As unelected President Donald Trump and dictator Kim Jong-Un face off in a battle of words and demonstrations of military might, many in America are clamoring for the United States to attack North Korea, without really knowing much about the ongoing conflict or the potential consequences of a military attack.
Because there is so much as stake, it is critical that Americans have a basic understanding of the issues and potential outcome of the conflict. However, cold war era propaganda has obscured many of the facts surrounding Korea and it is only recently that a more accurate picture of the issue has been available.
Curiously, under Trump, documents related to Korea have been removed from the U.S. State Department's web site.
We need to ask ourselves, what would happen if Trump did attack North Korea?
Predicting the consequences of an American attack on North Korea requires an understanding of North Korea, China and Russia.
A good place to start is at the beginning.
HISTORY OF THE KOREAN WAR
America's longest running armed conflict started on September 5th, 1945 when the 17th Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division arrived by ship at Inchon, Korea, to begin the forced occupation of South Korea. The Americans were under the command of Lieutenant General John Reed Hodge, who was aided by Japanese Governor-General Abe Noabuyki.
Hodge informed his troops that the Koreans were to be treated as the enemy. The Americans were not welcome in Korea and as the troops departed their ships, the Japanese occupation forces had to hold back angry Korean crowds to protect the American troops.
Koreans had suffered immensely under the Japanese occupation since 1910, had long fought for their independence and did not want more occupation. They fully expected liberation with the end of World War II and were well prepared for their independence. They had formed the Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence (CKPI) on August 15, 1945, the day Japan's surrender was announced. By August 28, 1945, all Korean provinces on the entire Peninsula had already established local people’s democratic committees, and on September 6, delegates from throughout Korea created the Korean People’s Republic (KPR).
There was no need for American intervention and the Koreans were more than willing and able to run their own country and chart their own course into the future. But, the U.S. considered Korea spoils of war and wanted to capitalize on its new asset.
On September 7th, the day after the creation of the KPR, General Douglas MacArthur formally issued a proclamation addressed “To the People of Korea.” The proclamation announced that forces under his command “will today occupy the Territory of Korea south of 38 degrees north latitude.” On the morning of September 9, General Hodge announced that Japanese Governor-General Abe would continue to function with all his Japanese and Korean personnel. Korea was not to be liberated after all but gradually transferred from Japanese occupation to American occupation.
The United States had decided to effectively colonize all of Korea as the spoils of war since 1943 but its plans were complicated when Russia entered the war against Japan and demanded part of Japan for their efforts. The U.S. gave Russia the northern half of Korea instead and thus Korea was divided against the will of the Korean people.
For the U.S. occupation to work it had to dismantle Korean's own democratic ambitions and so Hodge spent his first year suppressing the locally formed People’s Committees and recruiting Korean supporters of the Japanese occupation to support a new fascist regime.
Korea had long been a deeply divided society controlled by the land-owning elite who had collaborated with the Japanese and ruled over the peasants who made up most of the population. The peasants wanted freedom from oppression while the elite were eager to continue their collaboration with the Americans to retain their position of privilege.
By 1948, Hodge had a south Korean army in place which was led by officers who served in the Japanese Imperial Army. One of the officers, traitor Kim Sok-won, had been decorated by Japanese Emperor Hirohito for leading campaigns against Korean resistance fighters in Manchuria.
Hodge's new police force consisted primarily of former members of the brutal Japanese colonial police who were willing to continue to oppress Korean aspirations for liberty.
In 1948, the American occupation held sham elections which were boycotted by most Koreans. The U.S. installed Korean-American Syngman Rhee, who had lived in the U.S. for 40 years before returning to rule South Korea, where he was kept in power until April 1960.
In contrast, Russia took a mostly hands-off approach to North Korea and allowed the local committees to flourish. Soviet troops were gone by 1948. The North made significant strides towards development. Major industries owned by the Japanese were nationalized while Japanese collaborators were purged from official positions. While the North moved forward from 1945 to 1950, the South languished under American occupation and continued oppression. In partnership with Rhee, the U.S. built concentration camps, arrested hundreds of thousands and executed tens of thousands of Koreans who were unwilling to give up their dream of liberation.
