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Outside of the Middle East, countries are not spending much on their militaries these days. The US spends 3.87 percent of its GDP on the Pentagon, but many of the countries it defends spend less. For example, we hear a lot of speculation lately about the threat China poses to Taiwan, but Taiwan is only spending 2.3% of its GDP on the military (and China is spending only 1.9%). South Korea is spending 2.7% of its GDP to defend itself and Japan only 1.0%).

From the CIA’s World Factbook:

Rank, Country, % of GDP, Date of Information
1 Oman 8.80 2019
2 Saudi Arabia 7.00 2020 est.
3 Algeria 6.00 2019
4 United Arab Emirates 5.70 2016
5 Eritrea 5.10 2017 est.
6 Israel 5.00 2019
7 Kuwait 5.00 2020 est.
8 Djibouti 4.90 2017 est.
9 Jordan 4.70 2019
10 Armenia 4.30 2019
11 Lebanon 4.20 2019
12 Azerbaijan 4.00 2019
13 Pakistan 4.00 2019
14 Russia 4.00 2020 est.
15 Uzbekistan 4.00 2018
16 Yemen 3.98 2014
17 United States 3.87 2020 est.
18 Iran 3.80 2019 est.
19 Bahrain 3.70 2019
20 Iraq 3.50 2019
23 Singapore 3.30 2020 est.
27 Ukraine 3.00 2020 est.
28 Cuba 2.90 2018
33 Korea, South 2.70 2019
35 Greece 2.58 2020 est.
37 United Kingdom 2.43 2020 est.
45 Georgia 2.30 2019
46 India 2.30 2020 est.
47 Poland 2.30 2020 est.
48 Taiwan 2.30 2020 est.
49 Vietnam 2.30 2018 est.
51 Australia 2.20 2020
53 France 2.11 2020 est.
61 Turkey 1.91 2020 est.
62 China 1.90 2019
80 Germany 1.57 2020 est.
81 Brazil 1.50 2019
90 Canada 1.45 2020 est.
94 Finland 1.40 2020 est.
97 Hungary 1.33 2020 est.
104 Afghanistan 1.20 2019
107 Egypt 1.20 2019
110 Rwanda 1.20 2019
120 Sweden 1.10 2020 est.
121 Japan 1.00 2020
123 Philippines 1.00 2020 est.
145 Switzerland 0.70 2019

Even Armenia and Azerbaijan, which went to war recently, were spending only a little over 4% of their GDPs.

 
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  1. anon[293] • Disclaimer says:

    Remove hot air from US, GDP defense/offense spending accounts for 57%.

    • Agree: BB753
    • Replies: @BB753
  2. I would be curious to see a graph with %GDP on the x-axis and dollars on the y-axis.

  3. anonymous[122] • Disclaimer says:

    Well, Steve, Jewish Isrealis have largely completed their conquest of Palestine now. The subjugation of the native population there by the Jews has been the source of most of America’s wars and other violence abroad in the past three decades.

    Now, if their correligionists elsewhere could just get over their obsession with Russia.

  4. Anon[261] • Disclaimer says:

    2020 was Trump.

    Biden will bring US back to #1 and start the bombs when he gets around to it. Too busy right now pissing on the bill of rights though.

  5. Whiskey says: • Website

    I would encourage skepticism from anything emanating from the CIA.

    Ask yourself, is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other emirates more or less secure from attack by Iran?

    Less. The Iranians have even sent drone strikes against refineries and pipelines. That seems certain to escalate.

    India. Is India more or less secure from the Chinese who have ambitions to take the Himalayan Watershed and use it in China?

    Less. The Indians and Chinese fought a mini war up on a glacier last Summer. Seem prepping for that now.

    Taiwan. Is it more or less vulnerable to attack and conquest from China. Less, obviously.

    South Korea, is it more or less vulnerable to attack and conquest from North Korea. Obviouly, it is more vulnerable than before. Given the Chinese umbrella over North Korea and China owning Biden. And son of big guy.

    South America seems in a down cycle, for now, in insurgencies. Africa is by contrast on an up cycle, with rebellions (and US troops) in: Chad, Mali, Niger, the Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia (Tigray), Western Sahara, Libya, and probably a bunch of others. Their spending is likely to be more small arms and transport but its likely up and also likely off the books.

    Southeast Asia? Everyone is scared of the Chinese, and is building up their military: Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia in particular. Japan is having a build up, they have a whole bunch of new naval vessels and new fighter planes. Off the books no doubt.

    Ukraine, they certainly seem ready for a fight with Russia. Which is also ready for one. China spends a LOT on their military, and almost none of it is on the books.

    None of this passes the smell test. And its from the CIA. Always wrong, never in doubt.

  6. J.Ross says:

    How many of those countries depend on military Keynesianism and the army as a jobs program?

    • Replies: @216
  7. Anonymous[176] • Disclaimer says:

    The funniest people are those hyperventilating that China is somehow going to invade North America and occupy the entire continent.

    Please get a grip.

  8. @Dr. X

    But Angell was right that 20th Century War would be disastrously unprofitable.

  9. 216 says: • Website
    @J.Ross

    Eritrea…err…America

  10. @Steve Sailer

    But Angell was right that 20th Century War would be disastrously unprofitable.

    Are you sure it wasn’t profitable for the United States, up until, say mid-century or after? Didn’t it destroy the British Empire but also give rise the the “post-war” American Empire and the prosperity therein from which you and I benefitted?

    Isn’t this another “who/whom” thing? Didn’t your father’s employer profit from the Cold War, and from the various hot wars that ate up airplanes and men, while my father’s company was making pipe and building materials?

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  11. Altai says:

    You have to keep in mind the US maintains vast air, sea and land forces in addition to subforces that would constitute armies of their own like the marines. In addition to a heavy deployment schedule overseas and overseas bases. Not to mention the cost of it’s vast nuclear arsenal and general R&D for new weapons systems. And a lot of military assets come in discrete chunks that may not be viable at a particular scale or budget. US military spending is insane.

    Most countries are also defending against a single probable war scenario and so will tend to invest in a way to best fight it rather than assets which are of little use. For example, the Armenian government came under criticism for it’s purchase of some air superiority fighters from Russia in 2019 given that it could only afford so few that they would be effectively useless (In any event there is debate as to whether Armenia actually had yet bought and received any missiles or bombs for the planes) against Azerbaijan and constitute a blow to Armenian morale and boost to Azeri morale if they were deployed and subsequently shot down. (They sat out the war) Investing that money into more artillery or even anti-material sniper rifles would have been much more worth it.

    As a counterpoint, several countries are now building large aircraft carriers. Historically there have been plenty of lulls before rearmament. The locus of industrial warfare in the 20th century, Europe, has seen it’s great powers enter a situation where war between any combination of them is unthinkable and undesirable. However, meanwhile, in the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and East Asia…

    But right now the very same neoliberal world order that has proven so fatal to the West is also largely suppressing any large scale warfare or logic for large scale warfare for a variety of reasons.

