TCS Daily

Who Gets Stuck with North Korea?

By Robert Haddick - February 5, 2008 12:00 AM

Is the regime in North Korea about to collapse? Betting on the demise of Kim Jong-Il's reign is a wager frequently made, but yet to pay off. A recent country report from Jane's Information Group speculates on a collapse within six months. The report cites Asian sources who describe the "Dear Leader" moving financial assets before a possible run into exile. By contrast, a team of researchers from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) gathered the views of leading Chinese government officials, academics, and researchers who specialize in North Korean affairs. As a group, these Chinese experts believe Kim Jong-Il is still firmly in power, and viewed the North Korean economy as improving slightly. They foresaw no threat to the North Korean regime for at least several years.

And yet many of these same Chinese government officials and analysts recommended that the Chinese and U.S. governments begin joint contingency planning for the aftermath of the Kim regime. According to the CSIS report, the Chinese army has already made plans for intervening inside North Korea in order to provide humanitarian relief, maintain civil order, and to secure North Korea's nuclear weapons and fissile material.

The North Korean black hole

The day Kim Jong-Il and his family flee North Korea will be a great day for the cause of human rights. Yet it is also a day that leaders in China, South Korea, and the U.S. dread. Chaos and a security nightmare will replace the previous state of brutal stability. And a gargantuan economic bill, to be borne by someone, will then begin to mount.

Once the North Korean police state collapses, it will be impossible to keep the global media out of the Hermit Kingdom. For the first time, the world will get to view the economic and social depravation imposed by the Kim regime. The pressure for wide-ranging humanitarian and economic relief will be immense.

However, government leaders in China, South Korea, and the U.S. will remember the economic consequences of the reunification of Germany. Germany's reunification resulted in a surge in Europe's inflation rate and a tightening of monetary policy in response, which later led to a painful recession. The economic situation in North Korea is even more extreme, a condition the global media won't let the world ignore.

But those are just the beginning of North Korea's costs. Even if the North Korean army were to assist a Chinese or South Korean or American relief force, such an expeditionary relief force would face large logistical challenges. The first task of the expeditionary force would be to find and seize control of North Korea's stockpiles of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, along with any fissile material. Even with the cooperation of the North Koreans, this would be dangerous work. Add to that crowd control and humanitarian relief, and the costs and risks of the expedition multiply.

The intervention force would have to face the prospect that many officers in North Korea's army and secret police would resist an occupation of the country. Thus, the intervention force might very well have to find and seize control of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) stockpiles in the face of a terror insurgency armed with these very weapons.

Who wants to volunteer for this job? After assessing these costs and risks, the political leaders in China, South Korea, and the U.S. could hardly be blamed if they chose instead to ignore the aftermath of Kim Jong-Il's collapse. Nor should we be surprised if these countries maneuvered to get someone else stuck with the task of cleaning up North Korea. But how likely is this?

Getting stuck with the dirty work

As much as China, South Korea, and the U.S. would seem to want to avoid the risk and expense of managing North Korea after the collapse of the Kim regime, there are strategic reasons why each of these countries might end up with the job.


China fears the arrival of waves of refugees in the wake of a North Korean breakdown. China's border with North Korea is long and difficult to patrol. And these potential North Korean refugees would enter a region of China already unsettled with its own problems. China's leadership fears domestic turmoil more than any other threat. Chaos in China's northeast, sparked by a crisis in North Korean, could be a nightmare scenario for the leadership in Beijing. China's leaders may feel that the best way of preventing a crisis in North Korea from infecting China itself is to move into North Korea and attempt to contain the crisis there.

China would have other strategic reasons for wanting to intervene in North Korea. China has as much to fear from "loose" North Korean WMDs as anyone. This gives China an important incentive to take decisive action. In addition, establishing a Chinese military presence in North Korea would ensure that American ground forces would be kept away from Chinese territory. Finally, Chinese naval and air bases in North Korea would give China a better position from which to deter a future potential Japanese military threat, an important consideration in China's historical memory.

South Korea

Remembering Germany's recent experience with reunification, many statesmen in South Korea must faint when they consider the potential economic costs they would bear with their own reunification with the North. The South Korean leadership might wish to either avoid reunification, or ensure that China, the U.S., Japan, and the wider international community contributed heavily to the financial cost of the relief and clean up. Being already a wealthy country, South Korea may get less sympathy in this regard than it might like.

