Saturday, August 29, 2015

Make Pie Not War

North Korea seems to have backed down after initiating a cross-DMZ crisis by firing on loudspeakers broadcasting news across the border. Even the North Koreans seem to understand that the correlation of forces has tilted against them massively.

I'll be more relaxed when I read a story that all 50 of those North Korean subs have returned to port, but so far it seems that North Korea has decided not to resume the production of Dead South Koreans Theater. So good. The North Koreans crippled some South Korean soldiers by planting a mine on the South's side of the DMZ to initiate this worrisome crisis, but at least they aren't dead. So just relatively good.

We then carried out an exercise for a new capability we are building:

South Korean and US troops staged their biggest-ever joint live-fire drill on Friday, including a simulated mechanised assault deep into North Korean territory, just days after the two Koreas ended a tense military standoff.

The new capability (announced last year) is a joint US-South Korean mechanized division intended to push into North Korea and secure nuclear weapons sites:

South Korea said Thursday it would create a combined army unit with the United States, reportedly tasked with destroying North Korea's weapons of mass destruction in the event of an all-out conflict.

The mechanised unit led by a US major general will be set up in the first half of next year, the South's defence ministry said, as part of elaborate preparations for any future war between the two Koreas. ...

In the event of a full-scale conflict, the combined unit would absorb a mechanised South Korean brigade and forces from the US division, which is armed with helicopters and other advanced weapons.

Which flows from our earlier posture change that indicated to me that we were thinking about moving north in case of war rather than struggling to hold Seoul under the weight of a massive North Korean invasion.

Of course, it makes no sense for a single division to move north. It only makes sense as part of a general advance north unless we want the single division to be the target of every functioning military unit that North Korea possesses.

Certainly, the first stage of that general invasion would be carving out a no-launch zone north of the DMZ to protect Seoul from North Korean artillery.

South Korea has lost their fear of North Korean military power. North Korea can kill South Koreans but conquering South Korea is beyond Pyongyang's power now.

Heck, North Korea can't even make a decent snack pie.

UPDATE: So China pressured North Korea to back down in the crisis?

It's reassuring that China would do that.

But it is downright scary that the Chinese apparently had to tug on the leash of North Korea to get them to heel.

Seriously, was North Korea about to use their military? That sortie of 70% of their submarine fleet was no spur of the moment thing. Just what did North Korea intend?

If North Korea is willing to pull the trigger despite their inferiority compared to South Korean, American, and Japanese military power, let's be careful about judging what is rational for North Korea's rulers and what is irrational.

Do the North Koreans even know that their military is outclassed?

As an aside, the picture captioned as  F-16s on a bombing run is actually a picture of F-4 Phantoms on a bombing run.

UPDATE: Given the Chinese option to invade North Korea, this development is more accurately filed under "logistics:"

China will open a high-speed rail line to the North Korean border on Tuesday, state news agency Xinhua said, the latest effort to boost economic ties despite tension between the countries.

The line, under construction since 2010, will run 207 km (127 miles) from Shenyang to the border city of Dandong, which faces North Korea across the Yalu River, and will shorten the train journey from 3 1/2 hours to just over one hour, Xinhua said.

That will improve China's ability to move and supply an invasion force a great deal.