posted on Dec, 20 2010 @ 09:11 PM
I am relieved that nothing happened, but I didn’t really think it would ultimately. Here’s why.
North Korea is isolated, its people starving. The only people in North Korea who routinely eat meat are those in the military, and the ruling elite.
Their conventional military hardware is decades behind other powers in the region, their intermediate range missile programs and early nuclear
capabilities notwithstanding. China is unlikely to support North Korea if it sparks conflict with South Korea, much less Japan or the United States.
Some clandestine material support and intelligence would likely be the extent of their assistance rendered to the DPRK.
If and when North Korea attacks full on, in my opinion - and based on the publicly available OPLANs we have in place for such a contingency - it will
be as the last death throws of a desperate, dying dictatorship. It would be tragic, bloody, and costly, but it would seal North Korea's fate. Kim
knows this. His generals know this.
A full-on attack by North Korea would likely entail use of their highly concentrated artillery. With it, they could conceivably level much of Seoul
within hours. South Korea and the U.S. would respond with air strikes, but it would take time to decimate their emplacements, and in that time many
would die. Because of Korea's topography, any advance across the DMZ by North Korea would require them to cross rivers and move armor and infantry
through narrow mountain passes which would be ideal killing zones for air power. There is some concern that they could launch a limited, one-time
missile attack on the South by submarine, but their capability to do this and the impact it would have are in doubt. DPRK would be utterly dismantled
and annihilated as a regime by the end of the conflict.
Some scenarios envision 500,000 casualties (and some up to one million,) most of them in North Korea. This is a conflict I hope to never see unfold.
The new concessions by the North suggest to me the possibility that this threat of destruction was brought home to them through diplomatic channels,
and convinced them to lessen their rhetoric. This further suggests to me that a simple matter of pride and tit for tat escalation is not what is going
to bring the two Koreas to open warfare. In my opinion, it will require that North Korea be truly desperate, without (in its mind) recourse, and/or
for Kim to feel that his rule is under direct, internal threat.
That's just my non-professional, layman's opinion, though.