple simultaneous targets.  

          When you shoot down a missile in its boost phse, you shoot it down before the warheads separate into individual MIRVs/decoys.  That is the charm of boost-phase defenses.  Another is that missiles in the boost phase are notyet traveling their fastest and yet another is they give off a massive heat signature.  IOW, they are easy to target and intercept. The AEGIS system, unlike the land-based system in Alaska, has been very successful in tests.

          I would not want to risk a US city either but in the universe of threats NK has in its arsenal, I return to my point: The Taepodong 2 is the least of our concerns

          •  I understand how it's supposed to work (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden, Quicklund

            I just don't think it's as effective or as accurate as you seem to.

            Regardless, this is a minor point. For deterrence is not about just risk assessment per incident, but risk to catastrophic loss. It takes just even the low possibility of one successful nuclear hit to deter a military response. In this scenario, that's the goal.

            Were North Korea to actually launch, never mind strike a US city, it would mean all-out war. The North Koreans - and certainly the Chinese - do not want that. If it went nuclear, they - and everyone, including us - would lose.

            Of course, maybe my assessment is wrong. But at least it puts North Korea and Chinese leadership's actions on a rational 'grand chessboard' footing.  

          •  Quick question: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden, Quicklund

            I was under the impression that NK's nukes were not sufficiently miniaturized to fit on ICBMs. That they were more like 1950's style bomber-carried gravity bombs. Is that not the case?

            "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

            by McWaffle on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:48:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Completely implausible (0+ / 0-)

      China knows perfectly well that allowing the sclerotic and incompetent North Korean dictatorship to run South Korea would simply destroy South Korean productive capacity.  Their leaders have some understanding of industrial policy.

      I'd only believe this if China had a scheme for replacing the North Korean leadership.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:00:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Republic of Vietnam (0+ / 0-)

        The United States spent over a decade propping up its puppet state The Republic of Vietnam, through repeated corruption scandals and even an eye-popping military coup against its President. One could not fairly call that government "competent".

        Whether the Kim family are competent or incompetent leaders, they are absolutely in control. They are clients to China. Both North Korea and China have opportunities to gain by forcing the US military out of East Asian regional bases.

        As for South Korean productive capacity, why would either China or North Korea care as long as its under control as a US client state? Now taking that productive capacity for their own gain, they might care about that.

  •  29,000 US troops stationed in Korea n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, DerAmi

    "All politics is national."

    by Auriandra on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:14:45 AM PDT

    •  there are only so many hours in a day folks.... (6+ / 0-)

      everything that takes time matters.  I don't care what James Carville says, Obama is engaged.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:15:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wish I could rec more than once n/t (0+ / 0-)

        "All politics is national."

        by Auriandra on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:18:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Murray, your comments are not making sense (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poxonyou

        I rec'd this because it's a good diary on the Korean crisis, but why are you spending time talking about Obama? It's so utterly irrelevant to the topic at hand. Talk about Korea, not Obama, unless you have a specific idea of what the Admin should do to defuse the crisis.

        •  Uhhhh..... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nika7k

          I am concerned because Obama is our president.  I think he is trying to diffuse the crisis by sending Hillary Clinton to SK and China to get China to condemn NK aggression and support SK.  I think he will get the UN to start an economic blockade of NK.  I think Obama is taking a slow, cautious approach to NK and that is more likely to work, but he is strongly supporting SK and has put the military on alert, appropriately.  I think the response to the oil spill was also paced and cautious- it isn't always going to be the best approach.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:25:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The incident occurred in March (10+ / 0-)

    But the investigation and its conclusion that North Korea was at fault was not concluded until recently. There could have been any of a number of naval mishaps, particularly the possibility that the boat had been sunk by a forgotten Korean War era naval mine, so the rhetoric was not that hot.

    Now that South Korea has definitively fingered North Korea, the North Korean government is vigorously denying it, South Korea is appealing to the UN, North Korea is threatening military action, and this thing is really on the brink.

    I was stationed in South Korea for a 1 year tour at Kunsan AB from 2003-2004. My brother is in the Army and in Korea right now at a base much closer to the border. This is as bad as it's been since the early 90s, and there is a definite risk of all out war on the Korean peninsula. If that happens, it's quite possible that millions of people die.

    In short, it's a big fucking deal. It's the thorniest ball the President has had to juggle in a while.

    "I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough" -Eugene V Debs

    by jabbausaf on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:15:27 AM PDT

    •  everyone knew it was North Korea..... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, DerAmi

      in South Korea.  They have been fuming for months.  That is my personal connection speaking.  They are keeping a lid on it, but now that they have evidence they want some action.  And I am afraid without action, NK will escalate.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:17:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They quickly found pieces.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        of the torpedo.

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:26:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  briefing slides from South Korea..... (0+ / 0-)

          showing evidence of torpedos

          http://mnd-policy.tistory.com/...

          Tedt of the report (a pdf document in English).  http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/...

          These are citations from arms control wonk blog.  They state:

          The nature of the event now appears beyond serious dispute, so the debate has moved to the realm of politics and intentions. Ruediger Frank of the University of Vienna has a piece at 38 North speculating that someone high up in the North Korean military hierarchy may have been responsible, rather than Kim Jong Il. But I’m afraid that I don’t quite follow his reasoning.

          On the other side of the ledger, tomorrow’s New York Times features an article by David Sanger on the question of culpability, pointing directly to the top:  

             link

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:13:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  does the US have an obligation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    condorcet, catwho

    to attack N. Korea if it attacks S. Korea?

    how far could this go?

    You're watching Fox News. OH MY GOD--LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU

    by rexymeteorite on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:23:48 AM PDT

  •  do you really think (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bnasley, GlowNZ

    N. Korea will go to war ( even with surreptitious help from China )

    they want something so they got hostile which is what N. Korea does but this time they killed 46 military and sunk a ship which is an act of war; N. Korea must REALLY want something big this time

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's revised budget literally gives away billions in secret corporate tax breaks and loopholes. http://tinyurl.com/3x4b8ew

    by anyname on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:24:49 AM PDT

  •  I never believed these distraction arguments. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, GlowNZ

    Presidents who aren't idiots have enough time in their day to handle two different things.  Maybe even three.

    This machine makes fascists feel bad. (Meteor Blades-approved version)

    by Rich in PA on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:25:30 AM PDT

  •  The DPRK has ALWAYS been on the brink of war (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden

    Or at least they've always acted that way and have always wanted to be perceived that way. This is a society that is held together by the regime constantly holding the shadow of an imaginary overwhelming foreign military threat over the people. At the same time, the regime's approach to foreign relations has been that of hostage takers, with the hostages being the people of the region (including of course its own citizens) and the global economy: co-operate with us or we blow up the region. And the truth is they're not going to go over the edge and pull the trigger unless they face the imminent internal collapse of their regime. The question is, are there any indications that that may be happening now? I haven't seen any.  

    If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)

    by brainwave on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:26:49 AM PDT

  •  From the diary AND the comments from diarist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv

    I can't tell if this is a please pay attention to SK plea or a defend Obama diary.

    I have two friends teaching english in SK.
    Both of them renewed their contracts for next year within the last few weeks. I've emailed them both looking for their input but haven't heard back yet.

    Education is too big to fail. Truth is too big to fail. Justice is too big to fail. Peace is too big to fail.

    by Burned on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:28:21 AM PDT

  •  I don't worry that much about a Korean War (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA Pol Junkie, wu ming, weasel, GlowNZ

    The North Korean leadership doesn't want to die and they know they'd die within minutes of the start of actual war.  If Kim ever gave the order--and I don't think he would, because he wants to live too--the people around him would shoot him.

    This machine makes fascists feel bad. (Meteor Blades-approved version)

    by Rich in PA on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:28:33 AM PDT

  •  No war is going to happen. (5+ / 0-)

    Everyone has too much to lose if it does and its not fucking distracting him from the spill.  

    http://protestarizona.com

    by GlowNZ on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:34:51 AM PDT

    •  Too much to lose for everyone. (0+ / 0-)

      That is very true. GlowNZ, Kim jong-Il is a seriously sick and deluded dictator who might very well not know that. I have to wonder if you read this diary all the way to the end. This is indeed a serious situation, for the entire world. It may not be 'distracting' Obama from the gusherf*ck in the Gulf, but you can bet he is exerting energy on this, too.

