This policy obviously is no bargain for America: the South underwrites the military of the nation against which the U.S. is prepared to go to war. In return, Washington receives marginal assistance from the ROK in conflicts the U.S. should not be fighting.Read the rest here.
The strategy looks equally dubious for the South. Complained Edward Luttwak, “South Korea has matched the North’s bellicosity with its own strategic perversity: It remains obsessed with an utterly unthreatening Japan and has been purchasing air power to contend with imagined threats from Tokyo as opposed to the real ones just north of the demilitarized zone. Seoul is simply unwilling to acquire military strength to match its vastly superior economy.”
Even so, the decision should be Seoul’s alone—if America was not defending the South. Washington has reason to object to being asked to defend the ROK from an enemy which the ROK is subsidizing. If Seoul responds that the subsidies don’t matter because the DPRK poses no threat, then U.S. military support is unnecessary.
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