halialkers: (Default)
[personal profile] halialkers posting in [community profile] talkpolitics
So, as was recently shown, North Korea has indeed developed ICBMs that give it the capacity now to strike US soil, specifically Alaska (not that there'd be anything of actual value beyond wildlife lost if they did).


In a sense this is the result of the US logic of 2003 coming back to haunt the empire that opened Pandora's Box. The USA stormed the gates of the decrepit regime it starved with sanctions and spent a decade in protracted live fire exercises and yet in the wake of 9/11 convinced itself this weakness was somehow a sign of super-secret strength that could challenge it on its own terms. It did so, according to the architects of the great clusterfuck, to forestall 'the terrible shape of the mushroom cloud' in Iraqi hands. Seeing this, North Korea developed nuclear weapons and now has the cliche means of delivering them.

The morality or amorality of a regime is immaterial to its ability to survive, and no state will ever voluntarily self-terminate, bar exceptional circumstances like the Velvet Divorce of Czechia and Slovakia, and the more or less peaceable bits of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Which in turn has left no shortage of bloodshed up to and including an ongoing war in Ukraine so how well that worked is yet to be determined. In the case of North Korea here's a relic of the Cold War led literally by a dead guy, a tyranny of extreme misery and starvation and camps with autocratic power in the most crudely bald senses, right down to one of the most massive armies of the present day.

Indeed, unlike the Iraqi case of 2003, the North Korean dictatorship actually is legally at war with the United States (and Rome and Carthage spent 2,000 years legally at war until either the late 20th Century or early 21st Century, I forget, ratification of a formal peace treaty between them so that speaks as to what a legal declaration of war means). It is also legally back at war with South Korea, given that it rescinded the Panmunjom Armistice in 2013.


With such a massive army and decades' worth of artillery, and nuclear weapons and a suspension of an armistice, why has North Korea not taken the steps to extend all of this into an open shooting war the USA is now seemingly hellbent on forcing and managing the incredible, improbable, indeed awe-inspiring stunt of making this regime led by a corpse into the aggrieved party? 



Precisely the conclusion one expects with a rudimentary familiarity with Stalinist state dynamics. The army is notable mostly for size and is essentially the biggest employment program in an unwieldy regime decaying from decades of losing its gravy train and a standoff neither it nor the USA have any acceptable means of resolving and where the South Koreans would hardly gladly welcome the burden of absorbing their former neighbors if that ends up the ultimate outcome.

So this leaves North Korea on the horns of its own dilemma entirely of its own making. It has no claim to exist in large part nowadays beyond that hollow army and all those decades of artillery holding Seoul hostage. Rescinding the armistice leaves it with few options to bluff beyond precisely what it's doing now. Making the ICBM leap and developing means to put nuclear warheads on those weapons.

To be sure, if such a weapon hit the USA there would be a great many Leftists in the USA and out of it who'd say the USA had it coming and would gleefully cheer a US city getting the Hiroshima treatment, because after all nuclear weapons are so much more devastating than mundane bomber fleets leveling cities into hellscapes ala the firebombing of Tokyo and Operation Rolling Thunder (hint: it's really not so, bomber fleets can do equivalent damage on a greater scale, it just takes longer and is less flashy). And equally within the USA there would be a howling outcry that would probably get its wish to see North Korea destroyed in a nuclear set of strikes in retaliation, a war crime that would not be called one but one the elderly Cheeto in the White House would probably be incapable of resisting if it came to that.

But all this circles back to how a scenario where this is now a headline that actually exists in real life, not the sad remake of a sad ripoff of an excellent Soviet WWII horror film: 


shows the consequences of naked arrogance and folly in seeking to rewrite entire countries to the whims of alien cultures by the crash of the bomb and the artillery barrage.

It's entirely possible to destroy a decaying decrepit regime, but the chaos of that destruction and the price paid bears all kinds of ill fruit. Such as one of the most sordid and easy to parody regimes in the world now the relatively more rational party by comparison to a global empire led by a reality TV star who is the triumph of cheap vulgarity and machismo posturing, an idiot telling a tale of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Of such morbid irony is the whim of reality, which unlike fiction needs no pretense of consistency or event A logically and neatly following from a cause that would indicate that this event could become that one.

(no subject)

Date: 7/7/17 05:37 (UTC)
dreamville_bg: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dreamville_bg
No objections on my side here. And brilliantly layed out. You've perfected your style, Sir! :-)

(no subject)

Date: 7/7/17 20:57 (UTC)
asthfghl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] asthfghl
Very well.

(no subject)

Date: 7/7/17 05:54 (UTC)
kiaa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kiaa
One wonders if a nation chooses an idiot TV personality to lead them, what does that tell us about said nation.

(no subject)

Date: 7/7/17 08:57 (UTC)
johnny9fingers: (Default)
From: [personal profile] johnny9fingers
Can't really see anyone from any political perspective regarding a nuclear strike as anything but a total fucking disaster; but maybe I think too well of humanity.

(no subject)

Date: 9/7/17 20:11 (UTC)
policraticus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] policraticus
The US will do what it has done for the past 60 years, pursue a bipartisan policy of aggressive kicking the can down the road, followed by redoubling multilateral efforts at blame shifting and buck passing.

Because, when nothing will really work, doing nothing is probably not a bad idea.

Until poof! there goes Anchorage.

(no subject)

Date: 10/7/17 05:20 (UTC)
mahnmut: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mahnmut
Unless the THAAD system is completed in Alaska.

(no subject)

Date: 11/7/17 16:49 (UTC)
policraticus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] policraticus
Even if THAAD worked perfectly in that scenario, I don't think it would stop the US from striking the North.

Eventually, the North is going to collapse. Do any of us think that collapse can be managed?


Let's say the Kim family self destructs, some unforeseen disaster implodes the government and the people finally have literally nothing left to lose. Then what? This is the only society since ancient Egypt to take the idea of a god-king seriously. Those nukes are going to fly. But they won't be the big story. Chances are they will fizzle, go off course, or get shot down by Aegis cruisers or the THAAD systems coming online now. No. The artillery barrage that will level Seoul will be the story. And there is no THAAD system to stop a artillery shell and the North has them in spades. It is simple, well understood, cheap technology that will, in about 30 minutes time, kill tens of thousands of South Koreans and not a few Americans, too.

This is a bipartisan, multilateral clusterfuck 65 years in the making. Honestly, kicking the can down the road might really be the best case scenario.

(no subject)

Date: 12/7/17 07:36 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] mikeyxw
Depends on what you mean by managed. If you mean a transition to a first world democracy with Scandinavian levels of corruption and an enlightened view of human rights, you know, the usual definition of success, then no. If managed means preventing Seoul from being shelled, then probably.

If the Kims pose an existential threat to those who run the military, I would expect the Kims to be replaced by some kind of military coup. This was a real possibility when the newest generation of Kims took over, so I don't think it's an impossibility in the future. While they'll probably be as corrupt and undemocratic as your average military coup, they'll be more sane than the current government and be foremost concerned with their own survival. This would preclude bombing countries who would be kinda supportive of your actions.

(no subject)

Date: 12/7/17 13:00 (UTC)
policraticus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] policraticus
Deus ex junta?

I think pinning our hopes on general officers who have spent the last 20 years designing, building and staffing a Doomsday system for the peninsula is kind of like using "win the lottery" as a retirement plan.

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