Things are continuing to escalate between the US, North Korea, and their allies in the area. North Korea has accused the US and South Korea for pushing things to the brink with their joint ‘live-fire’ drill in response to Kim Jong-un’s recent successful ICBM test.
Now, North Korea is a global leader in making empty threats, so we don’t need to put a ton of credence to their wild accusations. Unfortunately, Kim Jong-un doesn’t need to convince us he’s a threat, he only needs to convince Donald Trump and a handful of military and political leaders (but mostly only the president).
Either way, since the North Koreans probably have the capability of launching a missile strike on US territory, the possibility of military action against them, especially since the Trump Administration has not ruled out the possibility of unilateral military action. I’m no military man, but I think there are a few clear pros and cons of this potential war.
Pro: We would probably win. While Trump likes to huff and puff about how the US isn’t as ‘great’ as it used to be, our military is still top dog by a long shot. The US Navy alone is probably the single greatest fighting force ever to have existed, and can literally put a cruise missile up a camel’s ass anywhere in the world within 24 hours. Plus, the possibility of a return to war in Korea means that we’ve been developing a plan of action since the end of the Korean war, which never actually ended, officially. Our technology is better, we have more dudes, better industry, and smarter commanders, as well as at least one ride-or-die ally in South Korea.
Con: It would probably be harder than we think. North Korea is the most secluded country in the whole world, as well as the only true totalitarian government left in the world. And this government has been doing its totalitarian thing since 1948, so pretty much everyone living in that country knows nothing but the Dear Leader being their god. That can be pretty tough to fight against, especially when their military is technically one of the largest in the world. Granted, most of those numbers are probably civilians organized into rag-tag militia units. But that still means that the only way we win an all-out war with North Korea is by killing most of their men aged 16-50, because you have to think that they’ll be fighting to the death. Worst of all, since the country is so underdeveloped, there’s probably a lot of good forest for waging a drawn-out guerrilla war.
Pro: We could get rid of Kim Jong-un and bring North Korea back into civilization. Their’s no doubt that the North Korean government is doing some awful, terrible stuff to its own citizens to keep itself in power. We know they’re big fans of collective punishment too, and, as good as it is at keeping people in line, having thousands of people rotting in Korean-style gulags reflects poorly on a country’s human rights record. Plus, bringing down the Korean government would mean eliminating the world’s biggest nuclear threat, which is always a positive.
Con: The postwar political situation would be incredibly difficult. I can tell you right now that China is not going to want a major US ally pushed right up against its southern border. South Koreans will certainly want Korean unification, and frankly I have no idea what the North Koreans will want after 70+ years of political suppression and a huge war. I envision some sort of joint occupation by China, the US, and South Korea in the war’s immediate aftermath, a la post-WWII Germany, who was also recovering from a totalitarian dictatorship. But after that it’ll be a diplomatic duel between the US and China, which is a total toss-up at this point.
As you might guess, a war with North Korea would, like any war, be a very muddled situation. It isn’t really a question of whether the US should go to war in Korea, it’s more like whether North Korea is gonna do something that forces our hand. The US has so much shit going on in the world that foreign policy is basically just reacting to whoever tries to mess with us. We’ll see if North Korea decides to get too big for its breeches.