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. #401
    Council Member max161's Avatar
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    I would also offer this for those who want to understand more about north Korea. Andrei Lankov (truth in lending I have known him for many years) was a Soviet Citizen who studied in Pyongyang, is fluent in Korea and then later defected to Australia and is now a professor in South Korea. He is one of the biggest advocates for getting information into north Korea.

    This excerpt is why I am skeptical of north Korean reforms. But if they really do attempt reforms we (the Alliance South Korea in the lead with US in support) absolutely need to be preparing for regime collapse. We need to be aware of the potential fallout from reforms because as much as we want them to reform, open up, and change, those reforms might not lead to the change we want to believe in:

    This is a recipe for discontent and even a revolution, somewhat similar to the recent events in Tunisia or the events of 1989 in Romania and East Germany.
    And the real question is whether Kim Jong-un can find a balance among the north Korean "trinity" (fear, economic reforms and propaganda):

    Alas, a North Korea in the throes of reform would not become immediately more stable but would become less stable than the ossified state of the Kim Jong Il era. It is possible, though unlikely, that the regime would find a balance of fear, economic incentives and propaganda that would allow it to keep the populace under control.
    I am not optimistic that they can find balance other than one weighted most heavily on fear, secondarily on propaganda to reinforce that fear (and control), and only cosmetic economic reforms.

    The risk in reforming North Korea

    By Andrei Lankov, Published: September 4

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinio...430_print.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-05-2012 at 05:48 PM. Reason: Fix quotes
    David S. Maxwell
    "Irregular warfare is far more intellectual than a bayonet charge." T.E. Lawrence

  2. #402
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    Posted by max161

    The other point is we continue to talk about the Korean Problem with little regard for Korea. Again, many of the comments in this string are seemingly made in the spirit of big brother knowing how to solve all and again with little understanding of Korean culture, politics, tradition, history (and emotions)of the Korean people. I cannot emphasize enough how many of these comments sound just like discussions of Afghanistan by those who knew nothing of the culture, politics, tradition history (and emotions) of the Afghan people. And we see how things have turned out for us in Afghanistan.
    Each thread tends to start with a slice of a larger problem and then expands from there. Fuchs opened this thread focusing on the North Korean military and questioned its ability to be a viable threat. Accordingly the the discussion initially focused on how to deal with the potential threat. Reunification is an interesting topic, but first I want to touch upon your cherry picking of experts.

    Admittedly there is little discussion on the ROK view since like ours it is inconsistent and divided among party lines. Like many you seem to assume reunification is going to happen, but there are others who also claim some expertise in the region that disagree with that assessment. They see no sign whatsoever that the DPRK is going to collapse (as we have been hearing for over the past 20 years) and believe two separate Koreas is in the best interests of most concerned. Maybe it will, maybe it won't, but the larger point is relying on those we label as experts can actually impede gaining understanding of the situation, because those we label experts tend to have strong views on a topic that are hard to sway even when emergent facts call their views into question.

    This reliance on cherry picked experts has resulted in bad policies in the past when we later learn that the experts were wrong. I recall one school of experts on Iraq telling us the Iraqi people would embrace democracy and that there was no ethnic tensions in the country, while another school of experts called the shots accurately. Everyone is qualified to evaluate the available evidence and question the experts. Expert views should be sought out, but not blindly accepted. All experts have one key shortcoming which is they're human and have biases that skew their best efforts to be completely intellectually honest.

    Obviously many, if not most, Koreans in the North and South want to reunite the Koreas, but of course have different views on what a united Korea should look like. Putting that to the side for a minute, I wonder what nations (I hope the U.S. is) are thinking a reunified Korea will mean to the region and the world? Would two the world's largest militaries united into one under one the world's strongest economies lead to greater regional stability or instability? How would Japan feel about it? Would China or the U.S. have more or equal influence with a united Korea? If the U.S. pulled it troops out of Korea after reunification how would that our ability to deter hostilities in the region? If the Koreas united, would there be a justification for a large ground force in East Asia? Of course most of these questions can't be answered factually until after events unfold, but we can only offer opinions on what we think will happen and what will be in our interests. East Asia with a unified Korea would require a new security paradigm for all concerned.

