South Korea Update Strategy

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The U.S. Military Should Leave South Korea

North and South Korea can manage their own conflict. The U.S. should leave the peninsula.
Trifkovic, 11/23

Time to Leave North Korea”: Foreign Affairs Expert, Dr. Srdja Trifkovic- Chronicles Magazine

11/23/2010: After several weeks of tensions, highlighted by military exercises in which South Korea fired live artillery near North Korea in a show of force and defiance, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, in what most news accounts described as a surprise, has called for the resumption of six-party talks over North Korea's efforts to acquire usable nuclear weapons. While the precise nature of the gesture may have been a surprise, the fact that, after ramping them up for awhile, President Lee made a gesture to defuse tensions should not have been a surprise. Despite some evidence to the contrary, the leaders of the North are not crazy, and the leaders of the South certainly are not. They both know that an actual war on the peninsula would be devastating to both sides.

Despite the sheer size of North Korea's military establishment, the South's military is far superior and would undoubtedly overwhelm the North in a real war. In the meantime, however, much of the South's capital city of Seoul is in range of thousands of Northern artillery pieces. It is likely that, before the North succumbed, it would be able to kill millions of South Koreans with utterly conventional artillery fire – no nukes needed.

Both sides, therefore, however much they may ramp up hostile dialogue, have a strong interest in avoiding an actual war. At various times in the recent past it has seemed as if some kind of viable accommodation between the two regimes would be reached, but the goal remains elusive. The most recent hostilities served the interests of both governments. Lee Myung-bak needed to demonstrate to his constituents that he is not soft following the sinking of a South Korean warship in March and the shelling of a South Korean island in November. And, while the North's government is frustratingly opaque, it seems likely that the planned ascension of Kim Jong Il's young and inexperienced son, Kim Jong Un, to absolute power might be experiencing resistance, so ginning up a confrontation to show his toughness might have seemed appropriate.

These recent events suggest that the two Korean governments know how to manage their potentially unstable situation reasonably. Even so, there's no guarantee that a future round of hostilities won't get out of control. If things settle down for awhile, it would be a good time to announce the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea. Given the overwhelming economic and military power of South Korea, U.S. troops' only purpose now is to serve as a tripwire to involve the U.S. in yet another war that is really none of its business.

The U.S. Military Should Leave South Korea

The global landscape has changed significantly from the beginning of the Cold War. There is no reason to remain in South Korea.
Buchanan, 11/26

Why Are We Still in Korea?”: Pat Buchanan, Real Clear Politics

11/26/2011: Fifty-seven years after that armistice, a U.S. carrier task force is steaming toward the Yellow Sea in a show of force after the North fired 80 shells into a South Korean village. We will stand by our Korean allies, says President Obama. And with our security treaty and 28,000 U.S. troops in South Korea, many on the DMZ, we can do no other. But why, 60 years after the first Korean War, should Americans be the first to die in a second Korean War? Unlike 1950, South Korea is not an impoverished ex-colony of Japan. She is the largest of all the "Asian tigers," a nation with twice the population and 40 times the economy of the North.

Seoul just hosted the G-20. And there is no Maoist China or Stalinist Soviet Union equipping Pyongyang's armies. The planes, guns, tanks and ships of the South are far superior in quality.

Why, then, are we still in South Korea? Why is this quarrel our quarrel? Why is this war, should it come, America's war? High among the reasons we fought in Korea was Japan, then a nation rising from the ashes after half its cities had been reduced to rubble. But, for 50 years now, Japan has had the second largest economy and is among the most advanced nations on earth. Why cannot Japan defend herself? Why does this remain our responsibility, 65 years after MacArthur took the surrender in Tokyo Bay? The Soviet Empire, against which we defended Japan, no longer exists, nor does the Soviet Union. Russia holds the southern Kurils, taken as spoils from World War II, but represents no threat. Indeed, Tokyo is helping develop Russia's resources in Siberia. Why, when the Cold War has been over for 20 years, do all these Cold War alliances still exist? Obama has just returned from a Lisbon summit of NATO, an alliance formed in 1949 to defend Western Europe from Soviet tank armies on the other side of the Iron Curtain that threatened to roll to the Channel. Today, that Red Army no longer exists, the captive nations are free, and Russia's president was in Lisbon as an honored guest of NATO. Yet we still have tens of thousands of U.S. troops in the same bases they were in when Gen. Eisenhower became supreme allied commander more than 60 years ago. Across Europe, our NATO allies are slashing defense to maintain social safety nets. But Uncle Sam, he soldiers on. We borrow from Europe to defend Europe. We borrow from Japan and China to defend Japan from China. We borrow from the Gulf Arabs to defend the Gulf Arabs. To broker peace in Palestine, Obama began his presidency with a demand that Israel halt all new construction of settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Today, as his price for a one-time-only 90-day freeze on new construction on the West Bank, but not East Jerusalem, "Bibi" Netanyahu is demanding 20 F-35 strike fighters, a U.S. commitment to a Security Council veto of any Palestinian declaration of independence, and assurances the U.S. will support a permanent Israeli presence on the Jordan river. And the Israelis want it all From 1941 to 1989, she played a great heroic role as defender of freedom, sacrificing and serving mankind, a role of which we can be forever proud. But having won that epochal struggle against the evil empire, we found ourselves in a world for which we were unprepared. Now, like an aging athlete, we keep trying to relive the glory days when all the world looked with awe upon us.

We can't let go, because we don't know what else to do. We live in yesterday -- and our rivals look to tomorrow.


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