Screw south korea, pull U.S. troops out


#1

i’m all for stability in east asia, but it’s time to pull U.S. troops out of there. why waste money and men defending that whiny little country?

get a working missle defense up around japan and taiwan and let the koreas work out whatever for themselves. japan might have to go nuclear, but, hey, sorry china you shoulda stopped your stooges in north korea from developing their nukes.

i can understand the anti-americanism in the philippines when they kicked the us out. i mean they weren’t exactly treated that well when they were a us colony. the idiotic nationalism in south korean seems absurd by comparison. yes, let’s all obsess about a lame pseudo-sport in the winter olympics and how the evil americans(actually the referee wasn’t even american) stole a gold medal from us. makes me glad taiwan is too small and insecure to develop that kind of ugly nationalism.


#2

first, acknowledging that i know quite little of the nuts and bolts of economic theory, but…

i’d rather bury myself with a legion of scorpions than believe that us troops are stationed in korea to defend south korea from the north.

it seems that american troops are there, as they are in a number of other places, to “stabilize” governments and to create a relatively safe market situation for export and import of products. business important the livelihood of many citizens is transacted in tall office buildings and ornate banquet halls in korea. the future of many a western company lies in the tumultuous sands of the endangered land.

therefore, if we care about the persistence of the western economy, we’ll call for the troops to go down to the local pub this weekend just like every other. now i’m all for changing this worldwide exploitative system as it stands now, but i’m also against not building doomsday devices so that we can remove our troops from a dangerous position. after all, executing in the face of danger is what troops are trained for, i believe.

please let’s have a peaceful solution in korea.


#3

Yeah, I agree. And if we pull out of South Korea, we should then arm the Japs to the teeth.

We should also get out of NATO. I think that the Europeans have finally learned to behave themselves.

And we should get out the UN. Then we won’t have to ask permission everytime we want to bomb the shit out of someone who pisses us off.


#4

OK, let’s see where this goes, then…

Once you appreciate the nature of the N Korean regime, the fact that it has one of the world’s largest armies, that the DMZ is only about 60km from Seoul, that the North has dug several tunnels under the DMZ, that there are frequent naval skirmishes, etc, you soon realise that even now there is a very real threat of invasion by the north. Now, 30,000 US troops are not going to hold them off… but as William Safire described it in a recent NY Times editorial, they act as a tripwire that would spark a more significant US response if attacked.

[quote=“embryopoet”]it seems that american troops are there, as they are in a number of other places, to “stabilize” governments and to create a relatively safe market situation for export and import of products.[/quote] True, to an extent, and the south Koreans recognise that they are under a kind of “protective nuclear umbrella.” It is this stability that has allowed them to grow a phenomenal rates since the Korean War, when it was poorer than India. As if stability was a bad thing…

And many a Korean business and citizen… Although Korea’s growth is a benefit to both Korea and the US, obviously, the Koreans have a higher stake in the growth of Korea than the US does. Tumultuous sands? Iraq? If so, hardly correct - western companies have little business in Iraq. It would hardly be sensible to have it as a strategic market would it?

[quote=“embryopoet”]therefore, if we care about the persistence of the western economy, we’ll call for the troops to go down to the local pub this weekend just like every other.[/quote] and if we care for the stability and prosperity of Korea, too. In fact, this is exactly why the new president, who partly utilised the recent wave of anti-american protest to get into office, also recently underlined the need for the troops to stay.

I assume you are talking about capitalism and trade that has raised Korean average wages from about 5%(1975) of the US levels to about 40% (2001). If so, you will have to change the exploitative system WITHOUT the help of the Koreans…

[quote=“embryopoet”]but i’m also against not building doomsday devices so that we can remove our troops from a dangerous position. after all, executing in the face of danger is what troops are trained for, i believe.

please let’s have a peaceful solution in korea.[/quote]

So, you eventually accept that the troops ARE there to defend South Korea. The troops prevent aggression on the part of North Korea from escalating into a nuclear war. A peaceful solution is being sought but it requires North korea to cooperate. If North korea refuses to stop its programme to make material for a nuclear weapon, either for itself or to sell to other powers, then, I believe, a strike on the enrichment facilities would be morally justified and would be the best option to maintain stability that has allowed the region to prosper.


#5

Yeah, it is annoying. Koreans tend to be very nationalistic and very proud. However, there are other interests in the region: Japan, China, Taiwan are all important trading partners. The greatest potential instability does come from N Korea and therefore it makes sense that the US station troops there for SK’s protection and the stability of the whole reason.

I am afraid that the public whining is just something the US must put up with; any thanks it gets are usually given in private.

In fairness, though, when the President Elect Roh was asked if he would continue South Korean diplomacy with the US “based on the premise of national pride,” he said “No.” And he added that all the recent anti-US rallies had: “made [me] realise just what a suffocating country [South Korea] can be.”


