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Korea : The Geography of Conflict in 2013

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posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:08 AM
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Well, this has been quite a trip from deciding I wanted to know a bit more about specifics like missile ranges and inventory numbers to where it's wound up. I still have hours to go. I need to break this up though. There is simply too much and the point here is to be useful, readable and something of quality for both the duration of the current crisis and into what it may develop into. I'd first thought this thread may be 5-6 pages of OP. Then realized that's absurd. *I* wouldn't read 6 pages of one thread OP. lol... So it's broken to three distinct areas of major concern and information for what we're watching. Enjoy part 2 of 3 total.

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The Geography Of Conflict in 2013


The literal and physical geography of the region turned out to answer several questions for why previous Presidents back to the cold war tended to give this as wide a birth as the North Koreans would allow. There simply is no upside to this if a very fast and very strong retaliatory strike doesn't end it within hours.

Lets look at the most obvious physical aspect first and what features among the most prominent things covered in books about the first Korean War.


(Source)

Of course, that is simply elevation. That hardly tells the whole story. There is a lot of room between those elevation gradients. As any hiker, trucker or soldier who has to deal with it can attest to, a lot of up/down can rest within 500 foot range marks.



What the remarkably mountainous terrain means, depends. If it goes very quickly and ends very fast, then very little. It'll make things a nightmare for the civil affairs teams from the ROK and US both, but militarily it won't matter much. If, however, it doesn't go quite as planned (Hey, they always go just how everyone planned right?) then mountainous terrain could be a serious issue.

What a makes the terrain maps more meaningful is seeing just how small an area all that represents. Those could be rolling hills and beautiful, long mountain ridges depending on scale. Simply seeing a legend on the bottom doesn't really do it either. At least, it never has for me. So, I used the Google Earth ruler tool and measured out some distances over maps supplied public domain from the friendly folks at the Library of Congress and CIA public map collection.



Even I hadn't fully realized the truly cramped quarters all this is happening in. Gee whiz...why would Pyongyang ever feel a little nervous with Strategic Bombers running up near the DMZ for instance? What's flight time over Kim's house if they made a sudden turn? I mean, things take on all new meaning when everything is almost within spitting distance.

My next surprise or perhaps depressing confirmation of what I thought it might be is more accurate, was the regional look at where everything is at.



For some silly reason, my mind just hasn't been registering the Russian Federation as seriously interested parties in all this. That's been foolish of me. They don't simply border North Korea by land with China. That land border is minor (China borders Afghanistan too for all little slivers of land touching like that usually matters.) There is something that makes THAT little piece of land special though ....and this is no Persian Gulf for friend - neutral or enemies who have endless patience with a long term U.S. fight.



Vladivostok is the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet.

This was their equivilent of Fleet Week at that base, in fact.

It would be like Russian ships going to war against something in Cuba and entirely from the Florida side of the Island for sharing the waters. Except we'd need to have a Norfolk or Pearl Harbor type presence at Key West to really make that comparison apt. Indeed.. reasons why no one has touched this before.

There is more though... I really do hope Russia is tolerant and China is neutral or quietly supportive of our side if something happens. If not, remember Vladivostok for a moment..In the Northeast.


(Source)

As it just so happens, the US won't feel lonely or anything. Particularly the U.S. Navy. It looks like there is plenty to hang around the area from both directions. Yes, I do hope they are both in agreement with what it looks like may happen here, if a major diplomatic breakthrough doesn't come soon. The first war didn't go particularly well for that, as some may recall.

___________________________________





posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:08 AM
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There is another aspect to be seriously considered here in the geographic realities. That is the social one. I don't want to be the insensitive one of the group but someone has to say this.

North Korea is among the poorest nations on Earth at the level of their population. There are very strong reasons for that, and it's not a lack of money in their national treasury. That doesn't change the problem though. Where it goes, isn't what matters here.

It's the fact it HASN'T been going to the people of the nation. It's happened to an extreme literally NOT SEEN anywhere else in the world in this way.

In a world where a picture says a thousand words, an orbital view of grinding poverty like much of the world has never quite seen before should speak volumes.



I wish that was photoshop'ed, but it's not and it's far from the only one showing that same thing. That one comes from NASA's public domain material and they notated it. It's a depressing sight. Even the Phillippines show far more for civilization and signs of busy lives.

Now, to the conqueror go the spoils they used to say. That was a neat saying, back win spoils were taken in more than political advantage. Now though, responsibility to fix what got broken is what those taking other nations get left holding.

That black hole is roughly 24 and a half million people who don't know electricity as any kind of a daily thing, if at all. They are millions upon millions in dire conditions from exceptional drought in some areas with a resulting famine that is rarely seen, even in Africa. Although, it takes man to really screw things up this badly.

North Korean parents 'eating their own children' after being driven mad by hunger in famine-hit pariah state

^^^ I didn't believe that story when I first heard it. I didn't much consider it when I second, read about it. It started to get my attention when it was crossing every major media organization in the world.