      There is no more important struggle for American democracy than ensuring a diverse, independent and free media. - Bill Moyers

      by StepLeftStepForward on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:53:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have inlaws in Japan (5+ / 0-)

    and have been following the story. The situation is very serious. Ultimately, I think CHINA should take the lead in responding, as they are the North's benefactors in the first place. I'm afraid they may be the only ones that can really do anything short of conflict at this point...

    •  the television in SK.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Trotskyrepublican

      has canceled all comedy shows for a month.  The funeral and investigation has round the clock coverage on television.  The funerals were attended by the president who met with each family and openly wept.  This is a really strong response compared with other crazy NK attacks.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:04:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mad dog shock-collar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv

    If this does come to an all out shooting war (Heaven help them, and us) then there should be no returning back to the status quo thereafter. The totalitarian regime in NK should be completely destroyed in such an eventuality, and NK set on a fresh path. A second Korean war, followed by another sixty year standoff, following yet a third war on that peninsula should not be an option.

    Of course, there are all sorts of scenarios whereby such a war could expand to involve other powers in the region i.e., Japan and China. Makes one wonder why the Chinese aren't pressing the button on KJI's mad dog shock-collar.

    •  I just really don't see the NK people (0+ / 0-)

      who are really just Korean people, putting up too much of a fight once they realize the DPRK regime will be toppled. Doubtful we'd see decades of insurgency, etc.

      •  What about the military? (0+ / 0-)

        I dunno. I'm not so sure that NK military wouldn't zealously follow KJI's leading that peninsula in to total oblivion.  

      •  they will welcome us as liberators, with flowers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        miriam

        what's your evidence as to how north koreans understand their nationality, or their views on being taken over by the south koreans or americans?

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:06:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Stop. I'm not advocating for a unilateral neocon (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          murrayewv, neroden

          takeover, at all.

          And if you think that the South Koreans would be seen as alien-cultured foreigners in the defeated North, you just really don't know much about the Koreas.

          •  SK/NK is interesting..... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            neroden

            my colleague (who is young) views them as very strange and irrational.  Older SK I know viewed them more sympathetically.  I think SK doesn't want to carry NK the way West Germany did East Germany.

            Not sure about Generals- they may crave the succession of power and fear being executed for crimes against humanity.

            You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

            by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:13:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  it has been 65 years since there was a unified (5+ / 0-)

            korea (and even then there was huge dislocation and regional division, given the resistance against the japanese and chaos of the war). for at least 5 decades, they have been more or less completely shut off from one another, and their entire worldview, contemporary culture, political culture, personal experience, international contacts, etc have been radically different. they are notably different heights now, especially for those born after the 70s. north koreans in their 30s are very short, while i had trouble seeing over college-aged south koreans when i was in seoul in the 90s. south korea is a thriving, wired, consumerist society, as flashy as any in east asia; north korea is desperately poor, isolated, and organized in a manner that even chinese today find utterly bizarre (although their grandparents might have recognized elements of it). their dialects have changed, their culture has changed, and they've both been raised to think of the others as the enemy, younger generations of south koreans less so (although they also tend to see north koreans more as foreigners and less as compatriots, in stark contrast to their elders).

            if north korea was overrun (liberated, we'd call it, but that'd not how it would be seen by those on the business ends of rifles) by south korea, the cultural/political/worldview gulf would be so stark as to make the whole integration of east germany look like child's play.

            surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

            by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:23:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That confirms my impression.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wu ming

              thanks.

              You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

              by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:28:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  north koreans are notorious hard to talk with (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                murrayewv, neroden, Red Bean

                we saw the NK women's volleyball team in beijing, when i was studying there, but they were always under NK  govt escort, so all we could do is shout out anyong haseo! at them and wave. a friend who had run into some studying in china in the early 90s actually got to talk to some NK students (best quote, "when we study in china, we don't eat too much, so that our stomachs don't stretch out so we don't feel so hungry when we go back home"), but by the late 90s, things were already so freaking tense we never had a chance.

                stupid world.

                surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

                by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:33:46 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Wow, those are amazing. nt (3+ / 0-)

      There is no more important struggle for American democracy than ensuring a diverse, independent and free media. - Bill Moyers

      by StepLeftStepForward on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:01:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  thanks for these thoughtful links....n/t (3+ / 0-)

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:01:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        murrayewv, ArthurPoet

        it weren't true.

        The whole time since the New York attacks when the slimelight was on the middle east, the lie of it all laid apparent to us as we watched North Korea.

        Hubby was in Nam and one thing next to no one in the US seems to realize is that Nam was effectually a proxy war between China and the US, the former who "outsourced" ROCS (the North Korean army) to do the worst of the fighting.  Hubby reports there are no fighters like them, every soldier's nightmare, so furious that one man can knock his way through a concrete wall.  No one wants to meet them on the battlefield.  When they took ROCs as POWs, the things they had to say belied a culture saturated with longing for bloodshed.  Pure war, some 90% of their economy is military.  There's no other job there.  The US has been kept in the deep dark about what it faces with that nation.

        •  That vid and article (w/posters) are seriously... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stonemason

          ... disturbing. The psyche within those eyes at the parade, and the psy-ops behind those posters, oh boy, these are a people whose consciousness is frozen 60 years ago. Their leader, that regime, has kept them isolated. Disturbing in the extreme. When I watch that Vid, and see the eyes of their leader, I see the ego/attitude/spirit of a man who thinks his power is absolute, which is echoed when you listen to the chanting rhetoric of their song, wherein they are claiming his magnificence, his power, and their army's "invincibility." This represents the mentality of a feudal era, an age when "might was right" ... this (their leader) is a man who respects and listens to one and only one thing, power. I have trained (in Martial Arts) with Koreans, several times, over the years, and as much as they like to posture themselves as fierce, and they are, no doubt, in some ways, but does everyone remember what happened in those first few UFC HBO/PAY-PER-VIEW events, back 15 or so years ago ... they were destroyed by the Gracie Ju-Jutsu grappling arts (which are actually originally of a Japanese Samurai Warrior tradition/roots), handily, I might hand, and the flashy Taekwondo kicks that are oh so very neat to see on TV, proved inferior, so much so, that an entire new industry standard of Martial Art was born ... MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), which had, as one of its core components, the grappling arts. Now, to be clear, to appreciate my own perspective, I have trained in Taekwondo, and in the grappling arts, starting over 30+ years ago, so I do not mean to disparage any Taekwondo students, with this comment, I am merely making an observation, to reveal something about the Korean psyche, from a historical study of their most prominent Martial Art, an art that came to prominence in South Korea due to one man's effort: General Choi who basically, once released from Japanese prison, prescribed Taekwondo to his troops:

          Choi Hong Hi (9 November 1918 – 15 June 2002), also known as General Choi, was a South Korean army general and martial artist who is a controversial figure in the history of the Korean martial art of taekwondo.[1] Choi is widely regarded as the 'Founder of Taekwondo'—most often by International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) organizations.

          (Note: Some people do doubt his role, but I reject those claims of doubts as merely the ego of the Koreans who do not want to admit their true past, which brings me back to the Japanese.)

          Yeah, as fierce as the Koreans like to posture themselves, their psyche, even today, remembers having been conquered and subjugated by the Japanese, and they will never forget that. Heck, there are many still alive today in Korea who lived during the Japanese subjugation. They have never moved on from that era and as "brave" as they might like to claim to be, today, they are still afraid of the Japanese, they are still fighting a generations old war of being conquered by the Japanese, (remember those rocket "tests" they sent over/near Japan, lol, yeah, their leader was trying to tell his people that, "look, we are more powerful than the Japanese, today") and THAT is the "pyche of fear" that their leader is using to control that people. Fear.

          From one thing, know ten thousand.
          -- Japanese Warrior Proverb --

          ~we study the old to understand the new~from one thing know ten thousand~to see things truly one must see what is in the light and what lies hidden in shadow~

          by ArthurPoet on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:36:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  ROCS? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stonemason, ArthurPoet

          There is some confusion here.

          There certainly were ROKs in Vietnam, and they certainly were tough fighters, but they were from SOUTH Korea (Republic of Korea) and were essentially Nixon's mercenaries (the South Koreans called it 'Mr Nixon's War'). My brother was a crew chief on a Medevac helicopter supporting the S. Koreans and has some amazing stories of his own.

