Otto von Bismarck, the ever quotable Chancellor of the Second Reich, predicted in 1888 that “One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans.” I have long thought the same on a global scale about North Korea and Iran, where military power is wielded by regimes that seem to view rationality as a cardinal sin.
SEOUL — North Korea dramatically escalated its warlike rhetoric on Thursday, warning that it had authorised plans for nuclear strikes on targets in the United States.
“The moment of explosion is approaching fast,” the North Korean military said, warning that war could break out “today or tomorrow”.
Pyongyang’s latest pronouncement came as Washington scrambled to reinforce its Pacific missile defences, preparing to send ground-based interceptors to Guam and dispatching two Aegis class destroyers to the region.
Tension was also high on the North’s heavily fortified border with South Korea, after Kim Jong-Un’s isolated regime barred South Koreans from entering a Seoul-funded joint industrial park on its side of the frontier.
In a statement published by the state KCNA news agency, the Korean People’s Army general staff warned Washington that US threats would be “smashed by… cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means”.
“The merciless operation of our revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified,” the statement said.
Last month, North Korea threatened a “pre-emptive” nuclear strike against the United States, and last week its supreme army command ordered strategic rocket units to combat status.
But, while Pyongyang has successfully carried out test nuclear detonations, most experts think it is not yet capable of mounting a device on a ballistic missile capable of striking US bases or territory.
Mounting tension in the region could however trigger incidents on the tense and heavily militarised border between North and South Korea.
The White House was swift to react to Pyongyang’s latest “unhelpful and unconstructive threats”.
Go here to read the rest. We have been down this path many times before with North Korea, that Stalinist- regime- frozen- in- amber, making outrageous threats and being rewarded with negotiations, world attention and aid from the West. This time feels different however. Kim Jong Un, Supreme Leader, took over on December 17, 2011. There have been persistent reports of instability in North Korea including rumors of an assassination attempt against Kim in 2012 and in March of this year. Kim has a reputation of being a playboy. He owes his position purely to the fact that he is the grandson and son of the first two Communist dictators, the North Koreans having pioneered the concept of the Communist dynasty. Traditionally domestic unrest in North Korea has resulted in the government sounding the drum of a potential foreign war. Everything is on a hair trigger on the Korean Peninsula with only a minor miscalculation needed to lead to the first nuclear war of this century.
The war would likely be brief and would end in the destruction of the military capabilities of North Korea. Unfortunately most of Seoul, the South Korean capital, with twenty-five million people in its metro area, would be in ruins with the city easily in range of massive amounts of North Korean artillery. The South Korean military could defeat their North Korean counterparts in short order, but not before the South would absorb large amounts of civilian casualties. Our troops of the 2nd Division, along with supporting air units, would be involved in the fighting from the onset. Our air power would dominate the skies of North Korea, but our initial losses from the massive North Korean air defense system might be severe.
Despite the threats of the North Koreans, I would not expect that one of their missiles armed with a nuclear device could hit the US. Much more likely is that a dying North Korean regime would lash out and send a nuclear armed missile against a major Japanese city. If they were successful, that could be the most far reaching development of the war, as I think it would cause the Japanese to rearm and go immediately nuclear. Japan and China have been increasingly at odds, and the chief legacy of Korean War II might be to see a newly militarized Japan confronting a China seeking to become the dominant power in East Asia.
What would China do in regard to a second Korean War? So long as the US and South Korea do not seek to occupy permanently North Korea, I think the Chinese would be chiefly concerned with the millions of starving North Korean refugees attempting to flee to China. Not a chance that China would let them in, and the scenes at the border could be quite harrowing.
My late uncle Ralph McClarey fought in the first Korean War. I doubt if he would have been surprised at all to see war come again to that divided land.