A fact-finding mission in 2001 by U.S. Veterans in partnership with the Korea Truth Commission uncovered some of the grisly truths long hidden by the American and South Korean government. They visited numerous mass graves that had been previously kept secret and uncovered evidence of the use of American chemical and biological weapons used against entire rebellious villages.
Reunification of the North and South had been promised but was blocked by the United States because most South Koreans preferred the communist-leaning North and hated the fascist South Korean government. It even became illegal to talk about reunification in the South Korea and many were imprisoned, tortured and killed for merely promoting reunification.
A 1948 CIA report observed that Korea was deeply divided by a large grass roots independence movement manifest in the People’s Committees led by “communists who based their right to rule on the resistance to the Japanese” and a US-supported right-wing that monopolized the country’s wealth and had collaborated with Imperial Japan.
America's brutal approach made communist Kim Il-Sung a hero to most Koreans. He had been a prominent leader of the resistance to Japanese occupation and continued to lead the North towards independence and self-determination.
In the 1940s, the gross abuses of communism were not yet widely known, and the political philosophy offered hope to the long-oppressed masses, so it was understandable that many in South Korea would support communism and reunification.
America's response to South Koreans seeking liberty from oppression was to imprison, torture and kill enough of them to maintain control but by 1950, the tactics were no longer working and demands for reunification had grown to the point where the U.S. was starting to lose control.
By 1950 there were numerous border incursions by both sides as the North sought to support the resistance in the South and the South sought to eliminate resistance fighters fleeing to the safety of the North.
When North Korean troops entered South Korea on June 28, 1950 and captured Seoul, the U.S. started to ramp up a massive war against North Korea and those in South Korea who supported the North and reunification. The U.S. used its post WWII influence to convince other nations, falsely, that Russia was behind an invasion by North Korea and that communist expansion must be checked and thus obtained the blessing of the UN and support from Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, Ethiopia, France, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Sweden.
The truth was Russia had little or nothing to do with North Korea's efforts to liberate the South from American occupation. Russia and China only started to step in after the conflict escalated.
In the Autumn of 1950, General Douglas MacArthur ordered the Air Force to destroy “every means of communication, every installation, factory, city and village” from the Yalu River, forming the border between North Korea and China, south to the battle-line and his orders were carried out.
In 1984, General Curtis LeMay, head of the U.S. Strategic Air Force Command who led the bombing campaigns from 1950-1953, proudly admitted:
“So, we went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea anyway, some way or another, and some in South Korea, too …. Over a period of three years or so, we killed off – what – 20% of the population of Korea as direct casualties of war, or from starvation and exposure.”
America didn't just kill North Koreans by bombing, they also machine-gunned refugees as they fled from the bombing.
Many estimate the loss of North Korean life at 25% of the population, not just 20%. In comparison with the current U.S. population of 326 million that would be 81 million Americans killed by a foreign power.
The U.S. deliberately targeted all schools and hospitals and destroyed 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, 600,000 homes and over 8,500 factories. This created more than 6 million refugees.
As it became apparent that America could not break the resolve of the North Koreans not matter how many were killed and that China was going to continue its support, General MacArthur insisted that he be allowed to use atomic bombs and planned to drop between 30 and 50 atomic bombs across the neck of Manchuria, from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea — to create a belt of radioactive cobalt for at least 60 years so Chinese troops could not cross by land into North Korea to provide support.
The U.S. did not use any nuclear weapons against Korea but did drop more than 635,000 tons of explosives on North Korea, including 32,557 tons of napalm. Its destruction of North Korea was vastly greater than Germany during WWII or anywhere else previously.
When Truman denied MacArthur permission to use atomic weapons and it became apparent that North Koreans would not give up, the U.S. decided that a cease-fire was the most prudent action and an armistice was declared in July 1953 near the 38th parallel and a demilitarized zone surrounding it on both sides was established.
The U.S. violated the armistice in 1958 when it deployed nuclear weapons in South Korea, which were removed in the 1990s.
