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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Kim jung-un is ill

   
Author Topic: Kim jung-un is ill
Elison R. Salazar
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And possibly believed to no longer in control

Supposedly as well a delegation of officials made a surprise visit to the south to discuss having more talks. On another forum the idea is that probably the senior officials in their 50's/60's think that they can hold onto their power and luxeries by easing into unification over a few decades and they won't be held accountable by the south during that period.

Lets hope for some good news.

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Lyrhawn
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Out of curiosity, what is the South Korean position on reunification?

I imagine China is steadfastly against, but it'd be a huge financial drain on South Korea. Though it'd also be a massive boost to their economy from a New Deal style rebuilding plan. I just wonder how excited they are to absorb that problem, especially when I imagine there are fewer and fewer surviving families still separated by the DMZ.

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Samprimary
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north korea is a complete human disaster full of uneducated starved people, shuttered or desperately obsolete manufacturing and machinery, desperately overfarmed land, catastrophically terrible centralized agricultural schemes and horrid disaster-in-waiting dams. north koreans and south koreans are even sufficiently diverged in language by now. unification would quickly turn into one of the most desperate humanitarian responsibilities in history; by now it's only some (mostly old) south koreans who are really in any real way interested in unification. younger koreans largely want nothing to do with the blasted wasteland above, nor do they want the crippling amount of debt that would be involved with adopting any real responsibility for the north whatsoever

who even knows what's going to happen. it's so dystopian it defies most people's attempts to figure out what is really probably going to happen, and so remarkably few people can actually speak to it with any credible authority

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BlackBlade
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Yeah that's pretty much my opinion of the whole thing. If it happens, it could very well be *the* epoch by which all other Korean history is referenced.
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Rakeesh
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Who the hell can even guess how Korea(s), China, and the world would react to such a thing. It's certainly unprecedented in human history, I think. In terms of precedents the closest thing I can imagine would be emancipation, but that's a shaky imprecise comparison at the very best.

On the one hand it's horrifying to contemplate but even worse to contemplate delaying, but on the other hand frankly the history fan in me wishes I were a hundred years post-NK downfall just to see how it turns out.

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Samprimary
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If I were forced to put money down I would presume that if the Kim dynasty was overthrown, they're going to slowly accessorize the existing apparatchiks into the new ruling class, finally start actively incorporating the lessons of capitalism in order to salvage their dead economy, and improve at first marginally from an otherworldly, brutal, personality cult dystopia to your averagely brutal autocratic nation like 2007 Burma.

It is also possible that they are going to throw themselves into a reconciliation with south korea of some sort, because they are still pathological indulgers in brinkmanship and they probably think they can entwine south korea in an economic reconciliation of some sort by leveraging that south korea will want china out of the process and off of that land

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NobleHunter
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If reunification happens, I'd expect that China will be falling all over itself to 'help'. There'll probably be all sorts of money available for historical dramas where beneficient Chinese overlords help defend Korea against suspiciously American-looking Japanese invaders.

SK may figure they can leverage the China-US rivalry into enough help that the transition is merely impossible instead of horrific. The end goal would be to reduce both Chinese and American influence on the peninsula.

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Heisenberg
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I'm hoping it's inoperable stomach cancer or something. Guy's a monster.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
If reunification happens, I'd expect that China will be falling all over itself to 'help'. There'll probably be all sorts of money available for historical dramas where beneficient Chinese overlords help defend Korea against suspiciously American-looking Japanese invaders.

SK may figure they can leverage the China-US rivalry into enough help that the transition is merely impossible instead of horrific. The end goal would be to reduce both Chinese and American influence on the peninsula.

I would say China would be falling all over itself to get favorable trade/customs conditions and send people in there before anybody else to make money turning NK into a capitalist society. Often with hilarious and horrifying results.
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Foust
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I live in Korea. Among my friends, there's a mix of romanticism and hard realism. They want to be reunified, but they don't want all the stuff that would come with it.

If push came to shove, I don't think reunification would have much support among those in their 20s-30s.

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Samprimary
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China definitely wants to "help." the dprk apparatchiks in power are well aware of how much "help" China is generously posed to deliver. It will be North Korea's primary bargaining tool with the west to get them to sign in on reconstruction and aid initiatives.

