North Korea Attempts to Gain Some Leverage

North Korea Nuclear ImageWe arrive on a Friday night without a guest commentary ready to go. I know everyone is busy these days and that has led to folks not having the time to write articles for Stand Up For America. It’s OK. I am patient. Seriously though, I don’t have a commentary tonight so I am forced to subject all of you to yet another night of my rambling on and then spending the next day defending myself from claims of partisanship, ineptitude, and generally being a bad citizen. I have been following the situation with North Korea quite closely over the last several months. As a former resident of South Korea, I have a different perspective on all of this. I know I am not alone as I am sure there are others reading who have spent time in South Korea. In my opinion, the last couple of weeks have seen a dangerous increase in the rhetoric that is coming out of North Korea. I know they have always blown off at the mouth, but it feels different this time. So I am taking notice. I hope that those in the White House are noticing as well. 

First a little history on North Korea from Wikipedia (I love using them for history, as their introductions are packed full of information and not overly wordy)North Korea, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a state in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer area between North Korea and South Korea. The Amnok River and the Tumen River form the border between North Korea and China. A section of the Tumen River in the extreme north-east is the border with Russia.

NK Female SoldierThe peninsula was governed by the Korean Empire until it was annexed by Japan following the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. It was divided into Soviet and American occupied zones in 1945, following the end of World War II. North Korea refused to participate in a United Nations-supervised election held in the south in 1948, which led to the creation of separate Korean governments for the two occupation zones. Both North and South Korea claimed sovereignty over the peninsula as a whole, which led to the Korean War of 1950. A 1953 armistice temporarily ended the fighting; however, the two countries are officially still at war with each other, as a peace treaty was never signed. Both states were accepted into the United Nations in 1991. On May 26, 2009, North Korea unilaterally withdrew from the armistice.

North Korea is a single-party state under a united front led by the Korean Workers’ Party. The country’s government styles itself as following the Juche ideology of self-reliance, developed by Kim Il-sung, the country’s former leader. Juche became the official state ideology when the country adopted a new constitution in 1972, though Kim Il-sung had been using it to form policy since at least as early as 1955. North Korea claims to be a socialist republic, but is widely considered by the outside world to be a de facto totalitarian Stalinist dictatorship. The current leader is Kim Jong-il, son of the late Eternal President Kim Il-sung (and the current news is that the little crazy man has announced his son as his successor as he isn’t going to last much longer).

North and South Korea have never signed a formal peace treaty and thus are still officially at war; only a ceasefire was declared. South Korea’s government came to be dominated by its military and a relative peace was punctuated by border skirmishes and assassination attempts. The North failed in several assassination attempts on South Korean leaders, most notably in 1968, 1974 and 1983; tunnels were frequently found under the DMZ (I have personally been in some of these tunnels and they continue to attempt to dig them today. One of them I remember well was big enough to move an entire division through in less than an hour) and war nearly broke out over the axe murder incident at Panmunjeom in 1976 (I have actually been into the DMZ and touched the tree that was the “cause” of this incident and have pictures of it) In 1973, extremely secret, high-level contacts began to be conducted through the offices of the Red Cross, but ended after the Panmunjeom incident with little progress having been made.

Scary Little Man

Scary Little Man

Of the five remaining self-styled “communist” states in the world, North Korea is one of only two (along with Cuba) with an entirely state-planned, government-owned economy. North Korea’s economy is completely socialized, which means that food rations, housing, healthcare, and education is offered from the state for free (Hey that sounds like a GREAT idea). The estimated population in North Korea is 23 million. 

In 2005, North Korea was ranked by the FAO as an estimated 10th in the production of fresh fruit and as an estimated 19th in the production of apples. It has substantialnatural resources and is the world’s 18th largest producer of iron and zinc, having the 22nd largest coal reserves in the world. It is also the 15th largest fluorite producer and 12th largest producer of copper and salt in Asia. Other major natural resources in production include lead, tungsten, graphite, magnesite, gold, pyrites, flourspar, and hydropower. I mention this for a very specific reason.

