North Korea will pre-emptively nuke the US

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I know there's not really a lot to discuss here, since they couldn't if they wanted to. But North Korea has threatended to pre-emptively nuke the US, becuse the US is planning to nuke them.

This is at least somewhat due to newer sanctions being discussed.

So, impotent blustering or actual suicidal stupidity?

Reuters source

With people who are so isolated in their own ideological bubble, it's really difficult to evaluate that. It might really be self-delusional suicidal stupidity because of that. But I wouldn't argue for taking that as an opportunity to pre-emptively attack yourself, because frankly it's questionable whether NK has the capability at all. Plus, aren't there defense systems in place? If they fire their nuke, I doubt it would get anywhere near the USA before being destroyed. Then you invade. Or is that too high a risk?
If the threats become believable, of course, you can always go through the UN (China isn't too happy with their little buddy these days) and argue to take them out together, even pre-emptively then.

Eleuthera:
I know there's not really a lot to discuss here, since they couldn't if they wanted to. But North Korea has threatended to pre-emptively nuke the US, becuse the US is planning to nuke them.

This is at least somewhat due to newer sanctions being discussed.

So, impotent blustering or actual suicidal stupidity?

Why not both?

I mean, you'd have to be pretty suicidally stupid to start blustering about destroying extremely powerful nations when you're a bunch of backwoods hicks armed with antiquated technology.

Ha. They have a puny atomic bomb that are at around the same level of the first ones built by the USA and experimented on in the desert, which is nothing compared to hydrogen bombs. Additionally, the North could barely put it on a missile and have a missile that could reach the USA.

It's going to be interesting if a Korean war reignites, but The border areas and people in South Korea will be demolished and slaughtered. It'll be a tragedy.

Eh. I have a feeling that Korea is going to become just that in the near future. Just Korea.

Some kind of conflict with them is sure to happen in the future. But the leaders of our country wont stop because they want another war.

Friendly Lich:
Some kind of conflict with them is sure to happen in the future. But the leaders of our country wont stop because they want another war.

What's the point of spending a trillion dollars on the military every year if we don't get to raze some second-world country to the ground every now and again?

And then what? Get completely destroyed by an infinitely more powerful military?

This has to be a bluff. Nobody with an IQ in the double digits would lead their country this way.

Kopikatsu:

Friendly Lich:
Some kind of conflict with them is sure to happen in the future. But the leaders of our country wont stop because they want another war.

What's the point of spending a trillion dollars on the military every year if we don't get to raze some second-world country to the ground every now and again?

I thought Iran was the next target in line.

The US's ABM system has never been tested by a real attack. NK couldn't really get a missile to a target in the US despite that, though.

They don't need that, they could send one by ship, discretely drop one in the bottom of a harbour. That was something of a problem in the Cold War, there's no early warning for one of those.

Also, doing this is anonymous, there's no telling who was responsible. So the US would probably flatten Iran and one or two other nations in retaliation as well as NK.

Glasgow:

It's going to be interesting if a Korean war reignites, but The border areas and people in South Korea will be demolished and slaughtered. It'll be a tragedy.

That really is the issue. Were war to ever break out, NK would likely lose, (or not. They have a dog in this fight. With the cold war over, hard to argue that the USA does) but not before it shells SK into oblivion and there is virtually nothing anyone can do. They wouldn't use smart tech. They'd just shell the crap out of modern cities. Against what would retaliate? Their caves? Their phoney, empty "shopping malls"? Maybe their actual government buildings. Not really a fair trade up.

I understand there is no truce, just a cease fire pending further actions as, NK only ended the war when the USA threatened nukes. With NK developing their own, the cease fire may be coming to an end. Then the USA has to decide if it wants anything to do with this. There's been a lot of "get the USA out of our country" sentiments from SK. That Gungan style guy supposedly was all over that.

Gorfias:

Glasgow:

It's going to be interesting if a Korean war reignites, but The border areas and people in South Korea will be demolished and slaughtered. It'll be a tragedy.

That really is the issue. Were war to ever break out, NK would likely lose, (or not. They have a dog in this fight. With the cold war over, hard to argue that the USA does) but not before it shells SK into oblivion and there is virtually nothing anyone can do. They wouldn't use smart tech. They'd just shell the crap out of modern cities. Against what would retaliate? Their caves? Their phoney, empty "shopping malls"? Maybe their actual government buildings. Not really a fair trade up.

