So here we go!
USA vs North Korea
Or should that be the United States of American against the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea? It's not a great start for the USA - the DPRK is already one-up on the abbreviation stakes. Although I always find it somewhat amusing that the countries who have very long names, and get all exuberant about being republics, or mention their people etc tend to be the least democratic.
You also couldnt really find two countries with more conflicting policies and ideologies. The USA, the home of the American dream is the spiritual home of capitalism. A nation where freedom is expounded as a virtue and wealth and money is admired. North Korea, one of the final enclaves of Communism is pretty much the complete opposite. The state runs the lives of her people, equality is promoted widely and freedom in the American sense of the word is frowned upon.
And yet, with all of the resources and technology behind her, the US could be underestimating the Koreans. Sure the Americans have the money, the weaponry, the aircraft - and probably the support of the rest of the western world. But do they have the unquestioning devotion, and obedience that the personality cult of Kim Jong Il promotes?
And what of those other rogue states that Korea could request aid from? Would Cuba retaliate? Would Hugo Chavez follow his barrage of words with action? Don't forget Iran, a sudden flare up in the middle east would force the Americans to commit troops there as well - and would inevitably spill into Afghanistan. And then there are all of those nukes in Pakistan. Just lying there. Waiting. For anyone strong enough to come and take them. In a traditional, conventional war these countries would probably struggle to hold their own, but what if the current slide in US and Russian relations is more symptomatic? The Russians could field more of a traditional fighting force.
Russia, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea and the US. Suddenly there are a hell of a lot of nuclear arsenals floating around. And something tells me that Kim Jong Il lacks the restraint shown by Kennedy and Khrushchev.
But enough speculation - lets get down to the results!
I would have thought it obvious by now - if the North Koreans took on the Americans, neither side would 'win' - no the outright winners are...
They have kept quiet throughout the tournament, silently watching and waiting to pick off the big fish. With the Americans out the way (or at least distracted) the Chinese could unleash their massive population and equally massive economic and military strength.
The rapid expansion of the Chinese economy has already forced them to start looking outside their own borders for raw materials and new markets. An economic colonizations of Africa is already in full swing but at some point even that will not be enough to assuage her seeming unquenchable appetite. Her veto at the United Nations would prove useful too...
I think it might be time to see if I can book myself into some Chinese lessons...