    • Thanks: Neoconned
    • Replies: @Twinkie
  12. anon[254] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    The funniest people are those hyperventilating that China is somehow going to invade North America and occupy the entire continent.

    Please get a grip.

    Have you checked the make up recently of United States universities and of the higher end occupations in the country?

  13. I can’t work out if these percentages include payments made to Washonton for stationing US forces. For example, Japan stumps up 70% of the cost of US forces based there, which may or may not put them above the 1% of GDP spent on their own forces as stated.
    South Korea and Germany pay around 30-40%, not sure if that changes their overall figures.

    https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160530/p2a/00m/0na/017000c

  14. @Anonymous

    The existential threat to Americans is overwhelmingly from the elite establishment of America.

  15. epebble says:
    @Anonymous

    China is somehow going to invade North America and occupy the entire continent.

    They have done it spectacularly, without firing a shot or sending a soldier.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_India_Company

  16. We could always go to war with ourselves. This analysis shows that Democratic states would have a higher GDP, while Republican states would have more men under arms:

  17. Polistra says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    The scary thing is how the blue stuff is creeping up everywhere. What with felon and immigrant voting, not to mention the influx into formerly and currently red states of blue staters fleeing the mess they’ve made of places like NY and California…

    All that’s going to be left is the Deep South and the upper mountain states. Well, Georgia’s already tipped, hasn’t it.

  18. [#]48 Taiwan 2.30 [%] 2020 est.

    They’re going to have to do a whole lot better than that if they want to reclaim all the land and water they feel entitled to.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  19. Check this out.

  20. anonymous[201] • Disclaimer says:

    This is why CIA and the American media are working hard to kick up all the fear and loathing on China-Russia-Iran, so all their neighboring countries will keep buying more weapons from the US.

    America’s Military Industrial Complex (which includes msm their propaganda machine, esp. thanks to the internet) is working hard to keep the fear and hate alive around the world, it’s good for business.

  21. Twinkie says:
    @Altai

    As a counterpoint, several countries are now building large aircraft carriers.

    Though it should be pointed out that only China is really building a fleet capable of large-scale power-projection and area-denial.

    Other “middle powers” (such as South Korea) building aircraft carriers are doing so for very limited purposes: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2021/02/22/South-Korea-discloses-plans-for-light-aircraft-carrier/8711614012160/

    Seoul said the warship would carry vertical or short takeoff and landing jets and respond to various security threats at sea. The project is the first of its kind for the South Korean military, according to the report.

    The 30,000-ton light carrier will have the capacity to transport troops and equipment and potentially serve as a command ship of a maritime unit. The protection of South Korean citizens in the event of disaster overseas would be a chief objective of the new warship, the military said. Last month, South Korea deployed a warship carrying the Cheonghae Unit to the Persian Gulf after Iran seized a Korea-flagged commercial tanker.

  22. Twinkie says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    As you well know, these claims are fantasy. RoC’s claim to Taiwan itself is not recognized by international organizations and most countries of the world.

    • Replies: @The Plutonium Kid
  23. The US should lead the world at 0.1%.

  24. Twinkie says:
    @Whiskey

    South Korea, is it more or less vulnerable to attack and conquest from North Korea. Obviouly, it is more vulnerable than before.

    That’s hilarious.

    South Korea’s military spending is about 3.5 times greater than North Korea’s. The former has been modernizing its forces at a rapid clip and is now a top five or top ten military power in the world. Meanwhile, much of North Korea’s military hardware is obsolescent and poorly serviced. North Korea’s leadership realized decades ago that it could no longer hope to match South Korea in conventional forces combat power and has invested instead in… nuclear weapons.

  25. Anon[229] • Disclaimer says:

    For example, we hear a lot of speculation lately about the threat China poses to Taiwan, but Taiwan is only spending 2.3% of its GDP on the military (and China is spending only 1.9%).

    I’m not sure % of military spending really matters here.

    If anything, it seems to me that the fact that most Americans don’t care about Taiwan or Ukraine and that both places are quite remote from the US is why they could easily trigger a major war involving the US.

    Another thing I’ve heard is that Chinese takeover of Taiwan would allow Chinese subs to slip into the oceans without being detected by the US, and that therefore the US will intervene militarily to defend Taiwan.

  26. @Reg Cæsar

    I suspect the Blue States’ GDP will take a downturn without the Red States to create the underlying economic production for their derivatives.

  27. unit472 says:

    Worth remembering the United States in 1960 spent 10% of GDP on Defense and had over 3,000,000 MEN under arms when our population was only 180 million. Defense spending was over 50% of all Federal spending and somehow we had good schools, a new interstate highway system and the economy was growing at 4% or better per year.

    What we didn’t have was massive third world immigration and an out of control negro population that must be subsidized.

  28. @Twinkie

    Yeah, and if North Korea dropped atom bombs, they would really only be targeting Japan and wherever the largest concentration of American soldiers in Korea are.

    This is why both are working to form a kind of…condominium. It’ll take time though till the US is out, and the local elites have reshuffled themselves and purged the old-school Atlanticists.

    • Replies: @Not Only Wrathful
  29. El Dato says:

    The US spends 3.87 percent of its GDP on the Pentagon

    So one might possibly say people get drafted ~14 days of the year to work for the military-industrial complex w/o pay.

    Still that’s not a meaningful figure (in particular, because GDP is not a meaningful figure, being artificially inflated by double counting and whatnot).

    15% of outlays is what is meaningful.

    Whereas 46% are on social security.

    30% of the outlays go onto the credit card, btw.

  30. War has been on the decline for decades. The world is becoming more peaceful and placid. What little action that occurs is mostly done by special forces, drones, air, etc. That stuff requires more money, but is infinitely more effective than the kinds of soldiers UNZ readers seem to think will fight future wars. Consider that a Russian private army of 200-300 was completely wiped out by less than 10 US special forces guys in Syria.

    There’s never gonna be a major war like the alt-right is lusting for (which is rooted in a kamikaze desire for violence and destruction after failing to successfully alter the world they hate).

    I think it’s funny how the alt-right is constantly complaining about soy boys, low birthrates, etc, and at the same time predicting war.

    If you think the youth of USA, China, Russia, etc are going to abandon video games, skateboards, sex dolls and hentai to serve as shock troops in a global war, you are retarded. If you think they are the least bit motivated for war, just turn your computer off, please.

    The young people don’t want to fight your wars, it’s not even within their capabilities. They don’t want to get wiped out by the big dick special forces guys, blown up by a drone strike, etc. They don’t give a flying fuck about your nationalistic ideological bullshit.

