With recent events which have been taking place in Asia, with 2 North Korean marines being KIA and 2 civilians along with injured on Yeonpyeong island. It makes you wonder, should Iraq have been North Korea? There were no weapons of mass destruction found as in the brief President George Bush gave at the time along with other world leaders who also took part in the operation against Iraq and its dictator Saddam Hussain.
So it makes you wonder, what if North Korea was attacked in 2003 instead of Iraq. To me, the current events today show that it would have been a better result seeing as North Korea seems to be the larger threat and could cause nuclear war in current times. Due to the thousands of nuclear centrifuges the North says it has and with the recent discovery Siegfried Hecker, a Stanford University professor who toured a facility. North Korea has also tested nuclear weaponry, North Korea ratified the ‘Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’ on December 12th 1951 however pulled the treaty in January 10th, 2003. The military campaign in Iraq started in March 20th, 2003.
So was Iraq the wrong war, should it alternatively have been North Korea?
The threat that George Bush saw at the time was that Iraq was trying to possess nuclear weaponry, even though a signatory of the NPT.
The problem with this is that Iraq didn’t have any materials which could be used to create said nuclear weaponry; it was misleading and whatever information they supposedly had was not true.
Where in comparison to North Korea, they have now tested nuclear weaponry and are said to be enriching uranium according to the KCNA news agency who states that, North Korea is trying to “maintain a nuclear deterrent”.
I don’t think there was an alternative but to attack Iraq however at the same time North Korea was testing nuclear weaponry which the U.S. knew about at the time, yet didn’t act. Sure the 6 party talks halted development for a while, however it didn’t permanently stop it. When you have a dictator running a country and only stopping its nuclear bomb development for a short period, well, you are essentially paying them to have a break for a while. Since they’ll continue development either under your nose or once they receive the goods they require.
Whatever the case, North Korea has become and will continue to become a much more persuasive country, throughout the period it tests and further develops nuclear weaponry.
North Korea’s army is and was much more sophisticated than Iraq’s?
In the sense that the North Korean army was much better funded than Iraq’s army in 2003 is true; the sense that nearly everyone in the North idolize Kim Jong il, so they are likely to be fighting for a bowl of rice or to keep their family safe and only to be eating food to which the ‘Dear leader’ has allocated. Either way, this really didn’t matter much, if the US wanted to cripple North Korea they would have done it easily; however, without creating other enemies such as China and of course the survival of Seoul, South Korea would have been at stake.
The ideological feeling of the armed forces of North Korea are at a height while Iraq’s armed forces were depleted and knocked back to the last century in ‘The first Gulf war’. The coalition force which attacked Iraq took over most areas of Iraq and defeated the Iraqi forces within months.
With North Korea, the situation is quite different. They have an actual army and the terrain is totally different to Iraq’s terrain, considering most of the fighting was done on the deserts of Iraq; this environment is more suitable for modern armies to fight on, especially with digital/optical sensors in armoured vehicles which could fire on Iraqi tanks from miles away without the Iraqis knowing what had happened.
Furthermore, North Korea has an army the size of 1 million with reservists which consist of around 8 million men and women. That is a lot of slaying you have to do if you want to gain control of North Korea’s capitol. It would require an ideological change and that is no simple feat. They bow to their dictators as if they are gods and untouchable; for many they are just that because they are untouchable and they hold so much power, after all they are dictators.
They have thousands of tanks, artillery and AAA, mobile AA and MANPAD AA. Of which they could decimate the capitol of South Korea, Seoul if an attack were to take place. In the end, it has leaders all over the world, especially in South Korea, asking is war worth it for us when they can lose their economic center.
The reality of things are that they need to look at the future of their country.
They need to think of their own defense posture and policy. While the North have a large attack offensive capability with 17,000 artillery pieces of that a large portion faces South Korea scattered around the country side of North Korea, they need something to strike back on these artillery pieces.
Any decision to attack North Korea, is a hard one; the loss of life; the economic factor; the ideology that they would need to break, are all very tough factors.
The question to be asked, for what purpose would a full scale attack be worth?
Even if they attack and successfully take control of North Korea they would essentially be taking control of a country that has the mindset of the past and who know nothing of the modern age. They would likely migrate to South Korea or China, if anything, and I don’t think China or South Korea could accept migrants in such large numbers who have no skills, no money; essentially nothing, without facing economic difficulties.
What about China?
What about China? In a recent Wikileaks discovery leaked in a wire which they have now published along with thousands of other top secret documents. There has been a release of information by officials in the Chinese government stating that under control of Seoul, a united Korea as a whole would be much better in the minds of these Chinese officials. Whether this is attitude of the head of the Chinese government, Wen Jiabao, is altogether another question. Whatever the case, I don’t think that China would defend North Korea however consultation with China would be essential if SK/US forces drought up an offensive. – So that there would be no surprises which China would likely object to in the event of full scale war. Though telling China is a risk altogether, the secrecy behind their government with recent releases, as stated might not be the feeling of the man in charge of the actual seat that houses power in China. However, what are they to say but only words, since economically their exports are indirectly and directly purchases from western economies.
The underlying problem
The problem which underlies attacking North Korea comes at a time when in 2003, China was seen as a close ally to North Korea. The information we have today, with Wikileaks being the sole provider above, is the fact they have released underlying problems in terms of relations with the North Korean and Chinese government bodies. China is a developing country, one of, if not the fastest growing country in the world; to date. Why would it risk this to protect North Korea?
If war in that area of the world hinders growth in China, why would China want to be any part of that. If anything if Korea was united under the control of the South Korean’s, the economic factor would be huge for China.
They would have direct access in future developments of one of the richest countries in South Eastern Asia. But all in all, it is 20/20 hind sight to believe that the US would have had enough information against North Korea especially with prying neighbors Russia and China involved; the conflict could have gone all very wrong. I mean, who knows what would have happened, war is usually never that very straight forward.