North Korea asked to enter into negotiations for a peace treaty to replace the armistice agreement in 2013 and 2016 but the negotiations did not take place due to obstacles placed by both sides.
South Korea pays about half of the cost of the U.S. military presence, even though it could provide its own defense for less.
One of the reasons that the U.S. sustains the conflict with North Korea is to justify having military facilities close to China. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system greatly reduces the effectiveness of China's nuclear deterrent.
NORTH KOREA TODAY
North Korea is very much a product of the United States. If the U.S. had not divided Korea then given the North to Russia, blocked reunification and imposed brutal dictatorships on the South, Korea would likely be a unified and prosperous democratic nation today.
The devastation of North Korea wrought by the United States did not destroy the nation but instead made it stronger in many ways. After 1953, it bounced back and developed rapidly but in a perverse way. The psychological, social and political development was greatly shaped in response to American, Russian and Chinese intervention.
The violent deaths of 25% of the population impacted the survivors not just on a deep psychological level but even on a genetic level. Studies have consistently shown that severe trauma can negatively impact DNA for generations.
The fact that the conflict continues means that the war lives on in North Koreans. Their culture is based on the war and an intense hatred for the United States that is continually fueled by the unending presence of U.S. troops and the frequent war games and threats from the U.S.
The continued threat and unresolved trauma make Koreans willing to put up with a brutal dictator, and for some, severe poverty and starvation.
To cope with the trauma, North Koreans have remained determined to defend themselves against attack at all costs. They know that the only way to ensure that the U.S. does not attack them again is to have a strong leader and to possess nuclear weapons. They are not going to give up their nukes no matter how severe the sanctions or the threats of violence.
Even without nukes, North Korea is a formidable foe. It is not the backwards and simple nation that most Americans believe it to be, because is it aided by China, Russia and other nations and is fiercely determined.
North Korea is heavily armed with conventional weapons and is believed to also have chemical and biological weapons. It may have material for up to 60 nuclear warheads and could be given more.
It has 70-75 submarines, some of which can carry nuclear missiles. Whereas the United States has no more than 70 submarines.
In 2015, South Korea reported that it was unable to track dozens of North Korean subs.
At 1.1 million soldiers, North Korea has the world's 4th largest standing army and when including reserves and paramilitaries it has the largest army by far.
Every North Korean is inducted into the military at age 18, but military training starts much earlier and is part of children's schooling.
North Korea's massive artillery is trained on South Korea's capital and largest city, Seoul. With a population of 25 million, millions could be killed quickly, especially if North Korea used nuclear shells.
North Korea does not need missiles to launch a nuclear attack on the United States, it could do so by merely shipping a bomb to a U.S. port in a shipping container. A single nuke detonated in the port of Long Beach could kill hundreds of thousands of people and shut down the U.S. economy. The bombing could be blamed on ISIS long enough to avoid immediate retaliation and launch more attacks.
North Korea has already demonstrated that its ballistic missiles can reach a high enough altitude for an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack. It could detonate even a primitive nuke as an EMP weapon and force large parts of the U.S. back to the horse and buggy era as the electro-magnetic pulse wipes out all electronic devices.
While testifying before Congress in 2015, Peter Pry, executive director of the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security — a congressional advisory board, warned that an EMP weapon would kill 9 out of 10 Americans “through starvation, disease, and societal collapse.”
North Korea is well prepared for a nuclear attack by the U.S. and has numerous deep underground bunkers and shelters. Even the Pyongyang subway doubles as a long-term fall-out shelter. But the U.S. is not at all prepared for an EMP or direct nuclear attack.
Because North Korean culture is based on hatred and fear of the United States, they expect to wage war with the U.S. and are prepared to sacrifice themselves in battle against their enemy.
No nation really wants to live under the constant threat of a military attack from another country and China is no exception.
The United States has long ringed China's East Coast with military bases in South Korea, Japan and the Philippines. U.S. Forces in South Korea are less than 600 miles (965 km) from Beijing and less than 250 miles (402 km) from China's closest city. American forces in Japan are only about 500 miles (804 km) from Shanghai.