A strong sense of Korean nationalism and the desire for family reunification and relief may force South Korea's leadership to be more enthusiastic about formal reunification than it might otherwise care to be. Even if South Korea's leadership wished to proceed cautiously after a collapse of the Kim regime, popular sentiment may force a more aggressive and financially costly response. And even if South Koreans wished to approach the costs of reunification and relief soberly, it could be intolerable for them to watch while the Chinese, Americans, or others dominate a large portion of Korean territory.

United States

American political leaders would seem to have no interest in assuming the costs and risks of cleaning up North Korea. South Korea is a wealthy country that has long planned for reunification. And from the American perspective, China bears a large responsibility for North Korea's current state. Many in the U.S. will believe that if there is a large cost for cleaning up the mess, it is only fitting that China should pay it.

Yet the U.S. has its strategic interests in the region. In the wake of the decline of NATO, Japan becomes America's most important ally; it is certainly America's most important ally in Asia. If the U.S. cannot defend the Japanese-American alliance, it would lose credibility everywhere else in the world.

Yet Japan would be the strategic loser in either of the two scenarios described above. A large and sustained Chinese military presence in Korea, exposing the breadth of Japan across the Sea of Japan to China's military power, would be very unsettling to Japan. Likewise, a reunified, nationalistic, and anti-Japanese Korea would also trouble Japan over the long-term.

If the U.S. did nothing while Japan's strategic situation deteriorated, Japan would have to consider the option of significantly expanding its own armed forces. Given the long historical memories in the region, this step would prove to be highly destabilizing.

In addition, the U.S. has an interest in preserving its military basing complex in South Korea. These bases provide a logistics and trans-shipment capability to deploy and project U.S. military power throughout Asia. The U.S. may need to participate in a North Korean relief expedition in order to preserve the option of using these bases in future regional contingencies.

Thus, American political leaders will need to consider what price they would be willing to pay in order to protect America's alliance with Japan, to prevent Chinese military expansion into the Korean peninsula, and to preserve a U.S. basing option in southern Korea.

Two levels of diplomacy are needed

I have described reasons why China, South Korea, and the U.S. could get sucked into the North Korean tar pit in spite of the risks and costs of doing so. With all sides having strategic interests in the problem and obvious reasons for wishing to minimize their own costs and risks, it would seem to make sense for China, South Korea, the U.S., Japan, and others to cooperate now on planning for a post-Kim North Korea.

Although strict defenders of national sovereignty will object to the idea of a group of countries scheming over the collapse of another, the case of North Korea is too dangerous to ignore. Cooperative planning now might prevent a chaotic response later.

But even if these countries provide a smooth response to the collapse of the Kim regime, the strategic conflicts described above will still occur. A coordinated international relief expedition could provide humanitarian relief to North Korea, maintain order, prevent a refugee crisis, control the WMD stockpiles, and begin reconstruction. Yet it will take another level of diplomacy to prevent strategic conflict in the region, even after all of this important work is done.

The author was a U.S. Marine Corps infantry company commander and staff officer. He was the global research director for a large private investment firm and is now a private investor. His blog is Westhawk. He is a TCS contributing writer.



Nothing wrong with isolation
I don't understand the compulsion to change the DPRK. They are strongly isolationist, respond VERY badly to any kind of input, and have a formidable armed force. One that is defensive in nature, and unlikely to provoke when not provoked itself. But deadly serious when touched. Doesn't all this spell out "LEAVE US ALONE"?

It's like a turtle. The more you poke it, the more it pulls inside its shell. But leave it alone and go about your business. Eventually it'll stick its head out and see if it can find a shred of lettuce.

Or is that too easy? I recall that whenever the police are in a barricade situation, they can't just wait a day or two for the guy to come out. They have to destroy the place in a fusillade of gunfire. I guess that's what happens when children play cops and robbers.

Sympathy for the Devil
"It's like a turtle." I guess this is what happens when children play with computers. No, the DPRK is not like a turtle, Roy Bean, it's a prison camp. The most insane and immoral prison camp on the planet. I'm not okay with that.

I'm guessing that roy, once again, did not read the article
The whole article is premised upon the collapse of the DPRK. They didn't say anything about doing things to hasten that collapse.

Once the mad man in Pyongang looses power, the situation in N. Korea will not be "contained".

Or are you arguing that the west should do whatever is necessary to prop up the DPRK? If so, I would not be surprised, your position has always been that you don't care how much other people suffer, as long as you get what you want.

