KOREAN NUCLEAR NIGHTMARES
December 2nd, 2010. During American and South Korean naval manoeuvres in the Yellow Sea near North Korea a nuclear explosion occurs, sinking a dozen major warships including the American carrier USS George Washington. At least ten thousand American and South Korean sailors and servicemen are killed, and of course the world media goes nuts. Just in time for the five o’clock news on the USA East Coast. Film of the mushroom cloud rising is played non stop on every channel, the talking heads fall all over themselves blathering, and within the hour President Obama held a live conference where he blamed North Korea for the “attack,” and gave them one hour to unconditionally surrender or the USA would respond with nuclear weapons. He also added, to the delight of the war party, and horror of level heads everywhere, that anyone who objected would also be targeted for nuclear attack. Bipartisan support for Obama was effusive after the conference.
North Korea denied the accusations, and China called for a 72 hour cooling off period and an emergency session of the UN Security Council. Most other countries also called for calm, but world stock markets crashed big time and any country with a military worthy of the name went to top readiness levels. At the one hour mark North Korea officially repudiated the charges, and said there would be “unlimited retaliation” if the USA or South Korea attacked North Korea.
Ninety minutes after the sinking of the George Washington over a dozen American tactical nuclear weapons detonated over North Korea, with dozens more in the hours that followed. The targets appeared to be North Korea artillery positions overlooking Seoul, and North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities. North Korea artillery immediately began shelling Seoul, though not with anywhere near the numbers of shells that the nay sayers had predicted. Nonetheless millions of people packed up and fled, complicating efforts to rush troops northwards.
Six days later, it was over. A dazed North Korean general, apparently the highest ranking surviving member of the North Korean military and political leadership, was dragged from a bunker as he shouted “We surrender, we surrender.” The US press had shown Americans nothing but an endless array of military porn during the “war,” and Americans were dancing in the streets when it was over.
Meanwhile, almost unreported in the American press, Iran had been granted full membership in the SCO, the Russian-Chinese alliance. And in fact Russia and China announced that the SCO was now a military alliance dedicated to defending against the USA. Dozens of other countries applied to join the SCO, including Cuba, Venezuela, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. China and pretty much every country dumped their dollars, leaving it about as valuable as toilet paper. Germany and Japan declared an alliance, and revealed they already possessed a significant nuclear arsenal. NATO was in complete disarray. Anti-American riots and demonstrations around the world were too numerous to mention.
What happens next? Who knows. What’s my point? Well, as is often the case, I have many points. The first and foremost being that people did a terrible job of predicting World War One and World War Two. While there were plenty of people saying “this can’t be good,” and even some predicting accurate subsets of the future like “You know, battleships aren’t the ultimate weapon anymore,” if you’d asked a million people including all the world’s historians to write down in 1938 what was going to transpire in the next ten years, I doubt any of them would have come even close to what actually happened.
Yet many people continue to believe that they understand what’s going on in the world, and that if only their simplistic solutions were applied, all would be well. I don’t. I know my hypothetical situation above is just one of an infinite number of possibilities. And while I don’t know the specifics, I am in the “This can’t be good” crowd. The USA and South Korea seem bound and determined to provoke North Korea. In my hypothetical scenario above, anyone could have set of that nuclear weapon. And it wouldn’t need to be a nuclear weapon, if the American aircraft carrier George Washington sank like the recent ill fated Cheonan, the short term results would be equally as unpleasant and unpredictable.
I also think that the flow of history, regionally and globally, has two speeds. “Idle” and “Oh Shit.” Most of the time in most places, nations are making decisions that ensure a modicum of stability. I mean face it, if a gang is one of the lucky 300 odd gangs to actually rule a nation on this planet, staying in power and playing it safe are the top priorities, upsetting the applecart could lead to all sorts of unpleasantness. However, at other times in history, shit happens. The world wars. The Napoleonic wars. The USA civil War. People throw caution to the wind and make risky decisions. And all parties involve basically up the ante until the situation is resolved. Much blood and expense involved.
And often there is some sort of transition or warning event that leads to this state change so to speak. The Tonkin Gulf Incident. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. The shelling of Fort Sumter. And lately I’m wondering if such an event has occurred or is about to occur near Korea. Especially with the FBI so determined to show us that we are under terrorist “threat.” Coming next, my long awaited post about Obama the Destroyer. What can I say, I seem to be morbidly fascinated by current events these days.
(The above image is Public Domain under US copyright law. It’s a 21 kiloton underwater nuclear weapons test, known as Operation Crossroads (Event Baker), conducted at Bikini Atoll in 1946. Yes, those are ships, captured Japanese ships and obsolete American ships. Some animals were harmed in the making of this photograph. I chose it because it nicely illustrates the post, it’s a cool pic, and shows just how horrible nuclear weapons are. One last point, George Washington would be appalled that a warship designed to project American military might world wide was named after him, it’s the antithesis of everything he fought and worked for. )