#6

[quote=“Flipper”]i’m all for stability in east asia, but it’s time to pull us troops out of there. why waste money and men defending that whiny little country?
[/quote]

I gotta agree. They make a good chunk of their living off of the grace of US consumers. Let the whiners take care of themselves.


#7

But you have to remember that trade is a two-way bargain… they do not make their living off the “grace” of the US consumer. (Or, you could equally well say that the US consumer benefits from the “grace” of the Korean manufacturer.)

The truth is that there are certain products (including semiconductors, cars, textiles) that South Korea makes cheaply and well. The US benefits from being able to buy these instead of having to manufacture them at home. Therefore, it is in the interests of both Korea and the US that there be a stable prosperous economy in South Korea and that, consequently, the threat from the North be neutralised.


#8

The US military presence in S. Korea is intended as a deterrent against a North Korean invasion. However, if the South Koreans don’t want us there, we should leave and let them deal with Dear Leader themselves.


#9

oops double post


#10

You, too, miss the point that it is in the US interests to have a prosperous Korea. It is not a one-way bargain.


#11

Ouch! double posted again.


#12

No I understood your point perfectly well. I just happen to disagree.

Yes there is a US interest in a prosperous Korea. But that interest does not outweigh our interest in the lives of 37,000 servicemen in an increasingly hostile and ungrateful nation. One might also think that the Korean people would see that their own interest in a prosperous Korea in much greater than the US’s interest in the same.

I say move the troops to Taiwan. The Taiwanese would love to have us back.


#13

See nytimes.com/2003/01/08/inter … 8SEOU.html for more on South Korean attitudes toward the US presence. Korean nationalism is seriously out of step with international norms.


#14

OK. Now I am double posting. Sorry.


#15

OK.

The US military makes reasonably cold calculations as to the cost/benefit anlysis of the troop presence. So far, they would disagree.

Actually, they do. In a recent survey, a majority of residents expressed a desire to keep the US troops in South Korea. Its just the same old story that a small bunch of vocal radicals take all the headlines.

In this comment, you implicity accept that there is a need for US troops SOMEWHERE in the region. And therefore, you also implicitly accept that the cost benefit analysis has to include more than just the trade with South Korea - it has to include (at the very least) that with Japan, China, and Taiwan. So, 37,000 troops (one, I believe for each US serviceman that died in the Korean War - correct me if I am wrong) does not seem that high a price. (Indeed the US would be committed to providing extra military resources and personnel in the event of an invasion.)

Finally, move them to Taiwan? :smiley: (I guess you are joking). And this just goes to show the limited options available for the US. Moving to Taiwan would decrease disincentives for the North to attack - they might question wether US troops would be redeployed from Taiwan or not. It would enrage China. And, you can bet, that there would also be a bunch of vocal anti-US anti-troop protests from radical unificationist citizens in Taiwan. Hardly “stabilising.”

No, in its own interests, I think that the US has to just take the heat. Its tough being the global cop, particularly when those you protect can moan and whine and gripe about it. But the job has got to be done.


#16

I think its useful to know who is doing the protesting and why. Here is an excerpt from a piece from Aidan Foster-Carter, originally for the FT:

According to his view, the protestors are:

Once you realise this, you realise that, although vocal, these are not mainstream views. Although they influence the sentiments of the rest of the population, who are as a rule proud nationalists, nevertheless there is an acceptance that the US presence is necessary to maintain peace.


#17

From the excellent times article posted by feiren:

With the harassment of American soldiers fostering a fledgling “Boycott Korea” movement in the United States,

Morons. I like it. I’ll be looking elsewhere for anything I buy.


#18

[quote=“imyourbiggestfan”]I think its useful to know who is doing the protesting and why. Here is an excerpt from a piece from Aidan Foster-Carter, originally for the FT:

According to his view, the protestors are:

Once you realise this, you realise that, although vocal, these are not mainstream views. Although they influence the sentiments of the rest of the population, who are as a rule proud nationalists, nevertheless there is an acceptance that the US presence is necessary to maintain peace.[/quote]

All well and good but unless there is not an acceptance of events as described in the article i just read i will support making our feelings known to the korean government and making plans for alternatives to our presence there.


#19

Just a small clarification. The US government, a civilian government, makes decisions on where to deploy US military forces, and the US military obeys these decisions. Thus, it is the US civilian government that disagrees.

Yes. As very tempting as Flipper’s and Feiren’s and a few others’ suggestions are, I agree that a US military presence in South Korea is vital to peace on the Korean Peninsula and stability in East Asia.


#20

the former is undoubtedly true, and i won’t argue the latter. but there is a point where continued insults born by us without comment becomes more destabilizing.