  3. #403
    Council Member max161's Avatar
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    Bill,
    If you read my work you might see that I cite experts from across the spectrum (even Bruce Cumings who claimed for many years that the US started the Korean War) to include north Koreans. I am expressing my opinions based on my years of analysis and I have linked a cross section of the body of work I have produced over the years. I stand by my research and scholarship and I offer it to the forum for discussion. I will be happy to discuss anything but if you think I am cherry picking experts I would recommend you read my work. I thought the forum would benefit from two current open source articles that seem relevant to the discussion with some commentary and analysis but if you think that is cherry picking then my sincere apologies.
    V/R

    Dave
    David S. Maxwell
    "Irregular warfare is far more intellectual than a bayonet charge." T.E. Lawrence

  4. #404
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    That's because we were discussing how big brother could pursue his interests. The discussion hasn't been about North Korean people's interests.
    I remain unconvinced that a proactive effort to "fix" the DPRK or induce someone else to do so is in big brother's interest, whoever big brother happens to be. Rocking that boat could go all kinds of unpredictable places, many of them not in anyone's interest.
    “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”

    H.L. Mencken

  5. #405
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I remain unconvinced ...
    That's fine too.

    .

  6. #406
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    That's fine too.
    Your permission is noted and appreciated.

    Have you read any of the material David Maxwell linked to? It provides an excellent starting point for informed discussion. Having watched the peninsula for many years without having actually studied it I found them an excellent way to fill in gaps in my own observations.

    As a starting point I'd suggest this one for being quite recent:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6891151/FINA...%20Maxwell.pdf

    and this one for being more comprehensive:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6891151/FINA...gy%20Paper.pdf
    “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”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Posted by max161

    If you read my work you might see that I cite experts from across the spectrum (even Bruce Cumings who claimed for many years that the US started the Korean War) to include north Koreans. I am expressing my opinions based on my years of analysis and I have linked a cross section of the body of work I have produced over the years. I stand by my research and scholarship and I offer it to the forum for discussion. I will be happy to discuss anything but if you think I am cherry picking experts I would recommend you read my work. I thought the forum would benefit from two current open source articles that seem relevant to the discussion with some commentary and analysis but if you think that is cherry picking then my sincere apologies.
    Dave,

    I will read each paper over the next couple of days, and I suspect I have read a couple already, but will double check each link. I'm not faulting your work, my point addresses the larger issue of labeling someone an expert and then blindly following them instead of engaging in critical thinking. We have done that for the past 10 years with the current fight we're in.

    In this thread I do think you and Dayuhan are to quick to dismiss ideas that don't fit your paradigm. Dismissing them is one thing, saying it isn't possible is another. A lot of potentialties are possible over time and I don't think anyone on this thread is talking about potential changes within the next year or so.

    I like Dayuhan's term of "informed opinion" versus expert. To be clear I agree with most of your points, but I'll still challenge them (to drive exposure of the underlying logic). I do it to myself, so no one else gets a buy either . One opinion I'm sitting on the fence is that reunification is destiny. I'm also not convinced it would be a thing for regional security over time. I like the Koreans also, but they're not exactly a peace loving people.

  8. #408
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Have you read any of the material David Maxwell linked to? It provides an excellent starting point for informed discussion. Having watched the peninsula for many years without having actually studied it I found them an excellent way to fill in gaps in my own observations.

    As a starting point I'd suggest this one for being quite recent:
    No I haven't and not about to now... maybe over the weekend.

    It would be interesting to hear from you a little more on this previous statement of yours:

    ... even if China was "the key", that would get us nowhere, because the Chinese have no interest whatsoever in trying to "fix" the DPRK, and that's not something any outside influence is going to change.
    You can - and probably will - play with the definition of "fix" but the fact remains that without the support of China NK would fold in a matter of weeks/months.

