Tuesday, June 8, 2010

第二次朝鮮戦争と日本の影響 The Second Korean War and it's possible effect on Japan

Today, I am writing the second part of "The Second Korean War"

今日、私は、”第二次朝鮮戦争” 第二部を書いています。


In this, my next piece about the second Korean war, I will discuss how North Korea can possibly attack Japan, the ability of the US to participate and reinforce it's units here, the role of China in the war, and what sort of political structure should be attempted in postwar North Korea.


First, let us look at how North Korea could attack Japan.


North Korea has an estimated 600 Nodong missiles targeted on South Korea, and 200 on Japan. Yet these are complex liquid fueled missiles, and have only been tested once in May of 1993 with a flight of 500 kilometers.


Taepyodong missiles have flown, twice, but only once has it flown any distance, and it failed in it's apparent goal to launch a satellite into orbit. Also, the Taepyodong is complex, takes several days to ready for flight.




Americans regard 13 successful tests before a missile system can be considered reliable.


So I do not think that the North Koreans would be able to have all of their missiles in a flyable state, and that many of them would fail. But it is conceivable that some would land in South Korea or Japan.


I do not believe that North Korea has a workable nuclear weapon. In their speed to try to develop one, they killed off many of their own scientists. The tests that they have conducted which they say was a nuclear weapon are controversial. In my opinion, they were massive amounts of conventional explosive laced with nuclear material, not an actual working bomb.


I am saying this because virtually everything in North Korea is faked. And also because for North Korea, the threat of having a bomb works just as good as actually having a real bomb.


I also do not believe that North Korea would be able to produce a sophisticated biological weapon. It's infrastructure is too primitive, electric power too unreliable.


North Korea does have a large inventory of chemical weapons. And of course their missiles have conventional explosive warheads.


But they are very inaccurate. North Korea could target the cities of Tokyo or Osaka, but they would have difficulty in hitting reliably a target such as Shinjuku station or the American Yokota airbase. Of course, the missiles would come down somewhere in Japan, if they succeeded in actually taking off.


Despite all the hype in the press, there is really no missile defense system that is reliable. The best defense against missile attack is the threat of retaliation.


North Korean missiles



But here is one place that American cruise missiles might come in very handy, in taking out those missile before they are launched.


North Korea does have extensive commando forces. However, it would be very difficult to get any of them to Japan. I would say it is impossible for North Korea to attack Japan with an aircraft, it would be detected and shot down.


A North Korean submarine might just make it across the Japan sea, but the odds are against it. Also, some commandos may be pre-positioned on North Korean merchant ship. However, they would only be useful in the first few days of the war. The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, and the Japanese Coast Guard would quickly round up any North Korean vessels in the area around Japan.


Many people don't realize it, but many Coast vessels are armed.



The Japanese Coast Guard has a total of 455 vessels, and the largest ones with weaponry could serve as a backup Naval force.


There is a large community of ethnic North Koreans in Japan. While no one can say for certain that there would be no trouble from them in case of war with North Korea, I think the possibility of problems would be small.


It is one thing to support your ancestral country while living in Japan. But for all practical purposes, these people are Japanese. Their primary language is Japanese, their everyday activities are with Japanese people. Their homes and families are in Japan.


It is one thing to send money in support of North Korea, it is totally another to commit violence in Japan in support of North Korea.


Even if North Korea ordered some of them to commit violent acts in case of war, I doubt that they would. They would find some reason to be too busy.


And I am sure that the Japanese police forces have thought of this possibility, and are watching them closely.


In any case, if war breaks out with North Korea, their position would be very uncomfortable. And North Korean missiles are very inaccurate, they might fall on their houses too.


Well how would American military forces be involved in this war?


In Korea, as far as ground troops are concerned, America has one US Army Brigade. It is positioned north of Seoul and would be quickly involved in the fighting. But compared with the numbers of South Korean troops, it is a token force.