It's brinkmanship at its finest, since they know what China's "help" entails, but how else better to get at that sweet South Korean capitalist economic modernism?

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Who the hell can even guess how Korea(s), China, and the world would react to such a thing. It's certainly unprecedented in human history, I think. In terms of precedents the closest thing I can imagine would be emancipation, but that's a shaky imprecise comparison at the very best.

On the one hand it's horrifying to contemplate but even worse to contemplate delaying, but on the other hand frankly the history fan in me wishes I were a hundred years post-NK downfall just to see how it turns out.

It's more extreme, but I think there's a parallel with the reunification of East and West Germany. The timeline of separation is roughly the same, between the end of WWII and the end of the Korean War. It involved a wealthier half absorbing a much poorer half with a much different way of life, culture, and decades of divergent history and even some language shifts. And it involved a major power struggle between the two most powerful nations in the world. Russia losing East Germany was a way bigger deal than China having North Korea falling out of its orbit.

Of course, North Korea is much poorer and would require much more effort and money to fix than East Germany did, but I think the connection is fair.

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Samprimary
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Germany's reuinification is considered a success story. A lot of the things that could have gone extremely badly went ok and in a lot of ways, east germany's situation wasn't immediately dire or perilous. It was a best case scenario in terms of reunification.

It still came dangerously close to hurling the german economy into the abyss, and the fallout hasn't totally settled — it's still a source of political troubles and socioeconomic division.

This is mostly paraphrased from people who know a hell of a lot more than me. Germany was the best-case scenario in terms of reunification. Korea has 'worst possible case' written all over it.

Talk about reunification is part of the culture. Reunification sounds really nice, and they don't want to look callous or uncaring or purely economically minded to the rest of the world or to the older generations who are so heavily respected and revered, so they say nice things and put out pleasant sentiments, but that's all it ever amounts to. It's the same as politicians who say things like that they want to eliminate income taxes. It'll never even remotely come close to happening, and they know that, so they can put it out there and get the positive PR without ever having to risk the consequences.

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Samprimary
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but then if the talks start happening in earnest ...

dun dun dunnn

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Elison R. Salazar
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Germany is also a relatively young nation with its political and linguistic fragmentation a part of its identity running throughout its history. On the other hand, Korea has been a nation-state for centuries.

China supports reunification, they have a relatively positive trade and working relationship and they both don't like Japan very much. Geopolitically the unification of the peninsula will likely result in the withdrawal of US forces, which China wants.

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theamazeeaz
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Looks like he missed the 29th anniversary party. Huh.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
Germany is also a relatively young nation with its political and linguistic fragmentation a part of its identity running throughout its history. On the other hand, Korea has been a nation-state for centuries.

China supports reunification, they have a relatively positive trade and working relationship and they both don't like Japan very much. Geopolitically the unification of the peninsula will likely result in the withdrawal of US forces, which China wants.

I wouldn't hold my breath on that.
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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
Germany is also a relatively young nation with its political and linguistic fragmentation a part of its identity running throughout its history. On the other hand, Korea has been a nation-state for centuries.

China supports reunification, they have a relatively positive trade and working relationship and they both don't like Japan very much. Geopolitically the unification of the peninsula will likely result in the withdrawal of US forces, which China wants.

I wouldn't hold my breath on that.
On which part? I made several suppositions.

Withdrawal? Korea has already been making noises, they're unpopular. Either way the United States would never deploy troops north of the parallel, the status quo in which they minuscule amount of troops on the peninsula south of the parallel is also fine, Korean unification is an overwhelmingly positive win for China economically and politically.

American withdrawal is essentially a bonus but one even if it didn't happen isn't change from the status quo.

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Orincoro
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"Korean unification is an overwhelmingly positive win for China economically and politically"

That must be why they're propping up the current regime then?

China, like South Korea, doesn't want to swallow the pill whole. If North Korea folds in apocalyptic fashion, there isn't much stopping a few million refugees from taking a walk across the border into China. But China also doesn't want to pay for reform in North Korea. They'd like South Korea to do that, while also guaranteeing their border security. Since South Korea probably won't be able to stop an explosive decompression of the northern border, China prefers to maintain the status quo.

