Back in July 2006 we published the Official Nuclear War Program for the Sea of Japan, if only so we could keep the players straight. It hasn’t changed much. The reason we published it on RoadDave was it is important to know the players, with any sport and planet-destroying nuclear war is certainly a sport. Perhaps one with more importance than the NCAA Finals. So here’s the players and a description of the field:
China: Has missiles, has nukes, has a big army that can kick ass and take names and submarines prowling the Sea of Japan. Most of their stuff is pointed at Taiwan.
Taiwan: Has mostly ground to air and anti-ship missiles along with a decent air force to protect it from invasion by China. The US has been the purveyor of fine weaponry of choice to Taiwan since 1948, so they have a lot of the good stuff. They don’t have nukes, but they do have submarines.
South Korea: Some of their own, but mostly US provided missiles for self-defense and a lot of effective artillery all aimed at North Korea. There is a sizable US military presence in South Korea, continuing the ‘police action’ along the 38th parallel with the South Korean army that ain’t too shabby. South Korea doesn’t have nukes, but there are couple of nuclear power reactors at Ulsan. South Korea also has submarines.
Russia: Has missiles, mostly aimed at China as well as an army that can kick ass and take names. Russia has nukes and submarines but we don’t talk about that.
Japan: Has missiles, but mostly shorter range air defense or anti-shipping missiles. They do have a 240,000 person self-defense force that has the A-List US gear. There are nuclear power reactors in Japan, but no nuclear weapons. Japan has submarines.
North Korea has missiles that work well enough. You don’t have to be terrifically accurate with nukes. North Korea has a massive standing army, with hundreds of artillery pieces pointed at South Korea. North Korea also has submarines.
United States: Has missiles that can deliver rounds into Kim Jong-un’s second floor bathroom window in Pyongyang from Aegis guided missile cruisers stationed in the Sea of Japan. The US has nuclear-powered submarines, with or without nukes, in the area. Rule of Thumb? If there’s an aircraft carrier, there is a battle group with it and CVN-74 (John C. Stennis) is at Changi Naval Base, Singapore while CVN-73 (George Washington) is at Yokosuka, a bit south of Yokohama, Japan.
Here’s the real danger, aside from all these people being armed. The Sea of Japan is not that big. You’ve got seven nations rolling around in an area of 997,980 square kilometers. By contrast, Lake Superior is 82,100 square kilometers and the Pacific Ocean is 165,200,000 square kilometers to put some perspective on it. Seven nations, rolling around with ships, submarines and aircraft, all with itchy trigger fingers, looking to get something going.
With that much gear bouncing around out there, the potential for a simple dumb accident is very high. Will a submarine driver for any of the interested parties make a mistake and bump into someone else’s submarine? Would the various governments manipulate that into a “provocative, unwarranted attack on a sovereign nation in the free and open sea.”?
Would that be enough justification to set off North Korea? China is twitchy at the best of times. The US is wound a little tight right now. North Korea might go off just so Kim Jong-un can say he’s not a Daddy’s Boy. Taiwan has their colour-code terror-threat Pez-dispenser pinned on red since 1948.
It won’t take much.