North Korea’s attitude couple with the United States deciding what the rest of the world does has resulted in North Korea living under UN sanctions for decades. They were always able to get out from under those sanctions so long as they operated under the rules set forth by the US and the United Nations. While those rules were not out of place, given their past actions, I do submit to you that if some country came along and told us what to do, we would take sanctions and stand on our right to do as we please as well. They have paid dearly for doing so. Despite all of the vast natural resources mentioned above, North Korea is starving to death, literally. The state, being what it is, takes the bulk of the food and distributes it to the military first. The communist state, unable to provide for its people naturally as a form of government, was further hampered by our involvement there. It is easy to understand why they despise us. 

All of this history has been to set up an understanding of how desperate a country North Korea is. They are literally dying as a people and the collapse of the government is imminent if they don’t find a way to improve the level of living there. It is easy to blame the repressive government and they certainly deserve 80% of the blame, but some of it falls on the countries that have denied them the opportunity to flourish as well. 

I spent part of my military career with one of these of my own. How cool is that? This one is stationed in South Korea.

MLRS in South Korea

So in order to get help to survive, North Korea has resorted to staging themselves as a grave threat to peace in order to gain concessions from the rest of the world. They threaten to develop nuclear weapons and then the world gives them something in order to get them to stop. It is a bad cycle that every President in the last 35 years has helped to propagate. And it has led some to believe that they are always bluster and never have any bite behind it. But the South Koreans and the 30,000 US soldiers stationed in South Korea have always understood how real a threat they are. I was one of them.

As a quick side note, how cool is that picture? I wasn’t always what I became in the military. You can’t enlist to do the job I did. You have to acquire some rank before you can go there. My original job as a private in the Army was as a crew member in one of these MLRS death dealers, able to level an entire grid square in 60 seconds. They are truly impressive pieces of equipment. While my time with them was short, I admit that it is a lot of fun to have that kind of power at your fingertips. So Danak13, I have been both a caller for the “fire for effect” and the person on the other end of the line too! And nothing answers that request quite like these little puppies. And for the record, I have always loved that request. The results are spectacular to watch.

Communist Dictator FoolOver the last couple of years we have seen them threaten to become a nuclear power, relent and agree to stop their nuclear program in return for reduction of sanctions, and now revert back to threatening others again. They have conducted several underground nuclear tests and multiple tests of long range missiles. Their desire to acquire the ability to make nuclear missiles poses a serious threat to the stability of the region. One concern is that South Korea and Japan could seek nuclear ability in response. The other big concern is that they would be willing to sell that nuclear technology to rogue states or terrorist groups. Both are legitimate concerns. 

And now we have reports that they are saying that in July they intend to launch a long range missile at Hawaii. That, my friends, is a serious threat from a desperate country. I do not worry that they will hit Hawaii. Most reports I read say their best missiles would fall 500 miles short. I also figure that we will shoot down whatever they launch long before it gets that far. But the fact remains that they are outright threatening to launch missiles at the United States. And that should cause an alarm to go off. Because they have not made such a threat before. 

Care to Guess which one of these two countries has US support and which one has US Sanctions just by seeing a photo at night?

Care to Guess which one of these two countries has US support and which one has US Sanctions just by seeing a photo at night?

And we are also hearing reports that the US Navy is tracking a ship leaving North Korea loaded with some sort of arms or material. The USS John McCain has been dispatched to possibly intercept this ship. We will have to wait to see what happens with this. For the record does anyone else think it is awful coincidental that the ship sent to deal with this was the McCain? It just seems awful ironic to me. 

 

I will say this. If George Bush were still in office, crazy Kim Jong il would not be threatening to launch a missile at Hawaii. No way, no how. He thinks that Obama is a wuss and won’t do anything about this. And I am not in a position to say whether he is right or wrong. I would imagine that the national apologist attitude of the current administration sets a tone that liberals in America see as a nice change in policy, but the rest of the world views as simply weak. 

I am not sure that this time they North Koreans are all bluster. I don’t know that they have the capability to do what they are threatening to do. But I am not quite so sure this time that they don’t fully intend to try. And that could put us in a really hairy situation. Because a launch against the US would be a bold step, successful or not. And Obama would again find himself in a situation that I am not sure he is ready to handle. If he handles it correctly, his faithful worshipers will lost some faith in his pacifist convictions. If he handles it wrong, we could see those on the right use that to completely derail the liberal express that is fast=tracking through Washington. I guess I would have to really think hard to decide which is more important to me…..

