One downside of MO is that measuring the impact was nigh impossible. Incoming mail was intercepted and edited. A recurring theme was that equipment shortages on the front were caused by strikes and by the failure of ally Germany to provide promised equipment. Contrasts were drawn between American and Japanese soldiers. Many of the latter had been away from home for years.
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Rumors were a major MO weapon. The Soviets were massing hordes of Cossack troops to sweep down from Manchuria, led by a Japanese-hating field marshal who longed to invade and gain revenge for a past defeat.
The Japanese Communist Party had , members ready to join the Soviets. A former U. One of Ms. Postwar, Ms. She died in Manage Newsletters. Click here for reprint permission. Click to Read More and View Comments.
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Click to Hide. Even if the United States has no plan or strategic intent, or even thought, about firing nuclear weapons, Pyongyang is likely to calculate that it does or at least that it might. Washington may well know that it is not going to fire these weapons, but it has a hard time convincing North Korea of this. The reverse holds too. Regardless of North Korean or Chinese strategies, plans, intent, or thinking, the United States will worry about a crisis in a different way because of nuclear weapons.
But, the opportunities for blackmail in a nuclear context are greatly increased today. It is often said that nuclear blackmail does not work. It may well fail. But, a country that tries it can cause disaster. Technology can make a difference, and this is important to underscore in the current era. Suppose North Korea gets a hydrogen bomb.
Compared to the ten to 20 kiloton bombs it now has, a hydrogen bomb has an enormous lethal radius of destruction. If it landed on Seoul or Tokyo, it would kill at least hundreds of thousands of people. That North Korea could develop a hydrogen bomb is hardly implausible. China moved very quickly, taking only three years to go from an atomic to a hydrogen bomb in the s.
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A North Korean hydrogen bomb would make a big difference. Imagine how Japan and South Korea would now view the already fraught missile tests that fly over them. The radioactive fallout would be immense and likely blow on to South Korea and Japan. Blackmail in a nuclear context widens the problem frame to operational and strategy issues as well.
Enlarging the problem frame of nuclear blackmail brings in some important issues, namely the sequencing of blackmail and the object of the blackmail. Most narrow descriptions of nuclear blackmail use something like this abstract sequence of events:. There is peace, and this is interrupted by an attempted blackmail by a country to extort some gain or concession. But this is only one of many possible sequences.
Some historical cases of blackmail fit this sequence:. For example, in order to end the Vietnam War, the United States blackmailed the government of South Vietnam o accept a peace negotiated behind their backs in Paris that allowed large numbers of North Vietnamese forces to stay in South Vietnam. Note here the sequence and object of the blackmail. It came as part of a U. If Saigon did not sign the peace agreement, all military aid would be terminated.
If this is not blackmail, I do not know what is. The Korean war was also ended with enormous pressure on an ally. Here again, there was an intrawar bargaining problem to terminate a conflict. Washington even had a plan to overthrow Rhee, Operation Ever-ready , to arrest and isolate him from to prevent his obstructing the armistice negotiations with the Communists. This was over the strenuous objections of Castro.
Taking Home The Tycoon
Major powers historically have put enormous pressure on their allies to accept deals they do not want. Adding a nuclear context to this, in my judgment, is likely to make this an even more significant possibility. For example, suppose there is a crisis in North Korea or Pakistan that breaks out into a shooting war.
One or two nuclear weapons are fired to signal that no one is bluffing. Further, suppose the damage is small because the weapons were fired on the territory of North Korea or Pakistan in defense against invaders. So, there already is a nuclear war underway, and the question arises of intra-war bargaining to end it. In this situation, both countries would still have a significant arsenal left over to threaten the attacker with considerable damage.
The Blackmail Club
The attacker would have a strong interest in avoiding this. In peacetime, it is common to overlook this kind of situation. This is because galactic abstractions, like deterrence theory, emphasize stopping a nuclear war before it starts. But what if a nuclear war has already broken out?