    There’s never going to be another major war. There will never be large numbers of troops being used for anything again. The 20th century completely exhausted mankind’s potential for aggression, and this is how the next century begins.

    We’re taking a good long break now, conservatives. Enjoy it! :–)
    (And remember that a special forces band of just 10 brothers can annihilate every gun owner in America).

  31. Dumbo says:

    As Ruanda proved, you can make a war and kill millions just with machetes and stones. To think that there’s not going to be war no more because of some GDP spending correlation is stupid. That’s just because it’s probably cheaper to bomb and murder these days than it used to be. Only high IQ “fools” like Steven Pinker would think about “better angels of our nature”. Also, if the bankers want, there will be war.

  32. @anonymous

    ‘Well, Steve, Jewish Isrealis have largely completed their conquest of Palestine now. The subjugation of the native population there by the Jews has been the source of most of America’s wars and other violence abroad in the past three decades…’

    You overlook the fact that Israel needs to wage war not for concrete ends, but as a device to maintain national identity.

    For all the disparate groups making up Israeli Jewry to continue to act as a nation, there has to be an ‘enemy at the gates.’ Absent hostility, there can’t be an enemy. Therefore, the war must go on.

    Hence Syria. Hence Iran.

  33. It should be obvious why the countries of the world are spending less on their militaries. Sub-replacement fertility, rising home values, pop music, everybody on their phones… These types of countries don’t go to war, either offensively or defensively. They might talk a big talk, but behind all that rhetoric is a frightened, shaking chihuahua.

    The U.S. is the exception of course, since it had already inherited its status as the world’s dominant military power and already had a highly professional military. US can use its special forces to intimidate and even invade and occupy other people’s countries at a moment’s notice.

  34. @Twinkie

    However, China may not care very much that the rest of the world doesn’t recognize their claim if they think they can get away with a quick grab.

  35. “There hasn’t been a war since the Iraqi thing. Everybody decided.”

    “No one’s going to the mattresses this day and age.”

    It does make you wonder about Taiwan, and other countries near China. Are they feckless? Do they just have that much faith in Uncle Sam? Or are they not nearly concerned about Chinese aggression as we think?

    In Taiwan’s case, of course, they might not need much of an army anyway.

  36. Do you think the Chinese are lying, or do they get more bang for their buck? I would imagine the latter. Most US expenditure goes to lining the pockets of Generals and Colonels turned board members and managers of defence contractors and armaments manufacturers.

  37. @Whiskey

    China has mostly Sionophile, friendly regimes installed in Southeast Asia. Why would they need to spend more? Certainly not because of their patron, but because ZOG likes to get involved in places like Myanmar.

  38. There’s a war just around the corner (next 6 weeks?) in the Donbass, there are reports (in Russian media, but that’s at least on par with US media for truthiness) that a freighter unloaded 350 tons of US arms at Odessa a couple of weeks ago, and that two USAF C15s landed in Ukraine last week delivering more kit.

    I assume the idea is to use drones/smart stuff to do to the Donbass what Turkish kit did to Nagorno-Karabakh quite recently, then, when the Russians intervene, to announce Iran-level sanctions and stop Nordstream 2 just as it’s being finished.

    John Softwood – “the 20th century completely exhausted mankind’s potential for aggression” – LOL. It’s true that a call for mass armies wouldn’t be very popular, and conscription would result in a huge number of New Americans deciding that they weren’t as American as all that, but I see no shortage of aggression in this world.

  39. @JohnPlywood

    The Marine artillery and Air Force flight crews who did the actual killing in Syria would like to have a word with you.
    Also, why isn’t Afghanistan pacified if our SOF are so effective?

    • Replies: @JohnPlywood
  40. How much of the Israel number is from the US?

  41. @Reg Cæsar

    In the big picture the Blue State are Rentiers, the Red increasingly Renters.

    A Two State Solution would look very different in ten years.

    (Lots of caps in just two short lines Huh?)

  42. Arclight says:

    Unfortunately, the military industrial complex is such an important part of DC’s ecosystem that we’ll be spending 3%+ in perpetuity. Too many people’s livelihoods depend on it, and too large a share of our political class still fervently believes in expeditionary wars/strikes in the name of some twisted kind of morality.

  43. There’s never gonna be a major war like the alt-right is lusting for (which is rooted in a kamikaze desire for violence and destruction after failing to successfully alter the world they hate). The young people don’t want to fight your wars, it’s not even within their capabilities. They don’t want to get wiped out by the big dick special forces guys, blown up by a drone strike, etc

    1. The Alt-Right are anti-war, Steve Sailer has been a consistent opponent of “endless Middle Eastern wars” for nearly 20 years.

    2. It is precisely the advent of drones, nukes, robots bio-weapona etc that make major military conflict more likely, as no need for a long labour intensive build up and the war ould well be over by sun down.

    3. Abrupt Climate Change and Robot Process Automation will make alot of people miserable. That could lead to desperate measures.

    4. All this talk of The End of War is a bit like The End of History. You have a bad case of premature expostulation.

    4. Lose the knee jerk sneer at conservatives. It makes you sound like an idiot.

  44. Blodgie says:

    Well someone has to pay for all the second homes, F150s, bass boats and golf club membership for the Hero Class!

    We are such suckers to venerate these careerist Try Hards

  45. @anonymous

    My speculation on this is that the Israelis and their supporters all over the US MIC aren’t really concerned with any one country as an enemy. They want to keep permanent American military presence in the Middle East to handle any serious threat to them in the region. It helps to keep the old wars going and start a few small new ones, small enough so that most Americans don’t care, but enough to require carrier groups and air bases to remain.

  46. @Whiskey

    Southeast Asia? Everyone is scared of the Chinese, and is building up their military: Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia in particular. Japan is having a build up, they have a whole bunch of new naval vessels and new fighter planes. Off the books no doubt.

    Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia could spend 10x the money they do on the military and it wouldn’t do a damn bit of good if China decided to pound them.

  47. @Steve Sailer

    That’s why China would never attack us. That is ridiculous, suicidal lunacy, not even worth a bad Hollywood remake of Red Dawn.

    They do want to isolate us by winning over all the third world countries we alienate with our incessant World War T preaching but they want us to remain rich enough to buy their crap.

    • Agree: Not Raul
  48. aninymous says:

    Realistically, there will have to be one more war, in which the US junta gets its ass kicked. Their defeat will have to be sufficiently thorough to permit war crimes trials and lustration. The scope of the trials will need to include the crime of aggression, use of banned biological weapons up to and including SARS-COV-2, illegal war propaganda, coercive intervention, and, w.r.t. the universal jurisdiction law in Rome Statute Articles 7 and 8, just throwing the book at them.

    https://www.icc-cpi.int/resourcelibrary/official-journal/rome-statute.aspx

    Fortunately, these guys are on it. It will do us Americans a world of good.

    https://niqnaq.wordpress.com/2021/04/08/an-interesting-interview-and-a-cartoon/

    Dibs on John C. Woods’ job! Any patriotic American would pay Big Bucks for the privilege of giving Burns’ and Cohen’s pencil necks the two-inch drop.

