Pat Buchanan asks if the United States should be bound to defend South Korea in perpetuity. What vital U.S. interest is being protected in South Korea? Americans have been guarding the Demilitarized Zone since the Korean War armistice in 1953. Will it ever end, or will America be forced into WWIII protecting the South Koreans from the North Korean, who they dwarf in every measure of economic strength? Buchanan writes at The American Conservative:
“The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly.”
So President Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden this week.
But how this is to be done “rapidly” is not so easy to see.
North Korea has just returned to us Otto Warmbier, a student sentenced to 15 years hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster. Otto came home comatose, and died within days.
Trump’s conundrum: How to keep such a regime from acquiring an ICBM with a nuclear warhead, which Kim Jong Un is determined to do.
What about sanctions?
The only nation that could impose sufficient hardships on North Korea to imperil the regime is China. But China refuses to impose the Draconian sanctions that might destabilize the regime, and might bring Korean refugees flooding into China. And Beijing has no desire to see Kim fall and Korea united under a regime aligned with the United States.
China, whose missile launches can be detected by THAAD radar, wants it removed and has so informed South Korea.
Where does this leave us?
We are committed to go to war to defend the South and have 28,000 troops there. But South Korea wants to negotiate with North Korea and is prepared to make concessions to buy peace.
No vital U.S. interest requires us, in perpetuity, to be willing to go to war to defend South Korea, especially if that war entails the risk of a nuclear attack on U.S. troops or the American homeland.
If the United States did not have a mutual security pact that obligates us to defend South Korea against a nuclear-armed North, would President Trump be seeking to negotiate such a treaty?
The question answers itself.
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