After watching WWIII nearly unfold on Tweeter last December, I came to the conclusion that South Korea and North Korea have been gaming each other for years. It is a dangerous game, for sure, but one not without rewards. Much resources come to bare, as these “games” are played-out.
When North Korea started to shell an uncontested (as to who owns it the North or South) South Korea island, I don’t think it was hard to understand why it took South Korea’s General in charge longer than seven minutes to act.
It is one thing to catch a lone “whelp” at sea, take it from it’s mother and return it to the sea; it is quite another matter to target a South Korean island and kill several civilians and military personnel of the island. The sinking of a South Korean ship represented to me an opportunity; the shelling of a South Korean island by the North Koreans represented something else.
It was this “something else” that took the time for a South Korean general to act. The general got fired for his hesitation, but South Korea’s action must have been the right one. The “game” ended with South Korea sending its shells a few degrees off-target, and the benevolent leader of North Korea, deciding it was not time for war to re-start.
I think this “something else” was a change in the North Korean leadership. North Korea was signalling to the South that there was a change in “players”. South Korea got the message. To me this “message” was that Kim Jong Il is no longer the benevolent leader of the North, but just an Icon. It will be a few years (probably a few short years) before the avatar has changed, as the change in bureaucracy catches up with the change in command.
When Kim Jong Il dies in a few years, there will be much hand wringing and the resources of the USA will be tested again, but I think the “gamers” know what they are doing. The “game” may change, but the players will not until the war between the North and South is resolved.
I am not sure it is a game the players even want to see end anymore, just not to start where it left off 60-years ago.