  49. On the one hand, the U.S. probably gets a lot more for our buck in terms of development of military technologies which migrate into the civilian sector (i.e., the internet, GPS, trauma surgery advances) than anyone else on the board.

    On the other hand, the Military Industrial Complex has become deleterious to the continued existence of the American nation and a major part of the permanent State with its own policies insulated from democratic input.

    Additionally, many of those with higher rates of defense spending are U.S. client States which purchase hardware from U.S. defense contractors anyway. So, if you’re looking at the U.S. as an Empire, that spending by client States (probably not all that significant in absolute dollars save for a few like Saudi Arabia etc.) is really just part of our own War Machine.

    • Agree: Sam Malone
  50. @Achmed E. Newman

    My speculation on this is that the Israelis and their supporters all over the US MIC aren’t really concerned with any one country as an enemy. They want to keep permanent American military presence in the Middle East to handle any serious threat to them in the region. It helps to keep the old wars going and start a few small new ones, small enough so that most Americans don’t care, but enough to require carrier groups and air bases to remain.

    My speculation is that the long term strategy of ARE GREATEST ALLY is to create balance in the region by stoking relatively minor conflicts among its neighbors and itself for the purpose of preventing some sort of effective Pan-Arab alliance which could represent an existential threat to it by conventional military means.

    If you recall, after the First Gulf War Saddam Hussein made overtures to both a Pan-Arabism and Islamism (Hussein added the Arabic script “God is the Greatest” to the Iraqi flag at the conclusion of the War, breaking from the Ba’athist tradition of secularism). After this, and upon the opportunity presented ten years later by the 9/11 terror attacks he was removed from power and executed by the successor U.S. proxy government.

    Iraq is much less functional now as a regional Arab power having descended into sectarian struggles for power and therefore presents a much diminished conventional military threat to the Israeli State, but on the other hand is a much more fertile grounds for the incubation of international Islamist terrorists. I think we need to come to the realization that the Israelis see functional Arab State adversaries as much more threatening to it than Islamist terrorists, whereas the U.S.’s interests are reversed. Nevertheless, we pursue the former policy in the Middle East (see, for example, the U.S. in Syria).

    • Replies: @anonymous
  51. Dmon says:

    (and China is spending only 1.9%)

    Umm, China is spending 51.9% on their military.
    http://congressionalresearch.com/98-197/document.php

    “The PLA’s diversification into increasingly civilian profit-making business originated
    with late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s military and economic reforms. In January
    1982, Deng articulated the 16-character “Military-Civilian Combination Policy,”
    (“military-civilian unity, peacetime-wartime unity, priority for military production, use
    civilian production to support the military.”) In addition, the Commission of Science,
    Technology, Industry for National Defense (COSTIND) was created in 1982 under the
    Central Military Commission (CMC) and the State Council to integrate the civilian and
    military sectors of research and development, and production.1”

    This doesn’t even consider the degree to which they leverage US R&D spending via espionage, bribery and outright corporate greed.
    https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2003-mar-06-fi-boeing6-story.html

  52. Rob Lee says:
    @JohnPlywood

    That special forces band of just 10 brothers will not be annihilating every gun owner in America… they ARE the white gun owners of America. Just who do you think comprises that band of nastily-effective special forces? Maybe it’s time for Steve to publish that photo of Tiger with his heroes again. Once they become non-white and female, they’ll no longer be effective and the white hunters in rural PA will wax them proper without a sweat.

    I know this for a fact, as I’m raising two of them myself, right now – and I’m raising them to be particularly nasty, albeit polite (“Be absolutely nice and respectful to everyone you meet – and be prepared to instantly kill them”) and if they don’t have access to their guns, you damn well better believe they’ll have you by bow and arrow or knife.

    This is why I chuckle when I read the disconnect in your post and in the media in general. “Gun owners will never be able to fight the US military…!” Guess what? The best military fighters ARE white. The military fat baggage are not. Figure it out.

    • Replies: @JohnPlywood
  53. I think it’s generally accepted that China’s official numbers are way lower than the real figure, though.

  54. @Twinkie

    South Korea, is it more or less vulnerable to attack and conquest from North Korea. Obviouly, it is more vulnerable than before.

    That’s hilarious.

    It’s silly to dismiss the Nork threat to ROK on the grounds that ROK is buying expensive whizbangs from U.S. defense contractors.

    Which of those whizbangs repels a sustained conventional rocket attack on Seoul and a Soviet style “quantity has a quality all its own” total war invasion by NK? And the circumstances that would motivate NK to launch such an attack are probably dire enough for its command to justify loosing its nuclear arsenal too – if not directly at ROK, then against any regional adversaries (i.e. Japan) or U.S. territories that its missile technology can reach. Why not go all in if you’re the Norks?

    If you’re the ROK the goal can’t be to merely prevail from a catastrophic attack by NK, which would be an utter disaster. Dick swinging because the ROK has technology that wouldn’t be especially effective against its true threat isn’t a serious approach.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
  55. @anon

    Have you checked the make up recently of United States universities and of the higher end occupations in the country?

    Yeah I’m sure these nerds with their pocket protectors are just itching for their chance to manually overpower big strapping Nebraska farmers and Texas cowboys, in their quest to actually physically occupy the entire continental US (all 3+ million square miles). And maybe they’ll use some magical slide ruler kung fu to disarm the 70+ million gun owners in this country.

    In the words of the previous poster, please get a grip.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @JMcG
  56. El Dato says:

    File under: “Voulez-vous dancer avec moi?”

    Spot the electro-doggo spotted in french military spot test!

    French military tests the robotic dog Spot in combat drill, Boston Dynamics tells media it had no idea

    Somehow there is some kind of moral panic about seeing these silly bots used in warfare. This coming from a civilization which has enough plutonium in silos to perform whole biosphere wreckage several times over and which is building more.

    I hate people.

    Also, file under: “This was your last warning. Idiot!”

    If Zelensky launches a full-scale war in Donbass, Russia will intervene & it will mean the ‘end of Ukraine’, warns key Putin aide

    “I support those assessments that exist within Ukraine that the start of hostilities is the beginning of the end for the country. This is a self-inflicted shot, a shot not in the leg, but in the temple,” Kozak said, noting that Kiev has refused to come to the table to negotiate peace.

    Might result in a meeting of old acquaintances

  57. guest007 says:

    Go back and look at the number of countries that manufactured main battle tanks. fighter aircraft, destroyers in 1950 versus today. Most countries do not really have the manufacturing capability to support its own military. And if one is purchasing for other countries, then one only has a military to resist neighboring countries from invading or to suppress internal decent.