Not all of SK is within range of NK artillery, mind.

thaluikhain:

Gorfias:
They'd just shell the crap out of modern cities. Against what would retaliate? Their caves? Their phoney, empty "shopping malls"? Maybe their actual government buildings. Not really a fair trade up.

Not all of SK is within range of NK artillery, mind.

Do you have any estimates of SK casualties were this to happen. I've heard a bunch, but don't have actual figures. Basically, from what I hear, it would be very bad.

And what is the max range of a shell? I'll looking it up too.

EDIT Reading figures like this: 11200m = 6mi 1688.5yd

Gorfias:

thaluikhain:

Gorfias:
They'd just shell the crap out of modern cities. Against what would retaliate? Their caves? Their phoney, empty "shopping malls"? Maybe their actual government buildings. Not really a fair trade up.

Not all of SK is within range of NK artillery, mind.

Do you have any estimates of SK casualties were this to happen. I've heard a bunch, but don't have actual figures. Basically, from what I hear, it would be very bad.

And what is the max range of a shell? I'll looking it up too.

I'm led to believe that certain areas of Seoul are in range of NK artillery (!), and everything north of there as well. However, I'd expect these to be more or less evacuated given any real warning.

No idea of casualty estimates, though, but it'd certainly be nasty.

thaluikhain:

I'm led to believe that certain areas of Seoul are in range of NK artillery (!), and everything north of there as well. However, I'd expect these to be more or less evacuated given any real warning.

No idea of casualty estimates, though, but it'd certainly be nasty.

I'm reading up on some "incidents and incursions"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Demilitarized_Zone

Hard to believe open war hasn't broken out.

Gorfias:

thaluikhain:

I'm led to believe that certain areas of Seoul are in range of NK artillery (!), and everything north of there as well. However, I'd expect these to be more or less evacuated given any real warning.

No idea of casualty estimates, though, but it'd certainly be nasty.

I'm reading up on some "incidents and incursions"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Demilitarized_Zone

Hard to believe open war hasn't broken out.

And those are just the ones the public has been informed of. Yeah, doesn't seem wise.

OTOH, the odd incident every other year might be deemed small enough not to worry about escalation. I'm led to believe that during the Cold War, the US and USSR would send special forces into each other's territory, not for any specific goal, but for training purposes (apparently sneaking into enemy towns and stealing roadsigns was popular amongst some units). It was deemed that this sort of thing wasn't worth making too much of a fuss about.

thaluikhain:

Gorfias:

thaluikhain:

I'm led to believe that certain areas of Seoul are in range of NK artillery (!), and everything north of there as well. However, I'd expect these to be more or less evacuated given any real warning.

No idea of casualty estimates, though, but it'd certainly be nasty.

I'm reading up on some "incidents and incursions"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Demilitarized_Zone

Hard to believe open war hasn't broken out.

And those are just the ones the public has been informed of. Yeah, doesn't seem wise.

OTOH, the odd incident every other year might be deemed small enough not to worry about escalation. I'm led to believe that during the Cold War, the US and USSR would send special forces into each other's territory, not for any specific goal, but for training purposes (apparently sneaking into enemy towns and stealing roadsigns was popular amongst some units). It was deemed that this sort of thing wasn't worth making too much of a fuss about.

Saddest thing I ever heard of: North Korea needed people to train them in speaking Japanese and secretly got into Japan and kidnapped some nationals, including two lovers that were walking on the beach. I don't think we ever got them back. (Not considered a DMZ incursion.)

If they can sneak into Japan, what other horrors might they do on someone's homeland. I guess that would keep you from declaring all out war over some of these (relatively small) outrages.

Reading about it now: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korean_abductions_of_Japanese

It's funny because the only ones they could even hit with their shitty USSR rockets and heavy fission warhead is South Korea, parts of Japan, China and Russia. That is, going by the 2005 RAND report that estimated their Nodong range at circa 900km for a 1 ton payload. And with their bad design who knows how much power they can even pack into that.
Their best missile for a nuclear warhead would be the BM25 Musudan, a homemade ballistic missile based on a late 60s Soviet design for a submarine-launched one, with a maximum operational range of not more than 3500km with full payload. For scale, that's about this far:
image

Gorfias:
Were war to ever break out, NK would likely lose, (or not. They have a dog in this fight. With the cold war over, hard to argue that the USA does) but not before it shells SK into oblivion and there is virtually nothing anyone can do. They wouldn't use smart tech. They'd just shell the crap out of modern cities. Against what would retaliate? Their caves? Their phoney, empty "shopping malls"? Maybe their actual government buildings. Not really a fair trade up.