But what does everyone else think of this North Korean situation?

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Comments

  1. USW,

    You know more about this country than I do. I only spent four days there in `61. Damn cold, damn miserable, damn hard country – ROK Marines are real good at what they do, as I worked with a few in `nam.

    I believe from what I have seen on the MSM and the Internet that Kim Jong Il is just the nutso to mount a home-grown nuke on one of his long range rockets and try to hit Hawaii.

    Then blame the U.S. for the nuke detonation when we pop it on the rise.

    My ex son-in-law was working on that system (he was a patriot missile crewman) when he married my daughter so I know that the system works real well.

    If the above scenario does happen, not only will the Messiah lose face in the world he will also lose most of his faithful Obamatrons and Sheeple.

    If the U.S. moves to prevent the launch, then North Korea will become “The Mouse That Roared” and declare very loudly that the U.S. attacked them without provocation – at which point it is anyone’s guess as to what will happen.

    I view this as a “lose-lose” situation no matter what happens – especially if we stop that ship at sea and find nothing on it (which wouldn’t surprise me one bit).

  2. The question I ask myself all the time is how we can overthrow those dictatorships or how we can accelerate their vanishing without creating a civil or new Korean War. There live so many brain washed people in North Korea that I doubt the country would turn into a democracy after we eliminate the leaders.

    On the other side why can’t we just throw a bomb every now and then on dictators? This way no dictator can feel save + while sanctions always hit the people a bomb would hit those who deserve it.

    But what if the North starts attacking the South again after Kim-Jong-il(l) gets eliminated. How can we avoid a new Korean War or at least how can we win it? With winning I don’t mean the victory we had in Iraq or Afghanistan (military – yes, civil – no).

    I want the people of North Korea to live in freedom and work out their destiny as they want to. I want them to hunt down every new North Korean dictator on their own. How can we plant the seed of freedom and the willingness to fight for it in the head of someone who got brain washed his whole life or how can we make sure that at least it gets planted in the next generation?

  3. Birdman says:

    China plays an important role but I cannot figure the Chinese out. I don’t think China has anything to gain today from a war in Korea. China needs the United States as much as we need China. I’m beginning to think that the Chinese have little influence over N. Korea. If Japan started to re-arm, that would scare the hell out of China and N. Korea.

    As far as the activity today, I would not intercept the Korean ship. Track the missle launch and shoot it down only if it will hit Hawaii. Our current President cannot and should not attempt to draw a line in the sand because he does not have the intestinal fortitude to back it up and will only embarass himself and the nation more. The world has measured the POTUS and they know he is a pussy and incompetent in foreign affairs.

  4. Robert C says:

    As a Korean Vet, (1951, 52) I agree with Birdman, Manual and G A Rowe completely.

  5. Kim’s going to fix this situation himself when an amazing static charge generated by his 1950’s polyester jumpsuit and thunder thigh friction sets off their latest nuke while posing for the centerfold of the government sponsored Dick-tater magazine.

  6. Danak13 says:

    Huah…USW. I owe my very life to fire support and being on target…thank you.

    I, too, have been to the DMZ and looked at the tunnels. One of then large enough to bring two tanks side by side all the way and another large enough to move a Division including personnel carriers and support vehicles.

    However, I will be on my way shortly to deliver a speech at Fort Hood, Texas and will not be back until late tomorrow evening, at which time I will post. This subject and our actions have far reaching ramifications. But to do nothing, will be the worst possible thing we can do and I will explain why tomorrow evening. Have a great weekend, all.

    Side bar to USW…..what does one have to do to become a guest commentator?

    D13

    • USWeapon says:

      Yes I was the one calling for Fire Support more often than providing it. My time with MLRS was quite short, but a ton of fun.

      I look forward to your thoughts on this issue. I look forward to more from BF as well as he seems to have a pretty good handle on what is going on there and the ramifications.