We simply tell the Japanese, Chinese and South Koreans: "It's either we secure Middle East oil (a lame excuse) or we deal with cleaning up a collapsed North Korea, not both." And we tell them NOW, before it happens.

China might make noises about not needing us to secure its oil supplies (a bald-faced lie in that they need secure oil flows from the mideast but also the truth since America will do it anyway), but in the end China has most to lose by not containing the Korean mess anyway, as the author reasonably states and is what is really the point of the matter. Japan isn't mentioned much in the article -- except as the object of some other subject's verb, really. But they don't want an unstable Korean peninsula for their own reasons.

Besides, if China gets bogged down into their own 'Afghanistan' in wacko North Korea, the better for everyone else concerned. This holds true especially for the Taiwanese. And with the PRC army replacing the North Korean one on South Korea's northern borders, the South Koreans will be less uppity to their American patrons, might even get into bed with the Japanese (either outcome is preferable to America) or both.

That's a lot of Realpolitik opportunities for America to play everyone off against each other for America's benefit and even enrichment, if you ask me. At the very least, if it all goes to hell we can get South Korea and China to spill their youth's blood while financing most of it with Japanese yen, while we sit back and manipulate the situation like Teddy Roosevelt did with the Russo-Japanese War.

We are in a very, very good position here. Of course, that implies the next president isn't too busy listening to quarter-hour reports from the Secret Service on the whereabouts of her husband or isn't secretly building an underground madrassa below the White House sub-basement or isn't paralyzed by flash backs of his stay in the Hanoi Hilton.

(sigh) we'll probably screw this up, as usual.

And I think Roy didn't read the article, either. At least not the same one I read.

On gett8ng involved
I'm sure it's the case that you're not okay with that. But we've tried two kinds of engagement so far, and neither have worked. We need to try something else.

The US has tried threats and encirclement. But we're not about to attack this bunch and they know it. So that's gotten us nowhere.

The ROK has tried conciliation and steps toward unification. That's worked a lot better, but in the end they don't want to adopt that many destitute orphans. Nor, of course, do we. What everyone seems to be hoping is that Kim will die, there will be no belligerent successor, and they'll just become a backward little country. I don't think that will happen.

It's like having a neighbor who beats his wife. Her yells keep you up at night. But the police aren't interested. So what do you do?

I'm asking. What do you do?

Not just a lone madman
What I'm advocating is to leave the place alone. That has nothing to do with "containing" the North, or with propping them up. Do you not get "leave alone"?

The country has to evolve on its own. I say this because intervention is met with resistance, and because the South doesn't want the responsibility of adopting them.

But also because the "one crazy guy" theory doesn't hold up. The DPRK is a militarized totalitarian state. The day Kim dies there will still be a superstructure in place to perpetuate the dictatorship. In the absence of some crazy leader it will just devolve to a rulership of the generals, like Myanmar now or the Argentine dictatorship a generation back.

We can either (a) go in with guns blazing, and get into a small scale nuclear war that will wipe out both the the DPRK and the ROK, or (b) leave the place alone.

Securing the oil
"China might make noises about not needing us to secure its oil supplies (a bald-faced lie in that they need secure oil flows from the mideast but also the truth since America will do it anyway)..."

I don;t quite get the logic. Oil is sold openly on the world market. It doesn't have to be "secured". Venezuela, for instance, doesn't like us at all, yet they readily sell their oil to us.

China can get plenty of oil any time it wants, from Russia, Indonesia and Iran. If it wants gas it can get that from Russia and Myanmar. The taps in fact flow more readily when no one is driving tanks across the oil fields. So what is the rationale behind having to secure everything? When you offer dollars, don't they come to your doorstep?

Your fantasies of our next president are just bizarre. Obama building medressas? He's not even Muslim. And McCain paralyzed? That's the opposite of what I would worry about.

Speaking of, what do you think of his wife? One, she's brittle and scary and two, she looks like a slightly younger version of his mother. More than anyone, she reminds me of Jack Van Impe's wife, on his Hour of Power or whatever he calls it.

of course its simple
It always is when you live in fantasies.

"We are in a very, very good position here."

Thats going a bit far. We're in a good position because we're on the other side of the world. But nuclear material can be transported halfway around the world to our neighborhood, so I wouldn't pop the champagne yet. Its ultimately going to be China and South Korea that have to deal with the mess first, because they're neighbors and refugees will be flowing. Japan is a close third because they're in the neighborhood and its in their interest to keep the neighborhood stable.

