Pat Buchanan’s article in the Miami Herald reads very much like someone who only has a superficial knowledge of Korean affairs who is passing themselves off as an expert. Read the article and judge for yourself:
And while America cannot abdicate her responsibility and role in this crisis, we should be asking ourselves: Why is this our crisis in 2013?
President Eisenhower ended the Korean War 60 years ago. The Chinese armies in Korea went home. Twenty years ago, the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia abandoned communism and ceased to arm the North, and Mao’s China gave up world revolution for state capitalism.
Epochal events. Yet U.S. troops still sit on the DMZ, just as their grandfathers did when this writer was still in high school.
Why? North Korea represents no threat to us, and South Korea is not the ruined ravaged land of 1953. It has twice the population of the North, an economy 40 times the size of the North’s, and access to the most modern weapons in America’s arsenal.
Why were U.S. troops not withdrawn from Korea at the end of the Cold War? Why should we have to fight Seoul’s war if Pyongyang attacks, when the South is capable of fighting and winning its own war?
Why is South Korea’s defense still America’s obligation? [Miami Herald]
Instead of questioning why is the US still on DMZ, I might ask: Why is North Korea so bent on developing nuclear weapons?
The conventional wisdom is that Pyongyang wants to sign a peace treaty with the US, replacing the armistice agreement. It can have this tready today, without the aid of nuclear weapons, if it was really that it wanted. The truth is it aborted talks with the US many years ago by putting a variety of conditions on its way.
The real objective is to use this ”peace teeaty” to press the withdrawal of US troops. What the North wants is to repeat the example of North Vietnam after signing the peace treaty with the US in 1973 that led to removal of US troops. After a round of false moves involving clashes with the South Vietnamese army, the North launched a blitz attack on all over the South, conquering the entire territory in a very short time.
This is why the North maintains a huge military force of 1.1 million men and women today despite the staggering cost, including a large number of Special Forces trained in urban guerrilla warfare.
Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, was so gripped with this fantasy that he went to Beijing seeking to persuade it to back him (unsuccessfully) in this attempt shortly after the collapse of Saigon regime.
Admittedly, South Korea today is by no means comparable to South Vietnam of 1975, but as you (sic: Tom Coyner) said, it would require many times the cost of maintaining the 28,000 US troops here in the event of another war.
No, we should not give the North that opportunity. We should wait it out to crumble, just as the Soviet Union crumbled. Park Geun Hye was right when she said, “the Soviet Union collapsed not because it lacked nuclear weapons.”
This is a great analysis, but I would also add that I do not think that the North Koreans are going to invade immediately once the US pulls out. They will continue to back their Chinboistas in South Korea to agitate and cause widespread political and labor strife in an effort to weaken the South Korean economy. A weakened economy means a weakened ROK military as well as wide spread public dissatisfaction. These conditions may allow an extreme leftist to get elected to the Presidency. I am talking someone who is a committed Chinboista leftist and not an incompetent like former President Roh Moo-Hyun.
At the same time expect North Korea to turn on its charm offensive. It will make itself out to be less threatening in an effort to justify cuts to the ROK military and create increased dissatisfaction with the ROK’s mandatory service obligation. The charm offensive will also help the North get their Chinboista surrogate elected. This is all part of the reason the North Korean regime inner circle decided to have Kim Jong-un as their public face. He is the perfect guy to lead the charm offensive when the time comes because of his appearance, demeanor, and lack of vitriol against him in the ROK compared to his dad Kim Jong-un. Once the conditions are right expect some kind of push for a political confederation between the two countries in an effort to end tne US-ROK alliance, further reduce defenses along the DMZ, and to politically justify the invasion of the South when the time comes.
It is important to realize that all these parallel lines of efforts by the North Koreans is not a near term strategy. Unlike the US where our government often thinks in 4 year election cycles, the North Korean regime elite has the luxury of strategizing over decades. This also helps explains why the Chinese never take harsh action after North Korean provocations because they understand the strategy. It is greatly in their interest to see the US military leave South Korea and the eventual reunification of the Korean Peninsula under a North Korean authoritarian government.