      All you have to do to be a guest commentator is be passionate and write an article and submit it. I publish one every Friday night and it does not have to be something I agree with or any of that. I like to have them on Wednesday so that I can look them over, help with spelling and grammar, and send back so that any change I make is approved by the original author. I will not change anything other than grammar or spelling though.

  7. I do not think we should intercept that ship of theirs either. They have already said that they will not board unless given permission so what’s the point? NK sure isn’t going to give permission! Then our President will just look like the nadless tootie that he is.

    However. If NK fires a missile in our direction I hope we blast them back into the stone age. Will we do so though? Who knows!? All I can say is that I sure hope our Government grows a spine BEFORE any of that junk goes down. The UN could use a spine too.

    • Baseball95 says:

      your right our government and the UN need to grow a spine and quit hoping they wont do anything

  8. Judy S. says:

    This has nothing to do with the subject at hand, but I would to take this time to wish each and every one of you guys here a very Happy Father’s day tomorrow. My dad passed away a little over 10 years ago from brain cancer, so I won’t have the opportunity to say it to him, or spend time with him, or tell him how much I miss and love him. If your dad is still with you, please take the time to let him know what a special person he is, do something special for him on his day, and tell him how much he means to you and how much you love him. My dad was 77 years old when he died, and I miss him very much, and he was always ready to give you advice whether or not you wanted it, or needed it. He always had a smile on his face, always had a story to tell, or a joke, didn’t think to hard about pulling a fast one you in some way, never turned anybody away, and was always there for us when we needed him.
    So, again, I’m wishing you all a very Happy Father’s day, and God speed to you. Hope it will be a good one for you.

    Take care
    Judy

  9. Judy S. says:

    Me again. I would like to apologize for leaving some words out of the above. I have a tendency to sometimes type faster than my brain thinks . But I hope you all get the message.

    Have a pleasant evening and a pleasant tomorrow.
    Judy

  10. Ray Hawkins says:

    Just curious – wasn’t the USS McCain named after daddy and granddaddy McCain (both of whom Johnny has tried awfully hard to live up to their legacy)? Anyway – I’m not so sure Kim gives a shit who is in office. He is flat out nuts and our friends in China need to take a much larger role here.

    • You’re right about that Ray. Kim is the one everyone should be worried about. When a Nation’s leader is bughouse nuts like he is, all the rest shold be on guard. If China doesn’t watch out, NK will put their (China’s) ass in a crack along with their own.

    • USWeapon says:

      I don’t know Ray. Kim has a few screws loose for sure. But I do think that they are very aware of who is in office here and how far they can push in terms of threats and plays in order to get more UN Aid and concessions. That doesn’t make light of the fact that he is mentally unstable, but we would be fooling ourselves to think they are not exactly aware of what they can and cannot get away with.

    • USWeapon says:

      As for China, I am not so sure that they have the influence over North Korea that they once had. I could be way off base here but there are some actions and things I have seen over the last 5 years or so that tell me that perhaps they have lost some ability to control Kim. I do think that they have a large role to play here. Even if they have no control or persuasive ability over NK, they could play an important role as a permanent member of the security council by joining the US and other permanent members in demanding that NK settle down. Kim’s stances may become less emboldened if they see the Chinese taking a different stance and joining the rest of the world. For now they feel as the China and Russia are permanent vetoes against any action. Change that perception and it may have a dramatic effect on North Korea’s decision making.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        I do also agree with and fear the notion that this time “it feels different” – this may prove to be the biggest foreign policy challenge in year one for President Obama – I hope the inner circle he has on this is packing the gear to deal with this nutjub.

      • Alan F. says:

        China’s little better with regard to the human rights end of things as most keep on forgetting when speaking of its position on any topic. They are enjoying economic success with regard to its “ties” to America but what sweatshop wouldn’t? That doesn’t make them any more buddy buddy than any other country regarding what America’s “wants” unless of course its to do with cheap LCD TV’s, t-shirts or plastic ware.

        I’d go as far as to say anything North Korea can do to be seen as worse than China is a good thing in the eyes of the Chinese government. So far pretty much everything presented by the main stream media regarding China is what they have allowed out of the bag. Just note the coverage the anniversary of the death of the Chinese democracy movement received compared to the other happenings of that day. They could throw a large group of their own “undesirables” up a chimney and still get buried in the news by another gay American Idol contestants coming out of his glass closet.

