Monday, May 24, 2010

In the blink of an eye...

UPDATE: 2:00 PM (Tuesday). So the "chicken little" in me is even more aroused as North Korea just announced they were ejecting South Koreans from the industrial complex just inside their border operated by South Korean companies that employ 40,000 North Koreans.

Even the South did not go that far yesterday in announcing economic sanctions. Since the only other industry in North Korea is that relating to the military this is a classic case of biting off your nose to spite your face. Or: Pride goeth before the fall.

As the proud father of two girls originally born in China and aware of how very many girls have come to our country over the past 20 years via international adoption I always figure the Chinese government would at least think twice before going to war with us as collateral damage could include so many of their own (not to mention all the Chinese who have come here for education or employment purposes.)

Severing this last co-mingling of two people who should be one is a bad sign.

Original Post: Yesterday
Having spent a week in Seoul last year getting to mix with the locals and taking a guided tour of the DMZ (which is a lot harder for the locals to do) I am frankly concerned about recent revelations that North Korea did indeed sink a South Korean warship.

Initially I figured the Cheonan inadvertently hit an underwater mine left over from the horrific war 57 years ago that, technically, has never ended. Mainly because North Korea actually seems proud of its belligerence, I also figured they would instantly take credit for scoring such a surprising blow on a highly trained military ship.

But considering the North never really acknowledged the secret "Tunnels of aggression" constructed under the DMZ and designed to deliver thousands of troops per hour into a sleeping Seoul I guess I should not be surprised.

So what is a concerned diplomat to do?

Box them into a corner and they will fight with the same tenacity exhibited so long ago only with more modern weapons of mass destruction. Let it slide and they will be encouraged to do it again.

Unlike our 9/11, all the causalities were military inflicted by another uniformed military in a disputed zone. More like Pearl Harbor, a dastardly act indeed, but if you believe "war is Hell" then certainly not something to start another war over, or maybe I should say a resumption of the war that never ended.

I'm reminded of what a US military officer told me when I was touring the furthermost military base on the DMZ (mainly staffed by South Korean military) that the 28,500 US troops stationed on the peninsula would merely act as a "speed bump" if the North decides to roll in force.

And then, President Obama--under terribly tense constantly shifting conditions--would face the same option presented to President Truman when the Chinese first entered the conflict in almost limitless waves: do we use nukes?

Either way, the slaughter will set a new standard for barbarism in the modern age.

How I spent my summer vacation in Korea


Don said...


While you were talking to that US military officer along the furthermost military base on the DMZ, did you get the sense that tensions were high enough for the two sides to start shooting?

Don Bellunduno

LarryK4 said...

Hey Don,

Yeah, that's the scary part: tensions even then were high enough.

Which is kind of what I don't get about how a sub managed to take out that warship. These days, with technology, being underwater means nothing.

And since a bevy of investigators confirmed that spy satellites showed a couple of North Korean subs slipped from their berth a day or so before the strike, why didn't the South Koreans see it coming--and prepare accordingly?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Chicken Little. The U.S. is not using nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, even if N. Korea attacks.

LarryK4 said...

Glad you cleared that up.

Can't get any more credible/reliable a source than an Anon.

Terry said...

Anti-sub technology gets better all the time, but being underwater is still a great advantage.

And how could the South Koreans have seen it coming? Their ship was very close to the truce line, though on their own side. Even if they spotted the sub, the two of them could have sat there eying each other all day, without violating the truce, as long as the sub stayed on its own side, and neither fired. That situation is probably pretty common.

Another odd thing about the whole situation, is why the South Koreans have such a large city within artillery range of the border. Sure it was already there. And sure you want to always act defiant, and never show weakness, or back down on anything. But they kept building Seoul bigger and bigger. Over fifty years, they should have very gradually built new plants and offices and houses farther south. Less dangerous for all.

Don said...


The answer to your question: "...why didn't the South Koreans see it coming--and prepare accordingly?"

...can only be one of two possibilities:

1) They were unwilling to respond.

2) They were unable to respond.

If option 1, then politics played a lead in their lack or mobility to defend their own ship.

If option 2, then...we're all in trouble.

Don said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Don said...

North Korea also said that it puts "all the responsibility" for the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan on the Seoul government.

South Korea and the Obama administration announced Monday they would initiate joint anti-submarine military exercises off the coast where the Cheonan sank.