View Poll Results: What is the near-term future of the DPRK

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  • It will fall into chaos as a result of renewed famine and poverty, resulting in military crackdowns.

    3 15.79%
  • There will be a military coup that displaces the current leadership, hopefully soon.

    4 21.05%
  • It will continue to remain a closed society, technologically dormant and otherwise insignificant.

    12 63.16%
  • The leadership will eventually make a misstep, forcing military action from the United States.

    0 0%
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Thread: North Korea: 2012-2016

  1. #421
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    I suspect much of the modern American perspective on "sanctuary" for insurgency is shaped by our experiences in places like Vietnam and Afghanistan where the existence of formal legal sanctuaries in neighboring states were available and so problematic. Those were legal sanctuaries. Legal status is an important form of sanctuary and it can indeed come from a border. It can also come from a status, be it simply declaring some individual or organization to be "outside the law" or more modernly, to place them on a "terrorist list." Such status facilitates the ability to capture or kill or attack; but it severely limits the ability to pursue virtually any other form of engagement. It also provides a sanctuary as that once one is outside the law, the law no longer applies to them. Such a status makes one a target of law enforcement, but it gives one complete sanctuary from the rule of law. We give such sanctuary to so many organizations today.

    But the most important form of sanctuary comes from the support of a poorly governed populace. Charlie owns the night because he walks among you during the day. You don't know who he is, but the people do, because he and they are one and he operates from the sanctuary of their support, and cannot exist without that same sanctuary.

    The archetypal hybrid of Robin Hood is instructive. Robin and his men had many forms of sanctuary. Most famously they had Sherwood Forest. But more importantly they were deemed outlaws and possessed broad support among the people. If the Sheriff somehow denied or destroyed the forest, does he also deny or destroy the sanctuary and thereby defeat this organization? Of course not. He would merely force them to adopt new tactics as they continued to rely on the two primary sources of their sanctuary. They would live and hide among the people and operate in more distibuted, networked ways. Much as the French Underground did in WWII, for an example most are aware of.

    The same is true in Afghanistan in regards to Pakistan today. Deny or destroy the FATA? Best case one forces AQ and others to simply migrate and adopt modified tactics, as AQ has already done.

    Same would be true in North Korea. Same would be true in the US. Same would be true virtually anywhere.

    Those action officers who dared to suggest that the Iraqi people might not greet the American army as liberators were banned from the planning process. Higher said that is what would happen, so shut up and plan. Stay in your lane.

    Napoleon liberated the Egyptians from the Ottomans and brought them all of the goodness of the French enlightenment, and could not understand why they resisted his presence so fiercely. Same in Spain.

    Unless one is the lesser of two evils, if you are a "liberator" you better be prepared for a strong resistance insurgency if one does more than simply defeat, pillage and leave. The US in both post WWII Germany and Japan was the lesser of two evils. The war weakened and defeated German and Japanese people were both fully aware of what the alternative to American occupation was. We deluded ourselves to think that it was "a good war" and that the people loved us because we were Americans and brought them the goodness of American enlightenment and the Marshall Plan. No, they tolerated us because we were the only thing between them and Soviet/Sino oppression.

    Americans have a biased historical view on insurgency of every form. Both why it occurs and why it does not occur. We fixate on things like the physical legal sanctuaries that we create for our opponents to use and blame them, rather than owning how the very nature of our operations are creating the problems we face.

    If we delude ourselves as to how the North Korean populace is apt to reasonably react to foreign "liberation" we will once again find ourselves in a mess of our own design. Many experts will blame China for providing "sanctuary" and call for an expansion of the conflict or for hard action against China (as they do now for Pakistan). Einstein called such experts "intelligent fools." It is an apt title. We all wear it at times, but some wear it often. Our policy and doctrine on insurgency is a product of intelligent fools, and we write intelligent, but foolish war plans as well.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 09-07-2012 at 09:36 AM.
    Robert C. Jones
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    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  2. #422
    Council Member max161's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    max161:

    I have two questions.

