Japan will rearm, and South Korea will reexamine the departure of US troops and what effective levels of armament they can domestically sustain (a lot less).
Possibly the U.S. will start playing hardball with China through Taiwan. They screwed us in Korea, we’ll screw right back.
Attempts to support a coup/revolution/regime change in North Korea. The idea is to get this done before NK sells stuff to people we don’t like.
Heightened naval presence and security in NE Asia.
So, first set of contigencies, we attempt to topple North Korea: can they react? Their army can’t really power project. The story told to the infantry is that North Korea can get to Busan in a week. I don’t think that’s likely. Also, China would intervene, presently.
My thinking is that China would react for them. But what can they really do? Give North Korea nukes? I think the US has a lot of leeway here. There are now open demonstartions of dissent in the North, albeit small. However, consider what that means. Neighborhoods are organized along Korean traditional lines into communal associations called gye. Each gye consists of five families who help each other, with one or two who are politically connected. That means for every one act of sedition, there are at least one and possibly four other families who are in on it. And one of them is possibly party. When party membership is no longer inducement to loyalty, you’re in trouble.
North Korea the country is actually quite small, if you follow the lines of what a nation state does. A nation is meant to deliver certain services to it’s internal constituency. In such a case as North Korea, the services delivered are only to the Party and the Army. The rest of the populace are counted as a resource. Insert joke about Communist and Socialist governments here, and then realize that North Korea doesn’t have 23 million citizens with a 1 million man army, it has one or two million citizens exerting continuous force over 20 million non belligerent tenant farmers. The farmers know they’re being screwed.
So, we try to topple them, and we either succeed or fail. Success, in the American terms of it, would be to have the area come under the control of a new regime with whom we can deal, who isn’t a belligerant, and who either leaves the balance of power untipped, or tipped in our favor in such a fashion so as not to aggravate China. The Kim family will not see another generation in power, China will not tolerate it. Lacking our scruples, they would more than happily simply hold a coup and grill a brisket, and Tibet the place: no more Korean language, no korean in political power, and heavy settlement by Chinese. Any Korean successor will quietly kill any Kim family relative they can lay their hands on. That’s Stalinism after all. So, peaceful domestic transition is unlikely, and any answer that maintains the status quo is unlikely.
But if we let China have it, we can at least talk with China. What China does to one of it’s proxies is truly none of our concern, and nothing brings an ally to your side like the barbarians at his gate. South Korea with China directly on its border would be interesting to watch.
Failure. War? The Kim dynasty ends with Jong Il. China will eventually go to war with us. Chinese troops will do the most of the heavy punching, even on the Korean penninsula no matter what. The North Koreans would be too inneffective. Failure would have to be the insertion of a competent, pro-Chinese dictator who was better than Kim Jong-Il, who can actually make Korea more effective for the eventual fight with China. That may be unrealistic too. North Korea is good and proper screwed. There is not the human infrastructure to build a real nation. China would basically have to replace every korean person with a Chinese person, which they can do with one tenth of their excess, marriagable male population.
Any different reads on this? Is North Korea the next Tibet?