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RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Politics, Religion & other Controversies » Another earth-shattering KABOOM from North Korea

Default Another earth-shattering KABOOM from North Korea

May 26th, 2009, 11:14
I'm getting worried about the potential for escalation here. South Korea just announced that it's joining the PSI (Proliferation Security Initiative, a US-led effort to interdict nuclear materials during transport, currently without international legal cover, which is keeping several key countries out of it). The DPRK has previously stated that it would consider this a declaration of war. If South Korea actually starts interdicting North Korean shipping, things would certainly heat up fast.

This could get very ugly. The trouble with brinkmanship is that occasionally you … go over the brink.
Last edited by Prime Junta; May 26th, 2009 at 11:33.
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May 26th, 2009, 11:16
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
Urban legend. AFAIK there is a consensus among modern historians that he tried hard to stop the fire…
…and even the legend doesn't have him setting fire to Rome, but merely fiddling while it burned.

(The closest I can think of a genuinely mad Roman Emperor actually doing genuinely mad things is Caligula ordering his legions to pick up seashells instead of invading Britain. But even he didn't intentionally destroy the Roman Empire.)
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May 26th, 2009, 11:35
The legend says that Nero was accused of starting the fire, but nothing could be proved, it also says he was quite crazy and his life ended by a suicide. Anyway it is indeed hard to tell what is true and what is not.

More news from North Korea propaganda central: "We are ready for war" and more missiles launched…………. I am really quite worried, I wish I had so much faith in the sanity of the North Korean leaders as some of you guys do.
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May 26th, 2009, 12:00
We dont have faith in Kim, we are merely less hawkish than you as we recognise that military action against NK likely would reduce Seoul to rubble and kill millions of friendly civilians. Hoping for some level of sanity on Kim's behalf doesnt feel all that good, but it feels a hell lot better than knowingly provoking the destruction of Seoul.

As for legends about Nero and Caligula you might want to read the imperial biographer Suetonius who is a major source for criticism of the two. His account was written at a time when it was politically expedient to discredit the two and the way he describe them contains too much repetition to be credible. Nero was the last of a dynasty and it was in the interest of later emperors to blacken his memory as much as possible. That he was behind or even wanted the fire has pretty much been disproven.
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May 26th, 2009, 14:33
This is why North Korea is so scary, even compared to the US and USSR in the Cold War (and why Iran w/ nukes could be scary too). The countries we are all talking about all border each other. If one of them believed the other had launched or was going to launch some sort of attack, the warning window would be something like five or six minutes - with the US and USSR it was something like 30-40 minutes. If someone has a twitchy trigger finger we can see the whole region go up in flames with very little warning and with almost no chance for someone to pull back and be rational.
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May 26th, 2009, 15:07
The US had plenty of nukes just as close to the USSR (the Pershings).

There was a lot of opposition to them for precisely that reason — the very short warning greatly raised the risk of the USSR launching a full-on counterstrike to an attack that hadn't taken place.

In fact, that was *extremely* close to happening on at least one occasion; Armageddon got canceled because a single Soviet officer fairly low down the command chain failed to follow procedure and requested extra confirmation; by the time that request had reached Moscow, the alarm was canceled.
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May 26th, 2009, 15:12
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
The US had plenty of nukes just as close to the USSR (the Pershings).

There was a lot of opposition to them for precisely that reason — the very short warning greatly raised the risk of the USSR launching a full-on counterstrike to an attack that hadn't taken place.

In fact, that was *extremely* close to happening on at least one occasion; Armageddon got canceled because a single Soviet officer fairly low down the command chain failed to follow procedure and requested extra confirmation; by the time that request had reached Moscow, the alarm was canceled.
There was also that one Russian officer (Oleg Penkovsky?) who provided the U.S. with details about the Cuban missile silos, b/c he believed the photos wouldn't be enough to identify them. He was supposedly cremated alive.
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May 26th, 2009, 15:25
The last is unlikely. The USSR had gone a bit soft by Khrushchev's time. A bullet to the back of the head in a GRU basement somewhere is far more likely.
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May 26th, 2009, 15:32
Yeah - well, that's the rumor. The few reports of his executions basically involve him being cremated alive. Doesn't mean it happened, but I've never heard of reports to the contrary.
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May 26th, 2009, 17:41
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
So, what would you have done? And how is the UN stopping you from doing it?
I'd like to pull a PJ on this one. Let's look at the results, and good intentions be damned. The UN has been the sole arbiter where the DPRK is concerned since the very beginning. You've had 50-some years. I think it's fair to say the UN, and the international diplomacy it espouses, failed dismally in a multi-decade real world test with minimal influence from non-UN parties and non-UN events. Can't think of a much stronger indictment.