There is maybe half of a US Marine division in Okinawa. It could be moved to South Korea within a week. But it is too small to have more than symbolic effect. But it would be extremely unlikely for America to deploy any further ground troops in Korea any quicker than six months after the start of hostilities. This because the entire US military at this time is overburdened by commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.


One third of the US Army's combat brigades, 12 out of 37, are currently deployed.



This is the limit of the Army's capabilities. It is standard that while one brigade is fighting, two others must be in the rest and replacement cycle. They rotate over time, usually one year deployments over time. To commit all troops in a cycle to combat means that the entire force must eventually be withdrawn to rest or refit, or the unit will collapse.


Also, like the Army, the Marines have extensive commitments in the Middle East. It would be difficult for them to send more than a brigade or regimental force to Korea for an extended time.


If war broke put in Korea, American units would have to be removed from the rest and replenishment recycling from the Middle Eastern wars. And frankly, America is not handling those two wars well. America COULD surge active duty US Army units to the Japan Korea area in an emergency, but they would arrive without all their equipment. Much of their equipment has worn out in Iraq.


In any case, it would take several months to move these units from the United States to Japan or Korea.


Many of the American troops have been on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan for years now. Many of the troops have been on multiple tours. Realistically speaking, if deployed to Korea, they would breakdown in six months due to equipment and personnel problems. They would have to be withdrawn back to America.


America does have 13 Army Reserve Divisions;


And 10 National Guard Divisions;



However, these units have had their best units and best equipment used in Iraq/Afghanistan. It would take several years to build the equipment and train the personnel to make them fully combat capable.


So the ground American units are not vital, they would be only symbolic help.


American Air and Naval units would be a much more immediate and practical help. They would help to destroy North Korean infiltration submarines and aircraft. But again, The South Korean air force and Navy is capable, and has a large number of vessels and aircraft.



However, having written all that I have, the best option is to wait for the North launches an all out attack on the South. They will suffer tremendous casualties and defeat. Survivors of an offensive will likely stream back into North Korea, causing social unrest and perhaps revolution.


In such a case, I do not think it is a good idea to send US forces into North Korea in pursuit. This should only be done by South Korean forces, along with Chinese forces from the Northern border area.


American troop presence in North Korea was the reason that China entered the war in 1950. China has been emphatic that it does not want to see US forces in North Korea.


There is no need for US forces in the North. In such a case South Korean and Chinese forces would be enough. With all these problems that North Korea is causing, an actual invasion of the North is the wrong thing to do. The North Koreans would fight like Tigers in such a case. And in defensive battles they would have an advantage.


In any case, it would be years before the United States could build up it's reserve forces, or rebuild it's active duty forces to truly take on North Korea in an offensive war. The Middle Eastern wars have drained the US military.


But the most important country in the next Korean war will be China.


And here is another hard fact for Americans to understand. China is the most important player here. We are not going to see reunification of the Koreas for one hundred years. The only possible outcome if the North starts a war will be to create a new state in the North, more open to the rest of the world.


Then slowly and gradually begin to modernize that nation.


But the infrastructure is soooo decrepit, and the mindset of the people is sooo set in their belief of superiority, that extensive contact with the outside world will come as an extreme shock. Military defeat will also shock them, they believe they are the most advanced nation in the world. And the people themselves are physically stunted by years of malnutrition.


North Korea will then become a dependent state of China and South Korea, and will need a tremendous amount of aid, and many decades, before it can be a country that stand on it's own.


Frankly speaking, North Korea is a basket case. I cannot understand why some of the more Right wing American types would want to take it into the American orbit. It is impossible.


And as a final note, many people worry that if US bases in Japan close, China will attack or threaten Japan. In 1992, the Philippines expelled all US bases. The Philippine Air Force does not possess a single combat aircraft, the Philippine Navy has fewer warships than the Japanese Coast Guard.


And China has not invaded the Philippines. Really with the ninth largest military in the world, I don't think Japan has to worry.



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