    I would be interested to hear why a stable North Korea closely allied to China would not be in the Chinese interest? Want to take a shot at that?

    As to your rather interesting comment that it all hinges on the NK armed forces I would ask you how long do you think they would last - as an effective force - if they were to be deprived of pay, food, winter clothing, fuel, weapons, ammunition?

    I've been on the receiving end of this sort of "influence" and know that no matter how strong the spirit is - which actually strengthens in the face of such adversity - such deprivation will reduce the armed forces to a mere shell... they will probably stick together only for self preservation but will have no ability for any significant military action other than perhaps a spirited last stand (a la Gen Custer).

    Please try to answer this yourself and not refer me to what Maxwell has written.

  9. #409
    Council Member max161's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Posted by max161
    my point addresses the larger issue of labeling someone an expert and then blindly following them instead of engaging in critical thinking. We have done that for the past 10 years with the current fight we're in.
    Bill,

    I do not think I have suggested blindly following any so-called expert. I think I have suggested throughout my comments that we need to study the situation on the Peninsula and that many of the comments seem to suggest similar thinking that we have done over the last decade in regards to Afghanistan and Iraq in which we have not sought to understand the nature of the problem and the history and culture of the people and countries involved. Most of the discussion as been US and western centric and I have tried to try to provide some views from the Korean and Chinese perspectives.

    I think you and I are in violent agreement that critical thinking is required and I have tried to provide some of my critical thinking that I have done over the years. And I have never considered myself an expert on Korea but a student of the Korean problem trying to learn about and understand the nature of the problem and suggest some alternative strategies for dealing with those problems.

    Dave
    David S. Maxwell
    "Irregular warfare is far more intellectual than a bayonet charge." T.E. Lawrence

  10. #410
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    Dave,

    I read all your articles except for “Beyond the Nuclear Crisis: A Strategy for the Korean Peninsula, April 2004” which I intend to get to. You were correct to be defensive towards my previous comments because you did a great job of including contrarian expert opinions in your informative articles. However, unless you’re misreading my comments, or I’m misreading yours, it seems we agree on more than we disagree on in regards to the Korea problem.

    One assumption I question is that North Korea will execute the final option if faced with regime threatening internal instability. Granted I have no idea what North Korean leaders are actually thinking, but it seems to be a bit of a reach that they believe their military would be successful in uniting the peninsula. There is always a danger in applying western logic to an eastern problem, but it seems more probable that they would focus internally and ask China for a bailout package, which I believe would be in their interest to do so (cheaper than containing a failed state on their border.

    It seems unlikely that there will be a citizen revolt if the KFR can retain control of its military, and the military is willing to use force against its citizens. The military would have to lead the rebellion, and do so they would need assurances of external support or believe that other military leaders would join in. That is hard to conceive how they would organize such a revolt in a hyper paranoid society where everyone is a state spy.

    I found your proposed strategy to convince the KFR that it will survive as a means of deterring attack brilliant. That would provide needed time for longer term strategies involving information operations and economic engagement to erode KFR’s control to work. You pointed out that North Koreans are interfering with South Korean elections (seems to be a norm for other nations to interfere in elections, we have a long history of doing so in the past), and they want the party that supports the Sunshine policy to win. Obviously nK supports it, and while it may help nK achieve their objectives in the short term I suspect it would be more effective at undermining the regime over time than a harder stance.

    In addition to these soft power approaches I agree with your suggestion that we should also take active measures such as sinking a couple of their submarines and then not taking credit for it in response to their sinking of the ROK frigate. It would send a clear message and if the attack wasn’t claimed it would give nK the option of not responding to maintain their legitimacy.

    I still think we (the global community) should put more pressure on the KFR for their massive human rights violations. Currently outside of a relatively few nK watchers these atrocities get little fanfare compared to say Sudan, so the North Koreans are given a lot of freedom from world opinion to continue these abuses unabated. Instead of us coming across as a power for the betterment of the human race, we instead focus on telling nK they can’t have nukes, which paints us as a hegemonic power telling other states what they can and can’t do. World opinion may or may not mitigate their behavior, but we won’t find out unless we try. World opinion won’t change KFR’s ethics, but I suspect it will cause them to question the value of continuing to conduct such activities if they feel other nations are being pressured by their populations to take some sort of action against North Korea. Of course the situation in Syria and elsewhere calls that assumption into question.