          A little Googling shows that N. Korea sent some troops to Vietnam with references to pilots, some artillery crews, and tunnel experts
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/...
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

          But I see no reference to N. Korean ground forces in Vietnam or any indication that their Army was ever referred to as 'ROCS'. On the other hand the South Korean Army has always formally and informally referred to as the ROK and its troops ROKs,
          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          •  wrote it wrong (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ArthurPoet

            The North Koreans were there fighting with north Viet Nam (sorry for writing ROCs).  Maybe that was not mentioned in the news?  They were the hirelings of the Chinese, and were the most fierce fighters of any.

            Don't know about media gaps not mentioning North Koreans, but guarantee you hubby is not mistaken.  Was 11 Bravo, point man, sure did interview them face to face.

            Too bad he's a man of few words.  I don't do justice to his experience.  But he's finally opened up and told me about these people after some 40 years of speaking to no one about it.  Really, no one wants to meet them on a battlefield.

        •  one other thought ... (0+ / 0-)

          Kim Jong-il is running scared, and being the frightened dictator that he is, probably seeing his power base slip from him, is making irrational decisions ... erratic desperate decisions ... thinking (well, hoping really, and trying to convince himself) that his opponents are as afraid of him, as his citizens are ... even though he knows they are not ... but the thing is, if he does not demonstrate to his underlings that he is the leader of strength, they themselves will remove him and replace him with someone who is strong enough to stand up to South Korea, and to the rest of the western world ... hmmm ...

          ~we study the old to understand the new~from one thing know ten thousand~to see things truly one must see what is in the light and what lies hidden in shadow~

          by ArthurPoet on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:25:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  not ROCs, should have written North Koreans n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  While this could escalate, my sense is that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund, Boisepoet

    it won't.

    Kim Jong Il, while crazy, isn't stupid.  His main concern is staying in power.  While he has the capability of turning South Korea into a smoldering ruin, doing so would utlimately lead to his own dimise, and he knows it.

    I think he is posturing and saber rattling to manipulate the international community, as we have seen many times before.

    Just MHO.

    "Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." - Albert Schweitzer

    by Apost8 on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:00:55 AM PDT

  •  For those of you (3+ / 0-)

    who are interested, Diane Rehm(NPR) will lead a discussion starting about now on the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

  •  it's also worth pointing out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catnip, murrayewv

    that south korea has important local elections coming up, which are being portrayed as a referendum on the right wing party's leadership over the past 2 years, given that the current right-wing ruling party president lee myung-bak has run for several years on building up the military and taking a more aggressive stance vs. north korea. so while the gravity of the incident is very very real, and while the sinking of a sub by north korea (if that is what in fact happened and if it was intentional) is a huge mess and a threat to the uneasy peace, it is worth keeping in mind that how some korean news agencies cover the whole situation, and how the south korean government describes it in quotes for the american press may have an element of domestic political pot-stirring as well.

    china has also been meeting with the south korean democratic party of late, and korean public opinion on what to do is by no means unified here. american media invariably quotes the korean right when reporting, both when the right-wing parties are in power and when they're in the opposition.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:04:30 AM PDT

  •  I'm personally holding judgment on N Korea (0+ / 0-)

    until more facts are in.  There are global geopolitical games being played here and there are other possible sources for this incident.  Don't believe the MSM on this one.

    "I will no longer be labeled, except as a human being."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:05:54 AM PDT

  •  I don't think it's distracting him (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv

    This is a president that is quite adept at multi-tasking, in my opinion. But is it preoccupying him? Most definitely.

    I admit I lack expertise to judge, but on the face of it, I'm unconvinced that the North Korean regime is fully rational. So far, they've gotten away with acts of terrorism and kidnapping for decades, much like Pakistan has gotten away with acts of terrorism against India, because South Korea (and India) are rational and realize that an all-out war would devastate them. But if the North Korean regime really decides to launch an all-out war, I think the best we can hope for is that China (and Russia) do(es) not support them, and make(s) that clear publicly.

  •  Is the Second Half of the Headline a Joke? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    condorcet, sherijr

    I'm not kidding.  Are you joking?

  •  Obama can walk and chew gum at the same time. (6+ / 0-)

    In this case "Walk" meaning possible Nuclear War in the Korean Peninsula, and "Chew Gum" meaning biggest oil spill in human history threatening the entire southern coast of the lower 48.

  •  He can walk and chew gum. nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, environmentalist

    Am I cynical? Yes I am! - Bob the Builder's lesser known brother Pete the Politician

    by Ezekial 23 20 on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:19:20 AM PDT

  •  The DPRK won't start a war. (3+ / 0-)

    what's going on is an internal political battle
    within the Kim Family.

    Kim Jong Il is getting sick,  his kids are fighting
    over control,  so, they are putting up shows of force
    with each other.

    "You think you are bad ass, I torpedo ROK navy, I am more crazy then you are, Sonny".

    Now if fighting breaks out it will unify them.

    If we leave them alone, turn up the economic sanctions,
    maybe they will continue to tear each other apart.

    The real problem is the ROK doesn't want to take over a demolished north korea.

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:22:28 AM PDT

  •  This is very very serious (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, Mistral Wind

    It's possible that the Oil Spill is just the second priority in the WH right now. Incredible isn't it ??

    Thank God the President, with Hillary and others, have worked so hard to reestablish relations with Russia and China in the last sixteen months. It doesn't garantee anything but it can help, no doubt.

  •  Saw an interview (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, murrayewv, Quicklund

    with Jim Webb yesterday on this topic. He is going to Korea today. He was not happy with the whole situation,from North Korea's belligerance,to China's non-cooperation,to the administrations ''soft'' approach to this crisis.

    He really pointed the finger at China for being so unhelpful,making it all much worse.

    Fuck Carville and Matthews. The President is taking care of business on all fronts as well as humanly possible,anyway.

    What is the bigger rubic's cube..plugging the damn hole,the inside of Crazy Kim's head,or how Carville gets into bed with Cheney Matlin every nite?

  •  Very insightful diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv

    I had no idea the situation was so dire between N & S Korea.  You pulled together these incidents in a way that illustrates tensions far better than any other "news" I've seen or read on this.  It's interesting that the corporate media isn't covering this more, I know they can't do more than one story at a time but this has got shit blowing up, nukes, and an evil dictator!  

    Now I feel like I've been too harsh on Obama lately.  Dealing with a nuclear madman seems like a reasonable excuse for being a bit out of it on the GOM.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:29:54 AM PDT

  •  Most haunting picture I have ever seen, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rimjob, murrayewv

    I viewed in this very blog. It was smuggled out of N. Korea in the 90s, and showed an aerial view of dry, scrubby terrain with many hundreds of tiny mounds. Looked like hives. It was not definitely known what the mounds were, but one speculation was graves.

    In N. Korea, in the 90s, it is believed that 2 million people starved. Let that rewind a moment: an industrialized country, with traffic signals and cell phones, and 2 million people are believed to have perished from lack of food. The famine, supposedly, resulted from the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Kim Jong Il is one of the last of the old-school commie dictators. I'll be glad when he's gone.

  •  essential facts missing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden

    or lost by me.

    I admit I haven't been following the news on the situation.

    Where was the S. Korean ship when sunk? International waters or NK?

    Where would the future incidents occur?

    I mean, if S. Korean ships keep "straying" in NK waters no wonder incidents will happen.

    "It takes two to lie. One to lie, one to hear it." Homer Simpson

    by Euroliberal on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:34:05 AM PDT

  •  The ball is in South Korea's court (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love

    War involving North Korea would be bloody but brief.  South Korea would face far more destruction than we would, however, so they must weigh the risk of war to decide what actions to take.

    You have the power to change America. Yes We Can. Yes We Did. Yes We Will.

    by CA Pol Junkie on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:34:59 AM PDT

    •  Even if South Korea could win the war... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv, neroden

      ...they'd be bankrupt in 3 years from converting the North out of the stone age, and by fulfilling the needs of millions of North Korean peasants unable to deal with suddenly being thrust into the 21st century.  Kind of like what Germany went through when they joined back up after the wall fell.

      The next generation of young North Koreans will do fine though.

  •  And all the while ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, murrayewv

    ... most of our allies in that region, most especially nations like Japan, wonder why the U.S. is not doing something about this, not sure what we should do, or what they expect us to do, or what needs to be done, but as the "big-brother" ally, I am sure that something must be done by us ... something prudent, wise and brilliant, I hope.

