February 18, 2005


Japan to Join U.S. Policy on Taiwan: Growth of China Seen Behind Shift (Anthony Faiola, February 18, 2005, Washington Post)

The United States and Japan will declare Saturday for the first time in a joint agreement that Taiwan is a mutual security concern, according to a draft of the document. Analysts called the move a demonstration of Japan's willingness to confront the rapidly growing might of China.

The United States has long focused attention on the Chinese government's threat to use military force against Taiwan if the island, which China views as a renegade province, moves toward independence. Until now, Japan has been content to let the United States bear the brunt of Beijing's displeasure.

But in the most significant alteration since 1996 to the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance, which remains the cornerstone of U.S. interests in East Asia, Japan will join the Bush administration in identifying security in the Taiwan Strait as a "common strategic objective." Set for release after a meeting of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and their Japanese counterparts in Washington on Saturday, the revisions will also call for Japan to take a greater role in conjunction with U.S. forces both in Asia and beyond, according to a draft copy obtained by The Washington Post.

Although it is likely to anger China, the move is being welcomed by Taiwan, which, despite having been occupied by Japan from 1895 to 1945, maintains an empathy for the Japanese that is rare in Asia.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 18, 2005 2:44 PM

Will this unilateralism never cease!

Posted by: Luciferous at February 18, 2005 2:50 PM

Will this unilateralism never cease!

Posted by: Luciferous at February 18, 2005 2:51 PM

Mmmmm...Greek style hegemony.

Posted by: Pat H at February 18, 2005 3:18 PM

This is as good a reason as any for us to reduce our military footprint in Asia. China is a growing power, but she's ringed by other powers who have an interest in containing her. Removing our base in Japan will reduce the aggravation they cause, and it will encourage the Japanese to underwrite more of their own defense. The same is true of South Korea for that matter.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 3:28 PM

What is it about libertarians? Despite a reasonably intelligent approach to domestic affairs, when it comes to matters overseas they are almost Gallic in their loyalty to theory without regard to facts or history.

The Japanese have the second largest defense budget in the world. The existing restrictions on it were imposed by treaty after WWII. South Korea maintains 686,000 active troops(out of a population of 47 million) and has conscription.

America has an interest in Taiwanese sovereignty for two reasons. First, they are a major trading partner and even more importantly a partner in high-tech research and development. Second, they are a brilliant example of a nation that transformed itself from an authoritarian regime to a democratic, free market oriented society. If anything they are a model for what we want to see occur in the PRC. Nations that are not ruled by autocrats but are ruled by governments responsible to the people are far less likely to engage in rogue state behavior that threatens all.

The 'aggravation' such as it is in Japan and Korea has more to do with an idiotic policy of our military not to allow our soldiers to be subject to local justice than with any other aspect of our policy. In Europe, American soldiers who commit crimes off base are tried by local authorities, in Okinawa and Japan and Korea they are dealt with by American military authority. The gutter press there handles it no differently from how the gutter press would handle similar high-handed behavior here.

China is a nuclear power, the others are not. That is a pretty big difference. Part of the tradeoff for us being there, having a military tripwire on site, is that it keeps those nations out of the nuclear club, which we have seen to be in our interest for about 60 years now. The PRC is in no military position to invade Taiwan successfully, but a Taiwan without the American nuclear umbrella and all that it entails would be readily nuked by the PRC. A blockade by the PRC submarine force, which is large enough to do it, is not an impossibility either.

In all honesty, I think the PRC is engaged in a little saber-rattling and despite PRC propaganda, up to and including movie scripts,
there is no good reason why ethnic Taiwanese(86% of the island) should be compelled to be part of the PRC. Also, the PRC is far from a unified force, the seeds of renewed warlordism are apparent. Our move with Taiwan is part of a game, a dance, more for Chinese domestic consumption than anything else. The PRC says something, moves a division here or there, and we respond. The last thing anybody smarter than a hamster in the PRC wants is a war with the US, no more Wal-Mart contracts. But sometimes an isolated stupid act can precipitate a war (see Sarajevo 1914) and we need to be ready.

