Calling the Bluff Against North Korea

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I was chilling at home the other night and out of nowhere, my old man and I struck up an interesting conversation about the current events over in Asia between South and North Korea.

To tell you the truth, I am horrible at keeping up with current events, and news in general.  It is just recent that I changed my homepage to nytimes.com from google.com.  I’m assuming this will give me a slight chance I might glance at a news article.

Back to the conversation, my pops was explaining to me that he thinks this recent tension between the two countries is nothing too serious.  He thinks that North Korea has got a “Napoleon Complex” and is just craving attention.  He went on backing up his logic:

In the early 80s, the North’s military was “five times” stronger than the South’s.  This was because they invested around “30% of the nation’s total Gross National Product (GNP)” on their military while South Korea only spent a “maximum of 12%.”  When the mid 80s came around though, South Korea’s economy boomed, bringing the Olympics to the country in 1988 as a result (also had a reverse effect with the Olympics helping the economy).  Through this, South Korea’s economy grew upwards to like “40 times bigger” than North Korea while their population also doubled.  What happened then was even though South Korea was spending a lot less of their GNP’s percentage on the military, considering how much richer they were, they were spending a lot more money.  Also during that era was a big advancement in technology and computers specifically, which was all new things that were incorporated into the the South’s weaponry.  My pops described the difference as the old school “486 computers vs. Dual Core CPUs.”  They may have millions of 486 computers, but you can do so much more with 1000 computers equipped with dual-core processors.  The logic is if North Korea attacks with all its power in one round, there is probably no way for the South to win but logically, North Korea really has no chance against the South.  Even 15 years ago, North Korea wasn’t just threatening but making moves whenever they pleased.  Now they’ll attack but they are a bit more careful.

In 2002, during the World Cup which was held in South Korean and Japan, the North Koreans attacked a petroleum ship in the Yellow Sea to show the world that South Korea is not a safe place.  But after their initial sneak attack, two of their ships got destroyed.  They won the battle with their initial advantage, but they struggled to hit South Korea’s moving target with their old weaponry.  After that incident, North Korea was dying to get even.  They had to redeem themselves for getting embarrassed.  In 2006, they capitalized on their opportunity, attacking South Korea’s coast guards.  South Korea fought back and chased them up the waters but stopped in time to avoid an ambush and maybe more.  “…the South seems almost to be spoiling for a fight [, confident in their technology].  At a recent ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the first of the two previous naval battles here, when the South said it bested the North by sinking 10 of its vessels, Lt. Cmdr. Kwon Young-il vowed that if the North struck again, “we will sink them.” [nytimes.com]

With the events of 2006, North Korea showed that that was the only way they could win.  And even that one method is hard to repeat because it has been done before.

So basically, all they can do is just make threats.

Right now, my dad believes North Korea’s leadership are afraid that there could be a “revolution.”  One of the reasons they’ve invested in nuclear reactors to keep people in check.  That is why there are so many North Korean refugees.

But when it’s all said and done, a war involving the Koreas will destroy the whole peninsula.  It’s a lose-lose situation.  But then again, North Koreans aren’t known for their logic.

Note: The information posted are fact-based opinions.  The opinion of this entry do not reflect the opinions of WSTS.

In other related news, Gizmodo just published this:

This Guardian report says that North Korea would hit the United States with a “fire shower” of nukes if we attack first. But how far can NK deliver the 5-7 nukes that they’re currently suspected of having?

According to Wikipedia, it depends. If they’re using the short to medium range missiles, it’s probably going to be the Musudan, which has an operational range of 2500-4000 kilometers. The darker red circle shows the maximum range of this. Nowhere close to US territories, but China, Russia and Japan should probably keep an eye open.

However, if they’re going to use their Taepodong-2 long range three-stage missiles, there’s a MAXIMUM possibility of 10,000 kilometers (the larger circle). However, a more likely scenario is somewhere around 4500 kilometers, which still isn’t quite far enough to hit Alaska or Hawaii.

In the case that somehow it can reach the maximum 10,000 kilometers, it’s still not quite there to the west coast of the US, so I can take my diapers off and stop worrying. [Guardian]

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