Monday, July 15, 2013

60 Years After The Korean War, The U.S. Must End Its Cold War Alliance With South Korea


I will readily admit my bias toward the ROK/US Alliance.  I think Mr. Bandow is wrong.

This policy is not in America's interest.  Washington should disengage from the peninsula.  That requires turning security for the South over to Seoul.  Normalizing relations with North Korea while handing the nuclear issue to its neighbors.  And leaving the two Koreas free to decide their future relationship.

This would be fine if north Korea as a responsible member of the international community.  However, the north remains committed to the following:

Vital National Interest:  Survival of the Kim Family Regime
Strategic Aim/End State: Reunification of the Peninsula with the Kim Family Regime in full control with the South dominated by the DPRK socialist workers paradise.
Strategy to achieve the strategic aim:  Split the ROK/US Alliance and remove US forces from the Peninsula.
Strategy for nK Deterrence, Defense, Survival and Blackmail Diplomacy:  become a nuclear weapons state with delivery capabilities.

If we discount the above then Mr. Bandow's recommendations may have merit.  But I do not think it is at all in US interests to see the north attack the South and if the Alliance is disbanded that is what we will see, probably sooner rather than later.

And if you go to the link, there is an old photo of US Soldiers at Guard Post Ouellette.  We have long since turned over security for the entire DMZ to the South Korean military.  Guard posts Ouellette and Collier are no longer manned by US forces and there is no longer a US sector of the DMZ which I think undercuts some of the argument Mr. Bandow is making.
V/R
Dave

Doug Bandow, Contributor
I write about domestic and international policy.

OP/ED | 7/15/2013 @ 8:00AM |1,662 views
60 Years After The Korean War, The U.S. Must End Its Cold War Alliance With South Korea


Pyongyang urged the U.S. to "positively respond" to the former's call for negotiations "without preconditions."  Washington refused to "engage in talks merely for the sake of talks" and insisted that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea commit to denuclearization.  The diplomatic impasse on the Korean peninsula continues.
The current situation endangers everyone.  The so-called Demilitarized Zone remains the most heavily armed border on earth.  No one wants war, but mistake or misjudgment is possible.  Although the U.S. and Republic of Korea would triumph in any conflict, the price would be extravagant.

The allies continue to focus on the North's nuclear program.  Last month the U.S., Japan, and South Korea released a joint statement announcing that the path "for the DPRK toward improved relations" is for Pyongyang to take "meaningful steps on denuclearization."  No doubt that is the best outcome.  However, it remains the least likely.

North Korea has made acquisition of nuclear weapons a matter of national policy for two decades.  In fact, Pyongyang has grown ever more determined to be accepted as a nuclear power, writing its ambition into the country's constitution.

Ignoring this reality achieves nothing.  The North recently declared:  "The legitimate status of the DPRK as a nuclear-weapons state will go on and on without vacillation whether others recognize it or not."

There's nothing mysterious about North Korea's program.  The advantages of being a nuclear power are many.  Most obviously, nuclear weapons offer an effective deterrent.  Serbia and Iraq demonstrate the danger of becoming an American target without nukes.  Libya demonstrates the danger of becoming an American target after abandoning nukes.

As Henry Kissinger once reportedly observed, even paranoids have enemies. Pyongyang knows that the U.S. means it ill-President George W. Bush famously termed the DPRK a member of the "axis of evil" and said that he "loathed" Kim Jong-il, the current ruler's father.

President Barack Obama has said less, but American policy remains largely unchanged.  The U.S. maintains a defense guarantee with and nearly 30,000 troops in the ROK, has been tightening its alliance with Seoul, sent B-52s and B-2s to overfly the peninsula earlier this year, and conducts annual exercises with the ROK military.

This policy is not in America's interest.  Washington should disengage from the peninsula.  That requires turning security for the South over to Seoul.  Normalizing relations with North Korea while handing the nuclear issue to its neighbors.  And leaving the two Koreas free to decide their future relationship.

First, the U.S. should end its Cold War alliance with South Korea.  Six decades ago the Korean War ended.  That conflict spawned the "mutual defense" treaty with Seoul, a one-way security guarantee backed by forces stationed in the ROK.  Although the American garrison has diminished in size and the South talks of taking on increased security responsibilities, the alliance remains antiquated and one-sided.
(Continued at the link below)


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