I was recently listening to the story of a North Korean defector that was born and raised in internment camp #14. Hearing about the horrendous conditions, the brutal treatment of people, and the enslavement of children for the crime of being born to the wrong people makes me wonder why.

Why is it that no one has stepped in and said enough? Why have no countries just said f-it and straight up wiped out the North Korean government? Why do Russia and China continue to protect it? What do they gain from this? It makes no sense to me.

Had I the power and influence right now I would gather people, supplies, and an army to not just invade North Korea, but completely wipe out it's government. It would be extremely expensive, but I think it can be done with the right people.

You would need a small army of doctors and nurses to help the citizens of North Korea. You would need to stockpile enough food to feed the country for at least a few years until crops and trade can be established enough to get it on its feet. You would need South Korean help to teach the entire population about the modern world. As well as reverse the indoctrination of its people. This plan would need housing for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, especially those in these camps.

My plan would also involve sneaking in multiple teams of special forces to start the surprise attack on North Korean leadership and take them out as quickly and quietly as possible so that they cannot rally the troops to their defense.

I think all of this could be done in the billions, maybe tens of billions of dollars range. But that is something that Europe and the United States could easily afford. These a human beings for Gods sake. I just don't get why world governments have been so cowardly.

This brings to mind an old saying: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Good men (and women) have been doing nothing for more than 50 years and it is high time that changed.

  • 5
    You may be rather over-estimating how easy it is to do this without getting tens or hundreds of thousands of south Korean civilians killed, never mind the military casualties on both sides and the post- conflict problems
    – PhillS
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 17:45
  • I'm not sure if it's close enough to be a duplicate, but this question is very related.
    – user5155
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 17:53
  • Maybe, and maybe that is the answer here. Even if you cut the head off the snake, it still has ways to bite. Even if the target is not the source of the attack.
    – Patrick
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 17:53
  • Such an attack, as I have suggested, would require a simultaneous destruction of their military infrastructure as well as the assassination of their leadership. It would be VERY hard to avoid the deaths of innocents.
    – Patrick
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 17:56
  • 2
    I'm not voting to close, but I did down vote due to the obvious lack of prior research. If you think it would be as easy as you wrote you clearly haven't looked into the history of the Koreas, or its capability. Plus the fact that Russia and China DO protect it and would certainly come to its defense.
    – RWW
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 18:16

2 Answers 2

  • Several powerful governments believe that sovereign states do have the right to organize their internal affairs as they see fit (the Westphalian principle, which helped end the 30 Years' War). Recent attempts to replace this with a Responsibility to Protect suffer from a rather uneven application.
  • North Korea does have nukes. What if they were to place one into a shipping container and send it to the US, or any other nation that leads a coalition to overthrow them? Is liberating North Korea worth a city?
  • Special forces raids are not remotely as easy as you seem to think when they are directed against a regular (if slightly outdated) army.
  • North Korea has Seoul under their guns.
  • My understanding is that their nuke program is still pretty limited and filled with flaws. Yes that is a concern, but one that can be mitigated.
    – Patrick
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 21:26
  • @Patrick, the guess is that they have the materials for a couple dozen, and their bombs can explode. Would you volunteer your hometown to test that proposition?
    – o.m.
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 5:24

Such plans were considered. E.g. supposedly OPLAN 5015 details of which were leaked in 2015 causing some outcry in South Korea.

Military leaders and lawmakers on the National Assembly Defense Committee have been quarreling for nearly a month over making public the new Korea-U.S. military operational plan.

The new military strategy, dubbed Operations Plan (OPLAN) 5015, calls for promptly hitting back after North Korean attacks through a preemptive strike on the North's core military facilities and weapons as well as its top leaders. It differs sharply with the old OPLAN 5027, which is based on retraction, realignment and striking back.

The emphasis of this plan appears to have been on "surgical" strikes.

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun says South Korea and the U.S.’s Operations Plan (OPLAN) 5015 includes many guerrilla warfare factors. [...]

According to the daily, OPLAN 5015 centers on special forces’ operations aimed at assassinating certain figures or destroying certain facilities. The daily said the operations plan aims to reduce the number of casualties and save costs of war.

The newspaper said the new war plan reflects the Obama administration’s intention to implement military strategies that are focused on local wars which center on utilizing unmanned aircraft and special forces.

It's not too clear if this is the same plan that Obama envisaged in 2016 in response to some further NK tests, but in Woodward's book

“The North Korean threat had not been diminished, and in September 2016 Obama posed a sensitive question to his National Security Council: Was it possible to launch a pre-emptive military strike, supported by cyber attacks, on North Korea to take out their nuclear and missile programs?” it said.

The Pentagon has reportedly devised plans to strike the North Korean leadership and key weapons sites, but fears of retaliatory strikes by Pyongyang on South Korea and possibly even Japan that would leave scores dead and likely trigger a larger conflict have flummoxed defense planners.

Eventually, Obama decided against such a strike, according to the book, after U.S. intelligence and the Pentagon estimated that about 85 percent of the North’s known nuclear sites could be attacked and destroyed and after taking into account a likely response by Pyongyang.

“The Pentagon reported that the only way ‘to locate and destroy — with complete certainty — all components of North Korea’s nuclear program’ was through a ground invasion,” Woodward wrote. “A ground invasion would trigger a North Korean response, likely with a nuclear weapon.”

The article/book goes on to say that Trump may have considered somewhat similar plans including elimination of the NK leadership:

Trump even asked Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to prepare plans for a pre-emptive strike. At least one of those options, the book said, resulted in military training for “indirect assassination” operations targeting the North Korean leadership.

  • All of these things seem to be more focused on disabling their nuclear capabilities. My concern and thought is towards how they abuse their people and the world stepping in to stop it. I realize that there is a certain amount of concern for not telling governments how they can operate within their own borders. Further I realize that it could be a dangerous precedent to assassinate a world leader directly (hence Gaddafi and others that were helped along by other countries). However, I think the current state of affairs also leads to more violence and mistreatment of citizens of all countries.
    – Patrick
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 21:25
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    @Patrick: I guess regime change isn't so popular after Iraq, the Arab Spring etc. And even before then... ‘gradualism’ was the name of the game (outside Europe) brookings.edu/articles/the-struggle-for-middle-east-democracy Commented May 9, 2019 at 7:31

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