Second Korean War?

Are we on the verge of a second Korean War? Maybe, maybe not. It’s hard to say with North Korea, whose leadership system and propaganda machine portrays their leaders like demigods (Such as his awe-inspiring 11 hole in ones upon playing golf for the first time ever in his entire life…or maybe thats smell inspiring). Predicting North Korea falls in to 2 basic categories:

  • Boating and threatening- This will continue until China reaches from around the curtain and drags them back stage whereupon they smack them in the head while saying “Nice Doggie” until they halt.
  • Hot war – Playtime is over.

I notice a lot of folks from my generation, the so called Generation X, asking “Why are we there? Why are we sticking our nose in it?”

Given the past two wars, and the politics that have played a part its not a entirely invalid question. Admittedly I may be biased: I had two uncles who participated in the Korean conflict.  One as a Air Force bomber pilot, the other on the deck of a Navy carrier.

The failure to hold free elections throughout the Korean Peninsula in 1948 deepened the division between the two sides; the North established a communist government, while the South established a right-wing government.

The short version is South Korea has always been a large US supporter. They are and have been extremely pro West. Following World War II, and with the hostilities with the former Soviet Union beginning to warm, the so called 38th Parallel DMZ was formed. North Korea has such been supported for over 100 years by the former Soviet Union, and China in varying forms. The South has been protected and supported by us.

On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began when some 75,000 soldiers from the Soviet and China funded North Korean People’s Army poured across the 38th parallel, the boundary between the People’s Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to the south. This invasion was the first military action of the Cold War.

For my generation, this would be akin to China, or Al Qaeda launching a full scale, military invasion of a allied county like Britain in today’s world. For our parents and grandparents it was a big deal, and resulted from dealings of the World War II dividing lines.

The Korean War officially ended in 1953. Over 20 countries were involved in defending South Korea so it was not a US only action.

The United States suffered 33,686 battle deaths, along with 2,830 non-battle deaths during the Korean War and 8,176 missing in action. South Korea reported some 373,599 civilian and 137,899 military deaths. Had the US an other allied countries not involved themselves, without a doubt the civilian deaths would be easily triple that number. However, note that South Korea fought with us, and were willing to stand beside our own troops. Their sacrifice was no less than our own.

Today, with the fall of the Soviet Union, and China becoming an economic power, North Korea is still effectively the barking dog. Admittedly a barking dog with ties to a very large master, but one nonetheless.

As a boy I watched a neighbors small terrier pick fights with other dogs in the region. Invariably and without fail, that dog would run to my neighbors other dog, a brooding Mastiff, for protection. China and North Korea’s relationship is based on similar such. A good cop/bad cop drama that allows North Korea to play the aggressor and China to play diplomat. While the real power lies not with the former but the latter. The fact is, due to our downsizing, and reduction in DoD funding we can easily handle a conflict with North Korea. But we can not hold both Korea and China at bay together, and whats more China’s military prowess is almost equal to our own.  Furthermore, should China institute a military draft, they out number us easily.

Is it hard to take North Korea seriously? Absolutely.

But never underestimate a young military genius with an army at his command, who has made public boasts. The need to save face, will trump that of good sense every time in an Asian war.

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