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Post 06 Dec 2017, 10:02 am

Doctor Fate wrote:If anyone believes Kim is rational, I’d like to see the evidence.


That Kim's rationale does not fit into a classic western paradigm is not evidence of a lack of rationale. There's a reason why there hasn't been a full-scale war on the Korean Peninsula in 60+ years and it's because while their guiding principles may differ, all of the actors involved - North Korea, China, Russia, United States, Japan, and South Korea - are all operating in their own particular rational ways that all sides have acknowledged, at least until the current administration in the United States took office.

China: no full-scale war, no United States allies on its immediate borders, no refugee crisis

Russia: generalized containment of United States foreign objectives

North Korea: maintain the status quo (Kim regime in power; enough foreign aid to survive)

South Korea: maintain the status quo (growing economy, no full-scale war), cultural and financial independence from China

United States: minimize humanitarian crisis, strong alliance with Japan and South Korea to hem in China

Japan: no direct lethal threat to Japanese citizens, strong trade ties with China and South Korea, cultural and financial independence from China

It's odd to think of one of the most tense situations in the world as fundamentally stable, but because all parties involved find it in their best interests to maintain the status quo, war between parties with fundamentally different world views has been avoided for decades. North Korea's efforts to gain nuclear weapons, intercontinental missiles, and at least some level of conventional army functionality are actually perfect examples of seeking to maintain the status quo because they prevent an American demagogue from seeking to collapse the Pyongyang regime without fear of serious retaliation.
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Post 06 Dec 2017, 10:18 am

Sure, I'll buy the argument that Kim Jong Un is acting for rational, self-.interested reasons. But it is way too risky to have such an unstable regine that already causes so much mischief in the world to have ICBM technology. What if he literally goes crazy? What kind of controls would there be to stop him from using the technology? What if he gets paranoid that we are out to assassinate him and decides to hit us? What if he decides to reunify South Korea and threatens it and the US with nuclear weapons? What if they sold the technology to Iran or terrorist groups?

I don't see these as being acceptable risks. We need to rein him in.
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Post 06 Dec 2017, 10:23 am

China: no full-scale war, no United States allies on its immediate borders, no refugee crisis


This hardly seems fair as we've got Canada on our border--and you can see Russia from Alaska.
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Post 06 Dec 2017, 11:10 am

freeman3 wrote:Sure, I'll buy the argument that Kim Jong Un is acting for rational, self-.interested reasons. But it is way too risky to have such an unstable regine that already causes so much mischief in the world to have ICBM technology. What if he literally goes crazy? What kind of controls would there be to stop him from using the technology? What if he gets paranoid that we are out to assassinate him and decides to hit us? What if he decides to reunify South Korea and threatens it and the US with nuclear weapons? What if they sold the technology to Iran or terrorist groups?

I don't see these as being acceptable risks. We need to rein him in.


It's an extremely difficult situation. There's a large part of me that wishes the United States could do something, anything, to resolve the conflict and that it would likely involve a Shock and Awe campaign against North Korea. I am appalled that in 2017, such humanitarian situations exist. I want to fix them. I want the United States to fix them. I am an idealist.

However, I also look at the United States' record on trying to use regime change to help oppressed populations in other countries and... I'm not impressed. I fear that any preemptive strike on North Korea would only make things even more horrific, especially with the current administration's complete inability to plan anything (not that national building has been a strength for even competent presidencies).

Sometimes, you accept 90% suck because 100% suck is unthinkable. It's the most unsatisfying answer possible in international relations, but it's often the only answer.
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Post 06 Dec 2017, 11:15 am

Southern Marylander wrote:
freeman3 wrote:Sure, I'll buy the argument that Kim Jong Un is acting for rational, self-.interested reasons. But it is way too risky to have such an unstable regine that already causes so much mischief in the world to have ICBM technology. What if he literally goes crazy? What kind of controls would there be to stop him from using the technology? What if he gets paranoid that we are out to assassinate him and decides to hit us? What if he decides to reunify South Korea and threatens it and the US with nuclear weapons? What if they sold the technology to Iran or terrorist groups?

