April 4, 2013

EXCEPT THAT THEY DON'Y HAVE NUKES TO THREATEN WITH...:

The Next Korean War :Conflict With North Korea Could Go Nuclear -- But Washington Can Reduce the Risk (Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, April 1, 2013, Foreign Affaiars)

Ironically, the risk of North Korean nuclear war stems not from weakness on the part of the United States and South Korea but from their strength. If war erupted, the North Korean army, short on training and armed with decrepit equipment, would prove no match for the U.S.-South Korean Combined Forces Command. Make no mistake, Seoul would suffer some damage, but a conventional war would be a rout, and CFC forces would quickly cross the border and head north.

The risk of nuclear war with North Korea is far from remote.
At that point, North Korea's inner circle would face a grave decision: how to avoid the terrible fates of such defeated leaders as Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Qaddafi. Kim, his family, and his cronies could try to escape to China and plead for a comfortable, lifelong sanctuary there -- an increasingly dim prospect given Beijing's growing frustration with Kim's regime. Pyongyang's only other option would be to try to force a cease-fire by playing its only trump card: nuclear escalation.

It's impossible to know how exactly Kim might employ his nuclear arsenal to stop the CFC from marching to Pyongyang. But the effectiveness of his strategy would not depend on what North Korea initially destroyed, such as a South Korean port or a U.S. airbase in Japan. The key to coercion is the hostage that is still alive: half a dozen South Korean or Japanese cities, which Kim could threaten to attack unless the CFC accepted a cease-fire.

...and the regime would be gone by the end of that first exchange.

Posted by at April 4, 2013 7:52 PM
  

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