    First, since some of the high up Kim dynasty people appear to have spent much time abroad being educated including the king himself, what effect does this have on their ability to judge their kingdom's power relative to the other countries?

    Second, if the place does collapse, how would the status of the king, his family and entourage affect things? If Kim and crew found refuge in somewhere what might that mean? If he was killed or ended up in the Hague what would that mean? If the South Koreans caught him what would they do with him and how would that affect things? What do you think?
    Carl,

    Some very good questions. To the first, I would say the regime elite absolutely knows the reality of the north's relative power which is why they feel they absolutely have to have nuclear weapons. I do not think they are under any illusions that they cannot complete head to head with any country. But I also think that they can execute a strategy of perceived strength from a position of weakness. We usually interpret Juche as self reliance and we laugh at that because the north has never been and never will be self- reliant under their current economic and political system. But as a Korean scholar pointed out just the other day at a conference, Juche is really about being in control and controlling your destiny and that is how the regime leadership feels. They believe they can play all sides against the other and manipulate the situation to their benefit. I am sure one of the things that Kim Jong-un has studied in detail is how his grandfather manipulated Stalin and Mao and support for north Korea in the Korean War (and then in the late 1950's purged all the north Koreans who had made the Long March with Mao - and that is the last time China ever really attempted to intervene significantly in the north internal affairs) and how Kim Jong-il has manipulated the 5 parties in the 6 party talks.

    The second question is one that requires further analysis and assessment based on Kim Jong-un taking over. One of the lines of thinking was if Kim Jong-il (if it was even possible but assume it was) sought some kind of political asylum it would cause two things - it might be able to be exploited as a way to illustrate the illegitimacy of the regime by showing the Kim Family is no longer infallible and that it has abandoned the country. But some speculate it could have the alternate effect - either it would not be believed, or it would be believed that he was removed under duress but regardless of which, it could on the one hand harden the resolve of some segments of the population while on the other, it would be extremely psychologically and emotionally damaging to many in the population who once were "true believers." Although it is an extreme example we should remember that the Kim Family Regime has been deified and raised to a religious stature (remember that everyone has to pledge personal loyalty to the leadership and not to the nation or a constitution or even the party - we should also recall that north Korea is the only country of the world that is a necrotocracy - it is ruled by dead people - Kim Il sung is still the supreme leader even in mortal death - Kim Jong-il did not assume any of his father's titles and in his death his son has not assumed any of his father's titles - each creates new titles while preserving the previous father's titles, but I digress). So if the regime was to bolt the country it is difficult to say how the people will react. I think it would end up causing a lot of problems and different ones among many different people in many segments of society. With Kim Jong-un in power now, things have changed again. One of the things that some scholars speculate and it seems to be born out in the press is that Kim Jong-un has embarked on what they are beginning to call "Image Politics" which is a combination of tying him to his very charismatic grandfather who is still revered as the Great Leader and introducing the people to western images which makes Kim Jong-un seem to be cosmopolitan and a man of the world who knows how to operate in the modern world (a fiction of course but it might play to the internal audience). But if he becomes as revered as his grandfather we might wish for Kim Jong-il to still be alive because he was not and never will be loved as Kim Il-sung was. Which brings us to an important question, what happens at the end of the regime? To borrow from Linda Robinson's book "Tell me how this ends," how does the end of the regime come about. If Kim Jong-un was to go away, the various scenarios under which that might happen could have very different effects on the population and military. If he was killed as a result of military action (even if the north initiated hostilities) he could be idolized as a martyr. Of course if he was killed in some kind of internal coup - the ROK could or would likely be blamed and he could also be made a martyr. Regardless the end of the regime is going to cause tremendous internal problems within north Korea and the effects cannot be predicted with any certainty. That said, the ROK should be preparing for that eventuality now. There are many things that should be done from a policy perspective (and the majority of them are non-military) to try to inform and influence the population so that the effects of the end of the regime can be mitigated to the extent they can be. But that is the subject of a lot of ongoing research now. So I will stop here and look forward to continuing the exchange of ideas.
    David S. Maxwell
    "Irregular warfare is far more intellectual than a bayonet charge." T.E. Lawrence

