Monday, December 3, 2012

Planning for the Future: Conditions of Combined ROK-U.S. Military Intervention in Potential DPRK Contingencies

For anyone who is interested in thinking about the unthinkable – north Korean regime collapse, I recommend adding this to the reading list.  Professor Bechtol is one of the few academics who looks hard at this issue and he is also unique because he brings an expert practitioner's background to the problem.

The Korean Journal of Defense Analysis
Vol. 24, No. 4, December 2012, 489–502
Planning for the Future: 
Conditions of Combined ROK-U.S. Military 
Intervention in Potential DPRK Contingencies
Bruce E. Bechtol Jr.*
Angelo State University, Texas, U.S.A.

This paper addresses the key concerns of a joint/combined ROK-U.S. military
operation in the case of a necessary contingency in North Korea. As such, it focuses
on the necessary military issues, some of the likely scenarios where these issues
would arise (there are simply too many to address them all in this paper), and the
likely political factors in South Korea, the United States, and the international
community that would be at play during this time period. China is likely to be the
“elephant in the room,” though diplomacy with Beijing will be key and the Chinese
are unlikely to agree to anything unless it is very clear to the world that North
Korea is obviously in the throes of collapse, civil war, or complete anarchy. Any
contingency operation into North Korea will be a very large, very expensive
operation. South Korea simply does not have all of the resources or the military
capabilities to carry out such an operation on its own—but it should lead any effort
to intervene in North Korea because ultimately this is a Korea issue. A variety of
factors, particularly the instability of the government, are likely to ultimately
bring about a catastrophe in the DPRK. When this happens, a unified Korea,
under a transparent democracy with its capital in Seoul, is the only viable option
for the Korean people.

Keywords: ROK-U.S. alliance, North Korean military, reunification, contingency
planning, North Korean collapse
(The entire 14 page paper can be downloaded from KIDA at this link)

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