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  #21  
Old May 26th, 2009, 3:08 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

Questions:

1. How dangerous do you think North Korea is?

In and of itself, North Korea isn't dangerous, per se, outside where it resides. The issue is its propensity to provide weapons and technologies to radical elements in the Middle East and beyond. Given that the regime is desperate (take note of the recent "disappearances" of some its old guard), one must not overlook a wounded tiger.

2. Why is North Korea so intent on developing nuclear weapons?

I think it's mostly a ploy to stay relevant in world affairs. It seems to me, every time focus shifts from the peninsula, i.e. Pakistan or Iran, Kim Il Sung does something provocative to bring world attention back to them. Plus, as stated above, the desire for hard currency would make the sale of workable nuclear weapons very hot on the open market.

3. Did you agree with the steps taken by the world community in response to the 2006 test?

I don't and not from the perspective of whether there should be six party talks, versus one on one diplomacy. I think the partners are in question. What is China's vested interest in stopping the production of nuclear weapons in North Korea? Realistically, until it's in China's best interest, North Korea will continue on this path.

4. What diplomatic or military steps should be taken in response to the latest round of testing?

Get to them through China. Militarily, the US is drawing down forces on the peninsula. The US could propose putting Patriot missiles and short range cruise missiles in South Korea, but that wouldn't deter the North. The actual defensive capabilities are more than made up by the Naval forces in and around the pacific rim anyway. This has got to be done through China.


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  #22  
Old May 26th, 2009, 4:31 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

I am with Gator on this one - the path to North Korea (and a number of other bad states int he region, such as Myanmar) is through China.

As long as CHina doesn't disapprove of these regimes enough, nothing will happen.

My guess is that China will want to keep them from doing too much damage and from causing too much trouble, but they don't want a precedent of 'regime change' on the basis of human rights or other western values anywhere closwe to their backyard.

Hence North Korea will remain a problem. IMHO.

It's awful because millions of peope are suffering for it (and the same in Myanmar.... )


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  #23  
Old May 26th, 2009, 5:01 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

Quote:
Originally Posted by USNAGator91 View Post
Questions:

1. How dangerous do you think North Korea is?

In and of itself, North Korea isn't dangerous, per se, outside where it resides. The issue is its propensity to provide weapons and technologies to radical elements in the Middle East and beyond. Given that the regime is desperate (take note of the recent "disappearances" of some its old guard), one must not overlook a wounded tiger.

2. Why is North Korea so intent on developing nuclear weapons?

I think it's mostly a ploy to stay relevant in world affairs. It seems to me, every time focus shifts from the peninsula, i.e. Pakistan or Iran, Kim Il Sung does something provocative to bring world attention back to them. Plus, as stated above, the desire for hard currency would make the sale of workable nuclear weapons very hot on the open market.

3. Did you agree with the steps taken by the world community in response to the 2006 test?

I don't and not from the perspective of whether there should be six party talks, versus one on one diplomacy. I think the partners are in question. What is China's vested interest in stopping the production of nuclear weapons in North Korea? Realistically, until it's in China's best interest, North Korea will continue on this path.

4. What diplomatic or military steps should be taken in response to the latest round of testing?

Get to them through China. Militarily, the US is drawing down forces on the peninsula. The US could propose putting Patriot missiles and short range cruise missiles in South Korea, but that wouldn't deter the North. The actual defensive capabilities are more than made up by the Naval forces in and around the pacific rim anyway. This has got to be done through China.
What Gator said...


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  #24  
Old May 26th, 2009, 6:16 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

Add me to the "what Gator said" list.

I'm particularly worried about NK selling it's nuclear technologies and/or supplies to terrorists.
I don't particularly think Kim Jong il wants to destroy the West, in fact, he seems quite enamored with it.
But- that said - I can see him selling his weaponry on the black market to gain more personal wealth (not that any of the people will share in it), and, if that should wind up getting the West blown up indirectly, "Oh well.. hey, I didn't press the button" would probably be his attitude. I also think he'd view a weakening of the West as an opportunity to annex South Korea. I think he's mentally and emotionally unstable, and that's what concerns me.
However, when it comes to actual direct deployment of nukes, he has absolutely nothing to gain by launching a strike on anyone. Unlike terrorists who hide within other countries, without representing them, NK is a sovereign nation that can be hit back easily. Same goes for Iran too actually. What worries me is the possibility of Al Qaeda getting a hold of some of these weapons, or even just a quantity of the enriched plutonium, for that matter.


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  #25  
Old May 26th, 2009, 8:32 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

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Originally Posted by Grymmditch View Post
I'm particularly worried about NK selling it's nuclear technologies and/or supplies to terrorists. ...

I think that this is a worry, obviously - but on the ther hand, this is definitely something that CHina will agree with. Not least because the main smuggling route would be via NK's border with CHina.

Moreover, China is also worried about Muslim fundamentalists (it has some potentially separatist Muslim people within its territory, especially in its NW provinces)


I am not intending to trivialise this essential worry - but I think that on this count at least, CHina's co-operation will be easier to get than on almost all other counts.


