The business of a New Korean War

Close-up of the statue of an American soldier pondering the dog tags of fallen comrades. The statue is part of a Korean War Memorial located in New Jersey.

"They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried." — Tim O'Brien, "The Things They Carried" (Photo Credit: CC BY/Jackie/Wikipedia)

According to some right-wing reports, there is speculation that President Obama – in light of falling approval numbers and pressure from Israel – may push for war with Iran. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen recently told “Meet the Press” that the Pentagon is in fact prepared to attack the nation bordering Afghanistan. However, such speculation may be premature. According to Front Page Magazine, war against North Korea is more likely. And from a modern business perspective, a New Korean War would be disastrous.

The coming of a New Korean War

Recent territorial clashes between North Korea and South Korea – as well as the sinking of the South Korean ship Cheonan – have drawn the United States into a fray that could easily lead to a New Korean War, suggests Front Page and other sources. Tensions are high, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s pronouncement that his nation is on “combat readiness” has caused a fall in stock prices. In a recent military broadcast, Jong-il stated that “We do not hope for war, but if South Korea, with the United States and Japan on its back, tries to attack us, (we) will finish the task of unification left undone during the…(Korean) war (in 1953).” That task of unification, according to the Associated Press, could include “powerful nuclear deterrence.”

Jong-il has also threatened violent retaliation if additional sanctions are placed on North Korea by the United States and the European Union, a move both nations have seriously considered.

The U.S. will protect its ally

UPI reports that a recent Angus Reid Public Opinion survey showed that more than half of U.S. adults expect a war between North Korean and South Korea soon. Less than half of respondents were opposed to U.S. involvement. The U.S. would almost certainly be involved if war were to occur on the Korean peninsula, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pledged on numerous occasions following the Cheonan incident that the United States will protect their South Korean ally in the event of hostilities.

Saber rattling and business chattering

American consumers, dealers and importers of products made in South Korea are very worried about the prospect of a New Korean War, reports The Detroit Bureau. Setting aside the potential for tragic loss of life on all sides and the United States’ arguable over-commitment in Iraq and Afghanistan, business numbers could also suffer. Hyundai, Daewoo, LG, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and a host of other big-box retailers would be severely impacted. South Korea’s economy would take a nosedive amidst the chaos of war, sending refugees into China who would be a severe drain on the Chinese economy. Dominoes would continue to fall, and the United States would not avoid the collision entirely.

America wants South Korean products

Considering reports that South Korean manufacturers are largely unprepared for the possibility of a New Korean War, shipping lanes would likely be shut down or severely impeded. Even with the North Korean military reportedly in shambles – although accurate information on such topics is difficult to determine with certainty – the impact of violent conflict would be felt. No new products or parts coming out of South Korea would make things difficult for the American market.

Sources:

Associated Press

The Detroit Bureau

Front Page Magazine

Real Clear Politics

UPI

U.S.-S. Korean war games a threat to peace, claims N. Korea

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