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North vs. South Korea: How Bad Could a War Get?

Another bit you should know. Seoul is in range of thousands of DPRK artillery tubes and missiles -- many of which are in hard-to-bomb mountain hideaways. It would take hundreds of aircraft sorties, and an untold amount of counter-battery fire, before Seoul would be safe again -- and the damage could take years to repair. An unprovoked attack at pre-dawn could serve up death and destruction unseen in any major city since World War II.

And I'm not even factoring in the possibility of the North kicking off the festivities with a nuke, because I like to sleep at night.

The Worse News

Yes, there's worse news. Now, I've written about a North Korean collapse pretty extensively, and going back seven years. If you don't want to go through the archives, just know this: it would be the biggest humanitarian crisis since The Flood, only with loose nuclear materials.

The Downright Scary News

So, yes, North Korea could seriously mess up the South, after which the North would cease to exist as an independent nation. And I believe that China would move to intervene in the DPRK long before ROK or U.S. troops (technically, UN troops) could get through the DMZ. Then what's so downright scary?

It's almost certain that the South could handle the North without much in the way of American help -- and a Chinese coup de grace would certainly bring hostilities to a quick end. (Let's assume that China would find it much more beneficial this time around to stop a Korean War than to enlist in one.) But: if President Obama did anything less than to order a full and immediate reinforcement of South Korea -- on land, sea, and air -- our other enemies and rivals would read much into such inaction. They might read too much into it, but they would read it just the same.

More importantly -- most especially -- is the message our allies would receive: that America is no longer a reliable ally.

Turkey has already de facto left NATO, in favor of rising Persian power. Obama has personally handed Israel its hat and coat, and shoved it towards the door. Britain has been insulted, India snubbed, and the French ignored. It wouldn't take much more to see what remains of our alliances blown apart. In fact, it wouldn't take anything more than the slightest wobble in dealing with a Second Korean War.

And as this administration continues to do little or nothing as "the risk of all-out war" reaches historical highs, the signal being sent is most un-American.

"Tread on Me."