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Subject: What are the real chances of Korean War II?
patriotscheme    5/23/2003 12:05:02 AM
Seeing that the U.S. is deeply entrenched with the reconstruction of Iraq and there also is a presidential election looming (meaning no more wars until post-election time), does anyone really think that U.S. policy will continue to follow the Bush Doctrine (assuming he is re-elected) and conduct regime-change in North Korea? Can/will the U.S. be able to pull off such an armed conflict with so many forces tied down elsewhere, Seoul held hostage by artillery, and world opinion so tainted with anti-Americanism?
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WinsettZ    RE:Korean issue is very complicated   8/26/2003 4:24:16 PM
One thing is certain: Unity will occur someday. It's a matter of when, and under what terms. Surely the NK people would be better off under democracy. They would get aid for a few years from the globe, but then the bill to rebuild NK would fall to the South. Seeing how slow the UN moves elsewhere, South Koreans will have to pick up a great deal of the tab. South Koreans have to most to lose, the most to gain, and the most to pay for reunification. I'm pretty sure the businesspeople would love to see reunification; if anything it means new markets, and construction business up north. To civillians, it means relatives on the other side of the line. It will also mean cheaper labor flooding from the North, starved and desperate for jobs. Lots of tear-jerker reunions that make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. The only thing that could change is whatever Kim Jong Il does. He's a erratic nutcake so anything could happen. He's not stupid, so he could be negotiated with. Exile in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Cuba or the French Riveria is open. Sun Tzu said something to the effect of leaving your enemies a way out, this fits to the modern adage about cornered animals/people fighting the hardest and most desperately. Once we trick him out of the country, the rest will fall, unless Number Two tries to take over...hopefully by then the ROK will be ready, or the DPRK's army will not recognize the new ruler, or some other stuff.
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TrueNorth    South Invades North?   8/27/2003 3:11:14 PM
Has anyone ever considered the possibility of South Korea invading the North to reunify the peninsula? Their military is smaller now, but their economy is much better and they’ve a larger population base too. They also have much better military technology. In time, they could gear up a war winner. It would be a nasty campaign to be sure – probably even go nuclear. The alternative though is for people in the South to sit and watch their own nation north of the 50th die by the millions because of those vicious fools in Pyongyang. That might come to a breaking point. It could even be a pre-emptive strike as the northern regime slides further and becomes more desperate and unstable. The trick would be to finess China. I could see the South cutting a deal with Beijing by offering them the two things they really want. The first is a unified and friendly Korea on their border. Stable and prosperous is good too, and they’d both benefit from increased trade and technology transfer. The other thing is to get US forces off the continent. It would be a Faustian deal, but I could see Seoul saying, “We’ll dump the Americans if you dump Kim Jong Il, then let us get the war over with.” After all, it’s not like Beijing is really communist any more, so they don’t have to stand by those losers in Pyongyang. They still have to maintain the pretense that they’re communist though, since without that ideological foundation they’ve no formal justification to rule their country. Thus they couldn’t make it look too obvious. I imagine it would be a secret deal, at least initially. Later China could say that the North is run by ideological heretics who have departed from the True Path, and dissolve their defence treaties. At the same time Seoul could say thank you to Uncle Sam for all those years of protecting them, but that they’re going to look after themselves now. The war could start after the last US forces leave. Of course one other way it could unfold is after the South/US halts a second invasion from the North. At that point most people would accept Seoul's right to settle the whole thing once and for all. Again, they could secure China's tacit blessing by promising to keep the US out.
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SGTObvious    RE:South Invades North?   8/27/2003 3:25:44 PM
The real problem, from the Seoul point of view, is not winning. The real problem would be what to do with 20 million starving north Koreans after winning. The disparity in living conditions, education, infrastructure, and nutrition are far beyond the differences between East and West Germany. It is more like the difference between Somalia and Disneyworld. North Korea is totally out of it that they actually offer, as inducement to the South Koreans to defect, a "good meal of rice". I'm not kidding. Come to the Paradise of North Korea and get a good meal of rice! Alternate explanation, though- they might make these ridiculous offers knowing they will be heard by their OWN side, who might then conclude "those people in South Korea must be really hungry, if we have more rice than they do." Second alternate explanation- In the Korean language, "a meal of rice" may be idomatically translated as "food" in the same way that English speakers have used "bread" as a stand in for all food. (Give us this day our daily bread, etc...). In Korean, "Bap Makkasumnikka" means, literally, "Did you have Rice?" but actually means "Have you Eaten?" So the propaganda might be translatable as "Y'all come'on up here and we'll feed ya!" Same problem, tho, it implies the South is hungry and the north is not, which every South Korean knows would be absurdly funny if it wasn't for the tragedy of the starving north.
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appleciderus    The cost of Unification   8/27/2003 3:58:23 PM
In another thread, a poster claimed that the US had a rising number of people living in poverty. In an effort to understand that statement I launched a research project on poverty. Aside from what pertains to that thread, I was surprised to see the cost, AND the amount of time involved in the unification of Germany. The EU does not use a dollar (euro) amount as a measurable standard. Their measure of poverty is as a percentage of the average income in the EU. If the average income is considered the 50th percentile, than anything below the 25th percentile is considered poverty. The interesting thing is that East Germany, at the time of unification, had an average income (50th percentile) that was 40% of the West German average. Since unification, 10 years, the East German average has increased to 60% of the West German average. 10 years! With all the investment made, 10 years netted an improvement of 20%. A very expensive and time consuming task, rescuing an economy from communism. I fear the South Koreans understand this, and like many West Germans were, they are not in a rush to spend the time and money. BTW, if anyone wants to know about poverty figures in the US, just raise your hand. Interesting information to have in your pocket the next time a “hate America” guy jumps up with that US poverty claim.