  3. #423
    Council Member max161's Avatar
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    Please see the article linked here:

    09/06/2012 16:42
    NORTH KOREA - CHINA
    After Chinese voice criticism, Pyongyang reacts harshly
    http://www.asianews.it/news-en/After...hly-25743.html


    My comments: Although China's three no policy is oft-stated (no war, no instability or collapse, no nukes) I have heard some postulate that China is as strongly focused on convincing the north to institute Chinese-style economic reforms (with less emphasis on no nukes) as the US is so strongly focused on getting the north to end its nuclear program and rid the Peninsula of nuclear weapons. The irony is that both global powers seem to have little sway over regime thinking and actions. It seems to simple to us as outsiders – give up nuclear weapons and get tremendous economic benefits and support – Open up and reform and you will get support from the international community. But I think this illustrates the true nature of the regime –not only is it completely recalcitrant, it is thoroughly paranoid, trusts no one, and believes that regime survival requires developing and maintaining nuclear weapons and not changing its political and economic system in anyway.
    David S. Maxwell
    "Irregular warfare is far more intellectual than a bayonet charge." T.E. Lawrence

  4. #424
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    max161:

    I agree that the Kim dynasty cannot let up even a little bit. All they have to do is look at what happened when the Reds loosened up a little in Russia and what happened to the Shah. Police states expose themselves to great danger when they open up or loosen up.

    I have some further questions.

    Do you think the people of northern Korea can be likened to "institutional men"? Those are the guys who have been in prison for most of their lives and really have no idea how to function on their own; the kind of guy depicted in a Joseph Wambaugh novel who gets out and almost immediately does something to get back in. If or when the Kim dynasty goes away, will those poor enslaved people be something like that? The comment about the paralysis of the people brought this question to mind.

    This would apply to the oppressors in the security organizations also. Could they be likened to people like the big wigs in the prison gangs, people who only know the most base kind of brutality and can thrive in prison but are totally out of their element on the outside? If they are like that (I don't know) what would you do with them? Will these guys be worse than the official killers of other fallen police states?

    This question has to do with something Bill Moore said and has to do with targeting second tier leadership for coercion and co-option. It seems to me that would be more effective the earlier you could do it. Is it possible to do that to any extent now given the nature of the system in northern Korea? How able are the South Koreans to talk even in an informal way with those second tier leaders? Has that ability or lack thereof been increasing or decreasing over the years?

    I understand the logic of an aggressive information campaign. If those poor people can be thought of as "institutional men" then an info campaign might serve the function (a little bit) of a halfway house. How would the info campaign be conducted? How would you get the info in to the enslaved?

    I keep saying the South Koreans because it seems to me that they are the ones who are by far most important in dealing with this problem.
    Last edited by carl; 09-07-2012 at 03:15 PM.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  5. #425
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Do you assume that an insurgency must start with "the people"? North Korea has a rather large army, which would remain armed even in the event of state collapse. Is it not likely that some of the leaders of that army might decide that they are the rightful heirs, and that a good number of their followers might think the same way? It's easy to assume that "the people" would follow whoever promised food, or that they would embrace the liberators as bringers of prosperity, but "us and them" is a powerful motivator and assumptions do not always play out. I remember being assured that Iraqis would dance in the streets and welcome us as liberators. Of course it's possible that North Koreans armed and otherwise would welcome an intervening force with relief and delight, but I'm not sure I'd want to base any plans on the assumption that such would be the case.
    The question I answered was why I thought if there was any insurgency it would aim at a restoration of the Kim dynasty or a facsimile thereof. Your response above did not address my answer. But that is ok. The discussion meanders here and there.

