The Russian report was not merely sceptical, it was damning, and the fact that it was not published, just leaked, gives it a centrality in any discussion of the sinking of the Cheonan as I discuss in the book.
As for the book being ‘alarmist’ by pointing out there is a danger of war on the Korean peninsula, and that that this would almost certainly lead to some sort of Sino-American clash, then I am in good ‘mainstream’ company.
In October the RAND corporation published a report Conflict with China: Prospects, Consequences, and Strategies for Deterrence which suggested that in the event of ‘A North Korean collapse ‘China meanwhile would view the insertion of U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) forces north of the DMZ with concern, and might move its own forces in, if it had not already begun to do so, both to contain the disorder and preempt a ROK/U.S. takeover of the entire country….The likelihood of confrontations, accidental or otherwise, between U.S. and Chinese forces is high, with significant potential for escalation..’
The report added ‘U.S. involvement in large-scale land warfare anywhere in East Asia other than Korea is especially improbable”
Meanwhile, also from RAND, Bruce Bennett and Jennifer Lind(from Dartmouth)have been talking about their recent article in International Security with 38 North in Washington. An earlier version of this is discussed in the book. The interview The Security Challenges of North Korean Collapse: A Conversation with Bruce Bennett and Jennifer Lind makes for interesting reading. They calculate that an invasion of North Korea would require upwards of 300,000 troops, based on their assumption that ‘North Korean elite [would] generally accept a ROK-led unification’. A little bit of resistance (as in 1950-3) would push that figure up. They nonchalantly think that China could be persuaded to accept this little bit of American expansion but do admit that might not quite happen: ‘Imagine the Chinese People’s Liberation Army racing south, while American and South Korean soldiers are racing north. China is a nuclear-armed country with which we have challenging relations—accidental conflict and subsequent escalation could be catastrophic’.
Alarmist? No, downright alarming
Not sure where Haggard gets the comforting thought that ‘even the most hawkish of the hawks doesn’t see this as a likely eventuality’]