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MTS    Has anyone wondered if Korea will ever be united?   8/27/2003 6:26:25 PM
As one poster said, the living standards are so far apart that any unification would literally bankrupt South Korea. Isn't it better if the North opens gradually and they are doing this now, opening zones up in the north bordering China and Russia. This causes less pain for South Koreans. Apart from monetary issues, the north and south Koreans are really not the same people mentally. They even speak a different dialect of Korean. Unknown to many observers, there are in fact 3 Koreas, there is another one inside China, an ethnic minority region. The day Korea is united, the South wil demand a road and rail network connecting Seoul with Europe. The borders are so fuzzy in today's world, I am not sure if North Koreas would end up being Koreans or would they would closely with the Chinese Koreans? A united Korea would be open to Chinese culture and language so what will be the results?
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tomanbeg    RE:The cost of Unification   8/28/2003 10:49:01 PM
All official numbers like poverty and literacy are bogus. They cannot stand on their own, and are just tools used by folks with an axe to grind, or bureaucrats looking for more money. The bodies of humans that have starved to death is a very concrete measurement that is hard to spin. Poverty in the USA is when your other TV is a 19" portable, or your second car has 100,000 + miles on the odometer. Last time I was in Europe was in the mid 90's and most of the areas I saw would have been condemmed in the USA. In Europe they were middle class. So all the numbers are relative. The cost of unification is not going to go down, so there is nothing to gain by waiting. The blood price of eliminating the DPRK will go down for the ROK over time, unless the DPRK is allowed to build and test a nuke. In which case everything gets more expensive, in all ways. Field testing the ABL might become possible here over the next few weeks. Wouldn't that be a kick in the groin to Kim? T.
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tomanbeg    RE:Has anyone wondered if Korea will ever be united?   8/28/2003 11:01:46 PM
I have been pushing the trans-asian higway for the last 3 years or so. It would acomplish the same thing for Asia that the railroad (and later the interstate higway system) did for the USA. And there is no way that asorbing the north would bankrupt the South. The ROK would show a profit after 10 years. Basic capitalism; "It takes money to make money." And the numbers on Germany are missleading in that the Germans still have the number 1 economy in Western Asia and the standard of living for the 'Osties' is still better then say Kosovo, or ALbania. So just what was the result of unification? Depends on what you want to prove, since there was no change relative to the rest of the states around Germany. Employment would go up on both sides of the DMZ. Capital would be a little tight for a few years, but only a little. I think it would create another economic boom in that corner of the world. A rebirth of the Asian Tigers maybe. As far as the language thingy, how many languages are used in China? Several hundred? T.
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WinsettZ    RE:Has anyone wondered if Korea will ever be united?   8/29/2003 1:40:35 PM
The infrastructure requirements to rebuild North Korea would be stunning. I imagine that the only roads are military. The intial expense is food aid. You'd have to poke and prod the USA to get free food over there, even if it may be somewhat old or sure beats grass noodles. Since so many people are malnourished, birth defects and other health problems can be expected from them for some generations to come. So, there may be a long-term health care cost drain from the North Koreans. Nextly is jobs. I imagine the economy is in shambles with lots of subsistence farmers. This is where bankruptcy could come in. That, or they'll emigrate in masses to Seoul and scare the daylights out of people, depending on how starved they look. Immigration is the most expected reaction, who would stay in that dump? I believe North Korea was more mountainous and as such, is useful to "Heavy Industry". Heck, it even has uranium. :) Most of the first new jobs in North Korea would be heavy industry. The industries down south would have to invest in the north...mines, factories, the things happy South Koreans cry "NIMBY" about. Just stick 'em on North Korea is probably what would happen, for a while.
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appleciderus    For Tomanbeg   8/29/2003 4:07:29 PM
I hope you didn't interpret my comments as recommending against unification. I was pointing out that having personally witnessed the bitterness of some West Germans to the cost of unification, the same should be expected by some, or many South Koreans. Secondly, I agree 100% with you regarding statistics. Besides the classic example of 10 women in a room, 9 of which are pregnant, then the population of that room is 9/10ths pregnant, there are more serious statistical lies. My favorite is, according to new federal guidelines, Michael Jordan is obese. In a few years, these new standards will be the basis for new legislation regulating food. A very important statistical lie was what caused me to research this. I was tired of reading critics of the US and the Bush administration admonish American to take care of its citizens living in poverty, among other things, including racism, but that’s another subject. The UN classifies a third world citizen making less that $2 per day poverty stricken. Extreme poverty is defined as making less than 1$ per day. The US defines poverty, for a family of four, with one wage earner, as making less than $18, 400 per year, which equates to $8.85 per hour, substantially less than the US minimum wage. By sloppy trans-definition then, all US workers earning the minimum wage can be classified as poverty stricken, i.e. HS students, University students, etc. When critics of the US throw the “poverty” argument up on these boards, this is the basis for their comments. I apologize if I was not clear in my comments. Being uncle to 2 adopted Korean children makes me very sensitive to the hardships my niece and nephew read about.
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American Kafir    RE:For Tomanbeg   8/29/2003 4:59:58 PM
>The US defines poverty, for a family of four, with one wage earner, as making less than $18, 400 per year, which equates to $8.85 per hour, substantially less than the US minimum wage. By sloppy trans-definition then, all US workers earning the minimum wage can be classified as poverty stricken, i.e. HS students, University students, etc.< This has been a recurring bone of contention I've had in many economic debates with Democrats. How many of the "working poor" in the US are actually teenaged part-time fast food restaurant employees that still live with their parents, but file taxes separately from their parents (who don't claim them as dependents) so that they can get that extra consideration for student grants or welfare benefits? It's a hard number to come up with, because not many people would voluntarily admit to a government statistician that they are actually ripping off the government.
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