    While not making the WMD issue, we should do everything possible using all element of DIME to curtail their WMD programs, but focusing solely on WMD is like declaring war on terror, war on drugs, and war on IEDs. Many greats successes have been made in all these efforts at the tactical level, yet drug trade remains very profitable, IED attacks are proliferating at an ever greater rate, and of course terrorism will persist. We need a strategy that addresses the problem not a symptom of the problem, and that is what you’re advocating.

  11. #411
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Everything below is my opinion. Just imagine the IMOs in every paragraph.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    You can - and probably will - play with the definition of "fix" but the fact remains that without the support of China NK would fold in a matter of weeks/months.
    Fuchs introduced the term "fix" (post #34), and I cannot say with certainty what he meant by it. I would guess that anyone proposing to "fix" the DPRK believes that the the Kim dynasty should either be removed or persuaded/compelled to adopt policies deemed suitable by whoever is doing the fixing. Not saying there can't be another interpretation, but I can't think of one at the moment.

    Loss of Chinese support would certainly be a major blow to the Kim dynasty. Whether or not they would fold, and when, is of course uncertain. I suspect they'd hang in longer than you think. That's largely an academic concern, though, because the Chinese policy of not allowing the regime to fall has been a constant for decades. It does not look likely to change any time soon, and it's very doubtful that any outside influence will change it.

    It's often supposed by those who haven't been watching the peninsula for long that because China is the DPRK's sole ally and supporter, the DPRK is therefore totally subservient to China and must do whatever the Chinese tell it to do. This has not actually been the case: the Kims have not always followed instructions, and cannot be relied on to do what the Chinese want. They can do this because they know that preserving the dynasty has a central place in Chinese policy and they believe that the policy will continue even if they do not always follow the Chinese playbook.

    That could of course change: the Chinese could reassess their policy of keeping the Kim dynasty in power, or the dynasty could push Chinese patience to the point where the policy is abandoned, or some combination of the two could occur. While these things could happen, it's not likely that any outside power can make them happen. So far the Chinese have shown no indication that this policy is likely to change, and the Kims have been fairly astute in their assessment of what they can get away with.

    While the Chinese could probably sink or totally cripple the Kim dynasty, they have a clear and long-standing policy of preventing that. They don't want the dynasty to fall. While the Chinese could in theory use the threat of sinking or crippling the regime to compel whatever policy changes the Chinese might think desirable, that threat is largely blunted by that same policy: the DPRK regime does not believe the threat will be carried out. I do not believe the Kims will adopt any policy they see as a serious threat to their absolute dominance even if the Chinese tell them to.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    I would be interested to hear why a stable North Korea closely allied to China would not be in the Chinese interest? Want to take a shot at that?
    The question is not whether that outcome is desirable, but whether it can be achieved. If the DPRK goes out of control, nobody anywhere will be able to predict the outcome with any certainty, and there's a very good chance that a stable North Korea closely allied to China would not be the outcome. The existing order is not exactly stable, but neither is it completely out of hand. It is not controlled, but neither is it completely beyond influence or allied to China's actual or potential antagonists. If that order is disrupted anything could happen, the outcome would be beyond prediction or control and could easily be much worse for the Chinese.

