by John Hawkins | January 2, 2003 10:54 pm
Keep Talking Smart Guy And You Might End Up On Your Own: Watching South Korean President-elect Roh Moo-hyun incessantly complain about the US is like seeing a drowning man who’s thinking about throwing away his life preserver because he doesn’t like the color. Here’s the latest from our South Korean “allies”…
“President-elect Roh Moo-hyun, who takes office next month, voiced skepticism about the U.S. approach, telling a press conference Washington should discuss options with Seoul rather than decide on its own what steps to take.
“If the United States makes and announces a unilateral decision, and South Korea follows it, it can’t be called real cooperation between the two countries,” he said.
Roh campaigned for office last month on a platform that included calls to change the U.S.-Korean relationship from one of protector and protected, to that of equals.”
Let me be clear about this — we’re not equals. We’re the world’s premier military power and we’ve guaranteeing South Korea’s security. Not only do we have 37,000 men in South Korea, we’re making a real effort to force North Korea to get rid of their nukes. Moreover, if that little nut Kim Jong-il were to send his massive army storming across the border we’d do whatever it took to defend South Korea from attack. That means we could spend upwards of 100 billion dollars and it could mean tens of thousands of American lives lost in combat. That’s on top of the fact that South Korea is only free and prosperous today because more than 54,000 Americans gave their lives in the Korean War.
What has South Korea done for us in return? Sure they buy things from us, but so do a lot of countries. They also keep Japan and North Korea separated, but defending Japan from North Korea would be a lot easier than keeping North Korea from invading South Korea — even if the North were able to defeat the South (which I don’t believe they could even if we didn’t get involved).
Someone in DC must be getting tired of all this mouthing off from Roh Moo-hyun because the Bush administration is apparently putting out the word behind the scenes that we’re thinking about reducing the number of troops in South Korea…
“South Korean lawmakers Thursday planned to discuss concerns about a possible reduction of U.S. forces in their country.
South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence committee would discuss recent reports about a cutback in the number of American troops “and map out measures to deal with it,” the official Yonhap news agency reported.
…Meeting senior military officers earlier this week, Roh asked them how they’d cope if the U.S. reduced its force strength. He said he had heard that that possibility was once again on the table.”
Yeah, it’s all fun and games until the “ugly Americans” start talking about reducing their forces and making South Korea shoulder more of the burden for their own defense. Considering how the size of the North’s army and how they cut through the South like a warm knife through butter before we got into the fighting in the Korean war, that would make me nervous if I were South Korean.
As far as I’m concerned, when North Korea gets rid of their WMD, it’ll be time for us to start planning to pull out of South Korea. There aren’t a lot of other people who share that view — yet. But I predict that’s going to change over the next year or so. Being left to the tender mercies of Kim Jong-il isn’t a fate I’d wish on anyone. But, Roh Moo-hyun and all his anti-American supporters better get their acts together or they are going to learn what it’s like to share a border with an aggressive dictator who commands a million man army, without the world’s only super power backing them up.
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