Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who would win a war between North and South Korea?

A nighttime satellite photo of the Korean Peninsula reveals the stunning gap between the modern South and the black hole that is North Korea. How can a country which can barely keep the lights on even think about starting a war?

"If the North starts anything, the North loses and I believe that firmly," said John Tilelli. Tilelli believes that based on his three years as the commanding General of the U.S. and South Korean forces.

It would be a contest of mass. The North Koreans have a million men under arms against the technology and training of 28,000 American and half a million South Korean troops. But the North Korean advantage in numbers would be quickly overwhelmed by U.S. reinforcements and airstrikes from as far away as Guam or as close in as submarines off the coast.

So what could the leaders of North Korea possibly hope to achieve in a war they know they cannot win?

"Their hope is that they can make the war so painful to the United States and South Korea that we will not pursue it to the end," said Joseph Bermudez who tracks the North Korean military for Jane's Defense Weekly. "They intend to employ chemical weapons, ballistic missiles right from the very beginning," Bermudez said. "If they feel threatened enough, they might even go nuclear. We're not sure."

Wars never go according to plan, but in the end the South would win and the North would lose, and it would be a disaster for all sides.

Read full CBS article

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