U.S. officials need to recognize that not everything on earth is about America or that every other nation is waiting for the United States to decide how they should act. South Korea is a prime example. Seoul does not want to sacrifice its security amid growing antagonism between the PRC and America. Washington should seek the ROK’s assistance while working to ensure that the latter does not get caught in between the equivalent of two rampaging elephants. That is the least the United States could do for a close democratic ally and friend of more than seven decades.
Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and coauthor of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.