    The real way to analyze a country’s military is how far can a country project its military.

  58. @Twinkie

    North Korea’s leadership realized decades ago that it could no longer hope to match South Korea in conventional forces combat power and has invested instead in… nuclear weapons.

    That’s the key. If it is able to inflict a Nagasaki and Hiroshima-style attack on Korean cities, creating so much chaos and equipment destruction that ROK is unable to respond, it could unify the peninsula. It would be a re-run of what happened during the Korean War, with nukes taking the place of T-34’s, and a second strike capability against the continental US deterring the implicit threat of an American response. The calculation would be summed up as – is the White House willing to trade DC for Pyongyang?

  59. peterike says:
    @JohnPlywood

    There’s never gonna be a major war like the alt-right is lusting for

    There’s some major projection for ya right there, folks. Where is this alt-right war lust of which you speak?

    I think it’s funny how the alt-right is constantly complaining about soy boys, low birthrates, etc, and at the same time predicting war.

    Predicting war isn’t the same as “lusting” for it.

    There will never be large numbers of troops being used for anything again.

    The Neocon military buildup in Ukraine begs to differ.

    We’re taking a good long break now, conservatives.

    Which is why after four years of peace under Trump, Joey Depends is banging the war drums in multiple locations.

    I don’t know if you’re just Larping as a Liberal. But if you really believe the stuff you say, I have to ask: what’s it like seeing the entire world upside down and backwards?

    • Agree: HammerJack
    • Replies: @Not Raul
    , @JohnPlywood
  60. @Achmed E. Newman

    “aren’t really concerned with any one country as an enemy”

    They are concerned with all of them. It’s a bit like the way Britain, for 400 years, opposed “the strongest and most dominating power on the Continent”, whether that power be Imperial Spain, Napoleonic France or the Kaiser’s Germany.

    The one big difference is that Israel has nukes and US support, so can go around sinking Iranian or Syrian ships, bombing infrastructure or shooting people on the streets of Beirut or Tehran with impunity. The UK couldn’t (and to be fair to them maybe wouldn’t) have done that.

    Middle East countries closely tied into the US (Saudi, Egypt) have little to fear from Israel because they wear the US muzzle and are relatively harmless. But woe unto the country with a functioning, organised government, as there will be much effort put into making said country a disorganised basket case.

  61. @anon

    Have you checked the make up recently of United States universities and of the higher end occupations in the country?

    The 2.5% of the population that holds more than 50% of the executive and higher level positions in Wall Street/banking/fed reserve, media, entertainment etc., have done far more damage to this country then the Chinese even dare to dream about.

  62. @Redneck farmer

    Afghanistan is pacified and democratic. Also, along with Iraq one of the lowest casualty invasions and occupations in modern histoty (for the occupiers).

  63. @Rob Lee

    What a moron. Special Forces guys are white but they aren’t gun owners. They’re highly educated and skew Democrat, and will blow your kids to smithereens with a stinger missile the moment they break one of Biden’s gun laws. They are loyal to the FedGov, not the paranoid schizophrenics.

    • Replies: @Not Raul
    , @Rob Lee
  64. Anonymous[199] • Disclaimer says:

    From a strictly realpolitik standpoint, war in the Ukraine and Taiwan is in the US interest. Because at this point, war breaking out in those 2 areas is the only thing that will provide the US with enough political capital on the international stage to allow it take steps in Europe and the Asia-Pacific to maintain its geopolitical edge.

    If war breaks out in Ukraine, it gives the US the political capital to have greater influence over Western Europe, consolidate NATO, to go after the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, etc.

    If war breaks out in Taiwan, it gives the US the political capital to consolidate its military position and allies in the Asia-Pacific, to take more aggressive economic actions against China, etc.

    Without the specter of war, Russia and China are consolidating and entrenching their energy and trade links with other countries across Eurasia, weakening the US’s geopolitical position.

    So war is likely to happen in one of these major hotspots, sooner rather than later.

    • Disagree: The Wild Geese Howard
  65. anonymous[224] • Disclaimer says:
    @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    the long term strategy of ARE GREATEST ALLY is to create balance in the region by stoking relatively minor conflicts among its neighbors and itself for the purpose of preventing some sort of effective Pan-Arab alliance

    Their general MO everywhere is to seed division and to attack manifestations of group solidarity.

  66. Art Deco says:
    @anonymous

    The subjugation of the native population there by the Jews has been the source of most of America’s wars and other violence abroad in the past three decades.

    Thanks for the witless fantasy. Been an education.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  67. anonymous[224] • Disclaimer says:
    @fredyetagain aka superhonky

    Have you checked the make up recently of United States universities and of the higher end occupations in the country?

    Yeah I’m sure these nerds with their pocket protectors are just itching for their chance to manually overpower big strapping Nebraska farmers and Texas cowboys, in their quest to actually physically occupy the entire continental US (all 3+ million square miles).

    Whites have just tipped into minority status in the United States, and it didn’t take very long at all.

  68. JMcG says:
    @fredyetagain aka superhonky

    There is zero chance of a Chinese invasion of the US. No need really, they have most of the good bits already.
    But the Chinese gave the USMC and USA all they could handle around the Chosin Reservoir 70 years ago.
    We severely underestimated Japanese capabilities before the Second World War as well.

  69. For the case that war, especially between developed nations, has declined (for now), see Professor Azar Gat’s excellent book The Causes of War and the Spread of Peace:

    For an entertaining and perceptive re-evaluation of the Cold War and deflation of current fear-mongering about Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, terrorism, etc. etc., see Professor John Mueller’s recent book The Stupidity of War:

  70. Firefinga says:

    Western Nations (=NATO) is simply running out of personell for the military. Birth rates in steady decline, and the young more and more plagued by bad health conditions lead to problems regarding filling the ranks. Also, using high-tech equipment isn’t a way out of this dilemma, since operating high tech gears can only be done by intelligent and highly skilled personell, which is also harder and harder to find. Certain sociological/psychological factors also come into play (“post-heroic”-age etc).

    • Replies: @JMcG
  71. Art Deco says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Didn’t it destroy the British Empire but also give rise the the “post-war” American Empire and the prosperity therein from which you and I benefitted?

    Neither war did any of these things.

    The United States was a comparatively prosperous country in 1870, with a per capita product trailing only that of Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. Per the Maddison Project, total output in the United States exceeded that of every country in the world other than Manchu China and British India at that date.

    You add the output of British India to that of the British Isles and its looks impressive. The thing is, the capacity of a country with Britain’s resources to hold on to a large portfolio of overseas dependencies was contingent on local populations remaining politically unmobilized. That did not prove to be the case for Britain in India or France in Indo-China or France in Algeria. (And much of the overseas territory they controlled after 1895 was in Tropical Africa and not all that productive).