"Of course, that implies the next president isn't too busy listening to quarter-hour reports from the Secret Service on the whereabouts of her husband or isn't secretly building an underground madrassa below the White House sub-basement or isn't paralyzed by flash backs of his stay in the Hanoi Hilton."

Thats entertaining. Funny stuff. But its still idiotic.

Which do you prefer Zyndryl? I find the gagging Republicans are doing over McCain very entertaining also. I don't want it to happen, but I would find entertainment value in forcing you to choose between Hillary and McCain. Or you can just stay home, that would be even better. Would you stay home with Rush, or would you go with Ann Coulter and vote for Hillary, or would you choke on your own ideals and vote for McCain? Good stuff.

Excellent article, by the way. Very interesting.

Roy not getting the logic...
Everything that is shipped over the seas is more or less secured by the US Navy. That doesn't stop piracy, but it does stop other navies from closing sea trade.

This holds especially true for oil. Japan gets over 80% of its oil from the tankers crossing the Straits of Mallacca and Sumatra. China has grown equally dependent upon it. Iranian oil has to go that way. Indonesia is not a big oil provider, last time I checked. And Russia is not investing enough in further development to meet China's needs.

Chavez is quite aware of this even if Roy isn't. Hence why he sells his oil to us.

"Obama building medressas? He's not even Muslim."

Sez you.

bob, did you even read what I wrote?
"Its ultimately going to be China and South Korea that have to deal with the mess first, because they're neighbors and refugees will be flowing. Japan is a close third because they're in the neighborhood and its in their interest to keep the neighborhood stable."

Yeah, that's basically what I said. And, while they have limited choices we'll have more flexible ones. We can sit back and bide our time, like we did during the first parts of both world wars.

As for how I'll vote, it doesn't matter. I live in a very Democratic dominated state (California) so my vote is a total waste one when it comes to the partisan contests and many of the non-partisan ones as well. The Dem candidate will get all the electoral votes for California no matter who it is. I mean, the damn fools here even voted for Kerry last time.

But, pretending that my vote did matter (hypthetically), it would all break down to this:

Madrassa Kid vs McCain, I simply would stay home or vote for a loser third-party joker. It won't matter much which of those two win. Oh, the damage won't be the same in substance but probably the same in quantity. Might as well be the Madrassa Kid so the Dems get left holding the blame in '12.

The wife of Monica Lewinsky's ex-boyfriend vs McCain, I would get real, real drunk and vote for McCain. Hell, I'd be sooo drunk that the trick would be making sure I punched the right chad in the dark ages voting machines we have returned to using.

Voting while under the influence is legal (so is voting while dead, according to Dem activists it seems), so that will be my excuse to tell everyone after McCain loses it and nukes Hanoi (McCain-Rambo)...or simply passes Dem legislation granting US citizenship to everyone in Mexico (McCain-Kennedy II) or banning straight marriages (McCain-Boxer) or pushes a constitutional amendment to replace the Supreme Court with the executive board of (McCain-Roy_bean). The only reason I'd vote at all is because there is no way in hell I'd allow (even so vaguely that it doesn't really matter) through the actions or inactions of myself for Shrillary to come to power.

Madrassa Kid or Monica's ex-boyfriend's wife vs Romney, I vote for Romney, a no brainer. The only real sane choice, too.

BTW, Rush never said he'd stay home. Coulter DID say she would vote for Hillary before she voted for McCain.

What do the PEOPLE want?
If anyone complains the dear leader murders ALL their family so how can we know?

How can it 'evolve' on its own?
The USA allowed the USSR to 'invade' Korea in 1945.

Those poor Koreans stuck in the communist state were subjugated by the Japanese and then by the communists.

How do victims 'evolve'? Victims need time and security to recover.

You would deny them that when the USA could have done something to help in the 40s and 50s?

OR...maybe, if you assume those in DPRK WANT to be murdered and starved and worship Il, then we should let them 'evolve'.

Coulter is correct
Competition brings out the best.

Real conservatives will rise to oppose Billary once again as they did in '94.

If McCain wins, the Republican party becomes a JFK Democrat party.

You shouldn't be so rough on yourself
There are a lot more like you.

I love the way you assume that totalitarian states are stable and will always exist.

The DPRK will collapse, and it will do so soon. No matter how much you pray otherwise.

