I don’t anticipate writing many political posts – and I’m not quite sure I would classify this as a political post. I heard someone say in passing (one way or another) something to the extent of “Let North Korea try to launch an attack on us, we’ll just bomb the hell out of them”. I cringe when I hear this, because I actually have family in South Korea, in fact the entirety of my Mother’s side of my family resides in South Korea (aside from my mother, who may be the black sheep of the family by living in America).
Back in 2001 (way back when Kim Jong Il was still alive) I was lucky enough to visit South Korea with my mother and my sister. We traveled around the country from the capital, Seoul, to Ilsan, Cheonju and to Busan visiting family and seeing some cultural sites.
On one of the outings during the trip, I’ll never forget this, we were at a Buddhist temple tourism site. It was quite a climb to get to the site and on the way back down to the parking lot, we heard a siren and a person talking on what seemed like loudspeakers coming from every direction. This was a drill siren, and my mother told me that they do these drills every month in case the North decided to invade. It was quite astonishing, because I was just used to what we here in the states refer to the “This is a test, this is only a test” drill on the radio.
The drill in Korea seemed a bit more menacing to me. The entire country of South Korea seemed to essentially freeze and listen to the messages coming from every car radio and loudspeaker around. It was as if something terrible had happened (from an outsiders perspective) and the entire city just decided to stop moving. My family wasn’t very concerned and these drills had been part of the country’s monthly life. This was back in 2001, before North Korea had any nuclear capability that would be able to hit the US. It’s a completely different story today, with North Korea’s nuclear ability increasing and even their cyber-warfare capability increasing as well.
So let’s say we decided to “bomb the hell out of North Korea”, either by pre-preemptive strike or even something retaliatory… what happens next? Well from what I’ve read up on, North Korea would then retaliate against South Korea with it’s conventional weapons, and with Seoul only being about 35 miles away from the DMZ, those conventional weapons – rockets, artillery, etc… will wreak havoc on the 10 million or so citizens in Seoul.
Then you have to worry about the 1.2 million soldiers and some 4 – 7 million reservists North Korea has (that survived our initial attacks). This will inevitably lead to one bloody mess. Mostly from both the Koreas, but also the United States as well – as more troops and reservists are drawn into the conflict. Both sides of the political spectrum view a war with North Korea to be long and drawn out and disastrous at best. Here are a few articles with more detail: What Would War With North Korea Look Like and A War With North Korea Would Be Hell…
There’s a lot of posturing going on with both sides – the United States and North Korea. South Korea (due to it’s geographical location) is caught in the middle. I’m not commenting on reunification or peace or anything like that, but it would be nice if there was an alternative way to resolve this conflicted area. I truly believe one of the best way to resolve the crisis in North Korea is an economical solution. Once a people get a hold of a capitalistic economy, old and dated political ideologies seem to fade. Case in point take a look at Vietnam and China. They slowly adopted capitalism and privatization and both their political situation and economic situations have improved. I’m not saying it’s perfect – China still deals with government corruption and issues with civil rights – the same with Vietnam, but it’s far from the political, economical, and emotional oppression faced in the North.
If you would like to find out more about North Korea I recommend these documentaries: Under the Sun, The Propaganda Game, Kim Jong Un: The Unauthorized Biography, and Crossing the Line. The last one is particularly interesting as it is about an American who defected to North Korea in the 60s.