Tensions between North and South Korea are nothing new. The problem isn’t the continued tension and bluster from the North – it’s the ever eroding sanity of North Korean leaders. Every new leader appears to be more unhinged than the last.
So maybe we should concern ourselves a little less with the lunatics in Iran, at least for the time being, and a bit more about the increased tensions between the two Koreas and the unhinged North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. After all, Iran is only working on developing nuclear weapons, whereas, according to the latest Chinese estimates, North Korea could have 20 warheads today and 40 by 2016, surpassing the estimates of most U.S. experts.
So what put North Korea’s knickers in a twist? Well, actually, as is always the case, North Korea started it. See, free democracies never attack their neighbors. Wars are started by communist or fascist aggression, either through a need to expand their power and influence, or utter paranoia and belief in their own propaganda.
South Korea “began blasting anti-North Korean propaganda on the border earlier this month, days after landmine explosions wounded two South Korean soldiers along the DMZ, resuming a tactic that both sides had stopped in 2004.”
In retaliation, South Korea set up 11 sites equipped with massive banks of loudspeakers which broadcast anti-Communist messages across the DMZ into the isolated North. Well, the boy dictator will have none of that and ordered a missile be fired at one of the South’s speaker sites. Of course it missed, although some surmise it was merely a warning shot.
But the South retaliated by firing dozens of 155mm shells aimed where they suspected the missile originated. This type of back and forth has happened on previous, but this time may be different. It’s the first time in five years that the South has responded this aggressively.
The UK Telegraph reports that, “South Korea has changed its rules of engagement on the border following the mine incident, with its troops no longer required to fire warning shots at any North Koreans crossing into the southern half of the 2.5 mile wide demilitarized zone. Under the new regulations, South Korean troops are permitted to fire directly at any infiltrators they detect.”
Daniel Pinkston, an analyst with The International Crisis Group in Seoul South Korea says, “The question now is how North Korea will react next. If, for internal reasons, they believe their objectives have been met, they can stand down.”
He added that the North’s provocation might also be the result of internal strife. “These sorts of centralized dictatorships have numerous internal tensions and it is logical for the regime to create external enemies. This serves to focus the attention of the military elsewhere and reduces the likelihood of a coup.”
But to add to the tension, “South Korea has vowed to hit back with overwhelming strength should North Korea attack again.”
Now, this all may be idle bluster, but, “A North Korean sympathizer with close knowledge of the regime claimed Pyongyang was ready to ‘go nuclear’ if South Korea doesn’t respond to the demands.”
So now we wait for the deadline imposed by the North. South Korea must cease all broadcast by the deadline or face further military response. Meanwhile, “South Korean and United States surveillance assets detected the movement of vehicles carrying short-range SCUD and medium-range Rodong missiles in a possible preparation for launches.”
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this is yet another case of the North flexing its muscles and Kim Jong Un pretending to be a man. I hope I’m right, because America can’t afford an escalation between these two countries. We have 28,500 American troops along the DMZ and a wuss for a Commander-In-Chief.
If an escalation does occur, does anyone think Obama will lift a finger in defense of South Korea, or more importantly, our brave men and women stuck out there on the front line?