If the Kim Regime Falls in North Korea, Sustained Armed Resistance Could Follow – WPR

Today, South Korea recognizes that stabilizing, rebuilding and integrating North Korea will take a massive effort, but it also believes that it will be relatively peaceful. History has made Koreans leery of external intervention, but Seoul assumes most North Koreans will see South Koreans as fellow countrymen and therefore accept—even welcome—unification engineered by their southern brethren and immediately embrace democracy, the rule of law and the free market system.

While this would be optimal, unification may not be that easy. There is much to suggest that the removal of the Kim regime, whether by internal or international conflict, would be followed by armed resistance. The steady diet of xenophobic propaganda that North Koreans have been fed for 70 years may make them see South Koreans, whose culture has evolved in a different direction, as foreigners who happen to look like them and speak the same language. The lack of access to information has left North Koreans ill-prepared to distinguish truth from propaganda; if the regime were to collapse, they could be vulnerable to calls for resistance by regime remnants or other forces opposed to the reunification of Korea. In Iraq, the United States underestimated the impact of decades of brutal repression and propaganda by Saddam Hussein, whose toppled regime was still able to rally loyalists and insurgents to take up arms after his removal. South Koreans may do the same in North Korea.


Trump Administration: End ISS Funding, Return to Lunar Exploration – ExtremeTech

It took 13 years to complete and launch the various ISS modules, from 1998 to 2011. Currently, NASA spends about $4B per year on the space station, out of a $19.5B total budget. At 21 percent of NASA’s total budget and roughly 40 percent of its human exploration outlay, it’s not chump change. One of the most significant complaints around NASA’s upcoming Space Launch System is that the agency lacks the funds to plan missions or launch the rocket. (It’s currently not clear if the SLS could fly even once per year, at a cost of more than $1B per launch, partly due to the cost of maintaining expensive manufacturing and test facilities for a rocket that almost never flies.)

Killing the ISS portion of NASA’s funding frees up that $4B in yearly cash. But we have no idea yet how that funding would be split between the SLS and any effort to put NASA back on the Moon, or what kind of exploration or even longer-term habitation plans the administration has in mind. Any kind of manned mission would require the development of lunar modules, longer-term habitation modules (if intended), and various support equipment. If the long-term goal is to create a lunar base as a stepping stone or useful waypoint for a Mars mission…