When it does, it will not stay "contained". No matter how much your religion tells you that people love to be controlled, most don't. When given the chance for freedom, most will take it. When that happens, the surrounding countries will have to react. If they have plans put in place before hand, their reactions will be better than if they are caught off guard.

roy's theology doesn't recognize individual people
Only the system matters. Stability is what roy worships. Just look at his positions on global warming. To him, any change is threatening and must be opposed. No matter how much that stability costs other people in terms of treasure, or in terms of lives.

It doesn't matter what the people want.
Stability is the only goal of roy's theology. Nothing must be allowed to change. Ever.

The DPRK has made themselves impregnable to outside intervention. That's all they ever think of, and they've succeeded in it. Anything anyone can do to "help" the people living there will just make things worse. The only thing you can do is leave them alone and wait for time to change things.

It will look very different in another fifteen years. Until then, forget about them. They pose no problem, as long as no one's menacing them. It's like a bad dog on a chain. No sense in provoking the dog, that's not going to make him any nicer. Just make sure you're beyond the chain's perimeter.

I do agree with you, it would be very nice if we could go in there and rescue all those nice, hungry oppressed people. But we can't. So let's put our efforts elsewhere.

I'll never move to NC
I would not want Roy as a neighbor.

"It would be nice, but we can't do anything."

FYI: The USA HAS been sending them food and has been trying to pressure the government to change.

You think that should be stopped?

that would be the safe thing to do
After all, roy has declared the right to shoot in their sleep, anyone who might try to change the political nature of his neighborhood.

Of course roy thinks it's wrong for the US to try to undermine a murderous communist dictatorship.

What's wrong with you?
I'd go stop the *sshole from beating up his wife.

JFK Republican
I always fancied myself a JFK Democrat, but I'd be fine with being a JFK Republican. Today's democrats bear no resemblance to the party of JFKennedy. Today's Democratic Party is weak and psychologically damaged from too much self-aggrandizement. But, I like Obama, because he carries no baggage from the the ridiculous 60's generation. All the gains of the 60's were actually accomplished by the previous "Greatest" generation. The boomers simply took credit for what their parents did. Obama is the future, McCain may possibly be the bridge to the future, Hillary is the near past, Huckabee is the far past, Romney is still lost in the wilderness, and Paul (like Gravel & Kucinich) is too extreme.

The Grand Conspiracy
I'm still not getting the logic. Why is it that pirates don't hijack supertankers full of oil?

1) GPS is available for around $500 now. Do you think supertankers haven't been able to afford one? This would tell the company the ship's location if they ever lost contact with the bridge.

2) How many ports of call are there now, where someone can sell a million barrels of hot oil off the back of a tanker?

I suspect that some of the alleged piracy in non-oil shipments is by prior arrangement, and constitutes insurance fraud. Otherwise there's no way anyone could get away with it.

Re Obama, you're just plain crazy. I could say he's a Buddhist. That would mean you would have to waste your time trying to disprove it. His background is very open, and the idea that he's some radical Muslim is very easily checked.

First, thank you for not moving to NC. We already have too many people and not enough water.

Second, yes, we should not be shipping anyone food unless it's part of a signed contract. Nor should we be telling them how to live their lives.

But if they REQUEST food, now that's a different story. We can ask any price we care to, and see whether they agree to it.

Wise decision
You can't have missed the consistency of my position.

Anyone who comes to my state wanting to take over the government, I'll get rid of them by any means possible.

I trust the North Koreans and the Iraqis feel the same way. In fact, I'm guessing just about everyone on earth would agree with me.

as I stated before, roy worships at the alter of stability
change frightens him so much that he is willing to kill to prevent it.

notice I said change, and roy assumes "takes over"
one of these days roy will deal with what a person says, instead of his usual pathetic strawmen.

Be my guest
The problem is, we've had since 1953 to figure out a way to stop that bunch militarily. And we haven't found a way yet. Any way anyone might attack them would result in a million-plus casualties.

To make my analogy a little closer to the reality, imagine that this neighbor who beats his wife has his perimeter wired, and as soon as anyone breaches it he starts blowing up the entire neighborhood.

They do hijack the supertankers, freighers and even cruise ships
The latest trend is that they hold them for ransom (the schedule for ransom, mostly). The shipping companies either eat the costs of the delay or liability for what happens to the crew or pay up. The pirates might rape any females on board and steal what isn't nailed down (equipment) during the process, but that's about it. The more 'professional' pirates leave the crew alone (I'll explain why below) and just take the goodies they can carry while waiting on the ransom. They don't take the ships. In fact, GPS helps them since the shipping companies can verify that the ship is dead in the water at coordinates X and Y, just as the pirates claim them to be.