I've touched on that topic in more detail in the other thread already, but I'll repeat myself: the DPRK's artillery is outdated and has a massive dud rate of 25% as shown in the Yeonpyong Do incident, regular modern artillery being around 2%, depending on ammunition. Then not all 700 bunker cannons would fire and give away their positions, more like 500, so that's a lot of firepower less. Their largest gun is the M-1978 KOKSAN which has a firing rate of maybe 2 rounds per five minute, most of their other big guns aren't over 1 per minute. And that is supposing trained operators, which the KPA soldiers maybe aren't the best at since most of the little training they get is done without ammunition. And I don't know how much ammo each bunker stores but their resupply capability will not be advantageous.

Yes, the guns are in bunkers and/or camouflaged but let's not forget the South knows a lot of bunker positions and has its own guns ready to retaliate. And bombing from home out of bunkers is really the only advantage they have considering their Navy and Air Force is dead as soon as it enters South Korean space, even before US and Japanese support arrives.

Not to mention that China would not be amused having its own high-ranking party official's families and international companies bombed to pieces, foreigners in the Seoul area being about 70% Chinese. So bombing Seoul would only worsen their already slim chances of any kind of support from that side.

Gorfias:
Saddest thing I ever heard of: North Korea needed people to train them in speaking Japanese and secretly got into Japan and kidnapped some nationals, including two lovers that were walking on the beach. I don't think we ever got them back. (Not considered a DMZ incursion.)

If they can sneak into Japan, what other horrors might they do on someone's homeland. I guess that would keep you from declaring all out war over some of these (relatively small) outrages.

Reading about it now: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korean_abductions_of_Japanese

Well, more or less any nation with a military or intelligence system to speak of could abduct people from other nations if they wanted. Generally, the odd person isn't worth a war, an unfavourable trade deal, for example, would hurt a nation more and nations tend to avoid explicitly going to war over those.

Quaxar:
let's not forget the South knows a lot of bunker positions and has its own guns ready to retaliate.

I get the impression that the South just has much more to lose in conflict. The North has created a giant crap hole (wonder what their immigration rate is?) and desperately needs distractions. Ultimately, they have little to lose. We have to worry about them doing something stupid and suicidal.

Do you have projected South Korean casualty estimates? Looking for them.

thaluikhain:

Generally, the odd person isn't worth a war, an unfavourable trade deal, for example, would hurt a nation more and nations tend to avoid explicitly going to war over those.

That's about the only reason of which I can think that there has not been open warfare.

Eleuthera:

So, impotent blustering or actual suicidal stupidity?

Probably the former.

Leaders who are so egotistical or ideologically consumed that they willing to immolate their country and themselves with it (like, say, Hitler) are very rare.

I suspect the NK elites are the usual sort of corrupt, self-serving scumbags who enjoy the power, status and privileges of their position far more they than have any particular belief in the ideology and rhetoric they use to keep their populace under control. Inviting full conflict of any sort invites the loss of all that, as they could not win.

If they simply tried to invade, they could have some outs such as: stuff money into a Swiss bank account and flee to another pariah regime that will shelter them, or cut a deal where peace and reduced bloodshed was worth their freedom and immunity. But if they chucked a nuke, I can't imagine they'd be allowed to get away with either.

Gorfias:

Quaxar:
let's not forget the South knows a lot of bunker positions and has its own guns ready to retaliate.

I get the impression that the South just has much more to lose in conflict. The North has created a giant crap hole (wonder what their immigration rate is?) and desperately needs distractions. Ultimately, they have little to lose. We have to worry about them doing something stupid and suicidal.

Do you have projected South Korean casualty estimates? Looking for them.

Oh, but they do have a lot to lose. That is the leadership, but of course that are the important guys who decide if they want to go to war. And realistically they won't, because there is no way they can win, invasion is out of the question thanks to the DMZ mine field and superior powers all around and the simple supply reserve problem will cut any war efforts short anyway.
And the South on the other hand is backed by the US directly, the Japanese would probably be with them too and the UN surely as well.

The whole DPRK military is built on defense anyway. Bunkers, hidden facilities, explosive charges, camouflaged defense artillery, ... If they ever try to reignite the war it will be by provoking the South so much they can't not go to war. That would be their only chance of getting China's help and inside their own land is the only place they have at least some advantage.

As for casualty numbers, there is a very good report from the Nautilus Institute that was presented at the East Asia Nuclear Security workshop in Tokyo in late 2011. You can read the whole thing here.

