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World War Three?

May 24, 2010 - Michael Palmer

Last week international investigators issued a report accusing the North of torpedoing the Cheonan corvette in March, killing 46 sailors in one of the deadliest clashes between the two sides since the 1950-53 Korean War.

The media is suggesting that the torpedo attack was most likely ordered directly by Kim Jong-il in retaliation for a naval skirmish last November that severely damaged a North Korean vessel.

That is not much to worry about, you say, they shot down a passenger jet and nothing happened then.

You may recall that World War I started when a Serbian terrorist shot an Austro-Hungarian archduke in Sarajevo, Bosnia, in 1914.

Check the press releases from North Korea and their leader Kim Jong-il and you see they strike a threatening pose.

?”April 21, 2003 -- North Korea calls on all its citizens to increase the country's defense capabilities, according to the state's official media. 'All officers and men of the People's Army ... always keep yourselves combat ready,' the KCNA news agency reports the North Korean military as saying. 'If enemies invade our inviolable sky, land and seas even an inch, destroy up the aggressors with merciless annihilating blows'. The Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Worker's Party of Korea jointly issue the call which was carried in Pyongyang newspapers.”

President Barack Obama has directed the U.S. military to coordinate with South Korea to "ensure readiness" and deter future aggression from North Korea, the White House said on Monday.

The North’s only real friend in the world is major trade partner China and they are urging calm.

So, will there be a war?  Not likely. North Korea's conventional armed forces and obsolete military equipment are no match for the US backed South Korean forces and according to most military analysts the victory will be as quick and decisive as in Iraq if the North wages full-scale war.

The military brass in Pyongyang are likely not as loosely wired as their leader and are well aware of the limits of their military.

Most experts in the field of nuclear weapons do not think it is likely that North Korea has any functional nuclear weapons small enough to place inside of a missile and this means that their antiquated soviet bomber forces are their main delivery systems and there is little doubt they will not get to the 38 parallel before being shot down.

With my nephew stationed on the West Coast in a rapid response unit of the Army, I am still not very comfortable.

There is still the risk that the confrontation could fuel armed confrontation and small-scale skirmishes along the border that, like in many other conflicts, could develop into larger battle.

If the North Korean Central Military Commission sticks to their always paranoid behavioral patterns and perceives the buildup of U.S. military forces on the peninsula as a sign of an imminent invasion, that also may cause Kim Jong-il to panic and hit the big red button on his desk.

Let’s all pray that he is not as crazy as he looks.



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