    So far the Chinese seem to feel that sustaining the existing order, whatever its deficiencies and irritants, is preferable to the risk involved in trying to disrupt that order. That may of course change, if the Chinese decide that it should. I do not think any outside power has the capacity to significantly affect that decision.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    As to your rather interesting comment that it all hinges on the NK armed forces I would ask you how long do you think they would last - as an effective force - if they were to be deprived of pay, food, winter clothing, fuel, weapons, ammunition?
    They're not at war in any active sense, so they could probably last until they could no longer squeeze their needs out of the populace. if pressed too far, they might dispose of the regime and take over themselves... again, the Chinese are unlikely to push to that point, because of the consistent policy previously referred to.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    I've been on the receiving end of this sort of "influence" and know that no matter how strong the spirit is - which actually strengthens in the face of such adversity - such deprivation will reduce the armed forces to a mere shell... they will probably stick together only for self preservation but will have no ability for any significant military action other than perhaps a spirited last stand (a la Gen Custer).
    Any nation or armed force that allows itself to depend on an outside power for its sustenance is asking for that kind of pressure, but it's not likely that the DPRK armed forces will face it any time soon. Since they are not actively engaged in combat, what need do they have for significant military action? Even if the Chinese were putting the squeeze on to try to compel some policy change, the squeeze would come off if the DPRK were under attack... unless of course you're hypothesizing an attack by the Chinese, a very farfetched scenario.

    In short: Chinese policy to date has been based on preventing either war or regime collapse. That policy could change, but it cannot be changed at the instigation of any imaginable "us" and there's no sign that it's likely to change any time soon. While other powers should watch out for and be prepared for potential Chinese policy changes, the most likely eventuality, and the scenario on which primary plans are based, should be that Chinese policy is likely to remain pretty much as is for the near to medium term.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 09-06-2012 at 12:55 PM.
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  12. #412
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    Yes, the whole idea of "fixing" North Korea is very vague. I would like to understand what this actually means in terms of an end state. Only then can we really examine whether China possesses the capability to bring about that end state and, if so, whether the US and Western Powers possess the capability to compel China to act.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

  13. #413
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Who ever said anything about fighting to restore the Kim regime? How do you know they wouldn't fight to be able to define the successor to the Kim regime themselves, rather than having it defined by an outside power? Or that various factions who want to take over wouldn't fight with each other and anyone else willing to be on the spot?.
    I read a few articles that max161 posted. From these and from doing a little cogitating it seems that the existence of northern Korea is currently and has been for the past 1/2 century about one thing, the preservation of the Kim dynasty. So then I figured if the place collapsed it would be logical to assume that if those poor enslaved people chose to engage in a noble insurgency against the South Koreans who would likely show up, they would be inclined to fight for the restoration of the thing they have been taught is the center of the universe, the Kim dynasty.

    You use the phrase "define the successor to the Kim regime themselves". Now given that those tragic enslaved people have had their political horizons and imaginations constrained at knife point for generations, I wonder if the concept of defining anything themselves would register.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    I wouldn't be prepared to bet that the north would simply submit to foreign intervention, or that lack of money or sanctuary would render them unable to insurge. It might happen, but it might not... and if it didn't, the occupying power could find themselves in a quite unpleasant situation..
    Anybody can insurge. But the lack of sanctuary makes if very much harder to successfully insurge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    The insurgency has gone on for over 40 years. If you include the Huk rebellion (which is reasonable), it's gone on for well over 60 years... without sanctuary or significant foreign assistance. Of course it's had ups and downs within that time, but even now it's by no means over.
    Let's grant that for arguments sake. So what we have is an insurgency or 'gies that just can't seem to win. And they don't have any sanctuary in another country that they can use, so if the gov forces get up the moxie or power there is no place they can't be got to. This seems a good argument to the effect that if you want you guerrilla war to work out well for the guerrillas, you would do well to pick a country that shares a border with another country that your guerrillas can use as a sanctuary. That is not 100% true all the time, but it seems a very strong trend.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Not so. The government didn't suppress/defeat the insurgency. The insurgency collapsed to the extent that it has because of the sudden and unexpected loss of the Marcos regime and because of its own inability to adapt to the post-Marcos political landscape, not because of anything government did.
    I think you gave a good explication as to why the gov had everything to do with the insurgency collapsing. The gov changed itself in a way that foiled the insurgency. That is exactly the thing govs are supposed to try and pull off.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    If the DPRK attacks and is then pushed back forcing a regime change, or if the current regime collapses and foreigners move in to "build a nation" and "bring democracy" etc it will not be going into a populace that has been subjected to years of warfare, nor will it be going into a populace that perceives this help as the lesser of two evils. By any logical assessment and reasonable understanding of resistance insurgency, the people would resist. Hard.
    How hard can you resist when starving? I don't think you give those people much credit for seeing and remembering. They see that they are all pretty skinny. They remember times of starvation. They remember the people and families who disappeared. They know what happens if they forget their Kim pin. I don't think the South Koreans would have to go far to be the lesser of two evils.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    China would probably be more effective at this than we would, and US interests would not suffer if the PRC had the lead on dealing with any kind of governmental collapse in the DPRK.
    I wonder if the Red Chinese would send any large numbers of people into northern Korea if the Kim dynasty fell apart. All those Chinamen walking about might provoke some resentment from the Koreans north or south.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    I have a general question. Let's say the Kim dynasty fell apart. Russia, Red China and South Korea decided to let the South Koreans handle the problem inside the country and all three decided that nobody else would be permitted to interfere. Effectively this would make northern Korea an island.

