It Needs Saying

16 Jun

…honestly, the longer I live out here, the more I think the America’s presence freezes East Asia’s history and territory issues in place, rather than helps resolve them. The US presence encourage domestic maximalism on all sides (because it diminishes the costs of recalcitrance)…(This is most obvious in the Liancourt Rocks dispute.) If we weren’t around, there might be more pressure to reach final status agreements on these issues.

The post deserves consideration as a whole, but I have come to the same conclusion. I would extend the context further: the US presence distorts South Korea’s domestic development as well, encouraging conservatives by diminshing the costs of recalcitrance and undermining ideological compromise.

But, let me repeat, I’m no isolationist or pacifist.

I want the US military to maintain some sort of forward deployment. But, on the lines of what Stephen Walt has argued, the US needs to stop thinking in terms of bilateral treaties, and instead choose functions that are essential. I would suggest that the Military services concentrate on sea lanes and airspace. I know that would affect the Army, but it would also save money on overseas basing. And, as I have always argued, it’s more important for Japan and Korea (and anyone else that wants to join) to become allies, than it is for the US to be allies with either. Ideally, I would love to see a Taiwan-Japan-ROK alliance, with India as an added bonus. The US needs to start thinking about value and stop getting soiled with local issues. It’s no longer America’s responsibility to build democracies or coddle local douchebags.

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