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  #26  
Old May 26th, 2009, 8:53 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

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Originally Posted by Klio View Post

I am not intending to trivialise this essential worry - but I think that on this count at least, CHina's co-operation will be easier to get than on almost all other counts.
Well, hey, I'm not adverse to good news.

Then again, NK could be approached by air or sea, too, though that's all closely monitored as well and would require smuggling of some kind.


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  #27  
Old May 26th, 2009, 10:38 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

From what I have heard all over the news today, the land border (1000 miles in very tricky territory) is the biggest worry.....


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  #28  
Old May 27th, 2009, 2:17 am
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

I'm on the with Gator team too

NK isn't overly significant but we still shouldn't overlook it. nuclear weapons isn't something to be taken lightly


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  #29  
Old May 27th, 2009, 7:02 am
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Re: North Korea

Has anyone ever noticed that the smaller and more radical the dictatorship, the louder they scream? North Korea can practically fit in my shirt pocket, yet it has been a center of attention since the 50's. With this latest missle test and threat against South Korea, we should just pull a Finger Of God on them and squash them flat once and for all! Of course, that is the little demon inside of me speaking. The true me thinks we should just ignore them, stop giving them media press, and not even bother talking to them. Let them rant and rave all they wish, test whatever missles they want, and if they ever carry out any of their threats, then we step on them like a grape!

SQUAPHTTTT! All done!


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  #30  
Old May 27th, 2009, 10:46 am
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Re: North Korea

Genocide may be viewed as an overreaction.


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  #31  
Old May 27th, 2009, 3:15 pm
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Re: North Korea

Quote:
Originally Posted by rigdoctorbri View Post
Has anyone ever noticed that the smaller and more radical the dictatorship, the louder they scream? North Korea can practically fit in my shirt pocket, yet it has been a center of attention since the 50's. With this latest missle test and threat against South Korea, we should just pull a Finger Of God on them and squash them flat once and for all! Of course, that is the little demon inside of me speaking. The true me thinks we should just ignore them, stop giving them media press, and not even bother talking to them. Let them rant and rave all they wish, test whatever missles they want, and if they ever carry out any of their threats, then we step on them like a grape!

SQUAPHTTTT! All done!

The missiles they're firing are short range surface to air and surface to ship missiles with limited range. It's like they're launching very expensive bottle rockets.

There's no doubt that NK is a regional pest, at best, but I think China is more inclined to let them be and not do anything drastic, lest they millions of refugees start pouring over the Yalu border.

I've heard mention of counterbalancing the NK nuclear threat by arming Japan with intermediate range nukes. That would take a lot more doing than when the Pershing II's were deployed to Western Europe in the 1980's. I believe that there's a constitutional prohibition on the deployment of nuclear weapons in Japan.

I think ignoring NK is the best bet, until China can be convinced that there is a relative interest in taking action.


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  #32  
Old May 27th, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

1. How dangerous do you think North Korea is?

My isn't so much North Korea as it is what North Korea will do with the nuclear weapons it develops. North Korea is already suspected of selling it's technology and plants to Syria - Iran and who knows who else could be next.

2. Why is North Korea so intent on developing nuclear weapons?


It allows them to remain players on the world stage and as long as the international community responds as tepidly as they have, allows NK to develop a product they could sell for more goodies for Kim.

3. Did you agree with the steps taken by the world community in response to the 2006 test?

I think the 6 party talks were the right course of action. China holds the key to NK and without China, Japan, and Russia on board anything NK promises would be false.

4. What diplomatic or military steps should be taken in response to the latest round of testing?

Give Japan access to US nuclear technology. That'll make China stand up and take notice and maybe become an active participant in encouraging NK to give up it's nuclear ambitions.

Beyond that is active inspection of NK vessels by international teams to ensure that NK isn't selling it's technology. NK's already said that they'd consider that an act of war, so I'm not sure what else is left.


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  #33  
Old May 27th, 2009, 4:05 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

I would assume that one China's worst worries is Tibet and other areas where they don't want western democratic ideas settle.

If they allow that some of those nasty regimes in the area are overthrown because they are holding whole peoples to ransom - how will that reflect on China? Thus, in a perverse way, it's in China's interest to leave these regimes (especially NK and Myanmar) in place.

On the other hand, Chine doesn't want trouble - so I would assume that they'll reason with those regimes if they are likely to cause trouble in the wider region. As we saw with the floods in Myanmar a year? two years? ago, China isn't going to reason with a government of that calibre if it's 'just' a few hundred thousand lives of their own people at stake. But any actual conflict which affects the wider region would almost certainly destabilise China, so I would guess that they wouldn't stand for that.


Is this reassuring? In a way it is, I suppose.
But I would guess that we'll have to watch the people ruled by those nasty little regimes suffer for a long while yet.

But my assessment of where China is likely to stand makes me think that we shouldn't worry about NK too much (beyond the usual humanitarian concerns about which we can't really do much, realisticly speaking - IMHO).