    I don't assume that if the there was any insurgency it would start with anything or body. For it to succeed it would depend on the support of those poor enslaved people. They are pretty hungry and therefore pretty tired and enough to eat might to do a lot to take the wind out of the sail of any call to fight "them." In any event, if the South Koreans can control food distribution, they can throttle any incipient insurgency. That is why I mentioned Malaya.

    I don't know what will happen when or if the Kims fall. I have some ill informed opinions (as ever, feel free to use that as a straight line) and some hazy ideas (ditto for that) about what may be done in this or that event.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    In any event all of this talk of insurgency derives from chains of assumptions long enough to be of limited utility. Suffice it to say that I think any decision to intervene in or occupy North Korea in the event of a hypothetical state collapse would have to be approached with great caution. Nobody anywhere knows what such a collapse will look like or how it would play out, and there might possibly be some circumstance in which such action might be necessary... but I'd hope whoever proposes to take it thinks well and hard before committing, and I'd doubly hope that Americans are not involved.
    All fair enough. Please notice that I do not speak about us doing much of anything in the north. It is the ROK that will do or not do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Granrted, but I'd hesitate to assume that lack of sanctuary would make effective insurgency impossible.

    In the particular case of the Philippines, though, the limiting factor on the insurgency has not been lack of sanctuary, but the ineptitude of the insurgent leadership. I'm not sure sanctuary or outside assistance would have made much difference.
    Lack of sanctuary doesn't make the insurgents task impossible, it just makes it a lot, a lot, harder. In the Philippines lack of sanctuary may very well have made no difference. We can't know. It is easily observed though that the various insurgencies there haven't been able to bring it home. My opinion is that lack of sanctuary is a big part of that. Inept leaders can learn to be ept if they have a place to hide out and think about what they did wrong and what they might do right. That is one advantage of having a sanctuary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    The government did not change itself. The change was imposed on it by the populace, through a chain of events that was not anticipated by anyone. If the government (and the US) had gotten their way, Marcos would have remained in power and the insurgents might have won.
    But the gov did change, however it happened, and that change knocked the pins out from under the insurgency.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    All that is a digression, but the bottom line for me is that it would be unwise to assume that an occupied nation cannot or will not insurge because they lack some factor we think necessary for insurgency.
    Nothing is impossible. But those factors can make things more or less likely and more or less likely to succeed.

    (Have you noticed the spell check doesn't like the word "insurge"? It doesn't seem to like "ept" either.)
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  6. #426
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    The question I answered was why I thought if there was any insurgency it would aim at a restoration of the Kim dynasty or a facsimile thereof. Your response above did not address my answer.
    I don't think that would be the aim, but that's looking so far down the line that any comment would be extremely speculative. We have no idea what a hypothetical DPRK collapse would look like or how it would play out. We have no idea how China and the ROK would react: presumably that would be defined by how a collapse happened and how it played out. If a collapse occurred and if it occurred in such a way that somebody was considering sending forces to occupy, repair, stabilize, whatever, I wouldn't want to assume that the foreign force would not face a difficult insurgency problem.

    I agree with David M that concerned nations have to be prepared for the possibility of change, possibly sudden and disruptive change, but there are so many unknowns and they are so thoroughly unknown that any such preparation is going to be challenging. The timing and content of whatever happens is likely to be thoroughly unexpected.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I don't assume that if the there was any insurgency it would start with anything or body. For it to succeed it would depend on the support of those poor enslaved people. They are pretty hungry and therefore pretty tired and enough to eat might to do a lot to take the wind out of the sail of any call to fight "them." In any event, if the South Koreans can control food distribution, they can throttle any incipient insurgency. That is why I mentioned Malaya.
    Possibly so... but again, I suspect that it would be unwise for an occupying power anywhere to assume that any insurgency they face will be easily throttled.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I don't know what will happen when or if the Kims fall.
    Neither does anyone else; welcome to the club. Anyone who claims to know is full of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    It is easily observed though that the various insurgencies there haven't been able to bring it home. My opinion is that lack of sanctuary is a big part of that. Inept leaders can learn to be ept if they have a place to hide out and think about what they did wrong and what they might do right. That is one advantage of having a sanctuary.
    My opinion is that you're assuming a military cause to a primarily political phenomenon. Lack of physical sanctuary has not been a huge constraint for NPA leaders; very few have been killed or captured by the Government. The NPA is largely receding everywhere but Eastern Mindanao, but it's not being defeated by Government, it's essentially dying of natural causes, and I can't see how a physical sanctuary would change that.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