Food prices have spiked, the result of drought and North Korea’s defiant launching of a rocket in April that shut down new offers of food aid from the United States. Development organizations also blame speculators who have hoarded staples in anticipation of reforms that have yet to materialize. The price of rice has doubled since early summer, and chronic shortages of fuel, electricity and raw materials continue to idle most factories, leaving millions unemployed.


These quotes are from a New York Times / Asia Pacific article recording the interviews of North Korean civilians up on the Chinese border. It's enlightening but also depressing.


A member of the ruling Workers’ Party from a major city, Mrs. Park said that to feed her family, she sells cornmeal cakes from a market stall, but she complained of sluggish sales and famished children who snatch her wares from beneath a protective swatch of fabric. More than once this year, she said she walked by the lifeless bodies of those who were too weak to steal.


This is inside a border city. Not a back country rural village.


/Although it is possible the North Koreans interviewed are more disenchanted than others — given their affiliation with Christians, who are generally very critical of the Communist state — their accounts, told separately, largely dovetailed with one another’s and with the assessments offered by foreign aid workers and academics who recently spent time in the country.
(Source)

If the case can be made that the enemy is truly the multitude of the North Korean Army, then choices are limited here.

If an invasion were to come from the North, then no choices remain.

However, if those two things aren't the case then I say this is 3-4 individuals in a nation built around a cult of personality. Much like Saddam, Gaddafi and others whom Western powers don't seem to care about leaving in power or talking about just now.

________

Is the US ready for 24 million new, extremely needy people with no Government left? Iraq wasn't nearly a trillion US Dollars for bullets and bandaids. It was damn near a trillion dollars for money thrown down the open pit of infrastructure repairs and rebuilding a whole Government we so helpfully obliterated on the way INTO the nation.

Putting aside ALL strategic concerns raised in the first post. Is the US, in 2013, better able to handle a far WORSE population for physical condition and need...than we were in 2003? Iraq only had a bit over 30 million....and many would say, never did work.

As long as any choice remains, I think geography ranks equal to military concerns for reasons to take great care here. We could win...to regret it.





edit on 30-3-2013 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:17 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


This is going to take some time to digest, Wrabbit.

Very well written, so far......

S&F



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:18 AM
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and what if they are all on curfew ffs to save power, and the money goes into the war machine. come on!!!



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:30 AM
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reply to post by PLAYERONE01
 


Save power for what?!?!
Are they hiding a couple of super-colliders out there? A higher probability is that the power is routed underground to govt/military bases. I'm not saying your wrong, as I don't live in, nor have been to the country, just that I doubt it's this easily explained away.

EDIT: Just reread you're post... I think we're saying the same thing lol
edit on 3/30/2013 by joeyv23 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:32 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


North Korea is geared for one thing only.


WAR.

That is the truth, regardless on how anyone wants to spin it.



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:42 AM
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Does anyone believe the the part about them eating their children?
I can not even began to imagine someone doing it.
We the human race needs some kind of help.
But when i look at the problem just like in Syria it all seems to fall back to Russia and China.
The support and condone the mad leaders and block any attempt to ride the world of them.
My question is it really worth it to Russia and China to support this behavior just so the communist
party can stay in power????A lot of innocent Koreans could be killed on both sides if this goes bad.
edit on 30-3-2013 by grayghost because: (no reason given)
edit on 30-3-2013 by grayghost because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:43 AM
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China And Russia Conduct ‘Surprise’ Military Exercises

This is according to another website. Exercise was conducted in the S.China sea. If true, seems like Russia and China are saying "hands off" NK to the US.



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:51 AM
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Originally posted by grayghost
Does anyone believe the the part about them eating their children?
I can not even began to imagine someone doing it.
We the human race needs some kind of help.
But when i look at the problem just like in Syria it all seems to fall back to Russia and China.
The support and condone the mad leaders and block any attempt to ride the world of them.
My question is it really worth it to Russia and China to support this behavior just so the communist
party can stay in power????A lot of innocent Koreans could be killed on both sides if this goes bad.
edit on 30-3-2013 by grayghost because: (no reason given)
edit on 30-3-2013 by grayghost because: (no reason given)


I really debated on including that. I finally did for two reasons. First, I read the same bottom line in different ways and descriptions from a variety of places. Aid agencies and NGO's are, themselves, saying the same thing. The people they DO get from inside North Korea to render aid to are bringing this out with them. Unless there is some underground conspiracy within the population to all tell the same tale if they get out without being caught? The Aid groups make a point about doubt being hard to hold onto after enough of it. It's HARD to imagine but history IS full of cases where this happened and there aren't questions about it. Donner Pass comes to mind as one of the single best known cases of it. Known, but far from unique.


Second reason was actually hearing the same thing picked up in academic circles. COmbined? yeah.. I chose to include it for everyone to evaluate in their own minds.

@ Thread

In terms of their money situation? It's military so in part 3 but their GDP for a recent year was estimated at a 40% diversion to their Military development and procurement budgets. 40%... He's playing in the big game with the big dollars ...without a nation that can support that kinda of military gamesmanship, IMO.



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:58 AM
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I don't think we'll see a major ground invasion by the U.S. or any other country except South Korea.