So, think of this new trend as 'trading in piracy futures' as opposed to outright piracy as we non-pirates traditionally think of it. They just need to have momentary control of the 'futures contract', not total and permanent control of the underlying asset, see? And it saves time, which can be better served in more piracy per month than they otherwise could do. Pretty smart.

Naturally, a lot of this goes unreported -- which is easier if no harm comes to the crew and passengers. So, the smarter pirates leave them alone for the exact same reasons Cuban customs personnel don't stamp the passports of illegally visiting Americans. Some even go out of their way to maintain amicable relations with the crews so that in the future, the crews will be less likely to resist boarding (repeat business!). I'm sure many crews (or some key members) are also getting kickbacks, given what maritime workers get paid.

Here's a good article on one of the few incidents that did get leaked to the press. Notice the part that says, "But neither the ship owner nor a Japanese official would say if a ransom was paid."


And as I said, piracy isn't the issue to hegemonic control so much as repressing a rising foreign naval power that CAN halt sea trade. But, piracy does tend to be a lot less in hegemonic-controlled waters while it thrives during times where there is not hegemony in control.

As for Obama, you haven't proven he wouldn't build madrassas? Seriously, Roy. I am just pushing the buttons that have been and will be pushed during the election cycle. Seeing how you fell for the bait, next time I'll claim he pimps white hos too. :)

Or how Yugoslavia 'evolved' when Tito died?
In response to what Roy wrote:

"But also because the "one crazy guy" theory doesn't hold up. The DPRK is a militarized totalitarian state. The day Kim dies there will still be a superstructure in place to perpetuate the dictatorship. In the absence of some crazy leader it will just devolve to a rulership of the generals, like Myanmar now or the Argentine dictatorship a generation back."

I pity your neighbor's wife
Your attempt at analogy is rather pathetic. No point in trying to extend it. Let's talk about North Korea instead of your neighbor's wife. I'd set up missile defense shields in Japan and on floating platforms. Japan has already expressed their interest in this idea. South Korea will not be very co-operative as they have some very neo-liberal psychos within their government. We continue to feed and fuel North Korea, continue to interdict their illegal drug and weapons export business, and put John Bolton and **** Cheney in charge of negotiating the terms of their surrender. We might offer KJ-Il a professorship at Princeton to appease our own neo-liberal psychos on these shores.

The analogy with no legs
You'll have a hard time making the case that North Korea compares to Yugoslavia. On the one hand, a bunch of people cowed into obedience and stunted by starvation, all closely related and named Kim. On the other hand, seven nations speaking six languages occupying five regions and belonging to three religions.

A post-Kim North Korea would very likely be more like the post-Stalin USSR. Still a dictatorship, but a little more raggedy around the edges. And like it or not, dependent on China for its survival.

Ever notice how the Chinese support the ugly sisters of world commerce? Myanmar, Sudan, Zimbabwe, the DPRK, everyone nobody else wants to play with. It's quite a little gang.

Not if my 'leader' wanted to murder me and my family.
I would welcome anyone's help.

Would a sniper taking your neighbour out be OK with you?
Just wondering.

And, to bring it to the realm of politics, would you be OK with the rescinding of Gerald Ford's (??) directive prohibiting CIA from planning the assasination of foreign leaders?

Now that in hind sight we know that the "dear" leader Mao engineered the deaths of nearly 40 million of his own people, would you approve of General Mc Arthur's (??) plan to pursue the North Koreans into China and (nuclear ??) bomb the hell out of China?

The problem is, we NEVER prosecuted a real WAR after WWII.

Don't you know Marjon, that if it is his "leader" that is pulling the trigger,
it is a walk in the park for Roy?

The limits of roy's compassion
I find this interesting.

Roy reserves for himself the right to kill someone who tries to change the political nature of his neighborhood.
But he thinks that he has no right to intervene when his neighbor is beating the **** out of his (the neighbor's) wife.

where do you get this??
"Any way anyone might attack them would result in a million-plus casualties."

For who? The N. Koreans? The problems is the potential that any attack would result in NK hitting SK just for the hell of it.

A definition for "casualties"
Okay. I said "Any way anyone might attack them would result in a million-plus casualties."

And you replied "For who? The N. Koreans?"