You may be right in the long term, of course. But in terms China is willing to think about, any change doesn't look that appealing.

Whatever happens, it will not be pretty.

[ October 11, 2014, 06:43 PM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
the status quo in which they minuscule amount of troops on the peninsula south of the parallel is also fine

28,500. With another 50,000 nearby in Japan, several MEUs, Naval task forces, and an immense amount of weaponry, hardware and equipment.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Withdrawal? Korea has already been making noises, they're unpopular. Either way the United States would never deploy troops north of the parallel, the status quo in which they minuscule amount of troops on the peninsula south of the parallel is also fine, Korean unification is an overwhelmingly positive win for China economically and politically.
none of this makes sense

what noises, which korea, who's unpopular, why, is almost 30 thousand troops 'miniscule' in your language, are any and all circumstances for korean unification categorically positive for china (no), what

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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
"Korean unification is an overwhelmingly positive win for China economically and politically"

That must be why they're propping up the current regime then?

China, like South Korea, doesn't want to swallow the pill whole. If North Korea folds in apocalyptic fashion, there isn't much stopping a few million refugees from taking a walk across the border into China. But China also doesn't want to pay for reform in North Korea. They'd like South Korea to do that, while also guaranteeing their border security. Since South Korea probably won't be able to stop an explosive decompression of the northern border, China prefers to maintain the status quo.

You may be right in the long term, of course. But in terms China is willing to think about, any change doesn't look that appealing.

Whatever happens, it will not be pretty.

Propping it up is the safe course of action since as you've said, implosion would be horrendous; but they can both prop it looks and start arranging the ground work to take a leading role for when its time.

quote:

28,500. With another 50,000 nearby in Japan, several MEUs, Naval task forces, and an immense amount of weaponry, hardware and equipment.

Your saying several different things together that don't really say anything.

As an example, the Kennedy Administration in retrospect had conceded that they made a mistake in saying they would not tolerate nuclear weapons in Cuba, and should have said "Would not tolerate long range nuclear weapons" something to give them some wiggle room to negotiate a win without the need of an absolute response to avoid saving face.

The fact that both such systems are nuclear weapons isn't really whats relevant, but perception and other sorts of practical application.

29,000 soldiers isn't much, they're a support group means to take operational control and act as a wedge/anvil; also, are they even all front line soldiers? Does that include or exclude the logistics corps? They certainly wouldn't be able to say, invade China or cross the Yalu opposed so their presence in South Korea where they've been for over 50 years isn't a big deal; but it would be nice if they left since it would mean probably quite a bit diplomatically.

But 29,000 in North Korea? Now that could be the prelude to an invasion, setting up based, digging artillery emplacements, trenches while thousands more stream in on secret shipping containers, who knows, but its definately a PR nightmare, American troops once more on the border? Unacceptable.

The troops in Japan are different, they symbolize a restraining order on Japan to stop molesting their neighbours; as long as American troops stay in Japan its seen as a sign Japan isn't willing to expand a military or show interest in asserting itself.

I play a lot of strategy games that involve a lot of diplomacy between over a dozen people and so far every scrap of knowledge from reading Game Theory and other realist geopolitical realpolitik books has proven invaluable in staying ahead and coming up with a mental framework in which to compute the information I acquire.

If you take a step back, pretend to be the Chinese government and have a realistic understanding of their goals the whole picture falls naturally into place.

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Lyrhawn
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I wouldn't be super worried if 30,000 Chinese troops set up shop in Guadalajara, so I'm not sure why moving them 300 miles north would make that big a difference.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
Your saying several different things together that don't really say anything.

I think it's a pretty great reply to your claim of there being a "minuscule" number of troops.

Also, in the nearly 6 years I've been posting here, you've yet to pick up on the numerous hints that have been dropped by various well intentioned posters, so I'll spell it out for you.

"Your" is a pronoun. It's the possessive case of "you". "I like your dog." "Your post is nearly unreadable." Etc.

