Troop deployments not always act of war

By Michael Lacy

Is there a war in our future?

Like the U.S., the Soviets are still continuing to research and deploy new conventional and nuclear weapons systems.

But will they ever be put to use?

The Soviets and the U.S. have been battling each other, usually through proxies, for decades.

In recent years, though, this battle has been escalating.

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the U.S. warned of Soviet designs in the Persian Gulf region.

Now, in the wake of the Iran-Contra affair, it has come to light that the Soviets have installed listening posts inside Iran to monitor activity in the Persian Gulf and Pakistan.

It would seem the Soviets are becoming real “buddy-buddy” with the Iranians.

That’s scary.

Equally scary, but not as well known, is the on-going tension between North and South Korea.

Divided at the 38th parallel, the relationship between the two countries is best described as a cease fire.

American soldiers consider the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to be one of the most dangerous places in the world to be stationed.

And they have good reason to be concerned.

Unbeknownst to most Americans is the fact that American soldiers stationed at the DMZ have been murdered by North Korean agents. The most famous incident was the 1976 axe murder of two American soldiers stationed at the 38th parallel. But there have been others since then, covered only in the back pages of our nation’s newspapers, if at all.

The DMZ is not the only place where tension is mounting to the breaking point, though.

While the South has improved its economy through agriculture and industry, the North has been playing China off of Russia to get what they can.

And they’ve gotten quite a lot.

Despite its less than prosperous economy, North Korea has the fifth largest army in the world, with 900,000 men under arms. The South has approximately 650,000 men under arms. With its ever-growing economy, though, the South will certainly, within the next few years, be able to outspend the North on defense without much financial sacrifice.

One would think North Korean leaders might attempt to secure their position on the peninsula through international relations. However, in October 1983, 17 South Koreans, many of them officials, were murdered in Burma’s neutral capitol of Rangoon. Burmese security personnel exposed the murders as the work of North Korean agents.

In November of last year, North Korean loud speakers along the DMZ played funeral music and announced that North Korea’s dictator, 74-year-old Kim Il-sung had died from gunshot wounds. After four rumor-filled days, however, Kim made a public appearance and put the rumors to rest.

It’s interesting to note, though, that Kim made a hastily scheduled visit to Moscow in late October, where, according to rumors in the Tokyo intelligence community, Mikhail Gorbachev reprimanded him for misusing Soviet aid. Also, just four days before Kim’s supposed assassination, all ranking diplomats in Peking are said to have been hastily withdrawn.

What actually took place during those four days is still not, and probably never will be known. But, on the basis of available evidence, it appears that there was an attempted coup instigated or supported by elements in the North Korean military.

Needless to say, this has all had a profound effect on the North’s international diplomatic status.

And with the 1988 Olympics being held in Seoul, it would seem that things are going to get worse before they get better.

In fact, they could get much worse.

Kim’s son , 45-year-old Kim Jong-il, the No. 2 man in North Korea, has promised his aging father that he would bring the South to its knees before his death.

Many Korea watchers feel that the North is just waiting for the chance to succeed at what they failed to do in the last war.

North Korea, however, has no realistic hope of ever winning a war against the South. The U.N. and SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Organization) nations would simply not allow it.

The only chance the North could possibly have of winning is if the South were already in shambles.

From this whole mess, one thing is obvious—The U.S. must commit more troops to South Korea. The U.S. must make it absolutely clear to North Korea that an invasion would be utterly insane.

The 40,000 troops already stationed there are not enough to do that.

If there was an invasion from the North and the South was over-run, the U.S. would most certainly be tempted to use nuclear weapons.

And that’s really scary.