    Note also that per capita product in France and Britain had returned to pre-war levels by 1922 and 1927 respectively after the 1st World War. After the 2d world war, they’d both returned to pre-war levels by 1949. They weren’t prostrate economically.

    And there was no American Empire. We had some dependencies, but > 90% of the population we maintained in overseas dependencies was in the Philippines, which was never intended to be a permanent possession. Also, you cannot attribute post-war prosperity to our politico-military dominance, as comparatively rapid growth was to be found in every occidental country w/o regard to their politico-military position and found in Japan as well.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Buzz Mohawk
    , @JMcG
  72. Some historical context on military spending from Azar Gat’s War in Human Civilization:

    During the eighteenth century, the state budget of Britain, the European leader in this regard, absorbed about 10 per cent of the total GNP in peace years, doubling to 20 per cent in wartime, when the large majority of the budget went to military spending. Government spending further increased to 30–40 per cent of the total British GNP during the Napoleonic wars. During the mostly peaceful nineteenth century (1815–1914), public spending again declined to just over 10 per cent of British GNP, with military spending falling to less than half that amount, more or less as had been the case during the peace years of the eighteenth century. Spending patterns in the other European great powers were roughly similar. Indeed, although registering some increase, military spending retained these modest levels even during the supposed ‘arms race’ between the European powers in the decade before the First World War. American military spending was much lower than in Europe, except during the Civil War. The more industrial North is estimated to have spent 18 per cent of its GNP on the war effort, whereas the estimate for the South is even higher: 25 per cent. These Civil War levels of military expenditure indicate an upward trend, in line with the increase registered by Britain earlier in the century, but are still far below the levels of the World Wars. Thus in the unsettled debate of whether or not the Civil War constituted the first ‘total war’, the obvious answer is that it stood half-way in that direction.12

    Indeed, during the twentieth century, public spending in the developed countries steadily grew to around 30–50 per cent of the GNP, mainly to finance expanding social services. Military spending fluctuated widely, depending on the level of international tensions and the special circumstances of the various powers. During peace years (the vast majority of the time for all the great powers), military spending generally retained the same, surprisingly resilient, levels as in earlier centuries: over 5 per cent of the GNP for the USA during the Cold War; around 3 per cent for the European countries. Therefore, contrary to oft-voiced concerns, military spending did not ‘spiral’, but generally kept in line with the overall growth in GNP. However, during the two World Wars, military spending of the warring great powers leaped to some 80–90 per cent of overstretched public spending, as during wartime in the eighteenth century, only now amounting to around half of the total GNP, sometimes more. Thus the share of wartime military spending out of the total GNP tripled from some 15 per cent for the leader (Britain) in the eighteenth century (already high in historical terms) to around 50 per cent in the twentieth century, over and above the fantastic surge in total GNP. Not only did the entire pie expand dramatically, but the slice of it allocated to wartime military spending also grew. Again, this amounted to an overall absolute increase in the wartime military expenditure of advanced powers by a factor in the range of 150–360 compared with pre-industrial times.

  73. A related phenomenon is to consider the extent and duration of conscription, which, at least according to Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, has been in decline:

    Another indicator of war-friendliness is the size of a nation’s military forces as a proportion of its population, whether enlisted by conscription or by television ads promising volunteers that they can be all that they can be. Payne has shown that the proportion of the population that a nation puts in uniform is the best indicator of its ideological embrace of militarism.164 When the United States demobilized after World War II, it took on a new enemy in the Cold War and never shrank its military back to prewar levels. But figure 5–20 shows that the trend since the mid-1950s has been sharply downward. Europe’s disinvestment of human capital in the military sector began even earlier.

    Other large countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, and China, also shrank their armed forces during this half-century. After the Cold War ended, the trend went global: from a peak of more than 9 military personnel per 100,000 people in 1988, the average across long-established countries plunged to less than 5.5 in 2001.165 Some of these savings have come from outsourcing noncombat functions like laundry and food services to private contractors, and in the wealthiest countries, from replacing front-line military personnel with robots and drones. But the age of robotic warfare is far in the future, and recent events have shown that the number of available boots on the ground is still a major constraint on the projection of military force. For that matter, the roboticizing of the military is itself a manifestation of the trend we are exploring. Countries have developed these technologies at fantastic expense because the lives of their citizens (and, as we shall see, of foreign citizens) have become dearer.

    View post on imgur.com

  74. Anonymous[164] • Disclaimer says:
    @Art Deco

    The United States was a comparatively prosperous country in 1870, with a per capita product trailing only that of Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.

    How did the population and production of so-called “slaves” figure into the numerator and denominator of that statistic?

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  75. @Art Deco

    Thank you, Art, for your interesting reply, nothing of which goes contrary to my point, which is that the big wars of the 20th Century were profitable for Americans and damaging for some others.

    Not only was the US growing and prosperous by the late 19th Century, but there is ample observation from that era and before that things like literacy and quality of life here were above those of the old countries for ordinary people.

    Of course Americans have had it good. They have had a continent-wide land of resources protected by two oceans. That is not my point, and your comment deceptively implies that I was somehow saying that we were poor before the world wars. My point is, as you damn well know, that those wars ramped up our production and led to global dominance, lend-lease, and the dollar as the world’s currency.

    Things went from good to great.

    That is the American Empire to which I referred, and you either knew that and were practicing Talmudic masturbation/argumentation, or you were being dense and Aspergery. Did you really think I was saying that the US had real colonies around the world, as the British did?

    This country was languishing in the Great Depression with ineffective, watered-down, socialist programs and federal government growth of power. WWII lit a fire under it and that fire is just now dying out. Europe was decimated, and half of it was given over to Stalin.

    Your clever statistics about productivity in European countries flies in the face of the experiences of actual people, some of whom I have known, who lived there during those times. They were rebuilding and getting back on their feet, while my parents and their generation here were driving around in canary yellow Lincolns. (My parents had one, the first car I remember.)

    Again, I appreciate your reply, but it goes against the spirit of my original reply to Steve, which was simply to say that the wars of the 20th Century were “berry, berry good to me” as an American.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    , @Reg Cæsar
  76. Not Raul says:
    @JohnPlywood

    The most famous special forces commander of my lifetime, Admiral McRaven, certainly seems to skew Democrat.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/navy-seal-voted-for-joe-biden-mcraven-2020-10

  77. In related news, the first test flight of an American hypersonic weapon has failed to to launch:

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/40064/broken-arrw-air-forces-first-hypersonic-missile-fails-during-inaugural-test

    I’m not surprised. From personal experience, I can state that Lockheed is no longer Kelly Johnson’s Lockheed.

    • Replies: @epebble
  78. Rob Lee says:
    @JohnPlywood

    Lol… dammit! I got frogged in by Tiny Duck and I should have known better!

