Friday, April 28, 2017

Clean-Up in the Uijongbu Corridor

I should add another disturbing factor that could be significant in North Korea's calculations for war or peace.

As I've noted, I think North Korea would likely lose a war with South Korea and her allies quite badly. North Korean success would rely on massive use of chemical weapons, a ROK army collapse, and a failure of America to strike back against North Korea with either a massive conventional campaign or nukes.

Yet North Korea might choose war even if they believe they have but a 5% chance of victory--and so regime survival--if they believe a choice for peace has a 100% chance of regime collapse and defeat.

There is another disturbing factor. North Korea is so broke that North Korea can't afford to even feed their very large army let alone equip and train if for combat.

The North Koreans tried a strategy I called Kooks, Spooks, and Nukes to spend scarce resources on nuclear weapons to deter foreign enemies and the spies and secret police to control internal enemies from the people and armed forces.

The problem is that the North Korean elites are outnumbered and the army, even if incapable of defeating South Korea's army, is capable of defeating the loyal forces of the elites if the army decides it has more in common with the people who are also being starved of resources than they have in common with the elites who live well by spending on people and programs the elites really value--the nukes and spooks.

But the North Korean government can hardly afford to demobilize the army to save the money. Could North Korea really afford to abandon what is a large slave labor force that has young men with military training? Better to have a foe inside the tent peeing out than outside the tent peeing in, as the expression goes.

But what if the North Korean regime assumes that the destruction of their army in a futile war is the objective? What if Kim Jong-Un decides that America and our allies would do him a favor by destroying his army while hoping that the survivors and their relatives blame America?

The surviving army would have more resources per person available in theory.

Mind you, the surviving North Korean army might turn on Kim anyway. Or America and our allies might not be content to survive the war. We might exploit the destruction of North Korea's army and move north. So I'm not saying this would be a good idea.

But Kim Jong-Un might think it is a good idea. Or he might just think it is part of the least bad idea available to win.

Have a super sparkly day.