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Yet another editorial piece on how the U.S. should get out of Korea, but this time from… Al Jazeera?

Well, more accurately from John Glaser, a conservative “free-lance” journalist who has written for The Huffington Post, Al Jazeera English, The American Conservative, and The Daily Caller.

But how necessary is it, really, to continue to fight on one side of a stalemated civil war that has lasted for more than 60 years? Politicians in Washington insist it is in our vital national interest, but that is far from the truth.


To this day, the U.S. backs South Korea. Washington has security guarantees with Seoul obligating the U.S to go to war against South Korea’s enemies in the event conflict breaks out. Americans are told they must spend taxpayer money providing military aid and paying expensive operating costs for tens of thousands of U.S. troops so that South Korea is properly defended.

But Seoul can easily defend itself. South Korea’s GDP is $1.13 trillion, versus North Korea’s paltry$40 billion, with similar disparities in the sizes of their respective defense budgets.

He seems to be particularly irked that an extra armored battalion from the 1st Cavalry Division will be deploying from Ft. Hood, Texas, to bolster the 28k troops already there.  Any ways, at least in this article John pretty much sounds like a Doug Bandow clone so fans of Doug will immediately recognize Mr. Glaser’s tone.

John’s got a blog (hosted by antiwar.com) that could be interesting to neo-isolationiststhose who want America to largely withdraw from international affairs.

This I found quite interesting.  John links to a Congressional report discussing the costs and benefits of continued American Empireability to react militarily to threats around the world and to sustain the military advantage it has earned as a result of winning World War II.  Could be good reading to some.

  • ryuNchoosk

    Americans, or this/writer don’t have to be tied to any theory/ist except “get the F*** out of 60+ years S. Korea”.

  • redwhitedude

    Wouldn’t a US pull out from South Korea also affect Japan’s security situation as well?

  • pawikirogii

    robert, i hope you will be doing a post on vietnam asking korea not to commemorate the 50th anniversary of korea in vietnam.

  • wangkon936

    If Rob doesn’t, I will.

  • JJ

    Don’t think anyone really cares about Japan’s security taking into the situation that Japan PM Ape is not even welcome to visit China, Korea, Taiwan or Russia.
    The plain truth is that U.S is both a troublemaker and a warmonger.

  • redwhitedude

    Actually China is both a warmonger and troublemaker probably to deflect problems domestically. China cries foul over Japan’s history and proceeds to beat up tibetans, beat up uyghurs calling them “islamic terrorists”. Then makes all these sea claims and bully vietnam, Philippines and Japan. I’m not sure if anybody is going to take China’s stance seriously even if they are right on accusations of Japan. Korea doesn’t engage in all this BS and even if the US gets dismayed Korea’s stance it is respected more than China’s.

  • Arghaeri

    Was that Freudian or deliberate?

  • setnaffa

    Not sure where/how you got the idea this guy is a “conservative.” Paulbot maybe…

  • http://www.facebook.com/be.way.5 Be Way

    With part of action China is considered a warmonger when it defensing its own territorial land and water. Does it ever attack or invade Japan and killed millions of the Japanese? Does it also ever massacre millions of Koreans despite centuries of interaction between the two nations?
    Your head must be spinning for telling lies when it’s a fact that it’s Tibetans and Uighurs that started killing innocent people on the streets.
    On the SCS, if it’s not China rights to claim over its own water, you think Vietnam and Philippines have more rights. The Chinese don’t need your illogical twisting and spinning just to please your own ego.
    If you want to support the Japanese, please go ahead. We will love to watch the event unraveling on how the Japanese thugs kidnapped, tortured, raped and burned the last Empress of Korea alive.

  • redwhitedude

    1. When were islands like Spratly or Paracels part of China historically?
    2. That dufus of Mao with his crazy ideas of Great Leap Forward and Cultural revolution killed off more chinese than even the Japanese with their savage ways.

    3. Tibetans and Uighurs are not terrorists. It’s the authorities and their idea of moving han chinese there and marginalizing the indigenous people that is causing the tension.

    4. Japan did really unsavory things and were savages by their own right but it doesn’t mean china should do all of the above and cry foul on Japan.

