North Korea should by all rights be a naval power. A country sitting on a peninsula, Korea has a long naval tradition, despite being a “shrimp” between the two “whales” of China and Japan. However, the partitioning of Korea into two countries in 1945 and the stated goal of unification —by force if necessary—lent the country to building up a large army, and reserving the navy for interdiction and special operations roles. Now, in the twenty-first century, the country’s navy is set to be the sea arm of a substantial nuclear deterrent.
I remember distinctly being stuck editing in a public affairs detachment’s CHU-based office space on Camp Victory in early 2009, a terrible trailer jammed with body funk, bad posters, and a decrepit dartboard, when one of the soldiers — a newly minted E-4, already calculating his future separation pay — started muttering about the war in Iraq, our war, and how to beat the terrorists and insurgents. “Just bomb them all, man,” he said. “Turn it to glass. Then send the armored cav through like lightning. We’re Americans. Let’s do this American-style.”