The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

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Highway
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The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Highway » 19 Oct 2013, 00:45

I couldn't find a North Korea thread, so here's one.

North Korea opens new Water Park, just in time for winter. It looks not so bad (smallest wave pool I've ever seen), but I like the official frolickers on the attractions while a huge crowd of guys in suits look on.
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Stevo Darkly
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Stevo Darkly » 19 Oct 2013, 05:30

It didn't take long for some defenders of North Korea (DONKs) to show up in the comments.
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Number 6
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Number 6 » 19 Oct 2013, 08:47

The slide in the second-to-last pic looks odd and possibly dangerous.
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by JasonL » 19 Oct 2013, 09:03

Why are there DONKS? I don't understand what they are defending.

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Highway
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Highway » 19 Oct 2013, 10:56

JasonL wrote:Why are there DONKS? I don't understand what they are defending.
They're righting the injustice of pointing out that North Korea is a farce... or something... uhhh... I don't get it either.
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Jennifer » 19 Oct 2013, 11:55

This might be of interest to you guys -- when NoKo launched that satellite last year I made a "YouTube Guide to North Korea" for the Dot, including videos made by outsiders and propaganda videos released by the NoKo government itself. Your one-stop shop for creepy North Korean video goodness.

http://www.dailydot.com/culture/youtube ... m-jong-il/
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Aresen » 04 Nov 2013, 16:51

NKorean naval vessel sank last month

The really interesting bit is this:
An unidentified South Korean military source told the South's Chosun Ilbo newspaper that the vessel was built in the 1960s, and that its old age might have been a factor in the sinking. The South's Yonhap news agency, citing an unidentified source, reported that the vessel sank near Wonsan on the east coast.

Much of North Korea's military equipment is decrepit, but the country has a massive army and thousands of artillery pieces deployed along its border.
The state of the North Korean military is the primary reason I do not think that there is any possibility of North Korea overrunning the South. TBS, Comrade Un could cause a hell of a lot of misery on his way down.
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Andrew » 04 Nov 2013, 18:05

I'll have to look for a source, but I recall hearing something about the astronomical amount of artillery that NK has pointed at Seoul. Even a high failure rate would still result in lots of death and misery.
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Aresen » 04 Nov 2013, 18:20

Andrew wrote:I'll have to look for a source, but I recall hearing something about the astronomical amount of artillery that NK has pointed at Seoul. Even a high failure rate would still result in lots of death and misery.
You are right, of course.

I think (and this may be wishful thinking) that any buildup would be detected weeks before an offensive could be launched. Assuming for argument's sake that the North could achieve complete surprise, they might be able to take Seoul. But they wouldn't be able to hold it.

Shem probably has a better handle on what the blowback of a failed invasion of the South might be for the leadership in the North.
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Highway » 04 Nov 2013, 18:30

Aresen wrote:Shem probably has a better handle on what the blowback of a failed invasion of the South might be for the leadership in the North.
Could it be anything but the end of the entire fiasco known as North Korea? I can't imagine they'd have much support from China, pretty much the only place they could get actual help. Iran sitting there going "Woot! Go North Korea" as they sit thousands of miles away isn't exactly gonna take ground. It would just seem to me that any actual aggression on the part of the North would give carte blanche to the south and others to go get rid of the North and reintegrate it to the country on one end or the other.
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 04 Nov 2013, 18:35

As was the case in NATO, there are just enough American troops in South Korea to justify a massive U.S. retaliation after North Korea invaded and vastly inadequate U.S. military power to successfully counterattack North Korea without the use of nuclear weapons.

OTOH, I have this probably fanciful (but also probably not nearly as fanciful as Shem may believe) vision of North Korean rank and file soldiers invading the South and being overwhelmed by the readily available material wealth and suddenly deciding to point those rifles in the other direction.

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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Aresen » 04 Nov 2013, 18:36

Highway: Shem (and you, IIRC) have pointed out that the cost of reintegrating North Korea would be astronomical - into the trillion dollar range - so I don't think the South would be eager to push beyond the 17th parallel.

Assuming no counter-invasion, would the North implode or would the nomenklatura manage to keep themselves in power?
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by thoreau » 04 Nov 2013, 18:40

D.A. Ridgely wrote:OTOH, I have this probably fanciful (but also probably not nearly as fanciful as Shem may believe) vision of North Korean rank and file soldiers invading the South and being overwhelmed by the readily available material wealth and suddenly deciding to point those rifles in the other direction.
At the very least they'd be so busy looting grocery stores that they would fail to seize any military targets. Their officers would be all "You! Get back in formation right now! We have orders to...HOLY SHIT I HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MUCH FOOD IN ONE PLACE!!!11!"
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Mo » 04 Nov 2013, 18:51

The problem with a Nork attack is the amount of human and economic damage it would do. They couldn't take, let alone hold, Seoul, but they could flatten it like a pancake. Mmmm, pancake.
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 04 Nov 2013, 18:51

thoreau wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:OTOH, I have this probably fanciful (but also probably not nearly as fanciful as Shem may believe) vision of North Korean rank and file soldiers invading the South and being overwhelmed by the readily available material wealth and suddenly deciding to point those rifles in the other direction.
At the very least they'd be so busy looting grocery stores that they would fail to seize any military targets. Their officers would be all "You! Get back in formation right now! We have orders to...HOLY SHIT I HAVE NEVER SEEN SO MUCH FOOD IN ONE PLACE!!!11!"
Exactly.

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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Mo » 04 Nov 2013, 18:54

Aresen wrote:Highway: Shem (and you, IIRC) have pointed out that the cost of reintegrating North Korea would be astronomical - into the trillion dollar range - so I don't think the South would be eager to push beyond the 17th parallel.