    Nobody is going to side with China with this crap. Other countries would simply abstain from taking sides since both countries are guilty.

  • Wedge1

    I also am hacked about that mechanized infantry battalion being sent over. We should be removing troops, not adding more.

  • wangkon936

    I think they are on 9 to 12 month rotations, so unlike the other USFK assets, are not permanently stationed here. Unlike the 2nd ID who have those nice condos, water parks and golf courses in the new Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, these troopers will have to inhabit the old hard scrabble barracks nearer to the DMZ.

  • dlbarch

    The interesting thing about this debate is that almost all of the rigorous arguments for disengagement are coming from the intellectual right: Mearsheimer, Carpenter, Bandow, et al., and now Glaser.

    In other words, this is NOT, despite sad attempts to color it otherwise, some peacenik neo-isolationist effort by bring-the-troops-home leftists in league with North Korea fifth column sympathizers.

    What is just as interesting is how weak the counter arguments against withdrawal are, which have more to do with lazy platitudes than any rigorous security assessment of America’s vital national security interests.

    This debate — to the extent it can even be called a debate — is really about the inertia of Cold War logic versus a rigorous post-Cold War evaluation of national capabilities. Or put another way, some of us think Korea is man enough to take care of itself, and some others do not.

    Which camp, gentle MHers, is the more “pro-Korean”?


  • Anonymous_Joe

    That’s an interesting question. A few weeks ago, RK posted that USFK and ROK had finally settled on a number (less than 50%) for cost sharing. I remember one poster, who considers Korea a world leader in all other fields, reasoned that since Korea was still a developing country any cost increase would be unreasonable.

    Here’s where I stand: Although I don’t like it, if USFK weren’t here, the NorKs would spill over the border. The US would then have to redeploy here, in greater numbers and at a greater cost. US tax dollars spent here on an ounce of prevention save the spending on a pound(ing) of cure.

  • dlbarch

    I would add one caveat. Too often, the debate gets narrowed to “USFK should stay put” versus “USFK should get out” — as if there are no nuances between the two views. Let me dispel any doubts that the U.S. Korea alliance and overall relationship is an important one. It is.

    That said, let’s also admit that the world — and the peninsula — is a very different place in 2014 that it was in 1954, and that the STRUCTURE of the alliance needs to reflect that.

    So here’s one option. The U.S. announces a phased reduction of all ground troops from South Korea over, say, a ten year period, allowing SoKo plenty of time to adjust.

    At the same time, the U.S. agrees to maintain a rigorous air and naval presence on and around the peninsula, which is, after all, America’s true comparative advantage.

    In this manner, SoKo still gets a de facto military guarantee from the U.S., the U.S. gets its boots off the ground (and away from locals tired and no longer very appreciative of their prolonged presence), and the alliance enters a more mature stage of truly shared military burden-sharing.

    One could tweak this kind of proposal, but the point is to start thinking about alternatives. The status quo is running on inertia. The job of policy wonks is to think seriously about policy, not find excuses for Cold War thinking that long ago reached its sell-by date.

    But, as always, I look forward to any response from AJ.


  • seouldout

    I understand where you stand. I disagree that the Norks will automatically spill over the border. If they were to it shows us that
    SK has lollygagged on fending for itself.

    “The US would then have to redeploy here, in greater numbers and at a greater cost.”

    If the Norks were to spill over the border the US, with personnel here, will still have to deploy hundreds of thousands of troops and tons of materiel afterwards. The cost is still there. Infact keeping them here may prove more costly in lives lost and high-value equipment destroyed. The Norks have many more short-range ballistic missiles, they tend to be more reliable and accurate, and in less than three minutes after launch they are striking the US bases here.

  • seouldout

    I agree a phased reduction is prudent, but given the nature of US politics I suspect Seoul may wait many of those 10 years thinking a future administration may reverse course. Best an administration announce the withdrawal will be completed no later than the end of its 4-year term.

  • dlbarch

    Oh, believe me, Seouldout, nothing would please me more than an expedited withdrawal along the time frame you’ve suggested.

    Ten years or four…I’d prefer the latter, but would happy with the former. Or ANY time frame, for that matter, that would actually be honored by both sides without last minute finagling.