I’m not sure how this one will break. As Robert Farley over at the Information Dissemination blog says, the South Koreans probably knew the cause of the Cheonan’s sinking shortly after it went down, and for political reasons have been playing it cool. Very cool. We’ll have to see how this plays out, but I’m amazed at the measured rhetoric coming from South Korean officials.
STRATFOR's take is that South Korea has limited military options because of Seoul’s well known vulnerability to North Korean rocket and artillery strikes and basic economic vulnerabilities that would result from a major dust up on the peninsula. Planned economic engagement with the north will almost certainly suffer, the private intel network says. An unintended consequence of the Cheonan sinking: an overdue modernization of the South Korean military, including new ISR assets and newer ships.