T Nation

NK Missiles Can Reach USA

Destroy North Korea now or not?

How will China and Russia respond?

I think if NK really wanted to bomb someone close they would have already. Not saying we shouldn’t do anything merely that I don’t lie in fear of them. They cease to exist the minute they hit a country.

NK is a criminal enterprise, not an ideological state. Thus, the sole purpose of their nuclear program is to ensure their survival, not ‘destroying nonbelievers’ or ‘hastening the appearance of the messiah.’ People like to say NK’s leaders are crazy, but given their situation, their behavior is perfectly rational.

There is zero chance we will make a pre-emptive strike, for multiple reasons. Further, there is zero chance China will attempt to pressure NK into relinquishing their nukes. The best we can do is play the long game, and hope NK collapses from within.

Exactly. Like I said, they’re rational actors, and fully realize that a nuclear strike on their part means the complete destruction of their enterprise–the very event they’re trying to prevent.

I can’t resist this;

They like nuclear weapons so much we should send them one via airmail, no signature requested

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I dunno. Iran is a rational actor state. NK is run by a family clan which has attributes of godhood sometimes attributed to it. I think there is only so long before you start to believe your own press, and I think that is worse when you are raised by a father with a national cult of personality, yesmen for generals and press. Look at whats going on with Trump, and he’s in a democracy with a free press.

All in all, I’m not entirely sure they’re 100% rational. They don’t need to be an apocalyptic death cult, all you need is one absolute ruler who thinks too much of himself and believes his own press.

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I have to agree with @Aragorn. Most dictatorial regimes exhibit staggering levels of hypocrisy.

This means that the vast majority of the population, including the ruling elite knows it’s bullshit. Sure, there is small core of true believers, but most of the people are going through the motions until the regime collapses from internal or external factors.

Saddam’s Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, USSR… For example. in Iran there is currently a big scandal where the most hardcore conservative female TV personality was filmed with an uncovered head drinking beer from the can. So like I said, pretty much everyone tacitly acknowledges it’s bullshit.

North Korea is different. Sure, the Chinese and the Russians love scaring the West with their insane neighbor, but it’s debatable how much direct influence China has over North Korea.

For example, in the early 1980s Deng Xiaoping tried to persuade Kim-il Sung to sensibly follow China’s example and institute limited economical reforms to alleviate the suffering of North Korea’s population, but Kim would have none of it.

He even lectured the Chinese about their straying from the true path. At that moment allegedly the Chinese realized that North Koreans may be crazy after all.

And that brings us to the major problem - North Korea instituted the most successful brainwashing program in the world and it’s been going on for over 60 years, starting even before kindergarten.

What are you going to do with people who earnestly believe that wild animals in the forests cried when Kim Jong-Il died?

There are many stomach-churning books from North Korean defectors and they clearly spell out the main problem - the brainwashed population that believes the insane is normal.


I’m not so sure of this. Iran’s power structure has a substantial subgroup of apocalyptic believers whose eschatology involves the destruction of Israel, if not the entire world. I don’t think NK has an equivalent group.

China could shut off the economic spigot and NK would implode. But doing so would cause China an enormous refugee problem, and pave the way for a unified Korean peninsula allied with the US. Given these ramifications, China has no interest in destabilizing NK.

I have to disagree with this. The mullahs allowed only once someone close to a true believer - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - to run for presidency in Iran and thanks to his actions they came really close to being bombed. This freaked the religious/security ruling elite that they barred him from running in the last election. The Iranians overwhelmingly voted for the most liberal candidate that was allowed to run in their theocratic quasi democracy.

I think we have to look at extremist ideologies (radical islam, communism…) in a wider context - namely whether a certain ideology and the corresponding political system are imposed top-down onto a population or it permeates into the ruling class from the bottom up.

That’s why communism collapsed so quickly in the Eastern Bloc, it was imposed top-down, despite millions of party members and was lacking true believers, meaning people who actually believed in the official line.

In Iran, as in the USSR and the Eastern Bloc in general, a repressive political system has been imposed onto the population as a whole. Women in Iran are regularly being caned and beaten because the religious police think they’re dressing immodestly and showing too much hair beneath their headscarves. Iranians are by far the least religious of all Muslim countries.

Compare that to the retarded “hijab day” on Western campuses where Muslim ideologues with an agenda are trying to force an explanation that hijab is the defining aspect of womanhood in the Muslim world.

Turkey is the opposite example to Iran - here, secularism was imposed top-down on a population that was deeply religious - I’m talking about poor peasants from eastern Anatolia. As soon as they’ve gathered enough political momentum they rolled back all secular reforms, courtesy of their champion, dictator in all but a name Recep Erdogan.

Fifteen years ago headscarves were forbidden is schools and government institutions in Turkey and now women are being harassed and attacked in the streets for not wearing one.

Pretty much shows the limits of an imposed top-down system as well as those failed “nation building” exercises.

But back to North Korea - the fact is, no one knows what to do with them, including South Korea and China. The Chinese are pretty much exasperated by them and have no option but to provide them with economic life support. After all, what are the other options? There is no “opposition” no alternative to the current regime by the brainwashed population.

