North Korea threatens war

North Korea is the last remaining communist state run on the Stalinist model. It has been at war with South Korea since the ceasefire that ended the Korean war. This morning North Korea threatened to end the ceasefire.

The relationship between China and North Korea is similar to that between the US and Israel. North Korea depends on China for financial assistance and to use its UN Security Council veto when sanctions are threatened, but refuses to take advice, let alone instructions, from Beijing. North Korea claims that this latest move is in response to planned military exercises in the South, but it seems more likely that it is being driven by a change in its relationship with China.

China has been frustrated by the North Korean regime for decades. North Korea is an economic basket case that China is obliged to support, or risk further influxes of starving refugees. China has traditionally considered North Korea to be a buffer zone separating it from the US-occupied South. The North Korean army looks like a formidable force on paper. But the invasion of Iraq rather strongly suggests that an army on the verge of starvation would not hold out more than a few weeks against a US invasion, without Chinese intervention. Rather than being a strategic asset to China, North Korea has become a liability.

North Korea via Shutterstock

North Korea via Shutterstock

During the Bush administration, a change in China’s position on North Korea was unthinkable. But with Obama re-elected to a four-year term in Washington, Chinese diplomats have been signalling a willingness to put pressure on their ally. They might even see encouragement in the outcome of the Arab Spring. From the viewpoint of Beijing, the US successfully liquidated the leadership of two tiresome client regimes without losing prestige or influence. China is believed to be considering allowing some form of sanctions against North Korea to pass the UN security Council.

Feeling threatened, North Korea is doing what it always does: acting out like a spoiled child. The last card the regime has left to play is to threaten a war with the South, that it would then threaten to escalate into a US-China war.

North Korea is playing a dangerous game. It may succeed in blackmailing China to continue to protect it in the UN Security Council. But the North Koreans might also succeed in persuading Beijing that the Kim Jong Un regime has become too dangerous, and has perhaps finally merited its own Asian Spring cleaning.

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  • Jihad

    Kill the Turkish brigade. Don’t let them mass convert Korea. You saw Teheranno and now they are moving in for Islamic terror recruitment.

  • bob

    North Korea is an inherited totalitarian dictatorship. Please don’t confuse North Korea’s government with Communism.

  • hollywoodstein

    And to mirror, who had the courage to post when God was angry, a hat tip to you sir.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Exactly like that, yes.

  • Drew2u

    I mean, not paying-for-nondelivery, but how NK had Hans Brooks (or whoever. My early foreign policy knowledge comes from “Team America: World Police”) to oversee inspections, [or maybe I'm thinking Iran - damn, puppets], but allow a kind of overseeing of nuclear sanctions with inspections in exchange for renewable technology. It wouldn’t be a hostage situation, but an incentive offer: demonstrate cooperation with nonproliferation treaties and we’ll help you (instead of punish you).
    Then again, I’m taking politicians out of politics – everything’s simpler when that happens.

  • MyrddinWilt

    They already did that in the Clinton years. Nuclear blackmail has been North Korea’s main source of foreign exchange.

    Bush basically screwed the program up being a git and the North Koreans tried to up their demands. The problem is that North Korea’s economy is basically kaput. So the amount the government has to demand is ‘enough to remain in power’ which keeps going up. Eventually the question is how many times you are going to pay for the carpet that they never deliver.

  • MyrddinWilt

    They have nukes and they have missiles but they don’t have a nuke they can put on a missile. And the nukes they have are not very good.

    The current Chinese regime is far removed from the one that created North Korea in its own image. Its like inheriting a dog whose previous owner trained it as an attack dog.

    This is exactly like Netanyahu and Obama. Netanyahu simply can’t imagine a world in which the US is not forced to give Israel everything he demands without any form of concession on his part at all. And because of certain political factors in the US he is right but only up to a point.

    It is becoming pretty clear that Israel’s support in the US is getting rather thin. They have the GOP as long as Adelson is having to buy his way out of jail. They have a solid lock on the 70+ Jewish community but that is aging and the 60+ community is not ‘my other country right or wrong’ to the same degree and the 40+ ers mostly think of Israel as their unfortunate embarrassing elderly relative they would rather not have to apologize for all the time.

    If you game out what would happen if Israel tried to pull the US into a war with Iran by making a unilateral strike, I think it is rather ugly for Netanyahu. Obama does not have to save Netanyahu, only Israel. I think that we would see a parliamentary coup within hours of an attack without US authorization.