No. Casualties means human beings. Combatants, noncombatants, everyone in the neighborhood. Were you thinking only Americans counted as casualties?

North Korea is tripwired against aggression. If anyone tries to take them out militarily, the whole shooting match goes up. The entire peninsula. They really don't want to be conquered.

I like the status quo. We've gone back to the 1993 agreement, where we give them fuel oil and they shut down their reactors. It sounds like a reasonable deal.

Thats funny stuff
Nice, that was entertaining.

Way to get in a jab on voting machines. Because yeah, electronic machines are so much better. Probably so when the company that makes them, and gets the no-bid contracts to distribute them, is a huge backer of your team. I should add, the ballots with the chads are stupid too. Mark the little ovals with a pencil - why is that so difficult for people? Maybe because its hard for Republicans to steal elections that way?

"The Dem candidate will get all the electoral votes for California no matter who it is. I mean, the damn fools here even voted for Kerry last time."

A vote for Bush was better? You'll live with the shame of voting for Bush in 2004 the rest of your life Zyndryl. You can recant and be forgiven, but this shame will be with you forever. Kerry was a horrible campaigner, but it stretches the imagination beyond reality that Kerry could bungle as badly, and damage the country, as bad as Bush has.

You better get to the liquor store. You'll have some drinking to do in November, unless you come to your senses and vote for Obama. Thats the only good choice.

Simpleton's criteria
If being popular with our enemies is your most important criteria for choosing a president, then by all means, vote for Obama.

It is very easy to imagine how badly Kerry could have bungled his presidency. He admitted that he can not go to a restaurant for dinner because he can never decide what he wants to eat. The ability to make a decision is the most important characteristic a chief executive possesses.

In your opinion, what would Iraq look like today if Kerry had been elected?

Indeed, thats very simpleton criteria
"If being popular with our enemies is your most important criteria for choosing a president, then by all means, vote for Obama."

What? Do our enemies like Obama or something? I haven't seen that poll...

Or maybe you think that because he went to a madrassa as a kid? Right, he attended a madrassa right? Right spike, huh, right, yeah, right, huh spike?

"It is very easy to imagine how badly Kerry could have bungled his presidency. He admitted that he can not go to a restaurant for dinner because he can never decide what he wants to eat. The ability to make a decision is the most important characteristic a chief executive possesses."

Really? Thats pretty stupid. What if he makes a bad decision? Doesn't matter as long as he makes a decision? That was my point with Bush back in 2004. I'd vote for a monkey literally before I'd vote for W, becaue a monkey can't make any decisions, nothing being done would be better than what Bush has done. Granted, thats 99% true, Bush has made a couple good decisions. Going into Afghanistan was one of them. Its just every other decision regarding Afganistan since that one that has been bungled. And that was before 2004, so Kerry would've just improved the situation in Afghanistan, not decide whether to invade.
My goodness, your most important qualification is that your President to be able to easily decide what he wants for dinner. No wonder you're a Republican. The weak-minded are always the first to join up. You just need to feel like you belong.

"In your opinion, what would Iraq look like today if Kerry had been elected?"

Iraq may not look very different if Kerry were President. All we can do is try to pacify the place enough to get our butts out of there. The "surge" was a good decision, just 3 years late in coming. Kerry would use diplomacy and cooperation more than Bush, so we might be getting help from allies and neighbors moreso than we are.

Al Qaeda sends a message to Democratic Party

"Right spike, huh, right, yeah, right, huh spike?" Are you a child or a child-like adult?

You well deserve your monkey
A wise man will tell you that no decision is always the wrong decision.

Care to prove that there is a problem with Diebold, or is mythmaking your only political skill
The code for those machines has been gone over with a fine tooth comb by numerous independant agencies.

You just can't accept the fact that people have rejected your theology, so you have to invent conspiracy theories to explain it away.

A vote for Bush was way better than a vote for Kerry. Bush hasn't been perfect, but he will be remembered as one of the best presidents of the last 100 years.

not making a decision is a bad decision
and your criteria of a good decision is agreeing with the far left, surrender at the first sign of opposition party.

obama urged Americans to vote for Kerry
just before the 2004 elections.

make that Osama. My bad

I agree with that
Sometimes it is better to delay a decision until more information is known, or until other factors are able to play out. But even that is a way of making a decision.

I don't believe decisisiveness is the single most important characteristic of a President. Low standards like that are how we end up with someone like Bush/Cheney.

