Seoul Searching

Issue: Fall 2005

Why should the United States maintain troops in the Republic ofKorea (ROK)? What American interests are being served by thealliance? Officials in both capitals maintain that the allianceremains as relevant as ever. The two governments insist that the"fundamental goal is to enhance deterrence and security on theKorean Peninsula."

But Washington's Cold War security concern for the ROK hasdisappeared. Even if the security of South Korea remained vital tothe United States--and it does not--America's treaty and troopsaren't necessary to achieve that end. The South has dramaticallyoutstripped North Korea on virtually every measure of nationalpower and can stand on its own.

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