|For the first time in my lifetime, the ones driving us toward war on the Korean peninsula are not the North Koreans, but instead our very own government.
I don’t think Tillerson or Trump has any real interest in a sustained war. What they’re probably hoping for, moronically, is that putting active war back on the table will scare North Korea into submission. Trump, no doubt, believes that the only reason the conflict has not been resolved sooner is the lack of sufficient force former presidents were willing to bring to bear on the situation.
Maybe they’re right. But if North Korea takes this as bait and commits a military offensive, even accidentally, on South Korea or Japan, it would likely lead to the largest military conflict any of us have ever seen.
People ignore this, for whatever reason, but North Korea has one of the largest armies in the world. Notwithstanding their nuclear weapons, in terms of number of soldiers, any kind of military engagement would mobilize millions on a scale unseen since World War II. Regarding active personnel, North Korea has ~1,190,000 soldiers compared to America’s ~1,492,200 and South Korea’s ~630,000. Other than India, the only other country in the world with as many soldiers is China, another possible participant, at ~2,333,000. When you consider reserve and paramilitary forces, these numbers grow to ~7,679,000 (NK), ~3,364,000 (USA), ~6,604,500 (SK) and ~3,503,000 (CH), respectively.
To put that in perspective, there are nearly as many soldiers already ready for engagement in those four countries alone as there were for the United States and Germany in WWII at their peaks, around 24 million—and that is before any kind of draft, which there would almost assuredly be, or any kind of reactionary large military expansion. Other countries that could become embroiled, moreover, dwarf the complexity of the situation. The war could spread from the Koreas across East Asia, involving Vietnam (with ~4,768,407 ready forces), Russia (~3,364,000), Taiwan (~1,964,000), Indonesia (~1,076,500), Thailand (~698,550), Myanmar (~513,250), Singapore (~504,100), Malaysia (~429,900), and Japan (~315,900), not to mention India (~4,768,407) or Pakistan (~1,497,800) or other countries that could become involved in an intervention, such as the UK, France, Germany, or Canada. In short, the larger region has roughly 41 million soldiers that could be deployed within months or weeks. I’m not saying the war would necessarily spread so far, or that I imagine that it would spread to all of these countries, but am merely trying to sketch what kind of fire the White House is playing with.
So, to recap, even if it were a conventional military engagement, it would likely be on a scale none of us have ever witnessed. And that is, as I’ve admitted, bracketing the fact that the United States, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and North Korea all have nuclear weapons, which could completely trump conventional warfare. Moreover, there are about ~24,213,510 (NK) and ~51,446,201 (SK) people living on the peninsula, meaning that the civilian casualties of any nuclear exchange over such a small area of land (roughly the size of Utah or Minnesota) would be absolutely devastating. Literally tens of millions could and likely would die in any kind of nuclear exchange, just on the peninsula, not to mention in China or if the war were to spread even farther—or if major nuclear powers somehow ended up nuking each other’s homes (i.e., probs causing the end of the world).
So I ask, in case anyone has any clue, what in the world are Trump and Tillerson (and assumedly others) thinking?! As for me, I’m terrified that instead of a steady hand keeping the region from erupting in war, we have a diplomatic neophyte businessman whose only experience with war involved getting deferments from Vietnam.