I am just wondering about the idea of giving nukes to Japan:

1) will Japan want them? They are traditionally a fiercely anti-nuke country, and honestly, who would blame them?

2) what message are we sending about nuclear proliferation if we do this? Iran would become a lot more difficult to handle in this case.

3) it sounds awfully like a solution for the simple old 'Cold War' days to me. I don't think that in this multi-polar world any form of mutual deterrent is likely to work well.


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Last edited by Klio; May 27th, 2009 at 4:08 pm.
  #34  
Old May 27th, 2009, 6:33 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

I don't think it's even necessary to install nukes in Japan. We have our submarines in the pacific waters, and they have the strike capability to make NK a desert wasteland all by themselves - four times over.
NK also knows this. Kim il also knows the US would protect Japan, and waging war against Japan is like waging war on the USA.

I agree with ignoring NK, but only to a point. Sometimes, when you ignore a brat, he just gets louder and louder, and instead of eventually giving up, he'll decide any kind of attention is better than no attention and then he might do something really, really stupid. I see Kim Jong il as unstable, so I don't put anything past him, he could in fact act out illogically, but be a hero or martyr in his own mind.

The greatest weapon against NK, I think, is Truth. If those people could see how most of the rest of the world really lives.. it'd be the beginning of the end for Kim and his would-be successors.
One one hand, it's hard to de-program people who've lived their entire lives in a lie, but on the other hand, the truth would be such a diametrically opposed shock to what they've been indoctrinated with, it might snap them out of it.


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Last edited by Grymmditch; May 27th, 2009 at 6:36 pm.
  #35  
Old May 27th, 2009, 7:01 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

I think you are oversimplifying this. Sounds too much like the old Cold War stereotypical view to me.... and that was never true, actually.

Truth alone won't kill a regime like this - I bet the people in NK know all too well that their life is a lot worse than elsewhere. But an authoritarian regime, especially one with such a HUGE army and complete control over resources can keep people under control.... ultimately, an economic collapse is probably the most likely outcome, ultimately. Especially if the regime can no longer satisfy its huge army.

The problem is that economic sanctions may well kill hundreds of thousands, because such a regime will channel any food that is left to its supporters and won't care about the general population (note the famines in Stalin's Russia, the problmes in Zimbabwe and Myanmar).

In a way, such a regime is pretty unassailable because it holds millions of people hostage and won't be shy to let millions die to furhter its own selfish cause.

In the end, containment is perhaps the only thing we can do - and, as I have suggested before, containment is something CHina has to be interested in, too - which means that it is quite likely that it'll work.


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Old May 27th, 2009, 8:20 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

Krauthammer said it a lot better than I can...



China could care less about Tibet or any of the bothersome nations it controls, and it could care less about international condemnation of their actions in those nations. They dealt with Tianamen square just li8ke they'll deal with those people should they stand up against China.

China does, however, care about Japan. A nuclear armed Japan wouldn't be about deterring NK - it'd be about getting China to step up to the plate and calm Kim down.


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Old May 27th, 2009, 8:36 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

A nuclear Japan would cause a whole host of other problems i.e. the Chinese may decide to point it's own weapons at Japan rather than keeping North Korea in check.

Also even if a nuclear Japan had the desired effect in terms of China stepping upto the plate, you cannot discount Kim Jong rolling the dice and attacking South Korea and Japan anyway. He has nothing left to lose at this point.


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  #38  
Old May 28th, 2009, 12:13 am
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

Despite western hysteria about the acquisition of nuclear weapons by the USSR, China, India and Pakistan, there has never been a head to head hot war (excluding proxy wars) between two declared nuclear nations.


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Old May 28th, 2009, 7:46 am
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klio View Post
In the end, containment is perhaps the only thing we can do - and, as I have suggested before, containment is something CHina has to be interested in, too - which means that it is quite likely that it'll work.
The problem with China is that its territorial ambitions are not fulfilled. The Taiwan issue has the potential to flare up whenever Taiwanese elections are held. China's claim to the Spratly Islands and the waters up to and around them are a cause for contention between other local powers including Vietnam.

China is only a useful player in regional politics as long as its ambitions are being realised. By that I largely mean, economic ambitions. The West has placated China by way of investment for decades, keeping them happy by the continual flow of income. As long as China grows financially it'll be satisified with sabre-rattling for the time being. But if the economic meltdown takes a massive toll on Chinese interests, you can expect a more militant attitude to take shape where its territorial claims are concerned. That would spell bad news for the region because any aggressive posturing by China will embolden North Korea.


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Old May 28th, 2009, 12:06 pm
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Re: North Korea Testing: World Response

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Originally Posted by monster_mom View Post
Give Japan access to US nuclear technology.
There is the issue of the Japanese Constitution. Imposed by the Allies at the end of WWII it specifically forbids anything greater than a self-defence force. Nuclear weapons goes far beyond that remit.

Of course there is also the understandable abhorrence the modern Japanese have of nuclear weapons or anything that remotely smacks of militarism.


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