North Korea displays massive live-fire artillery drill as U.S. nuclear sub docks in South Korea


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/24/war-games.html


#2

#3

To be clear: North Korea is not the country we’re worried about over here.


#4

It’s the nation equivilant of watching a yappy dog when it knows you can’t step into its yard.

China wants North Korea as a buffer zone. Nobody wants to take on the task of the rebuilding and humanitarian efforts needed to FIX north Korea, so they let this little deformed malnourished yappy sonovabitch bark.


#5

While the content of the article is essentially correct, it would be far more accurate to describe the USS Michigan as a ballistic missile submarine. Yes, it could launch conventional munitions; it’s primary purpose is to launch the Trident II D-5 SLBM. No rational state actor would load a long range ballistic missile with a NON-nuclear payload.


#6

Upon further reading I realize that I am in error, this boat is used for cruise missiles now, not SLBM’s. My mistake.


#7

But in this case the yappy dog can escape (i.e. ballistic missiles). My suspicion is that the NK calculus is this:

  1. We can launch a nuclear attack on the US but
  2. If the US retaliates it will kill many people in South Korea and even Japan through fallout
  3. In any case the NK leadership and many facilities are in nuclear bomb proof bunkers.

Therefore they can afford to launch perhaps one missile at the US with a reasonable degree of belief that the US will not retaliate in sufficient force because of that collateral damage. But in their minds NK will then have exposed the unreality of US power.

They already have one exemplar: 9/11, when most of the terrorists were Saudis but the US did not retaliate against Saudi or the Wahabist ideology which led to Osama bin Laden’s attack.

The thing is they have only one chance to get it right, and as time passes the probability that an ICBM launch would be intercepted gets higher. So things are at their most dangerous right now. (If Hitler had delayed the V-2 attacks until the guidance system was sorted out and it had a more effective warhead, the bases would have been overrun by the Allies.)


#8

Yes. We only retaliate against those who aren’t obscenely wealthy. North Korea hasn’t bought enough people here to make that strategy work. (Second sentence added)


#9

All of these grown “men” are having a pissing match. And it’s the rest of us who will be soaked by it.


#10

I’m disappointed that the post didn’t link to footage of this massive, live-fire exercise; that sounds like it could be cool.


#11

But they did bomb Afghanistan into the Middle Ages. NK has no deniability, they would be flattened - I think the seemingly-out-of-the-blue deployment of the super bomb in Afghanistan a few weeks ago was partially meant as a message to NK that no bunker will save them.

I don’t think NK wants to launch even one missile towards the US, it’s just the periodic bluff. This saber-rattling simply indicates the NK leadership is struggling more and more for internal legitimacy. Almost everyone seriously involved in the original Korean War has died by now, which means they are less and less ideologically cohese, and the kid in charge is not very credible - resorting to exemplary cruelty can work against palace coups but doesn’t scale beyond that. If they launch any missile, it will be as a self-immolating attack on Seoul, in the desperate hope that a second war for unification will somehow make them cohese again. Tbh I don’t think anybody really believes that would work.

The real issue is whether China can be persuaded to pressure for regime change without threatening their defensive setup (i.e. leaving NK solidly under their sphere of influence).


#12

It seems to me that Donald simply wants to attack NK.
Why? I have no idea.


#13

INTO the middle ages? I would argue that the Afghan countryside (where most of the bombs were dropped) has never left the Middle Ages. And, as the Soviets discovered, for the most part shows no desire to leave the middle ages.

But I agree, for the most part their over-the-top rhetoric is for internal consumption, kind of like Trump’s.


#14

I think @toyg answered that one…(though he was referencing NK at the time)

This really does feel like Mutually Assured Poll Numbers


#15

Historically, this has been the reason for their military displays. Are they in the midst of another famine? That would be a good trigger for unrest and rebellion. As much as China wants NK as a buffer, their lapdog is proving more troublesome as each year passes. I have to wonder how much the Chinese will put up with before they impose sanctions, or remove Kim.


#16

“Diplomacy” is a word Trump has no grasp of. Never have I been more sure that the man in charge has no idea what to do and is bungling his way towards disaster.


#17

So basically North Korea is that neighbor who cranks up Skynard at 1am just to show you he don’t take shit from no one.


#18

Mid Term Elections can’t get here fast enough.


#19

I think the problem they have is that they don’t know what to replace him with. The current setup is fairly coherent: family and party both get legitimacy from the previous struggle. How do you drop one without renouncing the other? And if you drop both, how could NK choose a system close to the Chinese model rather than just reuniting the country under the richer model, like Germany did?

There are lot of risks from the Chinese side, for relatively little gain; so they let NK bark. The challenge from a US perspective is persuading them that the uptake is worth a little risk.


#20

There are no great answers to the situation. Still, the Chinese have the leverage to make the saber rattling quieter. I’m left wondering what they think is gained by allowing Kim to escalate/retaliate. By now Beijing must realize that 45 really is dumb enough to use nuclear weapons.

[Here’s hoping the secret service is smart enough to only provide 45 with yesterday’s football.]