More important to regional instability than the PRC is probably the DPRK. I hope I do not have to explain to you what makes them a rather wild card for everyone else in the region. Or why a nuclear attack on Japan by the DPRK would have dire effects on the American economy.

Posted by: Bart at February 18, 2005 4:26 PM


Libertarianism is fundamentally selfish. It dresses up ignoring other people's problems as a philosophy.

Posted by: oj at February 18, 2005 4:29 PM


There is a difference between selfishness, which can be a good thing, and short-sightedness, which is merely dopey. Libertarian foreign policy is positively myopic.

The short Realpolitik answer about why back the march of democracy, rule of law, free markets, etc around the world is as I said earlier, in the long term, such democracies are far less likely to engage in rogue state behavior.

Posted by: Bart at February 18, 2005 4:37 PM


You don't know what you're talking about.

First, I'm not a libertarian.

Second, American troops can be tried by Japanese authorities. A few of our rapists are in Japanese prisons. See this story:

Third, despite having a high defense budget, the Japanese military is relatively weak. A lot of the money gets wasted on sweetheart contracts. You're right about the Post-WWII restrictions, but I don't see why those need to be etched into stone.

Fourth, no one is talking about abandoning Taiwan, only rationalizing our policy in the region. Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan and India all have huge economies. There's no reason we should be subsidizing their defense when we have other pressing obligations around the world. We need to delegate these things according to current needs, not according to prejudices dating back to 1946.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 4:41 PM


You don't know what you're talking about.

First, I'm not a libertarian.

Second, American troops can be tried by Japanese authorities. A few of our rapists are in Japanese prisons. See this story:

Third, despite having a high defense budget, the Japanese military is relatively weak. A lot of the money gets wasted on sweetheart contracts. You're right about the Post-WWII restrictions, but I don't see why those need to be etched into stone.

Fourth, India is a nuclear power, and Japan, Taiwan and Korea could easily nuclearize at any time. Even if they didn't, we can project our nuclear capability from our bases in Guam and Hawaii. We don't need to maintain tens of thousands of men in Northeast Asia.

Fifth, no one is talking about abandoning Taiwan, only rationalizing our policy in the region. Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan and India all have huge economies. There's no reason we should be subsidizing their defense when we have other pressing obligations around the world. We need to delegate these things according to current needs, not according to prejudices dating back to 1946.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 4:43 PM


No there isn't. The self is short.

Posted by: oj at February 18, 2005 4:51 PM

You're not a libertarian but you merely play one on websites. Or is it paleo-conservative now?

The decision, in the case you reference, to try the matter in an Okinawan court was done as a result of understandable political pressure, but the underlying rules still stand. The use of large amounts of Okinawan land for military purposes while the Home Islands are not so heavily devoted to military usage is a serious matter, but much of Okinawan rage is a result of poor Japanese policymaking with the Americans a convenient scapegoat.

India is not in East Asia unless they moved it recently. It also deals daily with a real threat from Pakistan and Muslim terrorists trained by the ISI and funded by the Saudis.

It is in America's interest,as a nuclear power, to have as few other nuclear powers around as possible. The BRD could certainly have nuclearized in the 80s but nobody in his right mind wanted even an elected Bundeskanzler to have a nuclear football. The military continues to feel that these bases are necessary so I will defer to their experience. There is a value to having staging areas where your troops can land and organize should a non-nuclear response in theatre be necessary. That is what these bases are for. Rumsfeld's decision to pull troops away from Seoul, where the land use issues did matter as Seoul is growing, and the DMZ further highlights the bases' function as a staging area rather than as a forward defense. The ROK is responsible for its forward defense.