Assuming no counter-invasion, would the North implode or would the nomenklatura manage to keep themselves in power?
I believe the South would love to reunify, costs be damned. However, it would make the reunification of Germany look like the unification of the Republic of Texas with the US. Germany still hasn't fully integrated GDR economically with the West and it cost 2 trillion euros to do it.
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Painboy » 05 Nov 2013, 01:53

When I was on the DMZ back in the 90's I think most intel indicated the North had around 72 hours of combat capability. After that they would start running out of beans, bullets, and fuel. Add the additional problem that Korea is very narrow at the border (there's good reason that the war turned into a meat grinder in the last years of the conflict) and it would basically turn into a traffic jam at the border.

They aren't a real threat to invade but if they wanted to hammer Seoul there isn't much anyone could do to stop them. Their artillery is all dug into various hills and mountains. Not something that could be reliably taken out before they fired off their existing ammo.

South Korea did genuinely want to rejoin with NK from what I could tell when I was there. They even built a freeway IIRC right up to the border in hopes that one day it would be joined on the other end by a NK road. Naive maybe but the desire was still there.

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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Fin Fang Foom » 05 Nov 2013, 10:31

Everything I've read about South Korea indicates that they would not like to reunify, at least not in the short term. Reunification might take half as long as they've been apart, if not longer.
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Jennifer » 05 Nov 2013, 10:43

The scary thing is that, from South Korea's view, the threat from NoKo is the threat of terrorism, not the threat of a nation-state. A nation-state might be able to invade and occupy your borders and enrich itself at your country's expense, whereas a terrorist can only destroy things (and in this instance, only if he's willing to destroy himself milliseconds later).

Problem is: do the NoKos know they only have the power of a terrorist in this situation, or have they deluded themselves into thinking they have the power of a nation-state? They've already deluded themselves into believing the cheesy, creepy Potemkin creations in those videos I gathered would be sufficient to impress/inspire envy within western tourists rich enough to visit NoKo.
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Shem » 05 Nov 2013, 11:31

D.A. Ridgely wrote:OTOH, I have this probably fanciful (but also probably not nearly as fanciful as Shem may believe) vision of North Korean rank and file soldiers invading the South and being overwhelmed by the readily available material wealth and suddenly deciding to point those rifles in the other direction.
The amount of stuff wouldn't shock them. They know about it already. The propaganda explains it as being a result of bribes for the willing supporters of the colonial masters. It has to, since all those consumer goods show up in the movies and TV that gets smuggled into the country. What would shock them would be the fact that it's available to such a huge proportion of the population, and that it's so inexpensive. The government says it's all reserved for the powerful and well-connected, and the people believe them, since why shouldn't they? That's exactly how things are in NK. So it wouldn't be "holy shit look at how full of stuff this store is," it'd be "holy shit, how can they have an entire street of grocery and convenience stores and all of them are full?" With the real shock being "how can the people in the bad part of town afford full refrigerators and cars?"

As for reunification, it's not really a matter of whether they want it or not. The idea of One Korea is an important part of the national identity of both sides, and publicly going against it would be a little like a major politician in the US slagging the military. There's a lot of disagreement as to how and when it should be done, but that it must be done is uncontroversial. As for how long it would take, that depends on a lot of things. If the global economy were good, it could be done in maybe 10 or 15 years. As it stands now, it would take...longer. Regardless, it would be expensive.
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Painboy » 05 Nov 2013, 11:37

Fin Fang Foom wrote:Everything I've read about South Korea indicates that they would not like to reunify, at least not in the short term. Reunification might take half as long as they've been apart, if not longer.
Well it was almost 20 years ago I was there. They may not be as willing to share their new riches as before. My exposure was also heavily colored by the RoK college students that I served with. They did tend to have some odd ideas about things.

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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Hugh Akston » 05 Nov 2013, 11:39

Did the Westies want to reunify with the Osties before a shirtless GHWB tore the Wall down with his teeth?
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Aresen » 05 Nov 2013, 11:47

Hugh Akston wrote:Did the Westies want to reunify with the Osties before a shirtless GHWB tore the Wall down with his teeth?
I first read that last phrase as "a shirtless GHWB tore the Wall down with his teats". :shock:
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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 05 Nov 2013, 11:48

Hugh Akston wrote:Did the Westies want to reunify with the Osties before a shirtless GHWB tore the Wall down with his teeth?
No. Most West Germans had come to the largely correct conclusion that they had become two different nations, albeit from the same ethnic stock. In fact, it was more fear of the chaos that would ensue if Bonn -- remember Bonn? -- didn't push for a unification process that West Germans could grudgingly accept. They wrote off the entire adult population of East Germany as essentially unemployable and tried to reintegrate with a wholesale overhaul of the East German schools. In large measure, there was no industrial base worth preserving, nothing that was capable of producing consumer goods up to Western standards.

Meanwhile, the adult East Germans resented being treated as second class citizens and there was the usual grumbling about "how much better" East Germany was, conveniently ignoring things like Stasi and the mostly empty stores and decaying infrastructure all around them.

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Re: The Not-So- and All-Too-Real World of North Korea

Post by Highway » 05 Nov 2013, 11:51

It would just seem to me that if the North was so desperate that they thought their only chance was to start a war (because regardless how delusional they are, I find it hard to believe they are SO delusional as to think they could ultimately win), if there was a war, I think it would end up breaking North Korea so much that there would be no choice but to have them integrated. Basically, they'd implode, have zero state left, and someone would have to step up and take the resulting mess.
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