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News Will North Korea win a war?

  1. Feb 1, 2005 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2005 #2
    No, North Korea wouldn't win the war. I'm not so impressed with the information in the link, though I hope the military takes it seriously.

    It wasn't that long ago that I remember people gasping about a country the US was about to engage had one of the world's top militaries and couldn't go on enough about how we'd never adapt to the terrain and how we'd never handle their elite troops. What followed was almost effortless.

    On the other hand, the question of whether the US would win... well, that seems a much harder question to answer. I don't want anyone to think I've fallen into the trap of thinking there is always exactly one winner.

    By the way, thanks for the link, very interesting stuff.
  4. Feb 1, 2005 #3


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    You mean could or would? Stipulating first that our presence in Iraq dropped under 100,000, certainly, no, N. Korea could not win a war with the US. With US strength equal to just before last-year's war with Iraq, we could take N. Korea in a similar amount of time: less than 1 month. Why? Two reasons:

    On paper, their military sounds formidable, in reality, its a paper tiger. Why? Money. They don't have any and you can't buy spare parts for tanks and planes without money. See Iraq: on paper, they were similar in strength to N. Korea in 1991 and that was a short war. Since then, the US has advanced N. Korea and Iraq have not (the recent war showed some of our advances). The article practically brags (who wrote that thing? It reads like a propaganda piece) about obsolete Vietnam-era technology. That technology didn't help Iraq any in 1991 - we flew stealth fighters over Baghdad in the opening moments of the war.

    Geography: With Pyongyang so close to the 38th parallel, a war that starts there would require masing a large force just north of it to stop a frontal invasion. In all likelyhood the main thrust would bypass this force and encircle the city, while the air force and Navy/Marine Corps air absolutely decimate the bulk of N Korea's military between Pyongyang and the 38th parallel.

    WMD: N. Korea doesn't have nukes and likely won't before we have a good theater ABM defense (THAAD and ABL are coming along nicely and the SM-3 is about ready to deploy). The primary concern would be a chemical weapons shelling of Seoul. In any case, this has nothing to do with who would win, but rather if we fight.

    Morale: Its overstated. With 1% of their population starving to death every year (that's 200,000 people), and rumors that the military is feeling the pinch, I doubt their morale is as good as people say. And that's probably moot anyway: some of the things that the US military did to Iraq's military two years ago would send chills down your spine - entire divisions of tanks disapppeared in seconds. There's nothing like rapid annihilation to reduce morale.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2005
  5. Feb 1, 2005 #4
    The America-Israel nation can distroy any nation in the world, and will, one by one. It's an interesting situation: those nations that embraced the hippie ideology and decided not to create their own nukes/bio/chem. weapons are now weaker than those nations that did create and continue to create these weapons and are very susceptible to invasion and genocide.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2005
  6. Feb 1, 2005 #5
    Yet ASAIK, their own official political concern is to reunite the 2 Koreas, so I hardly see how they could justify using WMD on Seoul, the people they would claim to be liberating.

    My concern on this matter is China's involvement, considering their rising economy. Not sure where Russia stands.
  7. Feb 1, 2005 #6
    It does read like a propaganda piece. But is interesting since North Korea is close to collapsing due to starvation, economic ruin and infilitration of capitalistic culture. It is not impossible that the military and communist party might prefer to start a war if they believe that they might quickly conquer South Korea. They might see this chance as preferable to what would happen to them if their regime collapses.

    http://www.strategypage.com/fyeo/qndguide/default.asp?target=korea [Broken]
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  8. Feb 1, 2005 #7


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    We've had this discussion before actually, and my position was that I don't think China is a big fan of Il, though they still wouldn't necessarily appreciate US troops across the river from them. Russia has no troops to send and I don't think they'd care anyway.
    Yikes, the population is already starving to death, and the rations are being reduced more? The UN really needs to step up to the plate and do something about this.
  9. Feb 1, 2005 #8


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    Why intervene in a situation that is resolving itself ? If they starve to death, they are not a threat to anyone, right ? Let's say that the population got anorexic :tongue:
  10. Feb 11, 2005 #9
    The UN already went down that road, the Korean war was the UN in the Korean peninsula. Sure it came around by the US badgering the Russian sectary to the UN out of the room so he couldn't veto the vote :rofl: .

    As for the point of WMD it most likely would just galvanize the US into fighting.

    Yes we would win open conflict, our military is based on the fact if the enemy cant see you he can't hit you, but you can see him and blow him back into the stone age. Examples JADM's from near earth orbit, Phoenix missiles from 115 miles away, Tomahawk cruse missiles from 690 mile away, well you get the point.

    However China is a point that could change the balance either way, in the Korean war we were about to wipe the north off the face of the map, but China got jumpy about the UN forces closing in on the Yalu river. They came to bat for the North and beat the UN back to the 38th. In a conflict now there is the point that the US can dangle our trade agreements, and also the fact that the Chinese aren't to happy with the north. Therefore with China today i think it could go either way.
  11. Feb 11, 2005 #10
    I just want to add, N Korea now "officially" has nukes.