Our amicable relations with Taiwan do not amount to a subsidy of a significant amount of cash. If you want to address really wasted money, consider our bases in Old Europe, designed to fight a war which no longer looks to be on the horizon. The Russian tanks ain't moving through the Fulda gap any time soon. We waste the really big bucks in Europe, where a reorganization focusing on moving our troops out with a tripwire in the less expensive and more suitable East would be in order.

Posted by: Bart at February 18, 2005 5:06 PM

Having been in the military, and at those bases, I can tell you, they're flat wrong. They said the same thing of Subik Bay and Clark in the Phillipines. Those bases closed and--mirabile dictu--the Earth continues to rotate on its axis. The only thing those bases do is eat up money and troops better used elsewhere.

India may not be in East Asia, but it is a rival power to China, along with Taiwan, and it's critical to controlling Asia.

As for our European bases, I agree. They should be closed. All of them.

I have some libertarian sympathies, but I'm mostly a conservative in the Russell-Kirk/Edmund-Burke tradition.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 5:24 PM


Fretting about who pays for doing what's morally right isn't conservative in any meaningful sense. Would Burke have opposed stopping the French because the continentals should have done it themselves?

Posted by: oj at February 18, 2005 5:32 PM

Subik Bay and Clark AFB were easily replaced by bases in theater, including the ones you advocate eliminating. The military believes that we need to have troops on the ground in Korea and troops nearby in Japan in case they have to be sent to Korea. Little Kim remains a real threat, not because he can win, but because he can cause a huge amount of damage to American interests. As long as he remains a threat the bases remain.

The only reason to have bases in Europe is as a place to organize a response to a military situation in some part of Europe or the Middle East. There is no reason for this to be Germany, which is expensive, hilly and ungrateful. Keep the naval facilities in Italy, maybe add some in Slovenia and Croatia, then use the Hungarian Grand Puszta as a place for a massive air and military base.

If you believe that there are parts of the world where there is a need for rapid American military intervention, then you must accept the notion that a permanent presence in the region must also be needed to facilitate that intervention. Thus, where the need for the intervention remains, the need for the bases remains.

Posted by: Bart at February 18, 2005 6:20 PM

Several of the posters here would get a geopolitical shock by reading "The War in 2020" by Ralph Peters.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at February 18, 2005 8:06 PM

when people talk about how the prc is a threat to the u.s. i always think about how the same people said the ussr was "winning" this or that race. and now of course the poor doomed russians are losing the only race that really counts (the human race).

Posted by: cjm at February 18, 2005 11:12 PM


The PRC is not the kind of threat the USSR was. All you need to do in order to understand this is to review the Tienanmen Square and the 'spyplane' incidents. In both cases, what is striking is the disunity of the Chinese response. A country with serious warlordism issues ain't gonna jump ugly with us too soon.

They are however capable of regional military action of a nasty nature, most obviously a blockade of Taiwan. Such precipitous action might be inevitable in the near future should the centrifugal tendency in the PRC become strong enough that the Politburo decides a unifying nationalist crusade is needed.

Posted by: Bart at February 19, 2005 6:19 AM


Neither was the Soviet Union.

Posted by: oj at February 19, 2005 8:25 AM

The Soviet Union was two things the PRC is not and those two things were the reason for the difference in policy making. The Soviets were messianic, their leadership and probably a significant portion of the population believed that they had a message for the world, a correct method for running things. Russians have had this fervor since the fall of Constantinople when they declared Moscow the 'Third Rome.' Communism merely gave them a religious framework to justify this messianic streak. Also, Russia is historically a militarily imperialist power, sending soldiers to places with little or no connection to historical Russia with the intent of conquest. By contrast, China is not by nature imperialistic, at most they want a co-prosperity sphere or to bring all 'Chinese' under one government.

The Russians were less of a threat than we had thought not because they didn't want to be a threat but because the 'internal contradictions' of their system brought them down, once Reagan decided to give them a good, hard push. It also didn't help policy makers that we had either fellow travellers like Salisbury and Duranty or anti-democratic morons like Kennan as our main sources of info about the Soviet Union.

