Bring the Troops Home: Ending the Obsolete Korean Commitment

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The U.S. alliance with the Republic of Koreahas been America's most consistently dangerouscommitment since the end of World War II. YetSouth Korea is beginning to look away from theUnited States for its defense. Newly electedPresident Roh Moo-hyun campaigned on a plat-formof revisiting the security relationship, andhe has attempted to adopt the role of mediatorbetween America and North Korea.

Recently attention has been focused on eventsin North Korea, but the North Korean nuclearcontroversy must be considered within the context of the U.S.-ROK security relationship. Thefuture of America's relations with South Korea iscomplicated by Washington's unnatural militarypresence on the Korean peninsula, and no solutionis likely until that unnatural presence isremoved. The 37,000 U.S. troops in the South area Cold War artifact, and the U.S.-ROK alliance--once considered valuable--must be reconsidered.It is time to restructure that relationship, and theUnited States and the ROK should begin planningfor removal of all American forces from theKorean peninsula.

Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author and editor of several books, including Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World. He is a former special assistant to President Reagan and visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation.