North Korea

South Korea Thinks About Acquiring Nuclear Weapons. Good?

Nuclear proliferation could be good for peace-and not relying on the U.S. for security certainly would be.

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DPRK

Lawmakers in Seoul are reportedly mulling the idea that South Korea should develop its own nuclear weapons. This is partly a response to apparent advances in North Korea's missile technology, and it is partly a response to signs that the United States may want to take less responsibility for the region's security. And it could well be a good thing.

It is popularly believed that nuclear proliferation increases both the risk of conflict and the potential damage of those conflicts. But this may be a misconception. The most prominent example of nuclear proliferation in the post–Cold War era is on the Indian subcontinent. India and Pakistan fought several wars with each other after they won independence, but since 1998, when both came out as nuclear powers, the two countries have not had any major military conflicts. They still have points of contention and occasional border clashes, but the nuclear holocaust predicted by anti-proliferationists is unlikely to come to pass.

As Jonathan Tepperman, now the managing editor of Foreign Affairs, wrote in Newsweek years ago, there is a compelling case that nuclear weapons make the world safer, not more dangerous. A big part of this is the fact that no two nuclear states have gotten into a full-fledged non-nuclear war with each other, let alone a nuclear one.

"To understand why—and why the next 64 years are likely to play out the same way—you need to start by recognizing that all states are rational on some basic level," Tepperman wrote. "Their leaders may be stupid, petty, venal, even evil, but they tend to do things only when they're pretty sure they can get away with them."

Writing in The Nonproliferation Review last year, Michael D. Cohen pointed out that "proliferation pessimists have failed to specify how and when nuclear proliferation precipitates conflict" and that the dangers of proliferation are "substantially weaker than usually assumed."

The case of South Korea poses other important questions, namely how long the United States is expected to guarantee security on the Korean peninsula. While President Trump has sounded more skeptical than any other postwar president about America's proper role in maintaining peace around the world, his administration frequently rattles its rhetorical sabres over North Korea's nuclear weapons. It has also tried to draw China, and even Russia, into the Korean peace process. This has taken a dark turn recently: American expectations of what China can do exceed Beijing's capabilities, and the U.S.'s continued involvement in the issue deincentivizes China from making more of an effort.

The U.S. might do well to encourage South Korea—and Japan—to explore their options for taking responsibility for their own self-defense vis a vis North Korea. Pyongyang has been adept at playing the various regional powers, plus the United States, against each other and finding a space to survive in the daylight between this countries.

The Korean War ended 64 years ago this month, and the U.S. has maintained a military presence on the peninsula ever since, alleviating the pressure on regional powers to work toward a solution while placing more costs on the United States. America's security commitments should not be perpetual. As World War 2 recedes further into history, its influence on U.S. international relations remains firm. It is past time for Americans, South Koreans, and others to re-evaluate the wisdom of the current order and work toward reforming it.

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  1. The Global Second Amendment isn’t a suicide pact!

    1. Only governments should have access to deadly nuclear assault weapons!!

      oh, wait…

      1. I like how the only country on earth that has used the most powerful and deadly weapon ever created on civilians has an opinion and say on whether other nationalities can do what they want for their people.

        1. Yeah, but the US has shown itself to be the most responsible county in the world when it comes to waging wars.

            1. Well, it’s an awfully low bar…

        2. I like how the only country on earth that has used the most powerful and deadly weapon ever created on civilians has an opinion and say on whether other nationalities can do what they want for their people.

          Yeah, Russia and China should have absolutely zero say with regard to the UN Securi… Oh, you meant the US and nuclear weapons! Yeah, even if it’s 10X as deadly, I guess Marxism is more of an ethos rather than an explicit weapon.

          1. communism has killed far more. No argument there. I just find it funny that we are the tower of benevolence and world security when we are the only ones who have actually used the weapon we are trying to control. Just more bullshit from the US and another reason why so many other nations hate us. That and starting destabilizing wars and regime change that make people suffer.

            If we were free-market capitalists adhering to the non-aggression principal laid out by our forefathers, we could facilitate free trade the world over and no one would wants wars because it is bad for business. Instead, we start wars and tell others they cannot.

            There is also so very compelling evidence that Japan wanted to surrender prior to the first A-bomb and we ignored it. They certainly wanted to surrender before the second one was dropped. I happen to believe that any sort of invasion on the mainland would have resulted in mass US causalities but we could have avoided using the A-bomb. Me thinks part of that was a message to Stalin.

            1. I normally tend to agree with you, but on this I strongly differ. Do you have a source you can cite that Japan wanted to surrender before the either bomb was dropped? From everything I have read, the reason for the second was that Japan was NOT surrendering partially because they thought the first might have been a “one and done”. The second was to show that we had more. (even though, we didn’t have much more at that point).

              And based on the experiences of Iwo Jima, and most importantly Okinawa, there was every reason to believe that the people of Japan would have died by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions defending the home islands. If the Emperor said fight and die, then by the gods, they would do so.

              1. Operation Downfall was the US operation to invade Japan and would have involved the 1st, 6th and 8th US Armies totaling about 1M men. US leaders were expecting 90 day casualties to be 500k based on Pacific fighting thus far.

                Japanese forces usually fought to nearly the last man as was expected for Japan proper.

              2. I cannot find the story that I read about it, sorry. You and love constitution are not incorrect. The japs repeatedly rejected the surrender terms because of the unconditional aspect. The allies wanted to remove the empower and the Japanese insisted on leaving the emperors as the supreme being. I feel that we used the Japanese hard line as an excuse to show our power to Russia. The negotiations were ongoing and the morale of the Japanese people was busted. All I’m saying is that we did not have to drop the a bomb. Our traditional bombing campaigns had already worked and the war was basically over anyway. I do agree that an actual invasion would have been disastrous for our casualty numbers. I’m just saying that the US used the biggest weapon of mass destruction ever and we did not need to.

                1. timbo – Please read “The Last Mission: The Secret History of World War II’s Final Battle”. It documents how even after 2 atomic bombings, there was still significant desire to continue the war from the military factions. Only the civilian faction of the gov’t was willing to surrender.

                2. timbo|7.31.17 @ 6:50PM|#
                  “All I’m saying is that we did not have to drop the a bomb. Our traditional bombing campaigns had already worked and the war was basically over anyway. I do agree that an actual invasion would have been disastrous for our casualty numbers. I’m just saying that the US used the biggest weapon of mass destruction ever and we did not need to.”

                  You have now proven to be a true idiot.
                  You admit that the invasion would have been a bloodbath, but still claim we shouldn’t have used the bomb?
                  OK, here’s the charge:
                  What possible alternative was more humane than the nukes?

                3. The allies wanted to remove the empower and the Japanese insisted on leaving the emperors as the supreme being. I feel that we used the Japanese hard line as an excuse to show our power to Russia.

                  Well, technically, they did, you know, attack us first. When you do that and lose, you don’t get much say in the terms of your loss.

                  Our traditional bombing campaigns had already worked and the war was basically over anyway.

                  Given the lack of surrendering, no, the bombing campaigns hadn’t worked.

                  It’s like saying “Well, Sherman didn’t have to do what he did. The South was losing anyway”.

                  War is a poor time to be “nice”.

                  I’m just saying that the US used the biggest weapon of mass destruction ever and we did not need to.

                  Sure, invasion would’ve killed more Japanese and Americans than the bomb did — we still did the wrong thing, eh?

              3. I found the paper.

                http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v16/v16n3p-4_Weber.html

                To Sevo’s rather hysterical anger, I would only say that blockade, and forceful submission was working and would continue to work without imperiling the United States’ reputation of a peace loving, freedom spreading institution.
                As war is a battle of attrition, we were not only handily winning on that front but, the japs were starving, their morale was broken, had no defenses left, and had no way left to wage war.

            2. That is BS about Japan wanting to surrender. They could have surrendered within the few minutes it took to send a message to US forces.

              Japan was looking for a way out of unconditional surrender as agreed at Postdam.

              Japan was also aware of the agreement for the USSR to attack Japan 3 months after Germany surrendered. The Japanese had already got their ass kicked by the USSR in 1939 and knew the Russians would be not be merciful like the Americans.

              1. Yes they wanted to surrender with conditions. That’s what people are saying. War ends without the need to nuke people. Either way, what moral right does the Potsdam agreement give when it comes to vaporizing 100k civilians? Did all of them sign it?

                1. Bra Ket|7.31.17 @ 9:48PM|#
                  “Yes they wanted to surrender with conditions. That’s what people are saying. War ends without the need to nuke people. Either way, what moral right does the Potsdam agreement give when it comes to vaporizing 100k civilians? Did all of them sign it?”

                  Would you be kind enough to suggest whatever point is buried in there?
                  I’m thinking it’s the result of some real ignorance, but I could be wrong.

                  1. I presume you are referring to the latter part of my post which contains this deeply hidden implication: it is morally wrong to nuke civilians. That is mass murder, no matter how negatively your agenda elsewhere is impacted by the continued existence of those innocent people.

                    1. Bra Ket|7.31.17 @ 11:37PM|#
                      “I presume you are referring to the latter part of my post which contains this deeply hidden implication: it is morally wrong to nuke civilians. That is mass murder, no matter how negatively your agenda elsewhere is impacted by the continued existence of those innocent people.”

                      Well, aren’t you a wunnnerful person?
                      It is morally wrong to start a war also, and those who do so, in the name of their country, also contribute to the progress of the war. Like it or not, war is an economic contest with those contributing to the effort a target as valid as the front line.
                      But given your wunnerful person bullshit I’ll ask you the same as the same question I ask all the wunnerful people bullshitters regarding the use of the nukes:
                      “What alternative, even given 20-20 hindsight, do you propose?”
                      And I’m gonna go out on a very short limb and point out that you are full of shit no matter what your answer. You should STFU when you are in over your head.

                    2. Not just utilitarianism but also rationalizing civilians as soldiers. You get that argument from Bin Laden?

                      The alternative is obvious. If you can’t conquer Japan without being a mass murderer, then (pay careful attention to this next part) you can’t conquer Japan. They have you over a barrel. Life sucks sometimes.

                      Doesn’t mean you can’t end the war (so don’t pretend it’s either nuke/invade Japan or get 20 million more dead people). By 1945 they likely would’ve accepted peace, it was just a matter of what terms. And they certainly were in no position to repeat the previous ten years. I won’t go so far as to say how an alternative reality would turn out, but certainly it was worth a far better try before giving up. A demand for “unconditional surrender” is not even trying, so your moral standing is kinda shitty for arguing about alternatives. Either way though, nuking people is morally wrong. So is intentionally bombing civilians any other way for that matter. You’ll notice we don’t do that anymore. I guess you think we should?

                    3. @Bra Ket

                      Your ignorance of basic military doctrine is considerable.

                      The reason the US military does not bomb civilians in most modern conflicts is because A, we are usually fighting insurgents, whom we need civilian support to root out, and B, because in the few conventional battles we have fought, our overwhelming technological and training advantage allowed us to defeat the army of, say, Saddam Hussein without resorting to targeting civilian industrial infrastructure.

                      But in the event of total war against a near-peer state, such as Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan, absolutely NO line of attack against the rival state’s military-industrial complex can allowed to lie fallow. Avoiding civilian population centers merely guarantees all of your rival’s industrial and command-and-control apparatus will be placed there, and certain “civilian” areas such as major roads, factories, agricultural regions and political offices are crucial to such a large scale war effort. Further, you may be assured your enemy will NOT share your “compassion” and will not hesitate to attack your “civilian” infrastructure if the opportunity arises.

                      Attempts to reduce civilian casualties in a state of Total War (NOT the various insurgencies and “wars of choice” we have been fighting since 1945) merely prolong the conflict (and thus accumulation of civilian casualties) at best, and may even allow your adversary to achieve victory over you at worst.

                    4. Well that’s certainly a very heartfelt “yes” to my question. The great thing about utilitarian arguments being, of course, how we can stretch them as needed. Such as in nuking the smoldering ruin of Japan, despite being in no existential danger from it anymore, assuming we ever were. But it’s ok because they might have theoretically conquered us some time in the recent past. though they never made it past Hawaii. which we conquered first.

                      But yes let’s stick with your argument at it’s absolute strongest, as you clearly want to, given how you ignored the rest of post. If you cannot prevent being conquered by an enemy without resorting to mass murder, then your only moral option is to risk being conquered. Yes it sucks too. Behaving ethically is hard. By the way I’d note all of us here are actually conquered subjects, before you go on justifying means necessary to avoid such an ends. Well unless you’re in some royal family or something.

                      Let’s also note I said “intentionally bombing civilians”, though. By which I mean trying to kill as many civilians as you possibly can with bombs. Again you give up without trying, in order to force your point.

                    5. So many slanders, so little time. I was only *seeking* to address one aspect of your sentimentality-addled post, but let’s proceed to the rest, shall we?

                      First, I was in no way supporting “random” bombing, merely bombing to eliminate enemy military-industrial infrastructure. Such infrastructure tends to be synonymous with civilian infrastructure. So be it. If it is possible to defeat an adversary without resorting to targeting “dual” military/civilian infrastructure, by all means do so. Nor am I suggesting civilian life should not be taken into account in this equation: for instance, I oppose the drone campaign in Waziristan, because whatever good is done, in disruption of Taliban lines of communication, is outweighed by both the intrinsic evil and the recruitment value it provides them.

                      Second, we tried letting a nation we had been at war with off with “mere” economic devastation and humiliation once before: Imperial Germany, 1918. If we had spared Japan, with Tojo’s government intact, there is no reason that couldn’t have gone the same way: a second war, to complete the unfinished task of the first. Some nations need to be broken; like my own forefathers’ Confederacy was.

                      Third: “all of us are actually conquered subjects”? Really? Are you actually insinuating conquest by Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan is equivalent to membership in the Western Liberal Democratic sphere? I pity you if you do.

                    6. So now you’re mass killing civilians to punish them for things their authoritarian govt hasn’t done yet, you know they will because someone else did it one time elsewhere. Can you please try naming some things that sounds like principled reasons? You know like self-defense or justice? Which one specifically grants you the right to nuke civilians. And yeah good luck avoiding civilian casualties as you vaporize the city.

                      No Germany and Japan are not the same the differ in various ways. Have you restricted your argument now to only defending the bombing of those two adversaries?

                    7. If you want reasons, yes, I think “self-defense” and “justice” are a good start. The government of Hideki Tojo had launched horrific aggression against literally all of its neighbors, and upon us. If he and his clique had been allowed to remain in power, there is EVERY reason to believe that he would have retained his imperial ambitions… and while the onset of nuclear weapons meant that conquering territory would become much more difficult after WWII, that doesn’t really apply if the sole party that possesses them is unwilling to use them, now does it?

                      Furthermore, it is not just Germany that has come back from “defeat”; you may recall that Rome waged *three* Punic wars, and the only reason there wasn’t a fourth was that they finally realized what needed to be done. if you would like a more recent example, our inability to effectively “break” the Soviet Union, courtesy of their own nuclear arsenal, has allowed the rise of Vladimir Putin.

                      But the real issue that renders your argument so much ignorant twaddle is your evident assumption that Imperial Japan *was actually no longer a threat*. But the IJA was still heavily engaged in Korea, China, and Indochina… and the civilian casualties suffered by their continued presence, even for a few more months, easily equalled the casualties of the bombings. Japan needed to be stopped, and the bombings produced fewer casualties than continued blockade and fire-bombing or, worse, a conventional invasion would have.

                    8. Oh, and while we’re bickering, one other thing: I note that *you* are now avoiding a part of *my* comment, by not clarifying whether you think citizens of modern-day Korea or Czechia are living in the same conditions their grandparents were, circa 1943.

                      A defeat or conquest at the hands of a Fascist power is not an option.

                    9. Bra Ket|8.1.17 @ 3:32AM|#
                      “Well that’s certainly a very heartfelt “yes” to my question. ”
                      No, you pathetic piece of shit, that’s a statement that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

                      “Let’s also note I said “intentionally bombing civilians”, though. By which I mean trying to kill as many civilians as you possibly can with bombs. Again you give up without trying, in order to force your point.”
                      Let’s note also one more lie.
                      Fuck off, asshole.

                    10. Sevo your posts aren’t even worth reading. The most critical aspect of intellect and maturity is inhibition of those emotional impulses.

                    11. Bra Ket|8.1.17 @ 1:44AM|#
                      “Not just utilitarianism but also rationalizing civilians as soldiers. You get that argument from Bin Laden?
                      The alternative is obvious. If you can’t conquer Japan without being a mass murderer, then (pay careful attention to this next part) you can’t conquer Japan. They have you over a barrel. Life sucks sometimes.”
                      So your ‘alternative’ is nothing whatsoever. Fuck you, you slimy piece of shit for wishing death on millions of people

                      “By 1945 they likely would’ve accepted peace, it was just a matter of what terms.”
                      So once again your prove you’re an ignrant piece of shit. Fuck off.

                      “And they certainly were in no position to repeat the previous ten years.”
                      No, they could just continue killing millions of Asians so assholes like you could feel good.

                      “I won’t go so far as to say how an alternative reality would turn out,”
                      Good. At least you have the sense to STFU finally.
                      You are one slimy excuse for a human being; willing to sacrifice millions of human lives so you get to feel superior.
                      I have a suggestion: Go die someplace. The world will be a better place.

            3. Just to be clear, let’s start by pointing out that you don’t know shit with regard to the subject.

              “communism has killed far more. No argument there. I just find it funny that we are the tower of benevolence and world security when we are the only ones who have actually used the weapon we are trying to control.”
              That use, by all indications, saved millions of lives.

              “There is also so very compelling evidence that Japan wanted to surrender prior to the first A-bomb and we ignored it. They certainly wanted to surrender before the second one was dropped. I happen to believe that any sort of invasion on the mainland would have resulted in mass US causalities but we could have avoided using the A-bomb. Me thinks part of that was a message to Stalin.”
              That is total and complete bullshit.
              There is compelling evidence that two or three Japanese wanted to negotiate a peace treaty.

              Before you make an ass of yourself again, read “Downfall”, Richard Frank. Spouting that sort of bullshit just makes you look stupid.

              1. You need to clam down, take your aderol, and stop being such a freakin nut job.
                There was ample discussion by such no-nothings as Dwight Eisenhower that the bomb was unnecessary. I found the paper discussing the counter to the common assertion. Neither you nor me know what was right because history is written by the winners. all I am saying is that their is compelling evidence that we dropped the bomb more out of a show of strength to Russia than to end the war decisively.

                http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v16/v16n3p-4_Weber.html

                this is the link. Relax fella. I’ll read your book.

                1. You need to STFU when you don’t know what you’re talking about; I’m sick and tired of feel-good idiots making those claims.
                  Yes, I’ve seen that link and it is nothing other than opinions and lies.
                  1) Japan may have been beaten, but they were not ready to surrender.
                  2) “The authenticity of the Trohan article was never challenged by the White House or the State Department, and for very good reason. After General MacArthur returned from Korea in 1951, his neighbor in the Waldorf Towers, former President Herbert Hoover, took the Trohan article to General MacArthur and the latter confirmed its accuracy in every detail and without qualification.”
                  And no one else ever heard about it. Bullshit.
                  3)”Peace Overtures
                  In April and May 1945, Japan made three attempts through neutral Sweden and Portugal to bring the war to a peaceful end.”
                  Attempts by those with no authority and no terms to offer. Bullshit.
                  Enough. That’s the worst sort of ‘revisionist history’; begin with an agenda and spin ‘facts’ into something you can sell to the gullible.

        3. Regardless of whether you think it was a good idea or not, the Non-Proliferation Treaty wasn’t forced on anyone. Every nation that signed it signed it voluntarily, a few nations voluntarily chose not to sign it, and any nation who wants to change their mind and withdraw from it it is free to do so.

        4. Be glad we do.

  2. South Korea has 23 civilian nuclear reactors. I assume they could assemble a pretty formidable nuclear arsenal in an afternoon – and deliver it more accurately and reliably than the Norks. Same goes for Japan. It’s like having all the parts of a field stripped M16 in a box and saying I don’t have a rifle.

    1. A nuclear exchange on the Korean peninsula is going to be won by whoever hits the button first. And South Korea isn’t going to the be first to fire.

      1. That midget zipper head is not going to do anything. This is all good ole fashioned scare distraction.
        All we should do is tell him that if he flinches, we will send a full carrier’s worth of planes in and depose him with a few bombs to the head. The rest of this N Korea shit is not a threat to us in any way whatsoever.

        Remember, just like Saddam and Momar, dictators are all talk.
        The last thing they would ever want is to start a war with a country that can beat them. They are perfectly happy to exploit their populations so they can get fat and happy and bang hookers. They are just politicians after all.

        So instead, we start the wars for them and set their populations on a path of utter misery for decades.

        1. Unless the little turd is actually batshit crazy.

      2. It’s probably more likely to be lost by all sides.

        1. I was speaking more in regards to an isolated North-South conflict. Seoul and any nuclear force could be incinerated before they got their nukes off the ground.

          But yes, the response by Japan and any surviving nuclear nations would be the end of the North as well.

          1. Seoul and any nuclear force could be incinerated before they got their nukes off the ground.

            I don’t know about that. I doubt the North has sufficient ammunition to completely wipe out the South’s arsenal. And it doesn’t take long to get a nuke on a plane or into an artillery piece if you’ve been trained to do so.

          2. Seoul and any nuclear force could be incinerated before they got their nukes off the ground.

            That’s what SLBMs are for.

          3. South Koreans have been anticipating an unannounced attack by North Korea for 50 years. They have military equipment in caves, bunkers and on standby aircraft.

            North Korean forces are very land dependent like when they invaded in 1950. Millions of screaming North Koreans, tanks, and artillery.

            North Korea does not have Stalin and Mao to protect them from being obliterated and/or run over by US forces to unite Korea after the fighting is done.

  3. I figure it is mostly true that nuclear powers won’t use them, and Best Korea is a good example. The leaders’ primary goal is remaining big frogs in their small pond. They want the luxuries they get now, and that requires remaining in power and not getting into a war which they could not win. This is not 1950. Worst Korea would suffer, especially Seoul, but their economy would make short work of Best Korea’s attack, and the rest of the world, even China and Russia, would not help them unless Worst Korea and the running dog Americans rolled up to the Yalu again.

    That means that if there were any sign that Dear Reader wanted to launch a nuclear attack, that would be the one thing guaranteeing his overthrow by the generals.

    The only current danger from nuclear weapons is suicidal jihadis. I don’t know how realistic that is. Osama bin Laden wasn’t living in luxury, and neither are the ISIS creeps from what I have read. They don’t have that hook to keep them sane. But they must know that they would have no friends left if they exploded a dirty bomb anywhere, even Tel Aviv, and I think they are smart enough to understand that a dirty bomb that close would ruin their territory too.

    1. Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Shadow series features a timeline in which the next time nukes are used on people will be when a jihadi nukes Mecca during an Islamic civil war. The more I think about it, the more plausible I think it is.

      1. Interesting idea. Some of those jihadis are that crazy; they can’t stand any relics of the past, think the Saudis are blasphemers, and are just sane enough to not want to attack a nuclear power.

      2. Sounds like a feature, not a bug.

        1. Also, I’m assuming warheads would have to be sufficiently miniaturized as to be vest-deliverable. MIRV: multiple independent re-entry vest?

          1. Probably a suicide “committee”.

  4. The threat of mutual destruction is the sole reason we have not had another World War or outright war between nuclear entities since WWII. Nuclear weapons are responsible for us living in the most peaceful era in human history.
    Nearly every culture and every civilization on every continent for all of human history was in a near constant state of war, whether conquering other lands or defending their own.

    1. Globalization has had a lot to do with it as well. It’s hard to justify killing someone when you depend on them to maintain your current quality of life.

      1. I will concede to that point as well. Everybody complaining about how unfair and terrible the world is today has a woefully inaccurate education in the history of the world.

        There is a counterpart to blind American Exceptionalism that I find to be even more alarming and dangerous. It is the belief that the US is exceptionally bad. It involves the whitewashing not of our own history, but of the negative aspects of every other civilization and culture in history, most of which, had they invented guns and large ocean-crossing ships first, would have enslaved the world and committed genocides no different than Europeans, and many would have arguably been far more brutal. Europeans just lucked out and got there first.

        1. Indeed. I see a lot of that thinking from the commentariat here. For all the bad things the US has done, we’re far more benign than nearly everyone else.

      2. There’s also something to be said for WW I/II being the last territorial wars. Hitler explicitly wanted lebensraum because he didn’t have any inkling that tech advances would allow growing more food on less land. Sure, NKorea coveted SKorea, but ideologically rather than territorially. Putin wanted Crimea to rebuild the Soviet Empire, not because he actually wanted to evict the current occupants. A lot, maybe most, of previous wars were about coveting plain old land because land was the sole source of taxes. That’s not true now. In fact, it’s almostthe opposite, that taxes and power come from tech and trade, and war ruins those far more than it ruins farmland.

        I sometimes wonder fi we’ve seen the last of wars between developed nations, and even if less developed nations will avoid war because its stigma of being third rate.

        1. and war ruins those far more than it ruins farmland.

          Once you smooth out the craters, good to go. As a bonus, the explosions might have aerated the soil, easier plowing.

          1. YMMV: un-exploded ordinance

            1. See French farmers even today dealing with WWI unexploded ordnance.

  5. The Korean War ended 64 years ago this month

    No it didn’t. The fighting ended via an armistice. But an armistice is legally only a truce – not peace.

    1. Well, somebody’s got to be that guy, I guess.

      1. The new millennium didn’t actually start until 2001.

        1. Which would make your party 1 year late. And thus, quite LAME!

    2. And the North Koreans have announced 6 times in the last 25 years (the last in 2013) that they are no longer bound by the armistice agreement.

      And one reason they are developing nukes is because the armistice’s provision against introducing any new weapon types onto the peninsula was abrogated and violated by the US in 1958 when they put in Honest John missiles (equippable with both nuclear and chemical warheads).

  6. But, but, but…….South Korea talking about getting nukes is provocative! Why are these warmongers so bent on provoking North Korea by talking about attacking them?

  7. Nuclear proliferation could be good for peace

    Could be. Or could not be.

    But I’d rather peace without nuclear proliferation than peace with it, because peace can evaporate in a hurry and the nuclear missiles are still in their silos.

    1. Except that I think you are missing the causality. Nuclear proliferation tends to cause more peace, not less. So it isn’t a case of 2 independent events. The whole point is that it is a lot more difficult for peace to evaporate when there are nuclear missiles in their silos.

      (You are free to agree or disagree with that premise. I am merely pointing out the premise).

  8. Lawmakers in Seoul are reportedly mulling the idea that South Korea should develop its own nuclear weapons… And it could well be a good thing.

    There is some value to the notion of mutually assured destruction. A smaller scale version is “and armed society is a polite society”.

    1. For the “armed society is a polite society” requires people play by some of the same rules. We all have to agree to rules for self-defense, manslaughter, and murder.

      North Korea does not agree to shit and they certainly do not want to live by the same rules as the USA.

      1. No, but they play by the most basic rule, which is do what you need to survive.

        1. And starting a nuclear war is not good for their survival, in case that wasn’t the obvious implication.

  9. A big part of this is the fact that no two nuclear states have gotten into a full-fledged non-nuclear war with each other, let alone a nuclear one.
    You are tip-toeing near that line Ed, but you are correct.

    India and Pakistan have been at war various times since they both acquired nuclear weapons and currently fight over the disputed Kashmir region.

    I personally think its a bad idea for more and more countries to have nuclear weapons in their arsenal because countries tend to be petty and there are old beefs that still linger around the World. Besides, more countries having nuclear weapons does not necessarily solve the problem of tyrant states like North Korea. If a coalition of the willing toppled North Korea’s Fatboy-Un that region would be more stable with him gone.

    It is North Korea that is the problem that every country has been kicking the can down the road for decades.

    1. If a coalition of the willing toppled North Korea’s Fatboy-Un that region would be more stable with him gone.

      If true, I don’t know that I see this as much more than a rearrangement of stability rather than a proliferation of it. If the resulting regime is hostile to China, that’s not more stable and if it’s friendly to China well…

  10. South Korea has developed a “Pershing II” class medium-range ballistic missile called the Hyunmoo 2C. It can travel approximately 1,000km, carry a 1,000lb warhead that is believed to be maneuverable. A nuclear warhead on this indigenous missile would complicate things for China, North Korea, Japan, and the U.S.

    1. “A nuclear warhead on this indigenous missile would complicate things for China, North Korea, Japan, and the U.S.”

      That’s an assertion. So Korea has shown itself to be relatively stable; not likely to poop a nuke because the leader has heartburn on a Saturday afternoon.
      I could see the Norks getting nervous, but So Korea is not going to nuke the Japs over ‘comfort women’, China? The US? Why?
      I think you need to provide some evidence for your claim.

      1. China wants a nuclear armed North Korea to strategically upset the balance of power in Asia. It puts American on it’s heals. China does not want a nuclear armed South Korea or Japan. Either of these countries “going nuclear” would put China on it’s heals.

        The U.S. has few choices given DPRK nuclear weapons. China has few choices if the Republic of Korea or Japan develop nuclear weapons.

        South Korea and Japan are not friends. If not for American dollars and diplomacy flowing to and amongst both nations, the ROK would hate Japan as much as the DPRK does.

        If one wishes to rein in the People’s Republic of China, a Japanese nuclear weapon is a start. The U.S. already has nuclear weapons in the ROK so it’s not a big deal.

        For the U.S., Japan having a nuclear weapon “decouples” a strategic need for U.S. bases in Japan. They could then forge their own very independent foreign policy in Asia based on their own interests.

        1. o s h i r i|7.31.17 @ 11:27PM|#
          “China wants a nuclear armed North Korea to strategically upset the balance of power in Asia. It puts American on it’s heals. China does not want a nuclear armed South Korea or Japan. Either of these countries “going nuclear” would put China on it’s heals.[…]”

          I asked for evidence and what I get is more assertions.
          Get lost.

  11. “To understand why?and why the next 64 years are likely to play out the same way?you need to start by recognizing that all states are rational on some basic level,”

    Problem 1
    People are not rational.

    Problem 2
    Anthropomorphizing the State as “rational” falsifies the entirely alien nature of a group of people when compared to a single person. Groups of people do not make a person, and should not be expected to behave like a person.

  12. Every August, I swear, brings out imbeciles like timbo, signalling their oh, so moral goodness by spouting bullshit.
    Here are the facts:
    1) No, those who held the power in Japan were not close to surrendering after even the SECOND nuke. It took an unprecidented intervention by Hirohito to FORCE the issue, and even then there were military mutinies.
    2) No, the matter did not hinge on the acceptance of Hirohito’s continued place in the polity. That specific condition was suggested by the Japanese ambassador to the USSR and was soundly rejected by the Japanese government within a month of the final surrender.
    3) Yes, we could have blockaded the islands and we weren’t far off already, such that we had to send rice to Japan in late ’45 or early ’46. And, like military dictatorships everywhere, the civilians would have been last in line for the available food. How many millions of Japanese would have starved before the military surrendered is anyone’s guess, ignoring the approximate 100,000 monthly east Asian deaths as a result of Japanese occupation; you can bet they didn’t eat before the Japanese military did.
    How ‘humane’!
    cont’d.

    1. Cont’d:
      4) And yes, we could have invaded, with the civilian population being trained to “resist” with spears and hand weapons and no possible identification to the Allied forces who was a belligerent and who wasn’t. Again, how ‘humane’.
      So, as I do about this time very year, I ask those twits proving themselves to be wonderful people by opposing the use of nukes:
      What alternative, even given 20-20 hindsight, do you propose?
      Oh, and you can stuff your conspiracy theories regarding Stalin up your tin-foil hat.

      1. And to add one point to yours:

        5) if we had ceased all blockade, bombing, and other hostile activities against the Imperial Japanese government, it is practically certain that Tojo would have remained in power. And while it is extremely unlikely that Japan would’ve been able to renew the attack for at least a decade or so afterward, there is no reason to believe Japan(‘s military government)’s imperial ambitions would have cooled, to say nothing of the inevitable desire for national revenge. Which *might* just have complicated matters in, say, Korea a wee bit.

        1. We can certainly continue with counterfactual history:
          Stalin presumed to invade Hokkaido, which would have meant the same pile of trash commies leave everywhere they shit on the population.
          Trueman, in one of his best hours told Stalin ‘not on your life!’
          It could have be otherwise if we had been oh-so-moral and kept asking them ‘won’t you please surrender?’

          1. A theoretical situation made far worse still, when one considers that Stalin would have gotten there via the Korean Peninsula. No “North” Korea for the Kim Dynasty… ALL of Korea, under their thanatocratic suzerainty.

            I have always thought Truman was a better man than FDR. The decision to drop the bomb was one of the greatest humanitarian decisions in the history of this nation, but because it is so labor-intensive to explain why all of the alternatives were vastly worse, and would have prolonged and enhanced the human suffering so much more than the “rip-the-band-aid-off” option did, people tend to dismiss it as “morally ambiguous” when there is no ambiguity to be found. At LEAST 250,000 lives were saved on net, and it could easily have been closer to a million, *still* on net.

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