America’s military footprint abroad is unmatched in human history. With more than eight hundred military bases in more than seventy countries around the world, the United States is uniquely positioned to lead all manner of imperial adventures, although multipolarity is emerging on the world stage with the rise of Russia and China threw several keys. in many of the wildest fantasies of regime change orchestrators.
America’s excessive presence abroad began to receive a major setback after failed nation-building experiments in Afghanistan and Iraq. The election of Donald Trump in 2016 initially raised fears of a possible retreat by the United States in world affairs. Many members of the “Blob” foreign policy genuinely feared massive troop withdrawals and the dissolution of alliances like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Trump’s previous statements during his presidential run hinted at a desire to dramatically reduce the post-WWII liberal internationalist order, which had plenty in the Blob overnight.
Most of those fears turned out to be exaggerated once Trump left office. Although regime change fanatics on the Potomac did not have additional military excursions, they could rest in the knowledge that the overall structure of foreign policy remained intact with respect to large military spending, the involvement of United States to NATO and military bases abroad still functioning without problems.
While none of Trump’s potentially disruptive foreign policy moves have materialized, he has been able to push forward the idea that countries like South Korea pay more to have the United States welcome troops to their country. ground. In its previous cost-sharing agreement with the United States, South Korea paid $ 900 million to park approximately 28,500 American troops. South Korea has been an American client state since 1948, following the division of the Korean Peninsula at the 38th parallel in the aftermath of World War II. In the period that followed, the East Asian country relied on the United States for its military assistance.
One of the least discussed aspects of South Korea’s military relationship with the United States is that Korea has traditionally been barred from acquiring the most up-to-date weapon technology. For their part, South Korean leaders have historically attempted to build an autonomous defense structure knowing full well that the Americans would not have troops in their country forever and that North Korea could still pose a threat to its country. security.
Beginning under the authoritarian rule of President Park Chung Hee, who ruled from 1961 to 1979, South Korea initiated a policy to promote security independence by focusing on domestic arms production. Park’s policy would be known as self-governing national defense (chaju kukbang). Subsequent presidential administrations, although more democratic in nature, have largely continued to gradually strengthen South Korea’s internal security capacity.
Of course, South Korea’s reforms were gradualist in nature given its humble starting point after the Korean War, when it was among the poorest nations in the world, behind even a good chunk of African nations. in the 1950s. South Korea would later regain its equilibrium by adopting market reforms and gradually integrating with the rest of the world, unlike its neighbor to the north. As it prospered, South Korea gained the ability to use its wealth to begin building a respectable national defense apparatus.
Current President Moon Jae-In has not deviated from the national security policy of self-reliance. According to Korean affairs expert Peter Banseok Kwon, South Korea has cut defense spending under Moon’s leadership. While South Korea has ostensibly made easing tensions with North Korea a major political priority. South Korea still plans to spend more than 80% of its $ 91.9 billion defense budget over the next five years on locally made weapons instead of depending on imports.
These new spending increases are very much in line with the consensus of self-reliant national defense that has been consolidated in South Korea. Trump’s previous comments on changing the United States’ defense relationship with the East Asian nation further validated the South Korean government’s pursuit of defense autonomy.
South Korea is not left out economically, which bodes well for its emergence as a regional power. It is a highly developed country, with a per capita GDP approaching $ 32,000 and a total GDP north of $ 1.6 trillion, which places it among the fifteen largest economies in the world. Policymakers would not be wise to view South Korea as a nation in a childish state. In 2019, it rolled out the world’s first 5G commercial network service, established itself as a global leader in the electronics industry, and entered the mix as a major player in the automotive industry.
Although far from being America’s famous defense industry, South Korea has gradually established itself as an arms exporter. According to the Defense Technology Agency’s Global Defense Market Directory, it was ranked tenth among the world’s largest arms-exporting countries from 2015 to 2019, when it accounted for 2.1% of world defense exports.
South Korea’s economic prowess suggests that it can use these resources to build respectable defense infrastructure as many major Western powers and its neighbor Japan (pre-WWII) had done in the past. It stands to reason that with Korea’s multiple decades of robust economic growth, it now has resources that can be allocated to building an appropriate national defense. These resources constitute what international relations theorist John Mearsheimer describes as “mobilizable wealth,” the resources that a state can harness to build and maintain military forces.
While none of Trump’s potentially disruptive foreign policy moves have materialized, the idea of making South Korea pay more to welcome troops to its soil is now part of political discourse. The fact that a number of foreign policy buffs were sweating bullets over a possible withdrawal from the Korean Peninsula indicates that a paradigm shift is brewing. Due to the suffocating dominance of neoconservative and liberal interventionism in foreign policy circles, most changes will have to occur in a gradual process that may seem haphazard at first.
Contrary to what the so-called experts would have us believe, there are no free defense lunches. For decades, foreign policy commentators have been gushing empty bromides about values, human rights, and friendships, completely ignoring how converging national interests are what bring nations together in international politics. To paraphrase British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, countries do not have permanent allies, only permanent interests. Sacred values barely figure in these types of arrangements.
All in all, South Korea is a first world nation with a robust economy. Given South Korea’s rapid rise in the first world, it is no exaggeration to suggest that it can begin to take on more of its defense duties. As the United States is currently engulfed in so much social tension while still experiencing the classic imperial overextension that has repeatedly plagued overzealous empires throughout history, a good place to start. to reduce its imperial footprint and focus more on its internal affairs is to implement a gradual withdrawal from regions such as the Korean Peninsula.
At the rate of alarmists, such a withdrawal would not be so chaotic. A number of international relations experts argue that ending the military alliance between the United States and South Korea would place South Korea under a Sino-centric order in East Asia. Artyom Lukin, Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations at the Federal University of the Far East, valorize that a rising China would become a de facto “protector” of the Korean peninsula in a scenario of post-American occupation. In this new role, China would work tirelessly to prevent North Korea from attacking its southern neighbor in order to maintain order in its country. tianxia, or sphere of influence.
South Korea should be allowed to decide its own political fate. A country with its kind of wealth is more than capable of tidying up its house of defense. Its self-governing national defense initiatives demonstrate the seriousness of building a self-sustaining national security infrastructure without the United States constantly holding hands. From there, the United States can initiate a cautious reduction in world affairs that is consistent with the restricted foreign policy outlook of the founding generation.
All things considered, withdrawing troops from South Korea is the best way to change the conversation about American foreign policy, which is completely overwhelmed by platitudes of promoting missionary enterprises abroad and finding new scarecrows to face. . With all of this talk of an “America First” realignment within the American right-wing, any political leader who can call for a coherent reassessment of U.S. foreign policy priorities can galvanize a skeptical interventionist electorate and radically upset the foreign policy for years to come.
#Time #pull #Korea #Dateway