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  7. #427
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I agree with David M that concerned nations have to be prepared for the possibility of change, possibly sudden and disruptive change, but there are so many unknowns and they are so thoroughly unknown that any such preparation is going to be challenging. The timing and content of whatever happens is likely to be thoroughly unexpected.
    Well... this is the tragedy of it.

    The US and the Western powers have probably spent billions of monitoring North Korea and they have diddly to show for it. They haven't got a clue.

    Daniel Patrick Moynihan was correct... disband the CIA.

    Where he was wrong ... IMHO ... was that he suggested they be absorbed into the State Department. Taking Laurel and Hardy and combining them into one would not solve any problem... probably make it worse.

  8. #428
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Bob Jones:

    I have some problems with what you wrote and will go over what I think you have wrong.

    Yes, it is true that if people won't give up the insurgents, that is a form of sanctuary. But if Sherwood Forest is gone, Robin and the boys won't necessarily get picked up that day, but they lose training areas, they lose supply caches or dumps, they lose some peace of mind because the Sheriff's men can get at them much more quickly. They lose a lot. The Sheriff's men gain propinquity and they gain time. They can get at Robin much more quickly once they know where he is than if he were deep in the forest. All they have to do is get somebody to talk to them. If they be good cops, they know how to do that. Physical sanctuary gives advantages to insurgents. Lack of it gives advantages to the security forces. I don't see how you can get around that. Yes the organization can survive if it disperses and lays low, but they aren't advancing in effectiveness. The French underground that you mention is a good example. It was there to a certain extent, but it was ineffective and had next to no effect on the Germans. (And of course, the French underground was dependent upon external support.)

    It is true that if FATA were denied to AQ they might simply go elsewhere. But what if your objective was to secure FATA from the baleful effects of AQ? Then you objective is achieved. And if your objective is to kill AQ and force them to move, you are getting closer to your objective. Every time you force somebody to move or disperse, you force them to use resources, thought and energy on just surviving that they would have otherwise used to hurt you. That is what they are doing to the LRA now. Keep them moving. Never give them any rest nor anyplace to rest and eventually that tires them into exhaustion and they die or give up. That works. That is how we subdued the Apaches in the end. We just kept after them and they go tired of running. If you deprive insurgents of physical sanctuary, you can keep them on the move and it is easier to tire them out.

    There are a couple of things wrong with your Germany and Japan illustration. The first is, there was no choice between us and the Reds for the people on our side of the line. We weren't going to give them or as importantly, the territory upon which they resided to the Soviets. That wasn't going to happen and they knew that.

    Your point though that both Germany and Japan being fought to exhaustion and therefore not inclined to resist anybody is a good one.

    Which brings us to your point of our being the lesser of two evils. Not really true as I pointed out above, but what about the Soviets? They surely weren't the lesser of two evils and the governance they provided was terrible. But there wasn't much resistance to their rule and no successful resistance until the Reds let up in the late 80s. So why was that? One reason probably was the people of the Soviet occupied countries knew we weren't going to fight the Soviets to get that territory. The more important was the an effective apparatus of suppression precluded any resistance. Simply put, no matter how bad the governance provided by the Soviet supported communist states, there wasn't a damn thing the people could do about it because the secret police would kill them if they tried.