"You're" is a contraction. It's a shortening of the words "you" and "are" in monosyllabic form. "you're saying several different things...", "you're driving me crazy", etc.

"Yore" refers to the past.

quote:
As an example, the Kennedy Administration in retrospect had conceded that they made a mistake in saying they would not tolerate nuclear weapons in Cuba, and should have said "Would not tolerate long range nuclear weapons" something to give them some wiggle room to negotiate a win without the need of an absolute response to avoid saving face.

The fact that both such systems are nuclear weapons isn't really whats relevant, but perception and other sorts of practical application.

I am not sure of what relevance this is to the conversation at hand.

quote:
[QB]29,000 soldiers isn't much, they're a support group means to take operational control and act as a wedge/anvil; also, are they even all front line soldiers? Does that include or exclude the logistics corps? They certainly wouldn't be able to say, invade China or cross the Yalu opposed so their presence in South Korea where they've been for over 50 years isn't a big deal; but it would be nice if they left since it would mean probably quite a bit diplomatically.

But 29,000 in North Korea? Now that could be the prelude to an invasion, setting up based, digging artillery emplacements, trenches while thousands more stream in on secret shipping containers, who knows, but its definately a PR nightmare, American troops once more on the border? Unacceptable.

If by "front line soldiers" you mean infantry, then no. Most of the infantry is stationed in Japan or on the BLTs attached to various MEUs in the area. (the 31st MEU in particular) Those 28,500 troops are there maintaining a large amount of arms, ammunition and equipment and mostly empty barracks in order to provide logistical support in the contingency of a ground war in Korea. Within a few hours of war, there would be tens of thousands of Marines landing in S. Korea. Within a few days, hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

quote:
The troops in Japan are different, they symbolize a restraining order on Japan to stop molesting their neighbours; as long as American troops stay in Japan its seen as a sign Japan isn't willing to expand a military or show interest in asserting itself.
No. There is so much wrong with this I don't even know where to start.

The primary focus of the military in Japan at the moment is war in Korea. The entire III MEF (around 60,000 Marines) is geared towards this, with a month long MEF level exercise in Korea every year, and dozens of training exercises and training missions built on that contingency. The Navy and the Army are also heavily involved. More broadly, Japan serves as our command point for operations in SE Asia and plays a pretty vital role in the pacific AOR as well. Hawaii is the location of PACOM and the pacific fleet, but almost everything we do in Asia starts in Japan now.

I have a strong feeling you simply have no idea how much the U.S. military has invested in the defense of S. Korea, or to what extent.

quote:
I play a lot of strategy games that involve a lot of diplomacy between over a dozen people and so far every scrap of knowledge from reading Game Theory and other realist geopolitical realpolitik books has proven invaluable in staying ahead and coming up with a mental framework in which to compute the information I acquire.
I lived a year in Japan working with the 31st MEU and earlier this year was part of a joint training exercise in Korea that simulated a future conflict. I also have a very thorough understanding of the U.S. military, as well as it's operations, plans and strategy regarding the pacific AOR. I rarely talk about this stuff for OPSEC reasons, and also because I can't go into specifics without running the risk of disclosing potentially sensitive or classified information. But this has actually been my job for the past 4 years, I feel that has given me a somewhat stronger grasp of the situation than you would get from playing games.

quote:
If you take a step back, pretend to be the Chinese government and have a realistic understanding of their goals the whole picture falls naturally into place.
Yeah, no.
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Orincoro
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Well, I read the Wikipedia entry on Game Theory, so, you know. I'm just saying.
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Samprimary
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quote:
as long as American troops stay in Japan its seen as a sign Japan isn't willing to expand a military or show interest in asserting itself.
china would have to be a bunch of supreme idiots to believe this, if this is really what you believe and this isn't some sort of performance art where you see how long you can say totally wrong things about this stuff
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Samprimary
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to expand

shinzo abe has been pursuing a hawkish procurement and expansion program for the JSDF's military deployment capacities ... with the blessing and encouragement of the US

like this is a thing that has been going on

for a while

yep

so it'd be really dumb to conclude that obviously this hawkish expansion of the japan defense forces is obviously not going on, because you see there's american troops in japan too, so

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