Kill first, think later
It's okay to be a cave man here in the forum-- it gets your aggressions out and does no one any harm. But out in real life, both you and I have neighbors who beat their wives. Go shoot one of them as he's mowing his lawn one day and I think you'll run into some legal problems.

Re the presidential directive prohibiting assassinations, not just Ford but every recent president-- except our current one-- has issued such a document. And I think no one is fooled by it. Our announced intention is to eradicate Osama the same way we did Zarqawi.

It's kind of an artifical distinction anyway. A ban supposedly prohibits targeting people with names-- but it leaves us free to bomb people with no names. And they are just as dead.

One interesting assassination the CIA helped engineer was that of Abdul Karim Kassem, in 1963. That was the one that brought the Baath Party, and Saddam Hussein, to power.

Your suggestion that we missed a magnificent opportunity to fry millions of Chinese people in 1949 is duly noted.

You make an eloquent argument for gun control, if just to keep one out of your hands.

I thought reality was proof enough
The code for those machines has been proven to have weaknesses. Any code can be hacked if its not constantly changed to stay ahead of hackers. There are examples in real life of the machines failing, not being hacked, but losing votes or not turning on, etc. Do you like the idea of no paper trail? How do you do a recount when the only record of the vote is an electronic tally? Adding, that electronic tally can potentially be tampered with, by a multitude of methods.

I used to think it made sense to go to electronic voting. It could make voting easier, make it more accessible by more people, quicker and cleaner, etc. But the fact the codes are not inpenetrable, that there is no secondary confirmation of how a person voted, I changed my mind about their value. Add to that the fact the company that was given the contracts to design and build the machines was a huge Bush backer, the company has partisan leanings, makes it even more suspicious. And I believe it was a no-bid contract, so judging by most Bush Admin. actions, it was a gift to Bush cronies, makes it even more suspicious.

The chad paper system is pretty stupid also. Just fill in the oval with your pencil, why is that so hard? Its as simple as you can get, a recount is simple too. We want voting to be secure and simple. Don't we?

Given all these factors I've offered, what do you see as the benefits of electronic voting?

"A vote for Bush was way better than a vote for Kerry. Bush hasn't been perfect, but he will be remembered as one of the best presidents of the last 100 years."

LOL! Whatever you have to tell yourself Mark. Sorry, but that shame won't rub off, its with you the rest of your life. The fact of this will only become more clear as time goes on. Bush will be remembered as one of the worst in history, if not THE worst. The obvious bungled decisions and responses are the tip of the iceberg. His real damage, damage to the foundation of our democracy, corruption and violation of the Constitution, using partisan political factors to make every decision, politicizing branches of government intentionaly designed to be independent of politics, secrecy, breaking the law, changing or throwing out policies for reasons to keep secrets and avoid oversight... the extent of those things are not front page news. Only through every means possible to get information on their activities are we learning the depth of what they've been doing. And we still don't know half of it. Every new piece we learn brings up more questions, increases the scope of the damage they've done. If only Congress had the same values as Bush, they would order Bush and Cheney be waterboarded to get the information. Rove too, he would be a treasure trove of information. The Admin. are like terrorists, using our system against us, to their advantage.

But if you think he is one of the best in the last 100 years, well, its your right to delude yourself. I encourage you to continue.

Have I mentioned my delight at the prospect you are going to cast a vote for McCain this year? Thats going to be fun.

Independent testing
Glad you brought that up. Electronic voting machines approved by Bush Pioneer Kenneth Blackwell were known to be full of key flaws prior to the 2004 election. Plus, Diebold refused to release information about the operating software, merely offering that they had tested the machines themselves.

So we were asked to go on the word of an openly partisan Bush supporter that machines with their back doors open, run by the same fellow, would give us an accurate count.

Oddly, Ohio was the only state where the exit polls skewed pro-Gore, while the e-count skewed pro-Bush. It was only the weakness of Ohio Democrats that kept this from becoming a national issue.

Once Blackwell was ejected as Ohio Secretary of State, a serious inquiry was made into these machines. Not only Diebold (now called Elections Systems & Software) but Premier Election Solutions and Hart Inter-Civic, were all found to be "easily corrupted". They are now headed, deservedly, toward the landfill.

Ohio and Florida will both be getting optical scan systems, which can't be readily cracked. They're simple to fill out, and you yourself create the paper trail by filling in the ballot.

2004 elections here will always have an asterisk attached to the results. Check the story out:

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