(Page 2 of 2)
Moreover, South Korea, with the world’s 12th largest economy, and not America, facing a bill in Iraq that might eventually hit $300 billion, should be paying for its conventional defense. After all, it is Seoul, not Washington, D.C., that is being defended.
Thus, the U.S. should plan on withdrawing all 37,000 troops. Of the planned 12,500 reduction, complained one South Korean official, “the realignment should not undermine our national security.” But why, then, is the South planning to cut its own forces?
Prosperous and populous, the South is fully capable of defending itself. In today’s world it is irresponsible for the U.S. to maintain an international dole for self-indulgent client states.
SEOUL KNOWS WHAT IT needs to do. Last June the Roh government announced that it was requesting a 13 percent increase in military spending to compensate for the proposed U.S. troop cutback.
But South Korea can spend far more if it believes additional increases are necessary for its defense. With its dramatic economic success has come the obligation of behaving like a serious country with important international responsibilities, beginning with its own security.
Seoul could use a U.S. withdrawal as part of the negotiating process. The North has routinely called for American forces to go home; Pyongyang recently wrote U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, calling for the dissolution of the U.N. command and withdrawal of American troops. Seoul should offer to do so as part of a comprehensive settlement for the peninsula.
Until the pressure of maintaining American forces in Iraq forced the Bush administration to rethink its commitment to South Korea, the U.S.-ROK relationship seemed locked in a time warp. Despite the dramatic weakening of the North and strengthening of the South, Washington retained its forces largely unchanged on the Korean peninsula.
But America can no longer afford to be a captive of the status quo. It doesn’t have enough soldiers to go around the world. It’s time to bring America’s military forces home from Korea. All of them.
Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the co-author, with Ted Galen Carpenter, of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations With North and South Korea (Palgrave/MacMillan), and author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World (Cato Institute).
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online