Posted by: Bart at February 19, 2005 8:45 AM

No, the internal contradictions rendered them incapable of posing the threat. It was all Potemkin Village.

Posted by: oj at February 19, 2005 8:54 AM

bart, don't you think the prc has a far greater likelyhood of imploding, than of overtaking the u.s. economically and militarily ? the system of government a country has determines its ultimate success. america is what it is because of its way of govenoring. leftists don't like uncertainty (which is inherent in a democratic system) so they invariably mistake the give and take of democracy as imminent collapse.

we don't subsidise taiwan's military unless you consider selling them billions of dollars of equipment to be a subsidy.

Posted by: cjm at February 19, 2005 10:23 AM

We need some bases in Asia somewhere for basing of aircraft. Carrier air is not by itself sufficent. Japan seems the likely place. Along with our rights to use Singapore, this is all we need. We are already in the process of removing our useless ground troops from Korea. We don't have bases in Taiwan. Where else do we have bases in Asia?

As stated so many times here, China is a paper tiger but we need some presence to deter them. Otherwise, we will have to fight. A fairly easy victory but a war that is not necessary. They will collapse soon enough.

Posted by: Bob at February 19, 2005 11:13 AM

Military bases are a mistake because they encourage the use of the military rather than the more sensible resort to missiles and nukes.

Posted by: oj at February 19, 2005 11:20 AM


There is a moral issue involved. First, why should American taxpayers underwrite the defense of people who are perfectly able to take care of themselves? Second, if it's immoral to encourage dependency through welfare for the poor, why doesn't the same apply to nations?

Bart and Bob,

We have a perfectly good American territory in the area. It's called Guam. We also have the Aleutians. Further, the Japanese and the Koreans are more than able to maintain and keep up bases for our deployment. Look, the fact is we cannot defend them forever, so it's better that they start transitioning into the job now instead of being thrust into it decades from now when some emergency forces us out.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 19, 2005 12:24 PM


Here is the SOFA Agreement with Japan:

Here's the relevant section:
"3. In cases where the right to exercise jurisdiction is concurrent the following rules shall apply:

* (a) The military authorities of the United States shall have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over members of the United States armed forces or the civilian component in relation to
o (i) offenses solely against the property or security of the United States, or offenses solely against the person or prop erty of another member of the United States armed forces or the civilian component or of a dependent;
o (ii) offenses arising out of any act or omission done in the performance of official duty.
* (b) In the case of any other offense the authorities of Japan shall have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction.
* (c) If the State having the primary right decides not to exer-cise jurisdiction, it shall notify the authorities of the other State as soon as practicable. The authorities of the State having the primary right shall give sympathetic consideration to a request from the authorities of the other State for a waiver of its right in cases where that other State considers such waiver to e of particular importance."

As this article indicates (http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/7/6/174518.shtml) there is a problem with handing over military personell who haven't been charged, but when it comes to someone charged and indicted, the Japanese authorities can and do try U.S. military personell.

Korea has a similar agreement. The big ruckus over the girl who was killed by a truck driver (who was acquitted) was created because the U.S. maintains jurisdiction over crimes committed while a serviceman is performing his duty. There's a similar provision in the quote above with relation to Japan. This is a necessary provision, because without it, the host country could exact revenge on individual soldiers if it was displeased by U.S. policy.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 19, 2005 1:04 PM


What you say is true with hindsight, however policy is not made in hindsight and is not based solely upon theory. We were at the poker table as the hand was being dealt. Intellectually, one could reasonably predict that the various internal contradictions of the Soviet Union would be its downfall(Amalrik certainly did), however, there was no guarantee that it would be a correct prediction. We had no knowledge, no proof, that such a centralized command-based system would fall so quickly nor did we have proof that our system would prevail. How many alleged experts were out and about in the 70s and 80s proclaiming our imminent demise and how the Soviets were the future? (These idiots still haven't gone away. Stephen Cohen was on TV the other night) The fact that we could have been wrong made it necessary to take the Soviets and their potential threat seriously. The good chess player does not neglect back rank defense in order to go on an attack, even if he is convinced that his attack will succeed.

