The U.S.-South Korea alliance has outlived its usefulness. Instead of reassuring Seoul, the Trump administration should prepare to renegotiate the alliance, creating a looser but more equal cooperative military relationship. South Korea should take on responsibilities commensurate with its capabilities.
Obviously the world is a messy place. But what stresses American policymakers? It’s not the problem of defending the U.S. No other country has a conventional capability to reach America. Thus, America's national security team need not worry about the sort of potential threats facing virtually every other nation.
Washington doesn’t need to “win” in the Philippines. Better that the American people win by dropping an expensive and risky commitment to go to war on behalf of a nation largely irrelevant to U.S. security.
U.S. policy toward the North Korea has failed. Successive U.S. presidents have inveighed against a nuclear North Korea and insisted that the North would not be allowed to become a nuclear state. It is one. And its capabilities are growing.
Extended nuclear deterrence always has been a risky proposition for the U.S. It means being willing to fight a nuclear war on behalf of others, that is, Americans would risk Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles to, say, defend Berlin and Tokyo.
America’s fiscal position is deteriorating sharply. Earlier this year the Congressional Budget Office forecast that the federal deficit was back on the rise in 2016, with steady increases expected over the next decade. There isn’t going to be much money for the national government to spend on “discretionary” items, including underwriting wealthy allies, rebuilding failed states, and enforcing international norms.
The U.S. is expected to protect virtually every prosperous, populous, industrialized nation. But that’s just a start. Washington also must coddle, pamper, praise, uplift, pacify, encourage, and otherwise placate the same countries because they now believe it to be America’s duty to handle their defense. Alas, U.S. leaders have been only too willing to enable this counterproductive behavior. Except for Donald Trump.
The way Washington won agreement from some nuclear-capable powers to abstain from going nuclear is to provide a “nuclear umbrella,” that is, promise to use nukes to defend them if necessary. As a result, the price of nonproliferation in East Asia is America’s willingness to risk Los Angeles to protect Seoul and Tokyo, and maybe Taipei and Canberra too. Trump was right, the U.S. ought to discuss whether those commitments are still in our interest.
Washington’s allies generally are a pathetic lot. Benefiting from sizeable and capable populations and enjoying large and advanced economies, they nevertheless can’t be bothered to invest heavily in their own defense, so the bulk of Washington’s over-size military outlays are to project power for the benefit of its ne’er-do-well allies.
If there was no cost to strewing U.S. personnel around the world and threatening war against potentially hostile powers, there would be little complaint with Washington’s policy. Alas, military spending is the price of America’s foreign policy. Most of the Pentagon’s efforts are devoted to protecting other nations rather than the U.S.
The reason Washington accounts for more than 40 percent of the globe’s military spending is that Americans must pay an exorbitant price to project power far from the U.S. even when they have no vital interests at stake. But South Korea, like Japan and Europe, likes having American taxpayers pick up a big chunk of its defense tab.
The military burden of protecting Japan falls disproportionately on America. After 70 years the U.S. should stop playing globocop, especially in regions where powerful, democratic friends such as Japan can do so much more to defend themselves and their neighborhoods.
For almost seven decades the U.S. has played the dominant role in protecting Japan. The justification for doing so is long over.
One of the first issues to arise with newly elected Gov. Terry McAuliffe actually has nothing to do with Virginia's domestic policies. Instead, the Dem. has become embroiled in an int'l dispute with Japan that could spell big trouble.