June 08, 2004
Realigning our forces globally
Posted by McQ
For whatever reason, there seems to be great consternation among some elements of the left about our reduction of troops in Korea.
A U.S. pullout would force South Korea to shoulder more responsibility for defending itself from possible North Korean military aggression. But the plan has spurred concern that North Korea could view the move as a sign of U.S. weakness as the North wrangles with its neighbors and Washington over its nuclear weapons program.
Lets get real here ... if North Korea decides, for whatever reason, to head south, the fact that US troops are there or not there will have little impact on whether it chooses to use nuclear weapons. And we certainly don't have to have troops there to respond with nuclear weapons. So, in reality, this is all nonsense.
The South Korean army is more than a match for the North Korean army. NoKo has a million men under arms. ROC has 650,000. In any offensive action, the optimum ratio desired is 3:1. NoKo could only achieve that locally and then they have to fight an army better equipped and better fed (and probably better trained) than their own while in hostile territory which has been prepared for decades to repel them. Add to that the fact that NoKo has old equipment and parts shortages and you can see why nuclear weapons are now being discussed.
As for American help, the best help we could lend has to do with air power, not ground troops, and we can muster that sort of help relatively quickly out of Japan and southern Korea (not to mention a carrier task force or two).
So I see this as much ado about nothing. Personally I've been of the opinion we should have been out of there a long time ago with our ground forces. And the plan has been to pull the 2nd Infantry Division out of the DMZ for quite some time and have the ROCs take it over.
What is happening in Korea is simply part of a realignment of US troops around the world. Peter Brookes of the Heritage Foundation does an excellent job of pointing out the why's and wherefore's of such a realignment in today's New York Post.
This realignment and repositioning is something we should have been considering for quite some time. After the fall of the USSR and its eastern bloc, much of our troop positioning in Europe became "obsolete" for lack of a better term. It certainly wasn't nominal and remained as it was more out of tradition than need.
Korea is the first step in this necessary realignment of forces and despite all the concerns about NoKo, is the right thing to do.