    *SIGH* You got me. For a quarter second there I thought you were serious and I shouldn’t have fed the troll. That one’s on me.

    You’re good to go, Duck. When it all does go down, I definitely want you as the fool in my court.

  79. Art Deco says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    the big wars of the 20th Century were profitable for Americans and damaging for some others.

    I have no clue how you fancy I gave evidence of that. The United States was a prosperous country before, during, and after the world wars. The wars did not generate that prosperity and the country actually suffered economically during the period running from 1918 to 1922. Nor was there a long-term advantage gained from the wars. Production per capita had returned to the long-term trend line in Britain, France, and Germany by 1959.

    My point is, as you damn well know, that those wars ramped up our production and led to global dominance, lend-lease, and the dollar as the world’s currency.

    Again, no. Both the dollar and sterling were used as reserve currencies during the Bretton Woods period, for what that was worth. As for ‘ramping up our production’, the growth in per capita product over the period running from 1914 to 1959 was as follows:

    Britain: 62%
    United States: 97%
    France: 115%
    Germany: 135%
    Italy: 135%
    Japan: 140%

    This country was languishing in the Great Depression with ineffective, watered-down, socialist programs and federal government growth of power. WWII lit a fire under it and that fire is just now dying out. Europe was decimated, and half of it was given over to Stalin.

    Per capita product in real terms was in 1941 13% higher than it had been in 1929. Given the performance of the economy over the period running from 1885 to 1929, that’s about what you’d have expected had we had ordinary business cycles during those 12 years. Our growth rate in per capita product over the period running from 1933 to 1939 ranked fourth among occidental countries; Germany’s was the only major economy growing faster than ours.

    That is the American Empire to which I referred, and you either knew that and were practicing Talmudic masturbation/argumentation, or you were being dense and Aspergery. Did you really think I was saying that the US had real colonies around the world, as the British did?

    ‘Informal empire’ is a nonsense concept.

    Your clever statistics about productivity in European countries flies in the face of the experiences of actual people, some of whom I have known, who lived there during those times.

    They just contradict your thesis. Build a better thesis.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  80. @Art Deco

    Germany’s was the only major economy growing faster than ours.

    Indeed it was. Chew on that, Mr. Deco.

    And have a nice day. 🙂

  81. @Firefinga

    .

    Are you implying that Mx. Plywood’s issues are menstrual?

  82. @peterike

    Wow, this kid doesn’t have a clue. Troop buildup in Ukraine? The US has almost no troops in Ukraine and there are fewer there than there were in 2019:

    https://www.armytimes.com/2020/09/14/rapid-trident-20-exercise-kicks-off-in-ukraine-with-fewer-us-troops-than-last-year/

    Commenting online is easy when you make up your own reality. Lay off the PCP, fucko.

  83. @Buzz Mohawk

    This country was languishing in the Great Depression with ineffective, watered-down, socialist programs and federal government growth of power. WWII lit a fire under it and that fire is just now dying out.

    As the opposition said at the time, “Fighting Fascism abroad in order to impose it at home.”

    They were rebuilding and getting back on their feet, while my parents and their generation here were driving around in canary yellow Lincolns. (My parents had one, the first car I remember.)

    The two are connected. Europe and Asia attempted suicide, leaving the Americas without competition for a couple of decades. That bubble was over by the time of the “Hungry? Eat your import!” bumper stickers. (Possibly the worst marketing campaign in history.)

    We were still under the 1921-24 immigration legislation, which retarded imported– and impoverished– growth for some time, as did the family reunification policy in the 1964-5 legislation, which favored Europeans at the start.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  84. Art Deco says:
    @Anonymous

    The slaves were manumitted in 1865. And ‘per capita’ means ‘per capita’.

  85. Art Deco says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    The two are connected. Europe and Asia attempted suicide, leaving the Americas without competition for a couple of decades.

    Again, war reconstruction was complete in all west European countries by 1959. Japan by that date was as affluent as it had ever been.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  86. JMcG says:
    @Firefinga

    The Coast Guard (!) just announced a temporary policy of allowing two-year enlistments due to difficulty in getting recruits. Free tuition while serving and New GI Bill included.

  87. JMcG says:
    @Art Deco

    Thanks Art, very surprising that France recovered from the Great War faster than did the UK. I would not have thought that.

  88. @epebble

    The U.S. Air Force Just Admitted The F-35 Stealth Fighter Has Failed

    Wow…that’s hard to believe they went official…

    I feel like the unofficial confirmation came when the AF signed a contract for 144 F-15EX models:

    https://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft/detail.asp?aircraft_id=2308

    • Replies: @epebble
  89. @Art Deco

    Again, war reconstruction was complete in all west European countries by 1959.

    Depends on what you mean by “complete”.

    Benedictine Abbey at Monte Cassino, 1964.
    Würzburg Cathedral, 1967.
    Frauenkirche, Nuremberg, 1991.
    Pompejanum, Aschaffenburg, 1994.
    Dresden Frauenkirche, 2005.

    Also, the fact that the Marshall Plan filled in the potholes by 1960 hardly means they were ready to compete in the American market.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  90. anonymous[688] • Disclaimer says:
    @Art Deco

    The subjugation of the native population there by the Jews has been the source of most of America’s wars and other violence abroad in the past three decades.

    Thanks for the witless fantasy. Been an education.

    Beirut, Kuwait, Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen. Have I missed one?

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  91. Art Deco says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Depends on what you mean by “complete”.

    It means that production per capita had returned to long-term trend lines. Have a look at the net growth rate in that metric between 1867 and 1913 and then between 1913 and 1959.

    Food rationing in Britain ended in May 1954. That in Germany ended in January 1950 (except for sugar).

    Also, the fact that the Marshall Plan filled in the potholes by 1960 hardly means they were ready to compete in the American market.

    The Marshall Plan transferred $17 bn to western Europe over a period of four years (1948-52). If I’m reading the Maddison data correctly, the nominal domestic product of western Europe was about $280 bn per year ca. 1950. The Marshall Plan aid would thus amount to about 1.5% of nominal gdp per year, or perhaps 8% of their annual investment.

  92. Art Deco says:
    @anonymous

    No, you’ve given me a specific delineation of your fantasies. Israel has had some involvement in Lebanon’s disorders. Not in any of the others.

  93. Jiminy says:

    I’d like to see Biden walk up to Putin and slap him in the face with his glove and challenge him to a duel. That’s how it should be done. No more wars. Biden at twenty paces, turns around and forgets what he’s doing there.

  94. @Boomthorkell

    The South will remake the North. The stronger China gets, the more Korea will be pushed together and towards the US and Japan.