    Hmmm ....

    ... a nuclear power has aggressively attacked their major military rival, killing and injuring dozens and now it is escalating.  Hillary Clinton is speaking out as are American military personnel. She is visiting China this week and is trying to get them to commit to condemning this action. link. Russia is peeved not to be asked to send scientists to the investigation committee and is wanting to be 100% convinced of the North Korean torpedo attack before taking specific action against North Korea. link. Japan has cut off all ties with North Korea and there is a move to have the United Nations investigate and condemn North Korea's actions.

    ~we study the old to understand the new~from one thing know ten thousand~to see things truly one must see what is in the light and what lies hidden in shadow~

    by ArthurPoet on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:38:38 AM PDT

  •  My problem with Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Boisepoet

    has a lot less to do with how he's handling this oil spill and more to do with the idiocy of expanding off shore drilling rights a week before the disaster happened. Every time he capitulates to the Republicans he ends up looking stupid and gets nothing in return for it. This week he lambastes the Republicans for their obstructionism and then 2 hours later he announced he's sending 1.200 National Guard troops to the border. Given how little authority National Guard troops have, he might as well have sent 1,200 Brownie troops. Once again, he adopted a Republican position, and once again he looks stupid.

    The Tea Party: Want to take our country back. Sane Americans: Want to take our country forward.

    by jhecht on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:41:32 AM PDT

  •  The war never ended (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, irishwitch, Quicklund

    For the North Koreans, only went on an indefinite hiatus.

    "My father carries around the picture of the kid who came with his wallet." - Rodney Dangerfield

    by Moon Mop on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:44:02 AM PDT

  •  The USA is Not the World's Police Force (0+ / 0-)

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not against using US resources and asking US soldiers to protect citizens of an allied nation while liberating citizens of an oppressive nation, but why is it ALWAYS the US that has to take the lead?  Why should the US have to convince China to protect South Korean citizens from nuclear distruction?  Wouldn't they REALLY want to avoid a nuclear war only hundreds of miles from their borders?  Shouldn't it be China trying to convince the US to intervene diplomatically, not the other way around?

    As much as I respect Secretary Clinton, it seems to me that the administration is actively trying to appear as the world leader on this issue... like being the world's protector will help win votes for President Obama in 2012.  Here's news for you Mr. President:  The right wing will spin this impending war to hurt you politically.

    My opinion on the correct stance is this... the US agrees with the international communities assesment that North Korea committed a hostile act upon a South Korean military vessel without provocation.  The US is prepared to join the international community's efforts in preserving the welfare of South Korea's citizens and their right to sovereignty.

  •  My theory on North/South Korea Crises (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, murrayewv, neroden, Quicklund

    I do business with the south korean DOD here in DC.  I don't think the South Korean Armed forces expected or anticipated this sort of dangerous escalation with the North.  

    Of couse one really has to ask why on earth would North Korea torpedo a south korean ship?  My explanation is that North Korea using the crises to deal with an internal threat.  Think about what happened here in the US when Gdub and Chaney banged with war and fear drums:  it mobilized unquestioned support for the government.  

    A good segment of the population of North Korea know just how bad their situation is in their country; they know how corrupt and crazy their dear leader is.  They have been questioning the authority of teh government (especially suggestive in the currency crises that occurred earlier this year).  What is the government to do?  How about torpedo a south korean ship under the guise of protecting their sovereign waters/teritory.  Then bang the war drums and make everybody fear attack.  Anybody who is not "patriotic" simply gets killed for treason. Problem with internal dissent/questioning solved.  I wouldn't be surprised if north korea also tries to introduce the son of Kim Jong Il as the new military hero to help with the succession crises.  

    Note:  this is my personal theory; and in no way represents any views that i know of in the South Korean government.        

  •  Stay out of the Neutral Zone would be a good (0+ / 0-)

    start. Did the ship stray into North Korean waters or was it being provocative...I don't know. Does anybody know?

    "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, US AG

    by Mr SeeMore on Thu May 27, 2010 at 07:58:03 AM PDT

  •  If this is not handeld well we will have war (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch

    In fact a state of war may already exist. I am intested to see if NK retaliates  at all escelating the issue. They must know we could slag them to oblivion. I hope war can be avoided. or say hello draft.

  •  I'm pretty sure both I and President Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, in2mixin

    can keep multiple things in mind at once.

    The media can't, though, so that'll be fun.

    "Does this matter? It matters to the extent that ideas matter, and in the long run they do." Brian Barry, Culture & Equality

    by Niky Ring on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:00:56 AM PDT

  •  Of course we should pay attention (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, in2mixin

    As Joe Biden would say, this is a big fuckin' deal.  I understand why the oil spill has been such a huge story, but it's entirely possible that war will break out & the American public will be completely surprised, thanks to no reporting from the MSM.  

    "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum."

    by mark louis on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:01:02 AM PDT

  •  The Korean crisis is indeed a critical focus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, irishwitch

    for the president.  However, he must be able to crew gum and walk at the same time.  Do you remember during the campaign and during the health care debate that R's said let's wait and deal with things linearly and progressives (and the Obama campaign) said we don't have the luxury of doing that.  We have to have the capacity to deal with multiple complex issues simultaneously.  That is what the president has to be doing and I submit he hasn't been juggling the Deepwater Horizon ball very well.  He needs to step up his game and I think in the past 24 hours he has due to the PRESSURE environmentalists and progressives have put on the administration.

    As I noted in diaries earlier in the week here and here the president has to step up his game.

    No quarter. No surrender.

    by hegemony57 on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:03:17 AM PDT

    •  we should be concerned most about.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hegemony57

      permits for additional drilling and enforcement of rules for those currently drilling.  I am encouraged by firing the MMS director- step in the right direction.  And apparently Malia is nagging Obama too.

      <iframe src="http://videos.mediaite.com/embed/player/?layout=&playlist_cid=&media_type=video&content=RXZGNN35TQMFGB5J&widget_type_cid=svp" width="420" height="421" frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe>

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 04:47:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very insightful diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, Ky DEM, Quicklund

    I had no idea the situation was so dire between N & S Korea.  You pulled together these incidents in a way that illustrates tensions far better than any other "news" I've seen or read on this.  It's interesting that the corporate media isn't covering this more, I know they can't do more than one story at a time but this has got shit blowing up, nukes, and an evil dictator!  

    Now I feel like I've been too harsh on Obama lately.  Dealing with a nuclear madman seems like a reasonable excuse for being a bit out of it on the GOM.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:03:31 AM PDT

  •  agreed, and good catch. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, irishwitch, Ky DEM, Quicklund

    The Gulf Gusher has to be dealt with operationally by engineers and such.  It doesn't require any hands-on by the President, nor does a President have the specialized knowledge to have meaningful input to an engineering emergency.

    (Jimmy Carter visiting TMI was a counterexample: he was a nuclear engineer in the Navy so he did have the specialized knowledge to make it worthwhile to go to the site when that was occurring.)

    A crisis in one of the world's hottest military flashpoints requires the operational attention of the President, VP, and Secretary of State.  No one else can substitute for them on that.  

    This makes complete sense.  

  •  North Korea is a brutal, corrupt regime (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, yg17, BrighidG

    that uses famine to control its people, much like Stalin did to the Ukraine in the 1930's.  I'm not so sure how the North Korean Army will fight.  I think the South Koreans will be welcomed as liberators.

    "We piddle, twiddle and resolve; nothing's ever solved" the musical 1776

    by RockyLabor on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:18:27 AM PDT

    •  Agreed on the last point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RockyLabor

      I think the difference between an invasion of NK vs an invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan is that the NK people wouldn't put up much of a fight. North Koreans are the most opressed people in the world. They've been taught their entire life that Kim Jong Il makes sunshine and farts rainbows. I think if they found out that everything they learned was one big lie they'd be welcoming of whoever came in. Iraqis and Afghanis were by no means free, but even they didn't have it as bad as North Koreans. Plus, there wouldn't be the religious element in NK that there is in the middle east.

      Economics: The science of explaining tomorrow why the predictions you made yesterday didn't come true today

      by yg17 on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:36:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Recc'd And Tipped. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, Quicklund

    This news, which has been given a passing glance by the MSM, quite possibly has the ingredients of epic disaster. It seems no one much is paying attention.