If the North Korean People's Army (KPA) were to start a doctrinal, conventional artillery barrage focused on South Korean forces, we could expect to see around three thousand casualties in the first few minutes, but the casualty rate would quickly drop as the surprise wears off and counter-battery fires slow down the North Korean rates of fire. If the KPA were to engage Seoul in a primarily counter-value fashion by firing into Seoul instead of primarily aiming at military targets, there would likely be around thirty-thousand casualties in a short amount of time. Statistically speaking, almost eight-hundred of those casualties would be foreigners given Seoul's international demographic. Chinese make up almost seventy percent of foreigners in Seoul and its northern environs which means KPA might also kill six-hundred Chinese diplomats, multi-national corporation leaders, and ranking cadre children who are students in Seoul. Horrible, but nothing approaching "millions".

It's an exellent report full of deep tactical analysis of the North Korean situation and I'd highly suggest it to anyone interested in the matter.

Oh that's quaint, they think that the US needs nukes to crush them into the dirt

Gorfias:

thaluikhain:

I'm led to believe that certain areas of Seoul are in range of NK artillery (!), and everything north of there as well. However, I'd expect these to be more or less evacuated given any real warning.

No idea of casualty estimates, though, but it'd certainly be nasty.

I'm reading up on some "incidents and incursions"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Demilitarized_Zone

Hard to believe open war hasn't broken out.

China and South Korea have been very patient with them, but the second they scale up from petty shellings to actual war their patience will run out

Dryk:
Oh that's quaint, they think that the US needs nukes to crush them into the dirt

China and South Korea have been very patient with them, but the second they scale up from petty shellings to actual war their patience will run out

We can hope. I just hope their leadership does feel they have something to lose.

Dryk:

China and South Korea have been very patient with them, but the second they scale up from petty shellings to actual war their patience will run out

The core issue here, being, likely China and even Russia would be interested in removing the NK regime while keeping the country more or less intact and populated...the talk on Escapist makes it almost seem as if USA would have no qualms about just nuking the place into oblivion and erasing the entire nation from the face of the planet. I do hope such comments about "flattening" etc. are hyperbole, because that's genocide.

Vegosiux:

Dryk:

China and South Korea have been very patient with them, but the second they scale up from petty shellings to actual war their patience will run out

The core issue here, being, likely China and even Russia would be interested in removing the NK regime while keeping the country more or less intact and populated...the talk on Escapist makes it almost seem as if USA would have no qualms about just nuking the place into oblivion and erasing the entire nation from the face of the planet. I do hope such comments about "flattening" etc. are hyperbole, because that's genocide.

Well considering one third of NK's population is part of the military (1 mill active duty and 8 mill reservists) assuming their forces don't instantly surrender it will have to be a huge massacre.

generals3:

Well considering one third of NK's population is part of the military (1 mill active duty and 8 mill reservists) assuming their forces don't instantly surrender it will have to be a huge massacre.

Even if they do surrender quickly it will still be a blood bath. A full attack on the South would kill a lot of civilians in the first couple of minutes. Then the countery battery would start an shells and missiles would be flying all over the place. Be a few hours before US heavy bombers would be able to make an impact. And that is if China decided not to help the NOrth. Of course China might just invade the North because they are sick of the leadership there as well.

North Korea doesn't have a chance. Nothing to worry about.

TheLycanKing144:
North Korea doesn't have a chance. Nothing to worry about.

The question isn't really whether they'd win or lose but rather how many people will have to die to defeat them

w9496:
And then what? Get completely destroyed by an infinitely more powerful military?

This has to be a bluff. Nobody with an IQ in the double digits would lead their country this way.

Except that I've thought the same thing for the entirety of Kim Jong-Il's rule, and Un appears to be even nuttier. In this case it appears to be less of a matter of intelligence, and more of self delusion.

I doubt their ability to carry out these threats, but I'm not all that willing to doubt their willingness to try anyways.

If by some miracle they were able to get a Nuke to the US (let's say they used their space rocket and managed to de-orbit the thing somewhere over the US), then North Korea would cease to exist.

Every gun south of the border would start firing, their tiny navies destroyed. Anything we can see from the sky will be bombed. All there planes will be shot down before they see ours. China would not lift a finger to help Korea, it can't risk backing the nation after they do THAT.

You do not @#$% with the United States' military.

Heronblade:

w9496:
And then what? Get completely destroyed by an infinitely more powerful military?

This has to be a bluff. Nobody with an IQ in the double digits would lead their country this way.