  11. your right USweapon if George Bush was still in office none of this crap would have happened. obamas just a big wuss who who only thinks about himself. he hasnt done one good thing for this country. im about tired of him being in office i wish he would open his eyes and start directing this country down a better path.

    • USWeapon says:

      I wouldn’t go as far as saying he hasn’t done any good for this country. And I do think that he often has some good intentions. But I am skeptical these days and watching a bit more closely at what is going on.

      • USW, As you may guess, Baseball95 is my 13 year old son. He has become interested in what I do here and at my site.

        I told him when he wanted to start to comment here to say what HE thinks, not what he thinks I want him to say. Feel free to enlighten him anytime. I do. He needs to learn all he can about today’s world as he will be the one growing up in the aftermath if anything goes wrong. A plus is that he is very smart and an avid learner.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Bear in mind that President Bush had eight years to do something with NK and more/less maintained rather than acted. I don’t fault him for that – two wars at one time was more than enough for a military that had been undercut for the previous eight.

    • Amazed1 says:

      Baseball, Glad you are here. Hope you get more of your age group interested in what is going on in government. Make sure to give your Dad a hugh hug and tell him how much you appreciate all that he does for you.

    • Baseball95,
      You probably don’t remember, but on March 31, 2001, just 2 months after Bush took office, a U.S. Navy EP-3, on a routine surveillance flight in international airspace, collided with a Chinese jet fighter and was forced to land on a Chinese island. The crew was held for 11 days.

      New presidents are routinely tested – as Biden said…

      http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=44964

  12. As a resident of the Marshall Islands, I’m watching this one closely. My co-workers here don’t seem overly concerned about it, though. I’m guessing that’s because the saber rattling has been going for so long that no one takes NK serio?sly. I’m wondering what NK would accomplish by launching a long rang missle at US interests. Wouldn’t it be better for NK just to roll across the border and help itself to the wealth of SK? If NK is so impoverished, wouldn’t it make sense to confiscate the wealth of SK, than launch a missle that may or may not hit its mark? NK probably won’t gain much by launching but would likely get away with invading the south. I don’t believe Obama would do anything (besides apologize) whether NK lauches or rolls. The UN would ‘strongly’ protest and nothing more. What do you think USW and others that have lived there?

    • USWeapon says:

      I think that the Army in North Korea is very large but very weak. Much like the vaunted Iraqi Army (4th largest in the world prior to Desert Storm), I don’t think they would stand much of a chance against a US armed and trained South Korean army. ROK soldiers are tough, and brave, and because of us, well equipped. I think the initial push across the border would be devastating to the South, but would ultimately fail with very little assistance from the US. South Korea would repel them on their own, as North Korea no longer has the support of China or Russia as they once did.

      But the wild card that you might be missing is the fact that the US has 30,000 troops in South Korea. And the North coming across the border and killing a massive number of American troops could not be ignored, even by a relatively weak American President. Add that to the fact that the head of the United Nations is from South Korea, and a move to cross the DMZ and attack would be suicide for North Korea. China and Russia would be forced to allow action and the world would move against NK. They don’t want to cross the DMZ. And they are OK threatening to shoot at Hawaii because they know that we know they don’t have a missile capable of traveling that far, so they aren’t doing anything that will FORCE us to react. If they can bait us into attacking them without having actually struck at us successfully, we would again look like bullies and be further ostracized.

      Those are my initial thoughts. I look forward to what D13 adds to this when he returns.

      • Amazed1 says:

        US,
        You are head on. NK would be very foolish to attach Sk. They know the US has an interest there and attacking SK would be the same as attacking us. They are trying to get us to do something stupid so they can get China and Russia to back them. I do’t think Obama will get goated into an offensive attack….I believe he wil make sure we stay on the defense.