South Koreans, despite all the “reunification” talk are not very keen on North Korea. Even if by some magic the Kim regime disappeared overnight the reunification costs would be untold billions, ruining South Korea’s economy. Can you bridge half a century of development overnight?

Germany poured over two trillion dollars into former East Germany and now, almost thirty years later the economic differences are still present.

As for the apocalyptic sentiments go, the North Koreans have them by the truckload. During the famine in the 1990ies the North Korean military leaders were advocating a preemptive strike on South Korea they knew they would lose - the army was simply tired of near starvation rations and death was a preferable option.

Not to mention that all government festivities are regularly followed by a cheerful animation of Earth blowing up to massive cheers from the faithful (see Moranbong Band for more details).


I think you are right in that context–there is no religious apocalyptic death cult in NK. However I tend to agree more with loppar on this issue. Irans populace is actually much more educated as a whole and at almost all echelons than NK’s people. Also, although there exist the 12ers and other extremist religious groups, I think one also has to look at regional interplay and power structures between sects and countries. Iran has more rivals that would actively like it wiped off the map than NK, because it does not have a China to sponsor it and protect it. This makes them almost by default more rational because they face regular threats by other Muslim countries who are neighbors, and they need to survive.

Personally while I wouldn’t want either NK or Iran to be powerful, I’d rather deal with Iran than NK.


That is a very interesting point to ponder.


Why is everyone so sure that Korea would remain an American ally IF the peninsula becomes unified under the ROK government?

I get the major humanitarian/refugee crisis + N. Korea probably going berserk and becoming utterly unpredictable if China cuts them off, but I honestly don’t get why China and the U.S. keeps assuming that an unified Korea would remain an U.S. ally.

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Another hugely important point is that for North Korea the US is the enemy. For the Kim regime, history starts with the Korean war (actually, it starts with Kim Il-Sung’s exile in the Soviet Union but nevertheless) and the entire society is built around the allegedly perennial enmity with the United States. Plays, TV shows, movies about the Korean War are still regularly produced in North Korea.

For Iranians, their mortal enemy is Sunni Islam personified in Saudi Arabia, and vice versa.

If the Iranians were to get hold of the bomb and decided (unlikely) to go all end-of-days their first target would be Riyadh and not Tel-Aviv nor Washington. After all, this is what the ayatollah has said - “nothing will be spared except Mecca and Medina”

If the religious wars in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries have taught us anything, it’s that the deep hatred is reserved for heretics, those that have heard the true message and corrupted it.

So when the Grand Mufti of Riyadh prays for a Sunnite holy war against the infidels, the Shiites are at the top of the list, with Christians and Jews being second.


Fingers crossed the don’t fire any at NW Minnesota.

This is what I think North Korea will do once it has nuclear missiles which can hit the United States. It will do what we once feared the USSR would do one day, but on a smaller regional scale. It will wage a full scale invasion of the South and threaten the US and it’s allies with nuclear retaliation if anyone intercedes.

Question is, what should be done about this potential threat?

Invade SK how exactly? Through one of the biggest minefields on the planet? Through the sky into the ready and waiting defenses of one of the most heavily guarded borders in the world?

The only option they have is to nuke the south. Even if successful, they know they will have 1 shot at this, and regardless of if they’re successful or not they get turned into a parking lot. The REAL question becomes whether or not good old KimCake is ready/willing to die.

Maybe he gets that crazy one day. I’m guessing that day isn’t today

So you’re saying the reunification of Korea under the North is unattainable and because this is so Kim would rather end the existence of both?

Not so sure.

In other words, his endgame is suicide? That’s why he’s building intercontinental ballistic potentially nuclear weapons? Because he wants to die? Why would the Chinese stand for this?


I’m of the opinion he won’t do jack, as he probably likes his existence.

His endgame is respect on the global stage. That is only accomplished with nukes. The Chinese are standing for it because they don’t have a solution for the ~20M brainwashed from birth refugees that would be created by displacing Kim.

I think China should deal with em…but if they attempt a nuke on us we light em up

However if they luanch 50 and we get 45 that still means we got nuked so… Maybe we load up near by to show we mean business

How should the USA react if NK sends missile near Guam?

Shoot them down, but 2 things I have read in recent days:

  1. The North Koreans say Trump is too crazy to negotiate with so force is the only thing he understands…ie, they are doing this like pfury said, to get attention, almost asking us, daring us to come to the negotiation table.

  2. China said if the North Koreans attack Guam unprovoked, they will do nothing to help the North Koreans if the US strikes back, per treaty. If the North Koreans are attacked in a first strike, China will help them retaliate.

If NK fires missiles at Guam, shoot them down and then retaliate HARD.

Wondering if China will talk them out of it, since the NKoreans have given themselves an out by saying only Kim can decide if the strike will actually happen…so maybe he won’t…but he’ll obviously lose face.

Tough call but that’s probably all we can do, should do if they attack.