I don't see these as being acceptable risks. We need to rein him in.


It's an extremely difficult situation. There's a large part of me that wishes the United States could do something, anything, to resolve the conflict and that it would likely involve a Shock and Awe campaign against North Korea. I am appalled that in 2017, such humanitarian situations exist. I want to fix them. I want the United States to fix them. I am an idealist.

However, I also look at the United States' record on trying to use regime change to help oppressed populations in other countries and... I'm not impressed. I fear that any preemptive strike on North Korea would only make things even more horrific, especially with the current administration's complete inability to plan anything (not that national building has been a strength for even competent presidencies).

Sometimes, you accept 90% suck because 100% suck is unthinkable. It's the most unsatisfying answer possible in international relations, but it's often the only answer.


There is no regime on Earth worse than the Kim regime. It would be impossible to make the situation worse.
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Post 06 Dec 2017, 11:40 am

Doctor Fate wrote:There is no regime on Earth worse than the Kim regime. It would be impossible to make the situation worse.


I agree with you that it is likely the single worst regime in the world. However, I disagree that it would be impossible to make the situation worse.

For 25,000,000 North Koreans, life is a struggle which they are losing. On good days, they collect enough nourishment to maintain the physical necessities of life. On bad days, they do not. On all days, they are deprived of virtually every element of what it means to be human.

For 50,000,000 South Koreans, life is generally good. It is a developed country, with problems to be sure, but generally safe, sound, and prosperous.

In the event of an American pre-emptive attack on North Korea, the number of lives at risk on any given day triples from 25,000,000 to 75,000,000. North Korea would immediately engage in a massive artillery barrage against Seoul and its surroundings. It's entirely likely that North Korean soldiers would be ordered to cross the border. It's probable that whatever current arsenal North Korea has that could reach Japan would be used, increasing the number of lives at risk.

North Korea's regime is many things, but it is not suicidal. It would not risk direct confrontation with the United States through anything more than sabre rattling on the border and certainly not through an attack on American territory. It knows where the red line is and its goal is to get as close to that red line as possible without ever touching it. That's extremely uncomfortable for the average American, but forcing North Korea to cross that line through a preemptive attack by the United States would be nothing less than apocalyptic for at least 75,000,000 people. Let's not forget that in three years, the Korean War cost over well over two million civilian lives and well over a million military casualties. That was 60 years ago and wars have not become less brutal, less impactful on civilians since then.

If North Korea makes any move against American territory, then the United States should respond with all necessary force. I do not in any way see how a preemptive move results in an improvement of the situation for the people on the Korean peninsula.
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Post 06 Dec 2017, 12:03 pm

Southern Marylander wrote:In the event of an American pre-emptive attack on North Korea, the number of lives at risk on any given day triples from 25,000,000 to 75,000,000. North Korea would immediately engage in a massive artillery barrage against Seoul and its surroundings. It's entirely likely that North Korean soldiers would be ordered to cross the border. It's probable that whatever current arsenal North Korea has that could reach Japan would be used, increasing the number of lives at risk.

North Korea's regime is many things, but it is not suicidal.


If it is not "suicidal," it will not drag Japan in.

Also, a preemptive American attack made with China's tacit approval might well succeed. A preemptive attack with sufficient disruption (i.e. an EMP device) might well make a coordinated, effective NoKo response impossible.


It would not risk direct confrontation with the United States through anything more than sabre rattling on the border and certainly not through an attack on American territory. It knows where the red line is and its goal is to get as close to that red line as possible without ever touching it. That's extremely uncomfortable for the average American, but forcing North Korea to cross that line through a preemptive attack by the United States would be nothing less than apocalyptic for at least 75,000,000 people. Let's not forget that in three years, the Korean War cost over well over two million civilian lives and well over a million military casualties. That was 60 years ago and wars have not become less brutal, less impactful on civilians since then.