    This is a great weakness on your insistence that poor governance will result in an insurgency, you overlook the power that properly done suppressive measures have. By the same token you always seem to overlook the power that terrorism perpetrated by insurgent has to provide the sanctuary of closed mouths. Yes the villagers may not tell you Charlie is setting over there under the awning, but many of them aren't telling you because they don't want their or their children's throats cut that night if they tell you. That in a sense is a suppressive measure done to prevent insurgency against the insurgency so to speak.

    Please go back and read what I have written about northern Korea. I have always prefaced my musings by saying if Red China, Russia and South Korea decide to isolate the place. If Red China wasn't in on the deal and decided to back any insurgency in northern Korea directed against the South Koreans in the event the Kim dynasty collapsed, the game couldn't be won because there would be sanctuary and support provided by a very powerful country.

    I don't know of course what would happen in the event of the Kims coming down and the South Koreans moving in. But I don't think that 20 million slaves would be inclined to fight too hard to be restored to slavery. But maybe...no, I still doubt it.
    Last edited by carl; 09-09-2012 at 02:42 AM.
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  9. #429
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    May I pull out my model of war being a lot about reducing the opponent's repertoire again?

    Consider the ability to use a hideout "A" (say, FATA) as being part of the repertoire of the reds. You may now negate this and scratch it from his active repertoire - possibly only temporarily - and the reds will simply stick to whatever active repertoire have left. Their activity will become more focused on it (i.e. they will be more elsewhere), but this doesn't necessarily mean much progress for your overall campaign.

    The de-activation of elements of the hostiles' active repertoire is very helpful when this is about their offensive repertoire. It does not make much sense to reduce their defensive repertoire to the point where they only employ techniques and behaviours that make it extremely difficult to continue your offensive efforts.


    So far, a young Muslim from London travelling to Pakistan without having relatives there rings some alarm bells. Imagine the reds would lose the convenient bases in FATA (and assuming they were shut out of certain troublemaker Madrasses as well). Said young Muslim will probably travel to Tunisia instead, possibly with a two-week tourist travel to a beach hotel as do so many other people.

    Always keep in mind the #### did hit the fan long AFTER OBL was forced to evacuate from Sudan.

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    Posted by Bob's World

    But the most important form of sanctuary comes from the support of a poorly governed populace. Charlie owns the night because he walks among you during the day. You don't know who he is, but the people do, because he and they are one and he operates from the sanctuary of their support, and cannot exist without that same sanctuary.
    Of course there is a political aspect and you have an interesting political theory. Your political theory is another among tens of existing theories that should be considered, but none of these theories have universal application. Setting political theories aside for minute, the military aspect of the conflict is also important, something we have seemed to forgotten since 9/11 as we all rushed to embrace nation building and forgot about a potential role for the military to actually combat the resistance in addition to everything we do.

    First off the VC weren't successful and they would not have been as successful as they were without external support from North Vietnam and ultimately China and the USSR. The NVA conventional forces were, and no it wasn't a transition to war of movement, these were two different force entirely, not an evolution of the insurgents into a real army. Point taken about sanctuary provided by the people, but sanctuary is only one type of support. In the real world of fighting other forms of support are needed.

    The importance of external support for a resistance movement depends upon a lot of factors, so there are no universal laws or principles that blindly apply, and I know that is a disappoint to our doctrine writers, so they'll continue to dismiss this fact. In short the resistance needs the "means" to resist relative to those are they resisting, and of course it must be tied to their ways and ends (and the ways and ends must be tied to the means). If the resistance doesn't have the means to sustain a level of effort and the occupying power is competent and capable the resistance will be relatively rapidly reduced to a manageable level. Underlying factors may still be present, so may the resistance, but it won't be a significant threat.