  •  Make it three... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, Ky DEM, Quicklund

    Not to toot my own horn, but I did contribute a small diary on this subject on Tuesday. The situation is very serious and grave and needs attention focused on it, but our corporate media can only focus on either one sensational story (oil slicks) or puff pieces (American Idol, Lindsey Lohan) at a time.

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kalmoth, murrayewv, irishwitch

    other immediate crises

    What a concept.  There is more than one crisis at a time to demand The President's attention.

    Thanks for pointing out that very obvious fact, which most seem to willfully ignore.

    Master's degreed tri-lingual professional looking for work. Email in profile.

    by pvlb on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:36:52 AM PDT

  •  Umm you have to handle multiple crises (0+ / 0-)

    all the time. It's a big country

    I have to admit, two other countries fighting doesn't worry me nearly as much as our country being under attack by BP.

    President Obama is the best moderate Republican president in my lifetime. kasandra.us

    by KS Rose on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:42:41 AM PDT

  •  I should hope not (0+ / 0-)

    Because, if the North Korea situation is that critical, then why, on earth, is the President is running around to fundraisers?

    Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne. - James Russell Lowell

    by Deep Harm on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:53:56 AM PDT

    •  You are listening to Morning Joe.... (0+ / 0-)

      without the grain of salt.  

      I love Barbara Boxer and she is running behind Fiorina.  I want Obama to raise money for her and anyone else who asks for it who is semi reasonable.  I am not too sure about Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln but hey, its a big freaking tent.

      They mentioned NK in passing and then went all Sestek and Obama sux.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:08:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Never tune in to Morning Joe (0+ / 0-)

        To me, it's just common sense that a situation as you described, where a nuclear exchange may be possible, is more important than a political fundraiser that could be re-scheduled.

        Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne. - James Russell Lowell

        by Deep Harm on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:21:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not as sure..... (0+ / 0-)

          there are primary and post-primary deadlines and there may be a need to build momentum.  Barbara Boxer deserves our support for all her efforts.  She is much more progressive than most Senators.

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 04:51:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A fight with North Korea. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, irishwitch

    Nobody wants that, but at least I can support that with a clear conscience. We won't be the aggressors there.

    The Raptor of Spain: A Webserial
    From Muslim Prince to Christian King (Updated Nov. 24)

    by MNPundit on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:04:02 AM PDT

  •  Very good diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv

    Excellent blend of personal observations, first-hand accounts, and news stories. Usually we just get news stories.

  •  No. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    in2mixin

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:17:47 AM PDT

  •  I'm no fan of North Korea...but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SnyperKitty, NYFM

    has anyone seen the proof for this statement?

    On March 26, North Korea sent a torpedo from a submarine and blew up a South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, near Baengnyeong Island in Yellow Sea.

    •  well there were 58 living witnesses..... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYFM, neroden, irishwitch, MGross

      who might know if a torpedo were involved.

      In addition, pieces of torpedo were obtained from the sea floor.  The Russians are independently investigating the evidence.  http://www.arirang.co.kr/...

      He and the co-leader of the investigation, Yoon Duck-yong, a retired professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, offered a raft of detail on the attack.

      The submarine that launched the torpedo belonged to the Yeono class, 130 tons, a tiny submersible that is basically "an underwater weapon system," said the report. North Korea has 10 of these "midget submarines" that are capable of entering South Korea’s coastal waters undetected, in addition to 20 1,800-ton Romeo class submarines and 40 300-ton Sango submarines.

      A South Korean dredging vessel pulled up the pieces of the torpedo just five days ago, after a meticulous search over a 500-square-yard area. That discovery, defense officials say, sealed their case against North Korea.

      The investigation report described how "a strong underwater explosion generated by the detonation" of the torpedo below the gas turbine room of the vessel sent off a "a shock wave and bubble effect." All of the sailors who died were killed by the shockwave, it said, while 58 sailors on the larger portion of the vessel were able to escape.

      Christian Science Monitor  They also have a picture of the scientist standing next to the reassembled torpedo.  Looks pretty convincing to me.  My colleague told me they were waiting in SK for very strong evidence because they knew people would be sceptical.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:05:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  other evidence..... (0+ / 0-)

        these little subs carried this type of torpedo, which had Korean language marks.  The ship exploded like an external force was applied not internal.  The South Korean munitions on board were recovered intact- not likely in an internal explosion.  More on the recovery of the two halves of the ship here.

        http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/...

        http://app.yonhapnews.co.kr/...

        HEre is is map indicating the attack was to the South Korean side of the island.  My Korean isn't existant, but another blogger says that this story is similar to the BBC News map here.

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:01:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hooray, a third war! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch

    Dick Cheney is rubbing his nub over this.

    Bush killed New Orleans. Obama killed the Gulf of Mexico.

    by The Dead Man on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:37:34 AM PDT

  •  pretty good diary but silly premise (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, environmentalist

    to suggest that Obama and his administration is not capable of handling multiple situations is just concern trolling in my opinion.  

    If your comment is mean, I might have Sarah Palin sue you.

    by in2mixin on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:39:47 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, irishwitch

    Yes, this issue has flown under the radar here and throughout US media.

    But it's no doubt top of the Administration's list. I'm very glad to have Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State right now.

  •  I've Been There Before (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cskendrick, NYFM, murrayewv, blueoregon

    I was on a plane on the runway of the Seoul airport, headed back to NYC, one morning back in 1994. Reading the International Herald Tribune that had been printed a couple hours earlier, I read that high level border crisis negotiations had broken down "late last night", just as the IHT edition was going to press. When I read the quote from the North Korean negotiator literally screaming and running from the conference room screeching "WE WILL MAKE SEOUL A SEA OF FIRE!!!", I did the math and realized the N Koreans were probably just landing in Pyongyang as I turned the pages.

    Never has a wait to take off seemed so long, and I once spent 4 hours in the August sun on El Al's Jerusalem tarmac.

    The Korean conflict is fluid, and the basics have escalated as N Korea grows crazier, more desperate, and more nuclear, while S Korea grows more desperate and the US loses standing as a negotiator or guarantor of anything. But the Korean conflict is probably the highest stakes game in all geopolitics. And Bill Clinton managed it OK for 8 years. I expect Hillary Clinton and the State Department have it under control, especially with Obama's cool head in charge.

    N Korea is looking for an excuse to massively attack S Korea, or anyone else. That sign of instability is usually an opportunity for skilled diplomats to make a change towards a more stable state, out of the old rut.

    Until I see evidence that the US has lost its grip on the Korean strategy that keeps it from blowing up, I'll remain just as cautiously confident as I've been since 1994.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:56:07 AM PDT

  •  reports vary, but the u.s. has approx. (4+ / 0-)

    30,000 american military personnel stationed in south korea.  from linguists to many others, we are there - and this is a very big problem AND distraction for president obama, i am sure!

    should korea launch a direct attack on the american troops, we would be put in a very difficult position - attacking north korea or retaliating against a government run by a lunatic who has nuclear weapons is not the same as bullying saddam hussein.

    bush and his minion who wrote n.korea into the "axis of evil" because the idiots needed a non-muslim nation to include had NO idea what the opening of that pandora's box would unleash.

    george w. bush, the "gift" that just keeps on "giving".

    we are in a whole world of hurt here if things go south (like war).  

    what a mess, what a HUGE mess!  (ONCE again, left to the democrats to clean up after the stupidity of the republicans...)

    NOTE: i will no longer engage in non-productive, rude or argumentative replies - so, if you are waiting for a reply, please don't hold your breath! ~ edrie

    by edrie on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:56:38 AM PDT

  •  If I may be simplistic about it... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    condorcet, RockyLabor

    ...Isn't South Korea more than capable of defeating NK, in about a week, all by itself?

    In the 1950's, North Korea had the support of the Soviets and China, who wanted to counter American moves in the region.  Cold War motivations for proxy conflicts between superpowers are largely moot now.  Let South Korea just roll up the peninsula with full United Nations blessing, including special statements from Russia, China and the U.S.

    However, South Korea must do it alone. And if they do it right, there might not be much fighting at all.  