If North Korea makes any move against American territory, then the United States should respond with all necessary force. I do not in any way see how a preemptive move results in an improvement of the situation for the people on the Korean peninsula.


I do not see any way that permitting North Korea to have nukes that can hit the States is acceptable.

No one wants war. However, our red line needs to be somewhere short of them going nuclear. They will proliferate. That is unacceptable.
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Post 06 Dec 2017, 12:25 pm

Doctor Fate wrote:I do not see any way that permitting North Korea to have nukes that can hit the States is acceptable.


Generally speaking, fewer countries having nuclear weapons is better. However, the United States has survived a nuclear Soviet Union and a nuclear People's Republic of China, so I don't think it's an existential threat for North Korea to have nuclear weapons... even if it is far from ideal.

Still, I would not object to the United States engaging in tit-for-tat diplomacy with China on the topic by making it known that every step North Korea takes on the nuclear power spectrum (first, developing nuclear weapons... then the ability to deploy them over ever-increasing distances), the United States will support South Korea and Japan in achieving those steps as well. There's nothing China wants less than a nuclear Japan.

That does, however, also have to be met with a bit of a carrot in agreeing to remove certain sanctions on Chinese companies and agencies that do business with North Korea if China does pressure the North to denuclearize.

Anyway, I think that the experiences of Afghanistan and Iraq should make us all wary of rushing into wars based on the premise that American military might can be so overpowering as to eliminate the threat before any kind of retaliation can take place. I definitely admit that it's possible that a preemptive decapitation strike against Pyongyang would be the best of a myriad of bad scenarios for handling North Korea and it's also possible that it could be done in such a way as to minimize retaliation, even if I don't think success is guaranteed or probable. I would simply encourage those who believe it is the best path to try to expand their knowledge beyond the paradigm of "Kim is crazy" and take a full inventory of the potential costs of such action.
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Post 06 Dec 2017, 12:41 pm

Southern Marylander wrote:
Doctor Fate wrote:I do not see any way that permitting North Korea to have nukes that can hit the States is acceptable.


Generally speaking, fewer countries having nuclear weapons is better. However, the United States has survived a nuclear Soviet Union and a nuclear People's Republic of China, so I don't think it's an existential threat for North Korea to have nuclear weapons... even if it is far from ideal.


North Korea will proliferate. That alone makes it a non-starter for me.

I do think it is an existential threat. It is only not existential if Kim seems the sort who understands certain lines may not be crossed. Does he?

Not to me.

Still, I would not object to the United States engaging in tit-for-tat diplomacy with China on the topic by making it known that every step North Korea takes on the nuclear power spectrum (first, developing nuclear weapons... then the ability to deploy them over ever-increasing distances), the United States will support South Korea and Japan in achieving those steps as well. There's nothing China wants less than a nuclear Japan.


I think we should encourage Japan to start rearming and see how China enjoys that. They have used Kim as as a thorn in our side. We should return the favor. China fears a resurgent Japan. Let them have some fear.

That does, however, also have to be met with a bit of a carrot in agreeing to remove certain sanctions on Chinese companies and agencies that do business with North Korea if China does pressure the North to denuclearize.


As long as it's not a green light to keep stealing from American corporations, it's fine by me.

Anyway, I think that the experiences of Afghanistan and Iraq should make us all wary of rushing into wars based on the premise that American military might can be so overpowering as to eliminate the threat before any kind of retaliation can take place. I definitely admit that it's possible that a preemptive decapitation strike against Pyongyang would be the best of a myriad of bad scenarios for handling North Korea and it's also possible that it could be done in such a way as to minimize retaliation, even if I don't think success is guaranteed or probable. I would simply encourage those who believe it is the best path to try to expand their knowledge beyond the paradigm of "Kim is crazy" and take a full inventory of the potential costs of such action.


I don't see the other two as similar. In fact, Korea should be a negotiated situation. We decapitate it, then Russia, China, and the US find a way to resolve it. I think a non-aligned, democratic nation would do just fine.