    North Korea is an interesting case, and none of us know how it will unfold, but we can all speculate. If the North Koreans are isolated from the rest of the world (which is a hopeful assumption) then the question is how long can they sustain the resistance? If the North Korean army transitions from a conventional to guerrilla warfare approach and it has been preparing to do so for years, then I suspect from a military aspect it is likely they can sustain for years (much like the Iraqi resistance which no doubt they studied closely). Of course the ability to sustain themselves with food may be another matter.

    If the Army capitulates or if major nK units are persuaded to side with the ROKs will the people have the will and means to sustain a resistance? Militarizing and brain washing a society is one thing, but it doesn't seem to be too much of a reach that the paradigm they have had engrained for persist indefinitely. That assumption is hopeful also, because nK agents that were captured were extremely loyal to the North even after working in the South and seeing the contrast, so the assumption that we're going to turn them around with economic incentives alone is rather naive (yet we embrace this type of naivity in Afghanistan). In many cases it took a concerted efforts to de-radicalize them (using the buzz term of the day).

    In short there a lot of unknowns and a lot of possibilities. I say this cautiously, but this seems like one case where an intelligent PYSOP effort could actually work if the ROKs did it. Putting U.S. forces in the north for anything other than combat operations against North Korean regular forces could produce some tough antibodies. The ROKs need engage the nK people, and if need be bring us in later to assist after they established a trusted relationship.

    I don't think the conflict is going to happen based on reasons I put in previous posts, and noted our Korean expert doesn't want to address the potential disadvantages of unification

    However, if events unfolded and a conflict materialized I suspect our egos would drive a course of action that has U.S. forces all over North Korea for CNN photo ops. This way we lead our poor ROK brothers who don't understand COIN the way we do to victory based on our lessons observed from OIF and OEF-A. The biggest lesson we fail to grasp to gain understanding and then act instead of imposing a solution on a problem we really don't have a clue about.

  11. #431
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    All politics is not insurgency, but all insurgency is political. If not political, such as the drug business related conflict in Mexico, it isn't insurgency.

    Just like all war is politics, but not all politics is war.

    But not all political conflict is war either, certainly revolutionary political conflict internal to a state is very different in nature (cause and cure) than political conflict between states, such as occurs in conventional warfare or resistance insurgency.

    But the VC were to the NVA just as the Militia were to Washington's Continental Army. Our history likes to separate the two, so that we can claim a COIN victory against the VC and then blame a conventional loss against the NVA as something that happened to ARVN after we lost. That is an artificial construct. Just as the creation of two states, North and South, in mid-insurgency, was an artificial construct. Convenient labels that box in our thinking.

    But one must understand the political causal essence of conflict if one is going to then shape a military effort that is likely to facilitate a political victory. Too often we refuse to recognize the inconvenient truth of the political essence, as it runs counter to our approved narrative or objectives or both. When we allow that to happen, as we did in Vietnam and as we do today in Afghanistan, it leads us to misapply the military. We fight the conflict as we have defined it conveniently in our minds, rather than the conflict as it actually exists before us. That is why we lose those conflicts.

    Now to DPRK. We run the risk of creating a convenient construct for the populace of DPRK to act IAW as well, and our belief in that construct could lead us to make tragic miscalculations regarding our peacetime approaches now, or our approach to any potential conflict that could arise some day.

    To wish away the likelihood of a popular resistance to any form or occupation due to our misguided belief that what we bring is so good that the affected populace will embrace it, or that some misguided concept of "sanctuary" not being available will prevent a resistance, or that because their might not be a foreign sponsor for the resistance that the people will not employ what they have at hand, are all forms of the type of wishful thinking that we apply far too often.

