posted on Nov, 26 2010 @ 11:36 PM
A "worst case" scenario is pretty hard to figure. There's "worst case" in terms of what North Korea manages to accomplish in terms of seizing
territory, and there's "worst case" in terms of who all ends up involved.
I don't really see China getting too involved. They are a little short in the poot to be making military threats, and they are not quite big enough
to economically crush anyone. They don't have enough actual friends in the world, just business partners. They realize this, and know that they are
pretty much alone in a military conflict or hostile market action.
So, worst-case is really going to involve the successes of North Korea.
North Korea launches a preemptive strike on major population centers across the border that are within range of their artillery (Seoul, primarily).
These incoming rounds would be picked up and tracked by the ballistic radars and counter-battery fire would ensue as the public warning system engaged
and civilians began evacuating to various shelters. Civilian casualties are substantial - 10-30%. South Korea launches its strike aircraft to take
out predesignated strategic targets of importance.
This is a war North Korea cannot win - their key would be to somehow establish an effective route to push manpower south and manage to keep them
supplied. I'm not certain what methods they could employ - but they are not half as dumb as they sometimes act, and we'll presume they make this
happen. A two million strong army begins advancing south - they encounter momentary resistance from forces along the border, but they are merely
trip-wires. North Korean forces sustain some casualties from both air and artillery fire, but manage to capture and secure Seoul.
By this time, U.S. forces in Pusan and Chinhae are establishing temporary refugee and PoW camps, as well as pulling forces formerly assigned to Seoul
into security details to combat North Korean special forces/sleepers. The battle group based out of Japan would be en-route as active and reserve
components were called up and prepared to be surged through Pusan.
An absolute 'realistic' worst case is one where we repeat the first Korean war - North Korea pushes all the way down to just outside Pusan with
round-the-clock sorties and pure tenacity holding off the advance of North Korea. This would eventually collapse as the present carrier battle group
begins striking at the supply lines, or as more carriers arrive in the theater. The final push would come from Pusan - whether Seoul was held to
begin with, or not. The rail ways are the life-blood of that nation, as are the ports - and Pusan is the major hub of both.
An 'unrealistic' worst case would be North Korea managing to place one of its nuclear weapons in Pusan's major harbors and fouling them for the
duration of the conflict. This could be accomplished with one of their submarines (theoretically) - but it is unlikely neutron emissions would go
unnoticed by various satellites placed in orbit for that purpose, and it is doubtful North Korea's nuclear weapons are actually functional. In
either case - if North Korea could somehow disable Pusan - it really throws a huge kink into the strategic scenarios and response.
North Korea's navy is pretty much a non-issue. The only thing to be even remotely concerned about are their submarines - and even then, they are
only likely to score a kill or two against a destroyer - they couldn't touch an attack sub or carrier. Anything on the surface can be taken out with
guided missiles well before it is aware the battle group has arrived.
If China were to get involved, though - I would expect them to make use of their Kilo and Akula class submarines. They would want a slap-in-the-face
victory - a cost/effect victory - such as putting a scratch on a carrier (or, God Forbid, sinking one). I highly doubt they would get involved,
though. North Korea is as much a liability for them as anything. If North Korea collapses, China has to figure out how to patch them back up - and
it's a liability China is likely going to be happy to be rid of, in all honesty. They also know that they can't stand toe-to-toe with a U.S.
military response. A single carrier battle group could just about trash the PLAN and get a good ways into relieving China of infrastructure.
Sure - they've got buku people and heavy armor/artillery to throw around the map. It doesn't help them much against our Navy - and there's a
reason why the largest superpowers in the world are known for having the best/largest navies. China couldn't stand against our naval power at this
time. They need probably another ten to twenty years (or a complete U.S. collapse) to reach a point where their Navy can really have much to say
In the end - I think China is a non-issue. They will stand over there and toot their horn, but not do much. It's not their style and it's not
going to turn out well for them. North Korea, on the other hand, is likely to over-play their hand and end up in a war they didn't bargain for.