Military bases do not encourage the use of the military any more than gun possession encourages the use of a gun. I own two pistols, and I haven't shot anyone lately. There are situations where troops are called upon rather than air cover or certainly missiles, and I would think you, as someone who admires Hugo Grotius all of that 'just war' claptrap far more than I do, would see this. Once we made the decision to go into Mogadishu, the use of missiles would have been overkill and would have resulted in even more international opprobrium than we receive now.

Posted by: Bart at February 19, 2005 1:17 PM

derek, it seems like you are conflating subsidy with mutual defence. are you being completely open and honest in your views and opinions ? the days of being a "little americaner" ended at kitty hawk...

if walks like a paleocon, and talks like a paleocon...

Posted by: cjm at February 19, 2005 1:23 PM


Agreed. The vast disparities of wealth from region to region and the competition among individual generals and apparatchiks, i.e. warlords and mandarins are huge centrifugal forces operating on China. Frankly, barring drastic reform of some kind which broadens the ownership of the wealth and the opportunity to become wealthy and ends the excessive cronyism of their system, they are on the express skateboard to the dung heap of history and we could be looking at internal strife there that makes the 1800-1973 period there look like the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.

When you get paid full freight, it ain't a subsidy.

Posted by: Bart at February 19, 2005 1:25 PM


You want to rely on a permanent base on the Aleutians? Have you any idea what the weather is like there? Cold and lots and lots of precipitation, tons of cloud cover. Not exactly perfect flying weather. Alaska isn't a bad place for a supplementary facility but for a main facility it is completely unsuitable.

As an economic superpower, we have certain needs. One of these is free and open sea lanes. Another is places to trade fairly and openly. The PRC doesn't respect patents, trademarks, copyrights or any of the other protections of intellectual property law. It has a court system that resembles the worst of the Third World and in the event of government instability would have no qualms about pulling a Mugabe with respect to non-Chinese owned property. OTOH, while we have problems with Japan, the ROK and Taiwan on these matters, they are nowhere near that scale. Nature abhors a vacuum and if we pulled out, the PRC might decide to just impose its terms on merchant shipping, which I assure you would not be to our advantage.

'Some emergency forces us out?' Like what?

Reduction is a good idea. There is no good reason why we need to be in the first line of defense in the ROK, but we do need a presence on the ground so that we can deploy there easily and managing our own presence is a lot simpler logistically than sharing a joint facility.

Thank you for the SOFA, my info came from East Asians I'd met during my academic career who were teaching at my college at the time, and were for the most part friendly to America. Both Japan and especially the ROK have forms of extreme nationalism that can mutate into a weird self-defeating xenophobia.

Posted by: Bart at February 19, 2005 1:39 PM


some people and peoples are dependents.

Posted by: oj at February 19, 2005 2:23 PM


Of course we did know at the time just how weak they were, which is why guys like von Neumann, Patton, and LeMay wanted to do them right away, why Ike scaled back the Cold War, and why Reagan told them they'd lost.

Posted by: oj at February 19, 2005 2:25 PM


I've already explained why we rejected the notion of carrying the war to the Soviets in the 40s so I will not do so again.

In the 50s, Eisenhower and the other clowns like the Dullest Brothers were far more interested in making money from the Soviets than in carrying the fight to them. Just as we managed to support thugs around the world of varying levels of competence, we ignored the nascent democracy movements in Eastern Europe or worse incited them and then hung them out to dry in Poland, the DDR and of course Hungary. These A-holes nearly blew up NATO over Suez and pushed the French to surrender Algerie, because they were so up to their noses in Saudi oil money. If the Cold War was scaled back under these losers, the sole reason was there was money to be made from servicing the Russian dictatorship as they were doing in Brazil's or Taiwan's or South Korea's or Iran's. Our behavior towards the Soviets in the 50s was that of a corrupt weak sleazeball, not the confident forward-looking nation we were in the Reagan Era and are becoming again. The Eisenhower years were the necessary prologue to the disease that was the 60s.