Except that I've thought the same thing for the entirety of Kim Jong-Il's rule, and Un appears to be even nuttier. In this case it appears to be less of a matter of intelligence, and more of self delusion.

I doubt their ability to carry out these threats, but I'm not all that willing to doubt their willingness to try anyways.

Jong-Il/Un did/do probably not run the country absolutely (for all we know he may even be just a figurehead already). Like many countries, there will be internal power squabbles. Kim Jong-Un, the Communist party bureaucracy, and the military probably being obvious power centres. The military might shell an island to send a message to Jong-Un they'll cause trouble if he doesn't do as they want. Jong-Un might use threats to acquire fuel aid from the international community because the Party wants it and will make his life difficult if he doesn't. And so on.

Thus what seems like a whole heap of crazy could be explained by a number of different factions rationally dicking around with the rest of the world for their own power games. (Most countries can't do this because they care about or need the rest of the world.) It's a possibility.

Like I've said before, what I think is that although NK is an impoverished dump overall, the elites have almost certainly exploited the populace to live sparkling lives of considerable luxury that even a middle class Westerner would dream of. Such is the case in many countries (think Latin America or Africa). I think they'll always pull back from the brink, because that life of luxury ends the minute they go too far.

Or my guess is wrong, and they really are ideologically charged loonies...

Agema:

Heronblade:

w9496:
And then what? Get completely destroyed by an infinitely more powerful military?

This has to be a bluff. Nobody with an IQ in the double digits would lead their country this way.

Except that I've thought the same thing for the entirety of Kim Jong-Il's rule, and Un appears to be even nuttier. In this case it appears to be less of a matter of intelligence, and more of self delusion.

I doubt their ability to carry out these threats, but I'm not all that willing to doubt their willingness to try anyways.

Jong-Il/Un did/do probably not run the country absolutely (for all we know he may even be just a figurehead already). Like many countries, there will be internal power squabbles. Kim Jong-Un, the Communist party bureaucracy, and the military probably being obvious power centres. The military might shell an island to send a message to Jong-Un they'll cause trouble if he doesn't do as they want. Jong-Un might use threats to acquire fuel aid from the international community because the Party wants it and will make his life difficult if he doesn't. And so on.

Thus what seems like a whole heap of crazy could be explained by a number of different factions rationally dicking around with the rest of the world for their own power games. (Most countries can't do this because they care about or need the rest of the world.) It's a possibility.

Like I've said before, what I think is that although NK is an impoverished dump overall, the elites have almost certainly exploited the populace to live sparkling lives of considerable luxury that even a middle class Westerner would dream of. Such is the case in many countries (think Latin America or Africa). I think they'll always pull back from the brink, because that life of luxury ends the minute they go too far.

Or my guess is wrong, and they really are ideologically charged loonies...

Another thing is that the government cannot really control it's own nation, only having real authority within the capital or the concentration camps. The Black Market is HUGE within the nation. It's the only reliable way to get anything done. You can basically bribe any official to turn their eyes to anything as long as you bribe them enough and do it discretely.

You can jump past all the political hassles of getting into the nation if you bribe the North Korean officials in China (although why would you want to?)

Think the US gives South Korea some Drones, that'd be the end of that.
I mean, set up a control panel in a Internet Cafe, Tell them it's a Video Game, Problem Solved.
/jk

OT: Question: Dose the US Military have Tactical EMP Bursts? You know how a Nuke goes off, it fries all computers and such within a certain radius? Did they ever make anything that can have the same effect?
Do they have the means to do that over North Korea? Stop them before they can launch? Captcha: What is for Dinner?

/I know how Politics and how International Relations work would prevent this from happening, this is just a thought exercise.

Quaxar:
kersnip

Not to mention that their largest gun is the only artillery piece they have that can reach Seoul and I'm assuming they're not massing every biggest artillery piece they have at the point where they could reach Seoul. Add in the American military's excellent counter-fire operations, as you mentioned, and their shelling would be stopped very quickly. I think even the numbers in the report you gave are a vast overestimate. The biggest threat from North Korea would be an infantry blitz(if they can muster it), which the American military stationed there is not prepared for. Yeah, the artillery would blow the shit out of some infantry, but that only counts for so much if you can't blow them up faster than they come over. Also, artillery, even ours, isn't that great at outright destruction when in the defensive either, depending on how mobile the attacking force is. More often than not it's used as a tool to turn attackers into designated kill zones than to actually kill the attacker itself.

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