I think Japan, and U.S. would bomb the heck out of the North though



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 01:58 AM
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I think it is interesting you brought up the "human factor" because it reminded me a lot of 2001 Afghanistan. Another one of the "poorest nations" in the world, and look at all the money we have given to try to "rebuild" it in the wake of our war. Our economy is in limbo, and that is sugar coating it. So, now we are eyeing another nation that is in dire need of help, but at what cost to us? Seeing that image of how dark north Korea was on the map was startling. God knows I want to help those people, but another war followed by nation building is not top on my list of possible solutions.

Some will argue we have to kick out or kill the bad dictator to do this, and we will be liberating the long suffering north Koreans. This may be true. This may really be our only option, but it doesn't sit well with me. I think as you are trying to point out, if I have understood correctly...a conventional war in this region is fraught with several variables that could prove to be far more difficult than our previous visits to the sandbox. A nuclear war should be avoided at all costs by all parties concerned. So that leaves us with bombings and boots on the ground?

Very interesting OP! I'm glad I was able to catch it...looking forward to part 3!



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 02:14 AM
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reply to post by Magister
 


China knows the consequences of NK going to war. China is protecting "their" interests, namely their economy. If war breaks out, what good is it to back NK? China cares about China, regardless on what many think. You might see China taking a different approach, should war break out.



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 02:29 AM
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I think this is just another chapter of warfare going back into history. All through history, the mobile army, be it horses, camels, armor or helicopters, always wins on the plains as shown in Iraq. An easy victory !

But in the mountains and under the ground, the story differs remarkably.

Think of Vietnam. The greatest war machine on earth lost!

Think of Afghanistan, the mountains are still no-mans land.

Now we have North Korea, mountains, a dug in Army. A dug in army that has had years to prepare and it seems to me has learnt well from the lessons of Vietnam and Afghanistan. Yes I have seen the posts from others where a few nukes here, some chemical weapons there will subdue them.

The problem once again is that the US can not, will not be allowed to fight a total war. Nukes on both China's and Russia's doorstep, I don't think so, not unless we let loose the hounds of hell and embrace Mutually Assured Destruction. The US, China and Russia are not that stupid.

This must be a limited war and I suggest you all carefully assess Wrabbit's next post. The destruction that North Korea can unleash in the first 60 minutes is awesome and there are no defenses to stop them.

Too many, far too many armchair warriors on ATS type without doing there homework.

If an air defense battery can fire 8 interceptor missiles then you fire 9 at it and it is dead.

I read a post by someone extolling the virtues of a Destroyer that could lock on and track 1,000 targets at a time. Wow, 1,000 targets! Of course the devil is in the details. They only had 24 anti air missiles and the 25th would blow them out of the water.

The devils in the details. This will not be easy and neither China nor Russia will allow a unified Korea under Western control! Forget Chubby, it is the old guard Generals that have planned this for years.

Will their soldiers fight or surrender, who knows! Will they all fight for the first week, hell yes! BArrage after barrage after barrage.

S&F Well done Wrabbit. 3 stars for three posts!

P
edit on 30/3/2013 by pheonix358 because: (no reason given)
edit on 30/3/2013 by pheonix358 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 02:31 AM
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When it comes to attacking the US or its interests, it's all about the size of the Dong.
North Korea has big Dongs but China's Dongs are much larger.
Of course when conflict involves nuclear warheads, it's not about the size of the Dong but how it is used.



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 03:35 AM
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Hey guys, I know some may be hanging around and checking, so I am dropping this to let you know the 3rd part won't be up until tomorrow. I'm going to try and time it for the early evening, US Central but I'm just dead tired and this last one is far more important than the first two. It's not worth doing poorly just to do quickly. Certainly not on this topic and right now. So, do check back but it won't be this morning.



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 04:23 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Interesting read Wrabbit


I wonder if this time it would be appropriate to liberate the NoKo people from their regime, the Middle East sounds like a small peace of heaven compared to North Korea's situation.



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 05:34 AM
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Nice threads Wrabbit, (and I Don`t mean clothes
) Looking forward to part 3. Lil` Kim is like a fart in a phonebox,...he just won`t go away!! If he is taken out, with his military leadership without nukes or a long drawn out war on the ground, China will take up the "Humanitarian and peace-keeping" duties in the north of Korea. Both China and U.S would agree on this I think.

$0.02.



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 11:26 AM
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Good thread. I think Japan will play a greater part if the issue spreads. Lots of small conflicts between Japan/Russia/china recently. Control of some of the surrounding islands seems to be a big thing for these 3, not sure if for shipping lanes/oil or shipping lanes/strategic or both. Also china has never forgiven Japan for their atrocities committed in WWii (remembering that essentially those two countries were at war from the start of the 20th century until the end of WWII)...lots of tension, so much potential for greater conflict.



posted on Mar, 30 2013 @ 10:23 PM
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Great Thread.

Not many people know this but there almost was a second Korean war, after we withdrew from Vietnam and South Vietnam fell North Korea went to China and asked for there help in a second invasion of South Korea believing they could win but China refused so it didn't happen.





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