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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Current Events > East Asia and the Pacific > North Korea

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North Korea The nuclear crisis in North Korea, including testing, sabre-rattling, sanctions, etc.

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Old 06 May 12, 11:31
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A Good Background Article On N. Korea

Ran across this the other day and thought someone here might find it interesting.

The political entity North Korea, or more specifically the Kim Family Regime, is very rational in the sense that it knows what it wants and works tirelessly to achieve it. The regime’s operating strategy can be broken down as follows:

Vital national interest: survival of the Kim Family Regime (not the nation-state but the regime).

Strategic aim: reunification of the Peninsula under the control of the DPRK (the only way to ensure the long-term survival of the KFR -- because anything else means that it will not survive)

Key condition to achieve its strategic aim: get US forces off the Peninsula (or in Sun Tzu terms “split the alliance”).

International political aim: to be recognized as a nuclear power.

Why does the North want (or need in its calculus) nuclear weapons? First and foremost it believes that it needs its nuclear program as a necessary deterrent. We should understand that the lessons that the regime has learned from Iraq and Libya are that their downfalls were a result of their not yet having developed nuclear weapons. Of course if anything happens to limit Iran’s development of such weapons (like what happened to Syria’s covert reactor several years ago) that lesson will only be reinforced.
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Old 07 May 12, 10:26
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Every generation of Special Forces full colonels produces one or two intellectual warriors who are recognized as standing above their peers in sheer intellect. Dave Maxwell was one such colonel. Under his guidance, the United Nations Forces Special Operations Conference invited not only key military and defense personnel, but top academic North Korean experts from both the United States and Korea. I had the great privilege of attending two of these with officers from the U.K., Australia, France, Greece, Japan and, at one, Colombia. Numerous South Korean officers also attended, as the lectures were delivered in both English and Korean. Open sessions were open to any nation accredited to the U.N. Command, while closed sessions were limited to those with the requisite security clearances. Brilliantly, the academic lectures included both pro and con points of view, and on one occasion I recall an American academic defending his point of view before several ROK critics who, while still convinced of their own points of view, emerged from the debate with frank admiration of this academic's command of both the Korean language and his nuanced understanding of the facts. It was the single most impressive military conference I ever attended, and Dave Maxwell was its architect. Drs Andrei Lankov and Alexandre Mansourov were in attendence, naturally espousing contrary points of view. The only serious Korean academic missing was Dr. Bruce Cumings, and I'd be willing to bet he'd been invited.

So, it is with some trepidation, that I raise this point in regards to Colonel (Dr?) Maxwell's paper. While it is true that the North Koreans (and the Chinese) have forever been trying to split the U.S. - R.O.K. Alliance, the reality is that no alliance should live beyond the purpose for which it was created. There are many Americans who feel that the Alliance has achieved its purpose, and that the Republic of Korea can or should now stand on its own. Likewise, within Korea, there are many who feel that the U.S. presence is not needed. At times, this can be a majority view among the Korean public, but its adherents come from both the extreme right and left. The latter include pro-North Korean groups, the standard leftists, and the so-called Green Party. Given an emotional issue, these groups can exploit public sentiment to a violently anti-American pitch that lays bare just how fragile Korean public support is for a continued American troop presence in Korea.

Given the current ROK armed forces capabilities, and American military requirements elsewhere, I would argue that it is time to re-look our part in the U.S. - R.O.K. alliance. And if it is deemed essential, I would ask that we re-look whether or not a U.S. presence on the ground is absolutely necessary to that alliance. My own opinion is that we save a lot of money by re-positioning our troops earmarked for Korea back in the Continental U.S..

Then we can let North Korea slip into the oblivion it richly deserves, or if they get frisky we can stand by and watch the R.O.K.s annihilate them. Also it has the added advantage of undercutting concern for North Korea's nukes. After all, if they have them (I remain a skeptic) and if they are deliverable anywhere off-Peninsula by other than a Bongo truck (a popular Korean brand), it might occur to the Norks that with no American troops present, we just might be a little more prepared to deliver a retaliatory strike with our own.
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Last edited by lirelou; 07 May 12 at 10:36..
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