While none of the bases close to China officially have nuclear weapons at present, the U.S. normally has up to 8 submarines patrolling the western Pacific with each sub equipped to carry 24 Trident II ballistic missiles. Each missile can carry up to five nuclear warheads for a total of nearly 1,000 nuclear war heads — more than enough to eliminate China. Plus, the U.S. has numerous ships and aircraft patrolling the western Pacific that could be carrying nuclear weapons.
In addition to pointing its weapons at China, the U.S. regularly holds war games in which it practices attacks against North Korea and China. The war games are simulated battles held at least once every year, with the next simulated attack against North Korea to be held this month on October 20. This year there have been war games with South Korea and with Japan and Australia. The U.S. hopes that New Zealand and the Philippines will join in future war simulations.
China does not like being continually menaced by the United States and would very much like to get the U.S. military off what it considers its front porch, just as the United States did not want Russia putting nuclear missiles in Cuba or anywhere else in its hemisphere.
As China has risen to power by becoming the world's manufacturer, it believes that it no longer has to tolerate U.S. aggression and has the right and might to remove the American menace from its neighborhood. It sees the United States as a financially, socially and politically bankrupt empire on the verge of collapse.
Like the U.S., China is arrogant and believes that its culture and political system is superior and is on a 100-year program to dominate the globe by 2049. The United States believes that it must counter China's rise and aggression towards its neighbors by flexing its military might. Some of China's neighbors welcome the American military presence in light of China's claims on their territory while others are starting to switch their alliance to China or appear to be more neutral.
Enter North Korea
China claims that it does not have much influence over North Korea and but in reality, it does. North Korea has been groomed over the decades by China and Russia to act as a barrier to American encroachment. If China wanted to unseat Kim Jong-un it certainly could have. Kim Jong-un has survived and thrived this long only with China's help.
It is highly likely that North Korea's nuclear weapons were developed with help from China, knowing that they would provoke a response from the U.S.
While China has been pretending to support sanctions against North Korea and has temporarily cut off much of its trade with the Kim regime, China has also made it clear that if the United States attacks North Korea then it will enter the conflict.
China is sensitive to world opinion and would only attack U.S. military installations if it could be reason ably justified in doing so. For it to be justified it needs Trump to launch an attack against North Korea.
So, while it publicly opposes North Korea's threats it likely supports them on another level so that it can take on the U.S. and at least reduce the American military presence in the western Pacific.
China's national bible is Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" and it adheres to the principal of "pretend to be weak, that your enemy may grow arrogant."
China pretends to be somewhat weak militarily but is suspected to have a massive secret military that is highly advanced.
Like the U.S., China and Russia keep their true military capabilities secret. American deep-black military scientists claim that U.S. military technology is decades ahead of what is officially acknowledged or publicly known. The problem is that China has stolen even the most advanced military technology from every nation, including the U.S., so the U.S. likely has little or no real technological advantage over China and in some cases, may be behind.
Previously intercepted shipments of Chinese weapons into the United States indicate that China already has stockpiled weapons in the U.S. for future use by Chinese living in America. China has also likely stockpiled weapons in Canada and Mexico.
The United States cannot defeat China in any type of non-nuclear confrontation and it is possible that China could even defeat American nuclear weapons before or as they are launched. China long ago demonstrated its satellite killing technology and likely has replicated Russian scalar technology that can detonate missiles as they are launched.
It is also true that while the full extent of China’s military technology is unknown, China does not need to use violent force to defeat the United States.
China has the world's largest and most capable cyberwar forces, with tens of thousands of highly effective hackers using advanced intrusion tools.
Many Chinese manufactured computers have secret back-doors built into the motherboard that give China control over the computers as needed. Operating Systems installed in China are likely compromised as well. Most computers and smart phones are made in China.
Some Chinese made telecommunications hardware and software is also designed to allow access and control by China's military.
In the early 1970s the United States military became aware that Russia was using psychics to access American military secrets and in response launched its own remote viewing program, which continues today.