    Let the propaganda flow to the North that they won't have China and the Russians backing them up, and that no American Forces will set foot above the 38th. The whole World has abandoned the Kim Jong-il government as historically corrupt and dysfunctional.  All Koreans are brothers, and all should enjoy the advantages of Freedom that the South has built over the last 60 years. (There must be some pirate Internet in NK.)

    I'd bet that, if the South Korean military could take the first 50 miles above the 38th Parallel, neutralize the artillery danger threatening Seoul, much of the North Korean Army would just surrender.  And the 95% of the people, who live in squalor will greet the South as liberators.

    Note: This only works as long as all other countries stay out of active combat.

    Note 2: If Hillary Clinton could make this happen successfully, it will cement her place in history as a truly great SecState!

    •  but at a cost.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, condorcet

      to them and to us.  And a risk, that a defeated NK will use a nuclear device or even a dirty bomb as a last defense.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:08:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If Kim Jong-il is about to lose... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        murrayewv, neroden, RockyLabor

        ...I think his mind will be more on self preservation, and maybe finding a way to keep him, and is family, in the Hennessey XO lifestyle he's accustomed to. Shooting off a nuke, at the end, will just make it impossible for him to control his post-war outcome.

        Plus, you'd have to suspect that disabling NK's nuke capacity will be done on the first day of actual combat.

    •  Nice Idea, but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv, condorcet

      we've still got around 40,000 people 'on the line', literally. The North is functionally insane, 60+ years of the 'god king' Kims together with privation and ultra police state terror, have 'robotized' the Northerners, taking the North will be Iwo Jima writ very large.  Sadly the South Koreans will need help, both military and economic, to ensure anything but a phyrric victory. That said, the number of targets worthy of PGMs is probably pretty small, however, destroying North Korea is not the problem, as others have noted, it's the aftermath that's going to be a nightmare.

      "God is an iron" -Spider Robinson

      by oldcrow on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:24:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most of the American reactionary force is (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        murrayewv, neroden, condorcet

        not in Korea. Okinawa holds about 100k of all branches, many of whom train twice a year in SK. Our primary mission was always Korea, and everything else in the Pacific AO.

        "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

        by Boisepoet on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:56:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I suspect this is a bluff to make the son (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv

    seem Presidential and in charge. Kim Jong Ill is constantly pulling hissy fits for attention.

    "Looks like we got ourselves a reader" - Bill Hicks

    by blueoregon on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:14:15 AM PDT

  •  worried about domestic issues falling off radar (0+ / 0-)

    A Second Korean War is the last thing that the economy and the environment need right now. If real war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula and especially if the United States has to get significantly involved, expect all progress here at home to come to a screeching halt.

    •  Or worse.... (0+ / 0-)

      predictions of what another Korean War would look like.  http://www.aolnews.com/...

      This is not a pretty picture and I hope and pray it can be defused.  And as for Kim Jong-il- I hope he gets what he deserves for how he has treated his people someday.  Best if it comes from his own folks though.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 05:08:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  BS Headline (0+ / 0-)

    Chance favors the prepared mind - Pasteur

    by tlemon on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:27:21 AM PDT

  •  Get real, bubbas... (0+ / 0-)

    "South Korea" and "Taiwan", should stop their jive ass monopoly corporate imperialist US mercenary client "state" posturing and provocations, and abandon their bogus claims to "independence".

    Why is it that nobody seems willing or able to recognize that the "South Korean" ship was most likely deliberately encroaching on ROK waters, deliberately provoking a hostile response?

    After Viet Nam and the first Korean war, and now the Middle East, and virtually every other freakin' conflict we have ever engaged in, have you learned absolutely NOTHING about how our country ALWAYS goes to war, based on contrived bullshit "incidents", all "justified" by incessant hate-mongering propaganda and completely unprincipled manipulation of information, including blatant lies?

    Do you really trust monopoly corporate fascist commercial mass media to give you an accurate picture of what is going on, especially in regard to "communist" countries...let alone thing else?

    So many of you guys posting here seem like such complete suckers and fools...

    Just to be clear, I have no doubt that conditions in the ROK and China are very substantially less than optimal for socio-economic development and democracy...but the reality is that over 50 years of hostile actions against them by brutal, vicious US imperialism have very deliberately created and perpetuated such conditions.

    This has always been all about ruthlessly punishing any country that refuses to submit to monopoly corporate fascist imperialism, period.  Where we fail to completely destroy such resistance, we do everything in our considerable power to sabotage and cripple them, any way that we can, at any cost to their people, and our own.

    Can you really blame them for being so hostile, distrusting, and even somewhat freaked out, by our constant, unrelenting attacks against them?

    They have been forced to resort to martial law and restrictions on "freedoms", to avoid being completely overrun and subjugated by the same forces that have just looted our own treasury and nearly destroyed the entire world economy (even as they seem hell-bent on destroying all life, in their insane pursuit of profits).

    There's only one solution to such tensions, and that is for the US to achieve actual real democracy, to resolutely purge and suppress our "own" right wing reactionary conservative fascist pig traitors to humanity, democratically, electorally.

    Then, and only then, will we be able to look forward to an easing of tensions world-wide, and the emergence of genuine international cooperation, mutual aid and solidarity, for justice and peace, to save the planet.

    Bring the Better Democrats!

    All Out for 2010 and 2012!

    Seize the Power!

    All Power to the People!

    "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

    by Radical def on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:35:15 AM PDT

    •  interesting perspective..... (0+ / 0-)

      not sure I am ready for a purge though.  That seems more North Korea's style.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:04:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What is it about democracy... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        that you aren't "ready" for?

        I don't think we "need" to "tolerate" a traitorous fascist "opposition" to be democratic.

        Democratic, electoral suppression of the right is a legitimate and necessary goal,  entirely consistent with purported "American" values, it seems to me...

        "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

        by Radical def on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:20:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  uhh (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv

      how could you speak of forming a "real" democracy and purging the right wing in the same breath? You realize how ridiculous that makes your point look right? Unfortunately in a "real" democracy you don't get to purge those who don't agree with you. Its sad that you have forgotten that.

      You're watching Fox News. OH MY GOD--LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU

      by rexymeteorite on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:19:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you saying we can't, or shouldn't (0+ / 0-)

        vote their jive asses out?

        How ridiculous is THAT "point"?

        "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

        by Radical def on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:21:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  neither (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          murrayewv

          brush up your reading comprehension skills. I am saying that a "purge" isn't exactly conducive to a thriving democracy, is it?

          You're watching Fox News. OH MY GOD--LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU

          by rexymeteorite on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:25:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What don't you comprehend about (0+ / 0-)

            "democratically, electorally"?

            I'm not proposing that all Republicans and Blue Dogs should just be dragged out  into the street and shot, out of hand, like they tend to propose in regard to us...

            Democratically, electorally, however, we can, and we must, elect, legislate, and enforce substantial changes in priorities and practice, for justice and peace, to save the planet.

            I'm anarchist, personally, but that doesn't mean chaos, or "anything goes".

            Racist, sexist, eco-raping, murderous monopoly corporate rip off profiteering warmongering fascists should be indeed be "purged", rationally, legally, democratically, fairly, and justly, from our society, in a legitimate, democratic manner, from all positions of power and influence.

            The necessary changes will tend to be inherently coercive, since the right will never submit voluntarily to the popular democratic will.  Of course, they will scream bloody murder, about their "right" to be "free" to be fascist pigs, heh...indeed, they are even now hysterically calling for political assassination, mass murder and civil war.

            Watch Faux "News", mewling and puking incessantly about how they are no longer "politically correct" in their "own" country, lol.  

            Personally, I have NO sympathy for such elements, whatsoever.

            Death to fascism!  

            "Democracy" does not require us to "tolerate" anti-democratic traitors, especially in positions of ill-gotten power and influence, to sow sedition and sabotage against the popular democratic will.

            Unless and until they are purged from all levers of power, and suppressed, democratically, electorally, we'll just continue to face a complete clusterfuck of death and destruction.

            The ice caps are melting.  Time's up.  It's now or never, do or die.  

            "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

            by Radical def on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:56:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Someone call Scarecrow Control... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv, twohundertseventy

      ...one of their political strawmen has escaped into the wild...

    •  yeah, I'm sure it was a tough for Kim (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rimjob, murrayewv, neroden

      when he was "forced" to resort to martial law and to restrict freedoms. He probably shed a tear or two over it before he started killing everybody who wasn't either carrying a gun or chiseling a statue of him.