  13. Barberian says:

    Just a thought concerning the increased hostility by NK. Mr. mentally-il has recently named his successor to take over when he goes to that padded cell in the sky. Unstable regimes are most suceptable to civil unrest/revolutionary change when the current longstanding leader dies. Could this possibly be his way of saying to those he fears would take advantage of this, “Back Off! I may be gone but my son is as crazy as a shit house rat too!”

    Just a thought.

    I am a frequent visitor to South Korea as “business” takes me there on a regular basis. My wife is Korean and I have a strong affinity with the people, their toughness and love of freedom and generousity to those they see as friends. We should not forsake them if they need our help.

    • B- I would gladly put back on the uniform to protect S. Korea. I too know many from there, and they deserve that.

      PEACE!

      G!

    • Black Flag says:

      Any person wishing to fight for SK, I say “Go for it”!

      Condemning the USA into having to fight for SK is a terrible idea.

  14. I would like to wish all Fathers a “Happy Fathers Day”! It wasn’t always easy to get here, but today belongs to you!

    God Bless!

    G!

  15. usefull article . i’ll bookmark your blog

  16. Danak13 says:

    Hi all…thanks for waiting for me. I was off speech-a-fyin at Fort Hood, Texas.

    Ok…NK.

    Having had some intel insight here (yes, another oxymoron…military intelligence)the consensus is primarily broken down by age. The older more experienced who remember the Cold War and the results of the Korean War are more aggressive..and the younger generational 60’s are more appeasers. Sorry, but the carrot does not work unless the stick is in plain sight.

    As previously stated, the war has never ended. There is a truce. However, NK needs world support UP TO their production of nuclear weaponry that will be sold on the market. Right now, they do not have it. Question one….do we interdict the ship on the high seas in international waters. My hawk comes out in me and says yes….but the ambush hairs on the back of my neck say no because I do not think there is anything on the ship in the form of nukes….there might be some rocket parts…but no nukes or fissionable material….so…leave it alone. Our intelligence apparatus is still good enough to know if NK has sold any nukes anywhere. But since they do not have it yet….no. Our test comes if they do get the technology. The world can buy them off again, or do something about it. My guess is we will buy them off again. I do not think that B.O. has the gumption, much less the will, to stand up to them.

    The rocket is another case, however.We know that they cannot reach Hawaii. Far from it. But I do not think that it is a case of laughing this off that they cannot reach it. If they fire it at us… what are the ramifications? The mindset of NK is still very old fashioned in the Oriental loss of face culture. It is a matter of pride and stature. To fire it “at us” and not reach us and we do not do anything about it, is a tremendous boost in their stature in their eyes. The industrialized nations know we can make them a cinder and we know it and NK knows it. However, if we position ourselves in a spot and the minute it takes off on coordinates in our direction, we blast that mother out of the sky, then we have effectively “protected” ourselves, even though it was not going to get to Hawaii, there is a loss of face on their side. This is important in the scheme of things. Pride is everything to them and I mean EVERYTHING. If we hit their missile, it will not trigger a war with them. For them to cross the 38th…. will be devastating. Yes, it will inflict casualties but take ground? No, they cannot do that. They have a formidable army on paper. How strong is it? We were afraid of Iraq’s army in Desert Storm in Kuwait. I was a battalion commander…yes I had a battalion of tanks and mech infantry and mafe the end run that cutoff the highway. When we breached the defenses of the Iraqui’s, clearly one third of them were not even armed. The Soviet made T-54, T-55, T-70 tanks…were no match for us nor were their tactics. I had one casualty (broken arm)in my battalion and we engaged and knocked out 84 vehicles from the vaunted T70 to BMP’s. It was no contest. It will be no contest in NK…they are big on paper, but coming across the DMZ is suicide and we know of their artillery and where it is positioned. We know when they move and where they go. Preemptive is an option.

    All this to say, hit the rocket and Let NK lose face…..Not PC here either.

  17. who gave you the authorisation to use my North korea picture of the military girl please?

  18. Ophelia says:

    Bashing the president… when he hasn’t even been in office that long yet. You know he’s getting the brunt of all of BUSH’S mistakes merely because he happens to be in office at this time… I think it’s lame. Also, stealing copyrighted images or your article… NOT COOL. Maybe if you know so much about the USA you should read up on copyright law. Stupid fool.

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