Unlike the U.S., which recruits remote viewers from military ranks, China closely monitors daycares and elementary schools to identify children who are naturally psychic and then diverts gifted children into special training programs and its psychic warrior program.
China has developed the world's largest and most effective psychic (PSI) army that is capable of not merely accessing American military secrets but is also capable of remotely influencing key individuals. Combined with electronic mind control technology, Americans are at significant risk of being mentally influenced by China without their knowledge. China has not yet deployed its PSI-war capabilities against the U.S. but would likely do so in the event of a major conflict.
Access to Resources
China controls much of the world's rare-earth metals as well as iron ore, copper, aluminum, uranium and other essential metals.
It has a secure oil and gas supply through its own reserves and those of Russia, Iran and Venezuela. Plus, the country is rapidly switching to renewable energy and is becoming less reliant on fossil fuels.
With its massive manufacturing capacity, China can build the implements of war as needed, while the United States lacks the raw materials, manufacturing facilities and human resources necessary to sustain any type of conflict much beyond current military stockpiles.
China has 20% of the world's population but only 8% of the farmland, so currently imports a large portion of its food, but also manages to export a substantial amount. It has access to vast amounts of grain from Russia and could easily expand domestic production of fruits and vegetables and cut food exports.
China holds about $3 trillion in foreign currency reserves and has enough U.S. dollars to dump on the open market to cause the collapse of the dollar.
China could also sell its $1.24 trillion in U.S. debt at a discounted rate, which could induce other investors to try and dump their U.S. debt and make it impossible for the U.S. to borrow money from outside investors.
By stopping exports to the United States, China would cause a severe shortage of a wide range of goods and cause massive inflation as those products become scarce. The lack of spare parts could shut down some industries. The oil industry has already had problems with China buying up the patents to essential equipment and making spares hard to get. Combined with a massive devaluation of the dollar, the entire U.S. economy could collapse.
China has been planning for some time in the propaganda department and has been quietly expanding its world media presence.
Chinese film production has eclipsed Hollywood and many seemingly American films are produced by Chinese companies. Even America's highest paid actor, Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, partnered with a Chinese company for his movie "Baywatch". The film portrayed Chinese characters as sympathetic while the villain was Indian.
America's largest movie theater chain, AMC, is owned by China's Dalian Wanda Group and it can decide to only screen pro-China films.
The United States is widely considered the most hat ed nation on Earth. As bad as Kim Jung-un is, few people in the world would support an American attack on North Korea. China knows this and would use it to its advantage.
If Trump were to attack North Korea, America might find some of its friends turn a cold shoulder. NATO members may not actually come to America's aid as Trump imagines it would.
Because Russia also borders North Korea and has warned the U.S. against unilateral action against North Korea, it must also be factored into the North Korea issue.
Not long after Putin came to power he attempted to make friends with the United States and continued to hold out an olive branch but has been repeatedly rebuffed. By designating Russia an enemy, the U.S. has forced it to seek alliances elsewhere and develop an anti-America and anti-NATO position.
The recent rapid closure and search of Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States and killing of high level Russians in Syria through America's proxy Islamic terrorist militias has put the United States in an undeclared war with Russia.
While Russia is weaker economically than China, as the largest country on Earth and with vast natural resources, Russia has the potential for rapid growth and self-sufficiency. It does not have to maintain an amiable relationship with the U.S. or Europe to sustain its growth.
Because Russia has not fully bought into globalization it has not compromised its future by sacrificing its sovereignty to multinational corporations and international bankers, as the United States has done on a wholesale level.
Russia can risk an open military confrontation with the United States and possibly not suffer any grave long-term harm.
Russia is a very formidable military opponent and has highly advanced technology that the United States may not possess or have any defense against.
Russia claims that it has developed a new super-missile it calls the RS-28 Sarmat which can carry up to 16 nuclear war heads or 24 hypersonic glide vehicles and defeat America's anti-missile systems. It says that it will deploy the missiles next year but likely already has them deployed.
Back in the 1970s Russia demonstrated scalar weapons that could detonate American nukes as they are launched.
