A Korean Dunkirk

December 2010


Craig Hooper and I have a new article on The Atlantic discussing the evacuation of US citizens off the Korean peninsula in the event of renewed hostilities. We argue that the difficulty of evacuating 140,000 US citizens and select foreign nationals might well require the US to ask China and its military for assistance:

Even under the best conditions, a mass evacuation is no easy task. In July 2006, as a battle brewed between Israel and Lebanon-based Hezbollah militants, the U.S. took nearly a month to evacuate 15,000 Americans. According to the Government Accountability Office, “nearly every aspect of State’s preparations for evacuation was overwhelmed”, by the challenge of running an evacuation under low-threat conditions in a balmy Mediterranean summer.

Evacuating a Korean war-zone would be far harder. And the U.S. would likely have no choice but to ask China for help.

Read the full article at The Atlantic.

Posted by Christopher Albon in Navy, Soft Power
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  • Chuck Hill

    Not just the Chinese, the Russians as well.

  • sid

    Don’t forget about the US flagged airliners that regularly traverse overhead…

  • ToTheRiver

    Sometimes I’m puzzled by discussions of evacuating American civillians anytime there is hostility in a region of the world. These citizens are living on foreign soil voluntarily for some personal economic benefit. Outide of civillians who are directly supporting US gov’t interests, it would seem they would be on their own or only provided passage on a space available basis.
    What are all the implications I’m missing?

  • Lowly USN Retired

    ToTheRiver, American citizens are American citizens whether their residence is in Shreveport, Louisiana or Siheung, Republic of Korea and must be afforded the same protection by the United States. If this means extraction from foreign soil by American forces should hostilities or war occur detrimental to the safety and lives of American citizens, so be it. However, America should never rely or ask for help from PRC, Russia, Iran, or any other non reliable country, to evacuate U.S. citizens.