    This drastically changes the balance of power. While russ is right, they would not win in a conventional war, the possession of nuclear arms almost gaurantees their survival. No president (even bush) would try to invade a country with nuclear arms unilaterally. The same goes for Iran. Once they have the weapons, they're safe. Its a race until then.
  12. Feb 11, 2005 #11


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    The nuke situation does reverse things quite a bit, and other than that, if they're even as close to as fanatical as they're been depicted, this wouldn't be a walk in the park with or without the nuclear capability.
  13. Feb 11, 2005 #12


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    While they may now "officially" have nukes, I'm still on the fence about whether or not they actually have nukes. :uhh:
  14. Feb 11, 2005 #13
    That is a sick sense of humour.

    Edit: And as for the nukes in N. Korea, it is still questionable, since if N. Korea has nukes, then every nation should be involved... since a nuke really does damage. Hence... it is to their advantage to have nukes.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2005
  15. Feb 11, 2005 #14

    How can you be on the fence? Its not a matter of opinion. THey either do or they don't.
  16. Feb 11, 2005 #15


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    North Korea's level of nuke stockpile is very low. I read a statement, that was attriubuted to them, that they had two (2) bombs and fuel to make several more. That being said, their nuke ability has just become target numbers 1 and 2 for some Tomahawks, F117's and B2's. It doesn't take much to disable all production, especially on such a small scale.

    I would lay dollars to donuts that right now we are trying to find out the locations of where they manufacture the materials and where the bombs are kept.
  17. Feb 11, 2005 #16


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    It most certainly is a matter of opinion at this point, because there is no hard evidence that they have nukes. Here are the facts:

    Kim Jong Il is a brutal dictator, clinging to power via military force.
    Kim Jong Il claims he has nuclear weapons.
    North Korea has not exploded a nuclear weapon.

    In light of the 1st and 3rd facts, Il's claim that he has a nuclear weapon must be viewed with suspicion. Furthermore, even if he has something that looks like a bomb, without a successful test, it is impossible to know if it would actually function.
  18. Feb 11, 2005 #17


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    DPRK has exactly three things going for them (i) Seoul - which is comfortably within artillery range, (ii) Tokyo (iii) the taepodong program.

    For these reasons it would take a whole lot of exceptionally good intel a good swig of bravado to engage DPRK in war. Can NK "win" ? Not if the US is (i) ruthless or (ii) has exceptionally good intel.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2005
  19. Feb 11, 2005 #18

    We have too many democrats to be ruthless, and we've seen our intel quality before.

    They win.
  20. Feb 11, 2005 #19
  21. Feb 11, 2005 #20


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    Such estimeates of course require assumptions: and such assumptions are virtually always "worst case." For example:
    "Four months of high-intensity combat"? That N. Korea could sustain 4 weeks of frantic, terrified retreat would be a big assumption.
  22. Feb 11, 2005 #21

    While i agree that those are probably worst case scenarios, i honestly doubt that north korea would fall that easily.
  23. Feb 11, 2005 #22
    I don't think NK would be near as easy of a fight as Iraq was in 1991, because the troops there are so much better trained than Iraqs are. We were so successful in Iraq because some 80,000 Iraqi troops surrendered, and probably about that many more chose not to fight beforehand and just went home. North Korea definately wouldn't win a war against the United States, no country besides possibly China or several major western powers in Europe uniting could actually successfully win a war. However, I think NK could create a much more dangerous situation to US troops than Iraq could, here's why:

    The major reason we were able to win so easily in Desert Storm was because we had all the time we wanted to bomb the heck out of Iraq and basically entirely destroy their army before we sent ground troops in. This was because the only country Iraq was threatening was Kuwait, and they were already completely invaded. If we start hostilities with NK, they will invade SK with a ground force, and as SK is not currently under NK occupation, we would be forced to send troops in on the ground to defend SK. I believe that initially US and SK troops may very well be pushed back by the superior numbers of NK troops that would be able to cross the border, unless the US made a strong conserted effort to get enough land troops on the ground to defend SK before NK invaded.

    Even if we succeed in defending SK from a land invasion, to do so would require large ground engagements much greater than anything we've faced since Vietnam or possibly the last Korean War. This means large casualties.

    The WMD threat will also force us to attack quickly without being able to first slowly riddle the army down. The initial attack probably will just be massive bombing and special forces operations to get to designated weapons locations, so major troop action would probably be unnecessary, however, we won't be able to use missles to take out major AA positions so we may take many fighter casualties because NKs AA systems are much better than Iraqs were.

    Overall we would win the war, however, we will take many casualties doing so, whether it will be necessary should NK try to test a WMD or continues to beligerantly attempt to create them, I hope it won't be, but if they do test a WMD I expect us to have much international cooperation and support, unlike in Iraq.

  24. Feb 11, 2005 #23
    This had not occrued to me before.

    Russ, you say you're doubtful of NKs possession of nuclear weapons since they have not tested one.

    Consider this:

    Testing one is not in their best interests. If they have a working one, it is better to say they do and not test it. If they test it, that will be proof, and remember, no one, including the chinese and the russians wants to let them have working nuclear weapons. If they were to actually test one, China, Russia, and japan would all feel threatened and want the threat eliminated much as we do. If instead they just goad us into acting unilaterally, then they're only dealing with us, not the whole region.
  25. Feb 11, 2005 #24


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    ROKs? The "White Horse" will be in Pyongyang before CNN knows there's a war on. Kim's "mouth-fighting" because he's fully aware how "long" he'd last if push comes to shove.
  26. Feb 12, 2005 #25
    I think that's just blind faith ther bystander, NK has a much more formidable force than SK and the USA will be hard pressed to send a decent number of troops unless there is a long build up to hostilities that the white house is just waiting for.
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