By Jacob G. Hornberger
The best thing that South Koreans could ever do, both for themselves and for the American people, as well as the Japanese citizenry, is boot all U.S. troops out of their country.
Isn’t the reason obvious?
If President Trump, the Pentagon, and the CIA succeed in instigating a war with North Korea, guess who is going to pay the biggest price for such a war.
No, not the United States. At the end of such a war, the continental United States will remain untouched, just like it was after World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and all the other foreign wars in which the U.S. government has become embroiled.
The same cannot be said about South Korea and Japan. While North Korea would undoubtedly end up losing a war against the United States (assuming that China doesn’t enter the fray), South Korea will end up as a devastated wasteland. That’s because as it is going down to defeat, North Korea can be expected to cause as much death and destruction as it can.
That means that South Korea will be buried under a barrage of missiles and artillery shells, not to mention invading North Korean troops. This is especially true for the capital, Seoul, which is located just a few miles south of the border that separates North and South. As Ted Galen Carpenter, senior fellow in defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, put it in a recent article,
Yet if North Korea retaliates for a U.S. attack, South Korea would be the primary victim. Pyongyang has no capability to strike the American homeland, but Seoul, South Korea’s largest city and its economic heart, is located barely 30 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, and it is highly vulnerable to a North Korean artillery barrage. Civilian fatalities would number in the thousands or tens of thousands.
The likelihood is that North Korea would also do whatever it could to hit Japanese cities with missiles, given that Japan is a treaty ally of the United States.
There is also the distinct probability that North Korea will explode a few nuclear bombs in South Korea. Of course, only one would do the trick, by bringing deadly radiation to most of the country for a long time to come. The same holds true for Japan. If North Korea can do it, it will almost certainly lash out with nuclear missiles fired at Japan.
Sure, the United States will win such a war. But can the same be said for Koreans and Japanese?There are those who maintain that North Korea would never resort to nuclear weapons because it knows that the United States would respond with a carpet nuclear-bombing of the entire country. But the problem is that one never knows what a ruler is going to do when faced with total defeat, death, capture, trial, or incarceration. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuba’s communist ruler Fidel Castro was willing to fire nuclear missiles at invading U.S. troops, knowing full well that it would destroy Cuba forever and most likely result in an all-out nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The fact is that North Korea absolutely hates the United States and, more specifically, the U.S. government. It is impossible to overstate the depth of the enmity that the North Korean regime and the North Korean people have for the Pentagon and the CIA.
For one thing, North Koreans understand that it was none of the U.S. government’s business to embroil itself in Korea’s civil war in the first place. The war was between two halves of one country, no different in principle from the civil war that took place in Vietnam several years later — another civil war that was none of the U.S. government’s business.
Moreover, the North Koreans have never forgotten the manner in which the U.S. government waged the Korean War — by massive bombing of Korean towns and cities and also by germ warfare against the North Korean populace. The anti-Asian mindset within the U.S. national-security establishment was the same mindset that guided the waging of the U.S. war in Vietnam, a mindset that held that the North Korean populace consisted of nothing but communist “gooks” who were hell-bent on conquering the world and taking over the United States, a mindset that held that the only good communist is a dead communist.
Additionally, the North Korean regime fully understands that for the U.S. national-security establishment, the Cold War never really ended. That’s why the embargo against Cuba continues. That’s why NATO still exists. That’s why the hostility toward Russia has never ended. And it’s why U.S. troops have never come home from Korea.
What that means is regime change — one of the core missions of the U.S. national-security establishment ever since it came into existence after World War II. The Pentagon and the CIA still want what they have always wanted for North Korea—regime change. That’s why they intervened in the Korean War, not to save America from the communist hordes they said were coming to get us but rather to bring North Korea under U.S. rule, thereby enabling the Pentagon and the CIA to station U.S. troops on China’s border, the same thing they are determined to do in Ukraine on Russia’s border.
The North Koreans (and the Chinese) are fully aware of all this. That’s why they have developed a nuclear program — to deter a U.S. regime-change operation. They know that nuclear weapons are the only thing that will deter the Pentagon and the CIA from instigating one. Don’t forget, after all, that Iraq fell to a U.S. regime-change operation because Saddam Hussein did not have nuclear weapons. Cuba, by comparison, was able to resist a U.S. regime-change operation in 1962 with the help of nuclear missiles from the Soviet Union.
Booting U.S. troops out of Korea would be the best thing that could have happen to the South Korean people and the Japanese people. For one thing, it is highly unlikely that North Korea would resume the civil war, given that South Korea has a much more powerful military and a prosperous society to fund such a war. But if such a war were to break out, it would likely remain conventional, rather than go nuclear, given that Koreans would be fighting Koreans rather than North Koreans fighting Americans.
Finally, with the U.S. government out of the picture, the chances of a diplomatic resolution between the two halves of Korea would be much higher, if for no other reason than that both societies would undoubtedly prefer to avoid the death and destruction the resumption of their civil war would produce.
South Koreans should do themselves, Japan, and the United States a tremendous favor by kicking U.S. troops out of their country. It would also be a favor to those U.S. troops, given that they are nothing but a sacrificial tripwire to guarantee U.S. involvement in another Korean war.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics.
This article was first published by FFF