      "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

      by McWaffle on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:40:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  oh, so he should have just surrendered... (0+ / 0-)

        his country to US imperialism, on demand?

        And how else, but by martial law, would he have been able to fend off the mercenary armies and vicious propaganda machine so relentlessly seeking to infiltrate and overthrow his resistance to imperialism?

        I am not saying it was a "good" thing...but I am saying that the US gave him, just like Russia, China, Cuba, Viet Nam, et all, no other choice.

        Ultimately, that's how monopoly corporate fascism tends to roll... surrender or die....and if we fail to kill you, we'll cripple your ass for generations.

        Then, we'll point to the very conditions caused by our own vicious attacks, embargos and weaseling sabotage, to "prove" that communism has "failed"...

        Remove the huge beam from your own eye, before you presume to criticize the mote in an embattled tiny country's eye.  

        AS IF our leaders have proven sooo much less vicious, rapacious and murderous rip offs than theirs have...

        AS IF you can really believe ANYTHING that monopoly corporate fascist commercial mass media says, about anything, ESPECIALLY about "communist" countries and their leaders, lol

        "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

        by Radical def on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:39:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Look man, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          murrayewv, Radical def

          I'm not defending capitalism, corporatism, monopolism, or whatever it is exactly you're going on about. Obviously the US (government and corporations and government-on-the-behalf-of-corporations) has done some awful things, on par with the awful things anybody else has ever done. The idea that North Korea would be some kinda socialist workers' paradise if it weren't for mean ol' Uncle Sam, however, is absurd. All I'm saying is just because we're sometimes (or often) a "bad guy" doesn't mean he's by default a "good guy" for being opposed to us.

          "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

          by McWaffle on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:54:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fair enough...but I'm not saying he's "good" guy (0+ / 0-)

            Anymore than I would argue that Stalin was "good", heh.

            What I'm saying is that under such conditions as the US imposed on those countries, they never really had a chance, and that the resulting circumstances have been much more our fault than theirs, and are NOT "proof" that "communism" has "failed"...they only prove that the US has been absolutely ruthless, vicious, and murderous, on "principle", in pursuit of monopoly corporate profit.

            Martial law sucks, and tends to retard and distort socio-economic development on all levels, including the development of principled democratic leadership.  

            Add to that boycott and embargo, relentless external attempts to infiltrate, propagandize, bribe and sabotage...

            Under such harsh conditions, harsh leadership will only naturally tend to emerge and to prevail...even the most reasonable and well meaning leadership may feel compelled to undertake draconian measures, and may well ultimately be pushed aside by more aggressive, draconian elements.

            Military conditions are simply, obviously, not conducive to democracy.  

            Forcing them onto such a desperate, long-term military footing, just to survive, was a deliberate, purposeful effort, on our part, to thwart democracy, and all forms of social and economic development in those countries, plain and simple.

            Would those countries have become "socialist utopias", if we hadn't interfered as we did?   It seems clear that was, indeed, the ultimate abject fear of the capitalists, heh.  Why else would they have put such huge resources into such a determined effort to stop the spread of "communism"?

            Anyone who thinks it was out of love for the peoples of those countries, lol, or some kind of altruistic desire to do "good", should look more closely at the real history and practice of our own monopoly corporate dictatorship.

            Indeed, the fact that the "communist" nations have even managed to survive, and that China now virtually owns our ass, lol, would seem to indicate that, without so much interference, they most probably would have achieved a lot more, a lot faster, in the positive, than they have thus far, not only in terms of economic and military power, but also in terms of general social conditions, justice, and democracy.

            It just bugs the hell out of me, to see supposed "liberals" and "progressives" so often inclined to blindly parrot jive fascist anti-communist propaganda...

            Not necessarily you, per se, but that's what set me off, in general...at least you seem willing to acknowledge my basic premise, that the US has NOT necessarily been the "good guys" in this historic struggle to assert rational popular democratic management of the production and distribution of goods and services, in the public interest, as opposed to the monopoly corporate dictatorship of unprincipled, arbitrary, capricious, even rapacious, murderous profit, against the public interest.

            Bottom line?  Democracy is the only cure, for either "system".  We must have it, for justice and peace, to save the planet.

            Bring the Better Democrats!

            All Out for 2010 and 2012!

            Will it then be socialist utopia, yet?  

            I think not...but I think it will be...relatively speaking, more or less, at least somewhat subtantially better that what we have now, heh.

            "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

            by Radical def on Thu May 27, 2010 at 02:32:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed that: (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              murrayewv, Radical def

              1.) North Korea's failure as a state does not mean that communism as a project has failed.
              2.) Communism as an economic system is not inherently evil or bad.
              3.) Much opposition to Communism was motivated by the industrialists/capitalists most threatened.

              Disagreed that:

              1.) China is in any way representative of a Communist economic system anymore, not in any meaningful sense.
              2.) North Korea's regime was somehow forced to be repressive due to US influence. I realize that a Communist system need not be despotic, but this one is and was.
              3.) The primary reason why people are concerned with/hostile toward North Korea is their Communist economic system. I'd wager it's more that it is run by a cartoon supervillain. If Kim Jong-il was really making some kinda principled stand against encroaching capitalist imperialism, maybe I'd fall more on your side. I don't think it's that though, even though I suppose you could make the (highly speculative) case that's because of a corporate media blackout of the "truth".

              "I wish you luck on not hating your parents for mixing up such an unthinkable person." --The frickin´ HP--

              by McWaffle on Thu May 27, 2010 at 02:49:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hey, at least you discuss, rather than freak out! (0+ / 0-)

                On the agreements, I'd say that the "threat" perceived by capitalism was, indeed real, in the sense that they were not able, or willing, to countenance any successful competition emerging that might challenge the absolute dictatorship of monopoly corporate imperialism , heh.  That might have hurt profits!

                They simply could not bear to see popular democratic management prove more efficient and beneficial than monopoly corporate fascist dictatorship...

                Just look around now, at what's happening here, in that regard...they are screaming bloody murder, calling for political assassination and civil war...anything but democracy, lol...THAT's "Commmunizzzzm"!  yikes!

                On the disagreements, I'd just say:

                1.  China has evolved, as best they can and know how, to survive and "compete" in a hostile world economy.  I don't necessarily hold it against them, that they have incorporated some aspects of capitalism (under very strict government controls), by perceived necessity.

                I am not buying the common left critique that this somehow "proves" they have therefore absolutely abandoned their root revolutionary principles, in the attempt to engage in popular democratic rational management of the nation's resources, in the public interest, rather than submitting to a dictatorship of foreign, or domestic, monopoly corporate private profit, against the public interest.  

                No doubt, they have made some onerous compromises, fallen short in many regards, and made serious errors.  Nobody is perfect, especially when the most powerful, ruthless, hostile, murderous forces in the world, ever, are arrayed against them, doing everything in their considerable power to destroy or sabotage their efforts.

                1.  Sorry, but I am just not willing to blame the victims of US hostility for freaking out, making errors, or taking draconian actions to defend themselves.  I don't like what this seems to have done to them, as far as I can tell, but I do think it's a lot less their fault, than ours, that they have felt compelled to adopt such extremes in their own position and practice.  

                Take for example what happened in the US, as the result of the 9/11 attacks...draconian domestic clampdown, severely compromising our own freedoms...multiply that by a thousand fold for Korea, say, or Russia, or China, etc, for over 50 years...it's obviously not pretty, what happens under such duress.

                1.  I must admit, I know little about Korea, historically, or presently.  What I do know is that US monopoly corporate fascist commercial mass media has consistently been absolutely unreliable and full of contrived spin, for as long as I can remember...and that is not "speculative", lol.

                Again I say, if we weren't putting so much pressure on Korea, for generations now, they probably would not be so freaked out and hostile as they now seem to be.  I have no trust whatsoever in US media, though, to tell the real truth about the people, conditions or leadership in Korea, or any other "communist" country.

                "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

                by Radical def on Thu May 27, 2010 at 04:11:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  What A Croc Of Shit...... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv

      First, if you're going to write a bullshit rant, at least get the names of the sides right. South Korea is the ROK (Republic of Korea), and the North is the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea).

      Secondly, who is shooting at whom here? The Korean War began with the North attacking the South in 1950. The United States became involved as part of the United Nations force that kept the South Koreans from being overrun. If we hadn't done that, people on both sides of the 38th parallel might be starving right now.