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May 26th, 2009, 17:48
Not that the UN has achieved much in Korea, but I am not sure you can call the UN the sole arbiter in the six-party talks…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-party_talks
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May 26th, 2009, 17:54
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
Not that the UN has achieved much in Korea, but I am not sure you can call the UN the sole arbiter in the six-party talks…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-party_talks
Since those nations are major movers-n-shakers in the UN, I'd say it slips in under my "non-UN parties" disclaimer. OTOH, if we want to run with this as non-UN diplomacy, it might be worth noting that you're using it as an example of successful action. In other words, the one time we tell the UN to bugger off and do some multi-but-limited-national diplomacy, it brings up more success in a few years than a few decades of UN CO2 production.

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May 26th, 2009, 17:59
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
Since those nations are major movers-n-shakers in the UN, I'd say it slips in under my "non-UN parties" disclaimer. OTOH, if we want to run with this as non-UN diplomacy, it might be worth noting that you're using it as an example of successful action. In other words, the one time we tell the UN to bugger off and do some multi-but-limited-national diplomacy, it brings up more success in a few years than a few decades of UN CO2 production.
You misread my post. I am not using it as an example of success or failure, but rather as the "sole" mechanism used to deal with the north korean nuclear program in the last few years. This in contrast to your claim that the UN was the sole arbiter since the beginning… And both NK nuclear tests have occurred during those few years. I'd say that somewhat weakens your attempt at a PJ argument. This is not the middle east where the UN actually is a party in the talkie talkie…

EDIT: I'd not consider Japan or South Korea major movers-n-shakers in the UN either, which would indicate that the group is put together as neighbours+USA more than anything…
Last edited by Zaleukos; May 26th, 2009 at 18:19.
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May 26th, 2009, 18:27
If they do attack south korea I hope that won't interfere with the release dates for Starcraft 2.
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May 26th, 2009, 19:16
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
I'd like to pull a PJ on this one. Let's look at the results, and good intentions be damned. The UN has been the sole arbiter where the DPRK is concerned since the very beginning. You've had 50-some years. I think it's fair to say the UN, and the international diplomacy it espouses, failed dismally in a multi-decade real world test with minimal influence from non-UN parties and non-UN events. Can't think of a much stronger indictment.
You didn't answer my question: what would you have done, and how has the UN been stopping you from doing it?
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May 26th, 2009, 20:09
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
…and even the legend doesn't have him setting fire to Rome, but merely fiddling while it burned.

(The closest I can think of a genuinely mad Roman Emperor actually doing genuinely mad things is Caligula ordering his legions to pick up seashells instead of invading Britain. But even he didn't intentionally destroy the Roman Empire.)
I thought Nero had a mule as minister …
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May 26th, 2009, 20:13
Caligula supposedly appointed his horse as a minister or something.
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May 26th, 2009, 20:15
Senator, and it was a donkey, not a mule, and Caligula, not Nero. That was his way of flipping the bird at the Senate. Sort of like when Bush appointed that ass Bolton as ambassador to the UN.
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May 26th, 2009, 20:18
Hmmm, too many emperors
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May 26th, 2009, 20:21
In this case, the UN is stopping action because you will never get the US, Russia, and China to agree on a policy. We could have at least sent the much-dreaded "stern condemnation" over the first missle launch had we not needed the blessing of the Chinese government. Just as I've pointed out a hundred times before, you're never going to get that many countries with that many agendas to agree on much of anything significant. Case in point. 50 years, with all sorts of brinksmanship, and the UN still can't even manage to agree on sending a toothless nasty-gram.

As for my plan, I'm tempted to vote my version of "can't be any worse than Dubya" just to be difficult, but I'll make a genuine attempt. First off, I wouldn't have lost my nads when the whole situation started. We (under UN guidance, mind you) didn't have to turn tail at the 38th. But let's not force a historical revision. You've got to force China to make some uncomfortable choices. I favor a naval blockade since it's hard to blow up and easy to retract. You think China is going to go to war with the US over a DPRK blockade? Not remotely likely. They've got far more to lose pissing us off than telling Kim he's flying this one solo.

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