    China wants the current separation and autocracy because it is the only way they have of maintaining control over part of the peninsula.*

    Unless China is happy to give a share of China to Korea and Koreans, this is all an inevitable outcome of realpolitik.

    * That “control” is only exercised in the negative. China can stop a rapprochement with the South, but only for so long. At some point the North Korean elite will pick the wellbeing of their people over theirs fears of their people’s revenge.

    Just because you are americano-sceptic, it doesn’t mean you should idealise the other. The other, in this case, is an extremely ruthless and increasingly sophisticated state that scares its neighbours straight into American arms.

    Just as the mediocre fish in the mostly incompetent pond (Iran) does so in the Middle East.

  95. @Not Only Wrathful

    * That “control” is only exercised in the negative. China can stop a rapprochement with the South, but only for so long. At some point the North Korean elite will pick the wellbeing of their people over theirs fears of their people’s revenge.

    I doubt it.

    The NORK elite is stuck where they’re at. They’re not likely to exercise their current level of privilege in a united Korea. And because the Euros decided it would be a good idea to exercise victor’s justice in the form of an International Criminal Court with universal jurisdiction to enforce vague concepts of “human rights” it’s not likely that you could negotiate a cushy exile in the West for the NORK elites.

    And at a certain point you have to ask whether the South will want to bear the social and economic costs of reunification with a destitute North Korea full of starving people without saleable skills.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    , @nebulafox
  96. BB753 says:
    @anon

    Remember the time on 9/10/2001 when Dick Cheney said there were 2.3 trillions missing in the Pentagon? Luckily, the next day strike against the Pentagon destroyed both the docs and accountants keeping tabs on the matter.

  97. Twinkie says:
    @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Which of those whizbangs repels a sustained conventional rocket attack on Seoul and a Soviet style “quantity has a quality all its own” total war invasion by NK?

    ROK and USFK have extensive counter battery capability. It won’t take long for Nork tubes to go dead. Yes, Seoul will get hit some, but it has a large subway system that can shelter people from arty strikes. The low end estimate for civilian casualties is in few hundreds.

    Any Nork mechanized drive through the Uijongbu corridor will run into a massive anti-armor trap. After 48-72 hours of interdiction by ROKAF and USAF/Naval Aviation, the mobile element of the Nork army will be destroyed or abandoned. It will look like the highways to Basrah c. 1991.

    Norks won’t use nukes. That’d be the death of the regime and all regime-supporting elements.

    It’s silly to dismiss the Nork threat to ROK on the grounds that ROK is buying expensive whizbangs from U.S. defense contractors.

    Nork equipment is largely obsolete or obsolescent. They don’t have the fuel and spare parts to mount any sustained operation. Their training is virtually nil. ROK doesn’t just have expensive equipment it buys from the U.S. – its military is highly trained and capable. It produces (and exports) major weapon systems such as aircraft and armor. The disparity between the two forces is astoundingly large. There is a reason why North Korea went all-in on the nuclear and ballistic missile capability.

  98. Twinkie says:
    @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    And at a certain point you have to ask whether the South will want to bear the social and economic costs of reunification with a destitute North Korea full of starving people without saleable skills.

    South Koreans do not want reunification. They got a taste of the escapees from the North (who used to get generous resettlement subsidies from ROKG) and they don’t want anymore.

  99. nebulafox says:
    @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Coming out of retirement for this sole comment, because North Korea is an excellent example of how our elites can be pretty parochial underneath the heavy-handed cosmopolitanism…

    For those in the know, the North Korean regime internally subscribes to an ideology of racial supremacism. As we all know, according to Our Betters, Being A Racist is the worst possible thing you can be. Hence on the odd occasion when China’s internal behavior manages to override financial concerns to let loose a squeak of annoying NGOs stamping their feet on the ground, it is about how deeply *racist* the policies about the Uighurs are rather than the human beings themselves, or the ideology which can spawn such policies. It goes without saying that Being A Racist is certainly worse than being a concentration camp-using mass murderer (or a child molester or opoid pusher, if our own elite’s behavior is any indicator), any secondary concerns like that.

    But I digress: anybody who is racist is therefore not only deplorable, but plainly irrational. Probably medically sick. After all, how can you be racist and rational? Our elites have stamped their foot and made their opinion clear, peasants! In their mental universe, that dictates reality, much as anybody who critiqued the Soviet system in the 1970s clearly needed psychiatric help.

    Except, of course, that’s exactly what the Norks are. You don’t survive being Kim Jong Un back in 2011 if you are irrational or stupid, whatever your other faults. Kim Jong Un’s actual policies, behind the propaganda, do not at all indicate someone out of touch with reality. They indicate someone who wants to keep the regime alive, and sees the route to doing that as involving a certain degree of private enterprise (correct), diversifying foreign policy options (astute), and exploiting the reality that most young South Koreans care about games and soaps a lot more than the DPRK (bingo).

    So, there are two possibilities. Either I’m right… or we all clearly need help and maybe some injections. I’m sure you can guess which one our elites think. As a general question, beyond this topic: what is it with modern culture-America or elsewhere-and the insistence of conflating morality with sanity or intelligence? They are not the same thing.

    >And at a certain point you have to ask whether the South will want to bear the social and economic costs of reunification with a destitute North Korea full of starving people without saleable skills.

    Even if we leave out the fact that people who remember the Korean War are, like WWII, a dying breed, you have to remember that the two Germanys had a level of continuous contact throughout the Cold War. People in the East and West could contact each other and keep in touch in a way that just wasn’t true in Korea.

    And East Germany was a relatively developed, sane place on Communist standards: think an atheistic rump proletarian Prussia, complete with militarism. It had a particularly sinister, at least on European standards, secret police with a penchant for psychologically breaking people, but there were no famines creating a stunted generation, no Yodoks or people being set on fire in stadiums. North Korea’s trajectory of isolated hellhole totalitarianism with most Warsaw Pact regimes is really an apples vs. oranges comparison.

    Re: Twinkie’s comment: your average defector in the South who is my age is physically stunted thanks to the 90s famine. You know who they are, same way as you know who is an illegal immigrant (no better than being a slave, way they are treated in Chinese urban society: they are completely at the mercy of whoever employs them) from the countryside in a Chinese city’s subway stations. Many speak a language that makes him or her sound like he just emerged from the 1950s. Many suffer from PTSD, an understandable reaction to their previous lives. Plenty of women get-or are forced-into the sex trade in China. Some stay there in the South. Needless to say, this does not help their health, physical or mental, or integration into society.

    Most of them are pitiable people whose only sin it was to be damaged by their genuinely twisted government. But that doesn’t mean South Korean taxpayers should be obligated to fork their lives, and probably their grandchildren’s lives, over to absorbing 22 million of them. Ossis, these people are not. And even all these years later, I can vouch for the fact that East Germans above a certain age are still easily distinguishable if you talk to them, especially about politics.

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