The Facts

  • The US and South Korea on Monday began a massive five-day combined air exercise in which hundreds of warplanes will take part in attack preparation scenarios for 24 hours a day.

  • The operation — called "Vigilant Storm" — comes as allies state that such training is needed to counter threats from North Korea. It also follows the conclusion of the South's 12-day-long Hoguk annual field exercises on Friday.

The Spin

Establishment-critical narrative

When Washington was truly committed to de-escalating tensions with North Korea, Pyongyang responded positively, halting missile tests and demolishing several testing sites. This changed when the US began to increase its military presence in the Asia-Pacific, thereby posing an existential threat to the DPRK. Carrying out provocative drills will only escalate tensions.

Pro-establishment narrative

Seoul and Washington have demonstrated goodwill toward Pyongyang in the hopes of creating an environment conducive towards disarmament talks for four years. However, as North Korea has failed to make good on its promises — resuming its missile tests and further developing its nuclear program — this course correction is necessary for the restoration of the readiness of the South and its allies for an attack from the North.

Nerd narrative

There's a 17% chance that North Korea and South Korea will be recognized as a single sovereign state by 2045, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

Establishment split



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