Friday, April 26, 2013

The Plan Isn't Working

North Korea's plan to emerge from the wreckage of the post-Cold War world with a fat and happy ruling class isn't working out.

After weeks of threats that included nuclear explosions and long-range missiles, the North Koreans have ... bupkis.

Too broke to have an army capable of marching on Seoul, the North Koreans decided on a strategy of "kooks, spooks, and nukes" where the armed forces would be put on starvation rations while nuclear weapons were built to keep out foreign invasion and shake down foreign governments for free stuff; and the spies were funded to watch the people and keep the weakened armed forces loyal.

Starving the army didn't work and the North Korean regime announced a return of the "military first" policy, although how Pyongyang would afford that I had no idea. Unless you trim the army and reform the economy to afford that army, what on Earth are you really doing? Just getting the army's hopes up long enough to really disappoint them?

Nor only didn't playing the nuclear card get the foreigners to soil their underwear and respond with money, the North Koreans seem to be thinking that the nukes won't even deter an invasion:

In the last few days North Korean troops have been seen building fortifications near border crossings. This is unusual because for decades it was assumed any war between north and south would begin with a North Korean invasion of the south. The new fortifications indicate that the north is recognizing the power balance shift and that it is more likely South Korean troops will be moving north if it comes to war.


The North Koreans are having to face the annoying fact that even after all the expense of building nuclear weapons, nukes do not protect you from all threats. As I've noted before here, nukes deter attempts to destroy your nation or regime. Nukes aren't good enough to deter more limited conflicts. If you use a nuke to retaliate after losing a frigate in a naval clash, you invite a nuclear retaliation that could destroy your nation or regime.

So the North Koreans seem to understand that if they want to maintain a credible conventional capability and hold their artillery firing positions within range of Seoul, the North Koreans need to prepare to defend their home territory rather than carry the war to the south.

With South Korea's need to carve out a no-launch zone in an arc north of Seoul and America's recognition of a need to march north, the North Koreans seem to be aware that their armed forces truly are junk and unable to attack South Korea. Who knew the North Koreans aren't stupid despite being completely evil and nuts?

But with an obvious need to keep their ruling class fat and happy, what will North Korea's next plan to achieve that be?