    We refuse to learn the strategic lessons of populace-based conflicts because to do so forces us to accept hard truths about ourselves. This in turn leads us to write the same flaws of past plans that led to the creation of the insurgencies that stymied us into our plans for future conflicts. The cycle continues to repeat itself. Human nature at work. It is human nature to resist on one hand, and it is equally human nature for government to not see the flaws of its ways.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 09-09-2012 at 11:32 AM.
    Robert C. Jones
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  12. #432
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Default 2013 Sabre rattling on the Korean peninsula

    North Korean functionaries are claiming that their country now possesses missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. This reminds me of an anecdote from a fellow who was brought to my undergraduate institution to interview for an at–the–time recently created position for a forensic anthropologist. He had previously been affiliated with a program which sought to identify and exchange human remains with the DPRK. He said his interactions with North Korean colleagues had been very good and that those guys were invariably professional and even amiable. But he also had a story of being taken to a North Korean museum which housed an exhibit to the nation’s space program which included a photo of the Space Shuttle with a North Korean flag crudely Photoshopped onto its side. I think it safe to assume that the DPRK’s ballistic missile capabilities are in the same general neighborhood.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-13-2015 at 03:12 PM. Reason: delete Moderator's Note
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  13. #433
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    SEOUL, South Korea — A senior South Korean policy maker on North Korea said on Friday that it must be assumed that the North has the capacity to mount a nuclear device on a ballistic missile, adding that such a capability would pose “an existential threat” to South Korea.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/13/wo...orth.html?_r=0
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  14. #434
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    The Japanese government has ordered its military to shoot down the missile that is expected to be launched by North Korea as early as Monday.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...n-missile.html
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    SEOUL -- North Korea launched a long-range rocket Wednesday morning in defiance of international warnings that the second test-firing of a missile this year would violate international sanctions.

    The Japanese government said Wednesday that debris from North Korea's long-range rocket fell into waters off the Philippines at 10:05 a.m. after passing over Okinawa.

    Pyongyang fired the Unha-3 rocket at 9:51 a.m., Seoul's defense ministry said earlier in the day.

    Japan didn't order its military to intercept the North Korean rocket, according to officials.

    Shortly after the North's defiant launch, the Japanese government convened an emergency meeting of security-related ministers.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/world/wo...,4357504.story
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    WASHINGTON — American and South Korean officials reported seismic activity in North Korea on Tuesday that appeared to be evidence of the country’s third, and long-threatened nuclear test and a new challenge for the Obama administration in its effort to keep the country from becoming a full-fledged nuclear power.

    “We believe that North Korea has conducted a nuclear test,” said Kim Min-seok, spokesman of the South Korean Defense Ministry.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/wo...test.html?_r=0
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    North Korea vowed Tuesday to cancel the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War, citing a U.S.-led push for punishing United Nations sanctions over its recent nuclear test and ongoing U.S.-South Korean joint military drills.

    Without elaborating, the Korean People's Army Supreme Command warned of "surgical strikes" meant to unify the divided Korean Peninsula and of an indigenous, "precision nuclear striking tool." The statement came amid reports that Washington and North Korean ally Beijing have approved a draft of a UN Security Council resolution calling for sanctions in response to North Korea's Feb. 12 nuclear test. The draft is expected to be circulated at the UN this week.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2...ceasefire.html
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    (Reuters) - North Korea said on Tuesday its strategic rocket and long-range artillery units have been ordered to be combat ready, targeting U.S. military bases on Guam, Hawaii and mainland America after U.S. bombers flew sorties threatening the North.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...92P06520130326

    ..and a WaPo "Nothing to see here, move along" analysis
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...ot-less-scary/
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    Default Moderator at work

    The thread 'North Korea's military capabilities and deterrence' appeared in late 2012 and it is appropriate to merge it into the longer, main thread on North Korea.

    A new thread will be created for the current crisis or "sabre rattling" by North Korea, March 2013 and this thread closed.
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  20. #440
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    Default Sabre rattling on the Korean peninsula

    Moderator's Note

    This new thread replaces a long running thread on North Korea, which started in February 2006, with 400 posts and 56k views. That thread is now closed, but can be viewed:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...read.php?t=919

    There are a few relevant posts on the current sabre rattling by North Korea (DPRK) and this have been moved over - so this note appears after them.
    davidbfpo

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