In 1967, a Russian flying saucer flew from Siberia into Shag Harbour in Nova Scotia, Canada, then traveled underwater to a highly sensitive NATO submarine listening station while a Russian submarine hovered nearby.
CONSEQUENCES OF ATTACKING NORTH KOREA
North Korea has been preparing to react to an attack by the United States for more than 60 years. Its 17 million people of fighting age are trained and ready to respond when called upon. It weapons systems are extensive and well manned.
If the United States attacks North Korea, it would likely launch missiles from what it considers a safe distance, and might not suffer much immediate dam age directly from North Korea. But the initial damage it could inflict would not stop North Korea from inflicting heavy damage on South Korea.
North Korea would likely launch an artillery and missile attack against Seoul and U.S. military installations near the border. It has over 15,000 cannons and missiles inside hardened underground bunkers, all pointed directly at Seoul and the many US military installations near the border with North Korea.
Seoul cannot be easily evacuated and many of its 10 million people would be easy targets. Casualties would be very high. A retired U.S. general said a Pentagon war scenario showed a conventional war with North Korea could result in about 20,000 deaths per day in South Korea. A single nuclear missile could kill hundreds of thousands.
North Korea has hundreds of anti-aircraft stations spread throughout the country and laser weapons capable of possibly defeating drones and some air-to-ground missiles, but these would not stop all American missiles.
If the U.S. attacks continue then North Korea might use its nuclear weapons, which would then draw a nuclear response from the U.S. and certainly draw in China and Russia.
If China responds it could take out American military satellites, disrupt ground-based radio communications and possibly gravitational and quantum communication systems, then it could target and eliminate select U.S. military facilities in the western Pacific.
Imports from China would be suspended, and China would likely use its financial muscle to crash the U.S. economy.
If China wanted to, it could launch an EMP attack against the U.S., blame it on North Korea and then offer to help the U.S. by providing the services our crippled government would be unable to provide. Then Americans would be the victim of foreign occupation and possibly even welcome it.
If North Korea, China or Russia don't react militarily it would still negatively impact the U.S. Even though Kim Jong-un has few friends and can garnish little sympathy due to his many crimes, the world is sympathetic towards North Korean citizens and most countries would not support an American attack against North Korea.
The U.S. economy would likely be affected, and the country might even find itself a target of sanctions.
There is no upside to an American military attack against North Korea. The U.S. can't stop North Korea's nuclear weapons program and an attack would be met with either severe military reprisals or a grave loss of international prestige.
RESOLVING THE CONFLICT
Starting in 1945, the U.S. inflicted a grave injustice on the Korean people and the injustice has continued. The wound has not healed and has been festering for more than 70 years. The wound desperately needs to be healed.
America was dead wrong to divide Korea and dead wrong to deny Koreans their liberty. By continuing the occupation and oppression of South Korea, America ensured that communism and the Kim dictatorship would thrive as an alternative to the brutal fascism it imposed in the South, even though the communism turned out to be more brutal in the end.
Compounding the damage by killing more North Koreans is not the answer and will certainly hurt Americans.
Imposing sanctions will also not resolve the issue. Severe sanctions are an act of war and will ultimately force North Korea to attack when all its other options are exhausted.
Mature and intelligent people apologize when they have done something wrong. They make things right and then move on.
The wrongs of Kim Jung-un do not negate or justify America's wrongs.
America needs to admit its crimes, sincerely apologize, pay some compensation, support reunification and then withdraw its troops from South Korea. South Korea can now certainly defend itself if need be.
The North Korean people are not bad. They are not really America's enemy. They are just people who want the war against them to end and have repeatedly asked for the menace of the annual war games and military threats to stop.
A sincere apology would heal the wound and ultimately defeat the Kim dictatorship. Without the fear and hatred against the U.S. the power of Kim Jung-un is greatly diminished.
Making America great again means ending senseless foreign military confrontations. Putting America first means focusing on the needs of Americans first, not war industry profits.
It is time to stop the insanity and move on. If we don't there will be a very heavy price to pay.