    Now let us stipulate that since there isn't much food to eat in northern Korea in the best of times, and this wouldn't be the best of times, the people there would be dependent upon food coming in from outside northern Korea. Let us stipulate further that some kind of insurgency does break out (I am not so sure this is likely). Since the South Koreans would entirely control the import and distribution of food, could they not use that to throttle the insurgency pretty quick? I do not mean starving people, I mean controlling the distribution in such a way that everybody who wants to eat has to show up in a particular area and be scrutinized. This would be sort of what the British did in parts of Malaya and what we did in parts of the Philippines long ago.

    What are people's opinion of this?
    Last edited by carl; 09-06-2012 at 05:05 PM.
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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    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?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default The always trusty folks at vice.com

    offer as good a look-see at the contemporary DPRK as I have seen. [LINK]
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  18. #418
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    Default One of Carl's questions

    Carl asked:
    controlling the (food) in such a way that everybody who wants to eat has to show up in a particular area and be scrutinized
    I assume the party effectively controls food distribution and production, so giving up that responsibility and power simply would not happen. Now a few years ago the Ethiopian regime, under Mengistu, resisted NGOs taking over food distribution as a famine developed and millions IIRC died.

    I expect the regime says the food is given to us in homage, as we are so strong, well-led etc.
    davidbfpo

  19. #419
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    David:

    My question had to do with what might happen after the current order disintegrated, if it came to that.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I read a few articles that max161 posted. From these and from doing a little cogitating it seems that the existence of northern Korea is currently and has been for the past 1/2 century about one thing, the preservation of the Kim dynasty. So then I figured if the place collapsed it would be logical to assume that if those poor enslaved people chose to engage in a noble insurgency against the South Koreans who would likely show up, they would be inclined to fight for the restoration of the thing they have been taught is the center of the universe, the Kim dynasty.

    You use the phrase "define the successor to the Kim regime themselves". Now given that those tragic enslaved people have had their political horizons and imaginations constrained at knife point for generations, I wonder if the concept of defining anything themselves would register.
    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.

    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Anybody can insurge. But the lack of sanctuary makes if very much harder to successfully insurge.
    Granrted, but I'd hesitate to assume that lack of sanctuary would make effective insurgency impossible.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Let's grant that for arguments sake. So what we have is an insurgency or 'gies that just can't seem to win. And they don't have any sanctuary in another country that they can use, so if the gov forces get up the moxie or power there is no place they can't be got to. This seems a good argument to the effect that if you want you guerrilla war to work out well for the guerrillas, you would do well to pick a country that shares a border with another country that your guerrillas can use as a sanctuary. That is not 100% true all the time, but it seems a very strong trend.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I think you gave a good explication as to why the gov had everything to do with the insurgency collapsing. The gov changed itself in a way that foiled the insurgency. That is exactly the thing govs are supposed to try and pull off.
    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.

    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.
    “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”

    H.L. Mencken

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