2013 April 06 Saturday
The First Hour Of A War With North Korea

North Korea's big negotiating lever: The ability to kill lots of South Koreans on the first day of battle.

The North can fire 500,000 rounds of artillery on Seoul in the first hour of a conflict. Stability has held for 60 years because the U.S. security alliances with South Korea and Japan make it clear to the North Korean leadership that if they attacked South Korea or Japan, they would lose both the war and their country.

Could the United States or South Korea come up with technologies to suppress North Korean artillery in minutes? Such a capability would deprive the North Koreans of one of their big cards.

Pat Buchanan says the United States should withdraw its soldiers from South Korea and let the very affluent South Koreans pay for their own defense. I'm with Pat on that. But US military policy is not aimed maximizing taxpayer ROI per dollar spent.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 April 06 12:06 AM 

WJ said at April 7, 2013 2:09 PM:

What benefit to the US is there in maintaining a standing army in South Korea? We pay for their presence, and if a war breaks out we pay for the war and the reconstruction. (When in hell did clean-up become the obligation of the victor?) To make things worse, 2-3 decades on the 25 million liberated North Koreans become a major trade threat to the US (and of course we'll let 3-4 million of them immigrate here, while South Korea and Japan wisely demure). Let the South Koreans pay for their defense, let them suffer any losses, let them deal with the mess cleaning up the place.

We have a massive trade deficit, a trillion dollar budget deficit, and too damn many immigrants. It ain't our job, but our overlords burnish their reputations more by dealing with big messes in far-off places than they do with solving the meth epidemic in Podunkville, USA. No one will ever get invited to Davos for solving that.

Kent Gatewood said at April 7, 2013 3:24 PM:

A post at Belmont Club suggests that only 500 of North Korea's 14,000 artillery pieces can reach reach Seoul.

How fast and accurate will allied counter battery fire be?

A non-nuclear North Korea doesn't seem to be much of a threat to America, but a nuclear North could kill millions of us.

We should take out the north's nuclear and missile programs and leave the locals to deal with the rest.

Randall Parker said at April 7, 2013 7:29 PM:


Granted we should not be spending our money to defend very affluent and technologically advanced South Korea.

OTOH, if we could develop an awesome counter-battery artillery system that is capable of silencing North Korean arty in a matter of minutes I bet the South Koreans would buy it.

Getting invited to Davos: our elites are our enemies. I'm clear on that. They aren't trying to be our enemies as much as they are just trying to use us for their advantage.


We should design better military tech for taking out artillery in a hurry. Such tech would have other uses. For example, imagine a large number of UAVs with radar and optical sensors detecting exactly where each artillery shell comes from. It could direct very accurate responses or even fire optically guided missiles back on the holes where the shells are coming out of mountain sides.

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