Moon of Alabama
The borg in Washington DC will not be happy about Trump siding with the North Korean chairman Kim Jong Un:
US President Donald Trump told reporters Friday he agreed with Kim Jong Un’s opposition to US-South Korea war games, after receiving what he was a new letter from the North Korean leader.
“I got a very beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un yesterday,” Trump said. “It was a very positive letter.”
“He wasn’t happy with the war games,” Trump added, referring to new military exercises between US forces and the South Korean military that began this week.
“As you know, I’ve never liked it either. I’ve never been a fan. And you know why? I don’t like paying for it,” the US leader said.
Trump received Kim’s three-page letter on Thursday after Pyongyang undertook four missile tests in the past two weeks that it said were a response to the joint exercises between the South and the United States.
We once explained how the usually big US-South Korean maneuvers lead to economic pain in North Korea:
Each time the US and South Korea launch their very large maneuvers, the North Korean conscription army (1.2 million strong) has to go into a high state of defense readiness. Large maneuvers are a classic starting point for military attacks.
The US-South Korean maneuvers are (intentionally) held during the planting (April/May) or harvesting (August) season for rice when North Korea needs each and every hand in its few arable areas. Only 17% of the northern landmass is usable for agriculture and the climate in not favorable. The cropping season is short. Seeding and harvesting days require peak labor.
The southern maneuvers directly threaten the nutritional self-sufficiency of North Korea. In the later 1990s they were one of the reasons behind a severe famine. (Lack of hydrocarbons and fertilizer due to sanctions as well as a too rigid economic system were other main reasons.)
On Trump’s order the current maneuvers in South Korea have been toned down. They no longer involve a huge mobilization of forces as they are mostly done in software and as staff exercises. North Korea no longer needs to counter mobilize for them.
But Kim Jong Un is still bitching about the issue:
On Tuesday North Korea threatened more weapons tests, and said the US-South Korea war games were “an undisguised denial and a flagrant violation” of the diplomatic process between Pyongyang, Washington and Seoul.
Why is he so miffed?
The reason is likely not the form of this year’s maneuver but its content:
The current joint US-South Korean military exercises involve simulations of stabilizing North Korea after it has been occupied and conventional warfare has come to an end.
The US and South Korea downsized the drills under a promise by US President Donald Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore last year, so now they mostly consist of computer simulations.
Government sources here said the second part of the exercises beginning on Aug. 17 starts at an imaginary point 90 days after the outbreak of a war, when stabilization operations get underway.
The stabilizing drill has not been included in previous exercises, which were based on the assumption that North Korea’s military would be neutralized around 90 days after a war breaks out.
It is probably a bit provocative when a neighboring country is training to occupy yours.
I for one would find that an aggressive behavior and would think about how to counter it.
Who, by the way, came up with that illusory 90 days assumption? Does anyone really believe that South Korean and US troops would be welcome with flowers and candy? Does anyone believe that Russia and especially China, which both border North Korea, would stay out of such a war?
These people need to read up on the Korea War. When the US crossed into North Korea and moved towards the Chinese border Mao mobilized hundreds of thousands and pushed the US troops back to the 38th Parallel, the starting line of that war.
The strategic interest that China had back then is still valid today. It is hard to believe that it today will be more willing to allow US troops right on its border than it was in 1950.
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