      Since then, the North Koreans have:

      • Jan 1967 - attacks South Korean warship near border, killing 39 sailors
      • Jan 1968 - commandos storm presidential palace in Seoul in a failed attempt to kill President Park Chung-hee
      • Jan 1968 - captures USS Pueblo - one crew member dies and 82 held hostage for 11 months
      • Dec 1969 - hijacks South Korean airliner taking dozens of passengers hostage
      • Oct 1983 - bombs hotel in Rangoon, Burma in failed attempt to kill South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan - 21 people die
      • Nov 1987 - bombs South Korean airliner, killing 115
      • Sept 1996 - North Korean submarine crew land in South, sparking deadly manhunt
      • Mar 2010 - torpedoes Cheonan warship, 46 sailors killed
      • (Source: BBC News)


      This is the same North Korean regime that once murdered two Americans in the Demilitarized Zone over a tree in 1976. They've also kidnapped Japanese & South Korean citizens, whose ultimate fate remains a mystery to their families to this very day.

      If they want to protect their people, maybe they could start by feeding them, instead of using resources on nuclear weapons development and the  13,000 pieces of artillery pointed South towards Seoul.

      •  hmm...interesting handle (not really) (0+ / 0-)

        Sorry, I don't consider "South Korea" to be a legitimate country, anymore than Taiwan.  They are both clearly bogus client "states" of the US, intended to serve as bases for harassing and attacking their true parent nations.

        The incidents you cite seem kinda...insignificant...compared to the fact that we probly killed at last a million Koreans or so, in that big war we had with them, to "defend"...what?  Our own hand-picked compradore puppet warlords who were willing to sell Korean ass to the US corporations for a few well-placed bribes?

        And as I recall, that Pueblo incident, like virtually all others that have led to US wars, was a contrived, bullshit scenario to "justify" a war that capitalism desperately sought, just like the incident that supposedly precipitated the Vietnam clusterfuck atrocity.

        Desperate... to prevent any nation from daring to defy and resist US monopoly corporate fascist imperialist dictatorship...

        I don't claim to know all the details, but I think I have a pretty good sense of the general trends...and I have little hope for convincing you of anything, considering the obvious subjectivity of your stock propaganda line remarks.

        Suffice it to say, as I have mentioned in other comments, that this is not about me "defending" or excusing anyone's actions, including the ones you describe, although I would again point out that monopoly corporate fascist commercial mass media propaganda cannot be relied upon for anything but a lot of spin, exaggeration and outright lies, even if they may sometimes convey some grains of truth, more or less.

        And let me hasten to say, that whether media in "communist" countries is any more "fair and balanced" than ours, lol, is entirely beside the point that I'm trying to make.

        To me, it's more about attacking the real root of the problems, which has long been mainly, primarily, the insanely hypocritical, lying, perverse anti-communist obsession on the part of the US dictatorship of monopoly corporate ripoff and murder, to prevent, by any means necessary, any successful development of a system seeking popular democratic management of the production and distribution of goods and services, in the public interest, rather than submitting to a dictatorship of private capital, against the public interest.

        "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

        by Radical def on Thu May 27, 2010 at 03:10:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  KInd of reminds me of one of my sisters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, neroden

    when I was growing up. We all lived under the constant threat of nuclear tantrums when she didn't get her way. And I am talking absolutely incandescent rage. So my parents lurched between appeasement and force. And all of the family paid the price, including my sister who couldn't have been happy either. My sister knew one big thing and that is that people will go a very long way to avoid conflict. And when conflict occurs, you had better be ready to go all the way. In other words, there were no small tiffs. Everything was defcon4.

    I suspect that NK is a bit like that. The succession of Dear Leader's son to the throne has to involve keeping the military on board. The latest crisis may suggest that Dear Leader and son are not totally confident of that support. And it's not clear that the military - knowing what its real capacities are - is planning on dying for Kim.

    It would be a real breakthrough if China and South Korea could come to an agreement on the future of North Korea post-Kim. That seems to me to be a way for the North to finally see reality. With a China-SK treaty, NK's military might see that the jig is up and overthrow the Kim's.  

  •  The reason their haven't been many diaries... (0+ / 0-)

    ... is because only recently have they been able to raise the wreck and discovered it was a torpedo.

  •  A Potential War Between North and South Korea? (0+ / 0-)

    Where one side is our ally with almost 100,000 American troops stationed there?

    A distraction?  

    Nah. Piece o' cake.

    Not voting gets Republicans elected. Gloating about it on DKOS isn't helpful either.

    by kefauver on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:34:47 AM PDT

  •  No he isn't distracted cause things like this is (0+ / 0-)

    what the Joint Chiefs of Staff are for and unlike Bush and Cheney he can do more than one thing at once,if anything is really distracting him it's the Oil Spill and the fact that there's just really nothing he and Government can do about it after 30 years of Reaganism and Republicanism gutting the Government so Private Companies can "Do whatever they Please and Damn the Consequences" all in the name of Profits and the Bottomline.So after 30 years of Conservative Mammonism and Mammonious Right Rule the Government can only Blow things up in War.Mammon the Religious Right's One True God.

  •  Obama admin doing the right thing, no fuss (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, environmentalist

    I can give them full credit here.  The right thing to do is to make sure China and Russia do not reflexively back North Korea.

    That is all.  The rest is up to South Korea.

    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

    by neroden on Thu May 27, 2010 at 11:38:05 AM PDT

  •  Talk radio has been on this constantly even link (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden

    Turning to the North Korean "crisis" now would be an admission of being late to this story OR falling into a favorite right wing story line.

    Talk radio say the North Korea submarine attacked not only the South Korean warship but also blew up the BP oil platform and Obama has failed to retaliate.

  •  This is very serious... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, neroden

    Hillary's been on the job here.  I'm glad Obama can multi-task.  And, I wouldn't want to be him right now for any amount of money.

    The purpose of live is to live a life of purpose...and serve your neighbors with joy and love and make a positive difference in their lives.

    by MinervainNH on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:15:48 PM PDT

  •  Get a grip (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden

    This whole dog and pony show in Korea is designed to distract US from the oil spill.  

    •  Ya think?..... (0+ / 0-)

      this has its own timeline- not respondint to oil spills especially.  My diary wasn't intended to distract you but to make you aware of distractions.  I

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Thu May 27, 2010 at 04:17:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hope South Korea and China... (0+ / 0-)

    put North Korea in its place.  That is one of the few places on earth where I think invaders would be welcomed as liberators.  Kim is a fucking loon and needs to be checked by someone.  I hope China flexes because if they flex everyone else will fall in line.

  •  North Korea will welcome us....... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv
    as liberators.

    In all honesty, this is crazy.  It's almost as if Kim Jong Il is aware of the American peoples' distaste (and fatigue) of war.

    If I had to guess, Kim Jong Il is as full of bluster as he ever was.  But the North Koreans attack on the North Korean ship crosses the line.

    How can we send N. Korea an appropriate message:  "Normally we'd kick your ass, but we're not in the mood right now.  But seriously, quit your tomfoolery."

    If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

    by peacemaker33 on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:37:57 PM PDT

  •  They've been on the brink of war there (0+ / 0-)

    for like 50 years now.

    Hope tensions get ratcheted down, over there.

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:38:32 PM PDT

  •  Things garnered from NK blogs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, condorcet

    -There have been hacker threats against North Korean bloggers and journalists in the last few days.
    -ROK ship was not attacked by North Korean navy, but by special ops arm of North Korean military.
    -Medals were awarded to those who carried out the attack.

    http://nkleadershipwatch.wordpress.com/
    http://freekorea.us/
    http://www.nkeconwatch.com/

  •  Poking a stick in the Hornet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv

    nest?

    I think S. Korea should stop antagonizing them by sending over balloons with "messages" "slogans" even dollar bills in the balloons.

    Also I believe there are loud speakers enticing the long-suffering North Koreans about how wonderful things are Down South.  

    North Korea promptly responded with a promise to Bomb the loud speakers.  Shouldn't they stop doing this kind of teasing and waving the red flag in front of the bull.

    Speaking of bull, wasn't there a story about N. Korea counterfeiting U.S. dollar bills?  There's more beneath the surface here, and it's not just a sunken torpedo.

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