    Imagine you are Perez and the US ambassador has just told you that there will be no US military assistance whatsover until Netanyahu has resigned. Now you are the Iranian Supreme leader and whoever heads the US interests section has just offered Netanyahu’s head on a plate if they will call off their retaliation for an unprovoked attack.

    The same reasoning applies in the China/North Korea situation. China has a large number of options here ranging from cutting of aid through organizing a coup to a full scale invasion.

  • Drew2u

    You mean like the Tea Party?

  • Drew2u

    Maybe I’m being ostensibly naive, but couldn’t a type of Plowshares Fund be set up, where in countries such as N.Korea and Iran, that claim to need Nuclear Power for electricity generation, instead of agreeing on the basis that the technology isn’t turned to generate weapons, offer to provide solar/wind/alternative electricity sources – and that at least the offer of Alternatives for Nukes is on the table regardless of whether those countries accept it or not?

  • MyrddinWilt

    It is hard to see how a weapons procurement program for 2020 could be justified because of these moves.

    If China gets fed up of its idiot client state, that would allow something like 5-10% of defense spending to be cut out.

    The big problem is those nukes…

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    North Korea has nuclear weapons. Sadly, they’ve proven what many of us have already known: If you don’t have nukes, but want them, you get invaded, bombed, or otherwise conquered. Have nukes and you’re treated like a serious player on the world stage.

    As for China’s relationship with North Korea? It’s like training a dog to bite.You may take some pride in what you’ve wrought, but in your heart you know that dog could bite you. And eventually you realize you’re not nearly as much in control of that dog as you once thought.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jared.hyder Jared Hyder

    North Korea is just begging to be wiped off the map…are they not?

  • DRoseDARs

    …lol?

    Apparently, someone handed you a shovel because you just dug yourself deeper into the hole. Pretty soon, you’ll reach North Korea.

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    I agree. Call their bluff as this is all they have done for over 50 years.

  • mirror

    Ah, yes, I remember now. We’ve seen your racial bigotry before. Wondered if I was mistaken at the time. Now, affirmation.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    No I didn’t assume that. I noticed he was black and not Eminem I knew he was an NBA player. And, Like I said hip hop trash kissing the ass of one of the most viscious dictators on earth. Don’t pull your racist bs on me.

  • http://libertyviewmagazine.net/ Tod Westlake

    They could do a lot of damage, however. Seoul is very close to the DMZ, and the North has hundreds of artillery placements within range, many of which are embedded in the mountains and would be hard to take out even with U.S air support. There would be many casualties.

  • http://www.facebook.com/samella.williams Samella Williams

    North Korea knows that if they attacked a country, they could be wiped off the face of the earth. This is all talk.

  • UncleBucky

    For various reasons. HAD he one or two, he would have lobbed them against Israel, if he felt he was backed into a corner (alá the various suicide-by-cop nuts who kill a bunch of people and let the cops end it all for them). And we would not have wanted a nuked Israel for various domestic politics.

    It’s crazy. But with a NK ready to use nukes actually using one on Seoul, it’d be hard to find LG, Samsung, Kia or other products, since they are not made in the US. And thus we are playing games with NK.

    I never dreamed that we would be in this weird situation. I thought the 21st century would be kinda cool. :(

  • HolyMoly

    Not that i don’t take their threats seriously, but it seems that every few years or so they do something like this. They get the attention they want, and then they go away. Like you said in the article, they’re acting like spoiled kids. But of course it is not something to be blown off…a country just shouldn’t be making threats like this, even if they are bluffs. Sometimes your bluff gets called.

    As for their army starving, it’s true that they wouldn’t hold out for long under those types of conditions. That’s why they probably have a strategy, should they ever find war to be inevitable, to attack first, move quickly, and cause as many South Korean and American casualties as possible within the first couple of weeks (before the U.S. is able to assemble reinforcements — our numbers are pretty scant over there right now), the hope being that the losses incurred would be so high that we’d have little stomach to continue the fight. That’s just a theory on my part :-)

  • DRoseDARs

    Dennis Rodman was a NBA player for 20 years. Interesting that you immediately assumed that because he’s black he must be a rapper.

  • nicho

    Nukes make all the difference. That was the giveaway with Iraq. If Saddam had indeed had WMDs, there is no way we would have invaded.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Just wonderful. After a splashy visit by some American hip hop trash Great Leader Toad of all the Universe goes all nuky.

  • Drew2u

    So what you’re saying is… The republicans are going to use this as an opportunity to get rid of sequester cuts to the defense department and the defense department, only?

  • A_nonymoose

    Of course, neither Libya nor Egypt had nukes. Just sayin’ . . .

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