Posted by: Bart at February 19, 2005 6:40 PM


Even by your low standards that's misinformed. The U-2 flyovers showed how primitive the USSR was. When Ike's guys tried briefing the kennedy people and telling them the missile gap was inane the best and the Brightest just refused to believe it, then got to office and found it was true. As late as the Cuban Missile Crisis the Soviets would have been unable to respond to a nuclear strike in any meaningful way.

Posted by: oj at February 19, 2005 7:36 PM

So, smart guy, why did we push the Brits and the French out of Suez? Why did we screw over the Hungarian, German and Polish democracy movements in the mid 50s? Why did we push the French to betray the pieds noirs and the Jews of Algerie? The first two were due to Russian pressure and the last was due to the Dullest Brothers and their oil company paymasters looking for pelf in the Arab World.

The simple fact is that not unlike the Administration of another ill-informed, hands-off war hero, Grant, the Eisenhower Administration was thoroughly corrupt and run by people whose interest was in feathering their own nests rather than in American security. We were weak in the 50s, and we were led by ditherers and crooks. Even Eisenhower later in conversations with Ben-Gurion realized his mistakes in Suez.

Those U-2 flyovers worked real well, just ask Francis Gary Powers.

The missile gap was a very serious matter until the Reagan years.

Posted by: Bart at February 20, 2005 6:39 AM

If you pause a moment you'll see that you're proving the point--none of that mattered to our security because the Soviets were so feeble. There's a good moral case to be made for getting rid of the Nazis, Communists, and Islamicists, but none has ever been a threat to us.

Ike thought he'd told the Brits to leave Suez alone and they disobeyed him, so he smacked them down.

Posted by: oj at February 20, 2005 8:08 AM

And he 'told the Brits to leave Suez alone' and let a Stalinist thug like Nasser take it over for what reason? And thousands of Hungarians, Poles and Germans had to die or flee into refugee camps for what reason?

Suez and Algerie really mattered in Britain and France. In both, it showed their hard-line nationalists like Powell and DeGaulle that America was not to be trusted. And if we did not choose to intervene in Suez because of Soviet pressure what was the reason?

Posted by: Bart at February 20, 2005 9:21 AM

Because it didn't matter.

We smacked them down at Suez because Ike thought they'd betrayed his trust--the Soviets weren't a factor.

Posted by: oj at February 20, 2005 9:34 AM

So, because Ike got in a snit, we nearly blew up our most important alliance? And he put a Stalinist toady in charge of the most important sea lane from the Arabian oil fields to Western Europe? And he gave the Soviets a propaganda victory throughout the Third World? If that was the case, the GOP should have gotten together and sent him off to the golf course and put Nixon in charge. It would have been clear that he was mentally and emotionally unfit to be in command.

And I'll try again. Why did the Hungarians, Poles and East Germans have to die after we incited them to revolt and then failed to back them when they did?

Posted by: Bart at February 20, 2005 2:03 PM

Because they didn't matter to our security--indeed, overextending the Soviet Union sped its downfall.

Posted by: oj at February 20, 2005 2:17 PM

Here it was I always saw Eisenhower as an amiable dunce, a poor boy made good who saw the dirtbags who run Big Business through the same rose-colored glasses that most 7 year olds use to look at pro athletes.

Now I find that he was willing to blow up our most important alliance and hand over the most important sea lane from Arabia to Europe to Soviet control because he got in a snit. And that he was perfectly happy to encourage revolt against the Soviets in Eastern Europe because it added to their overextension, but then failed to help those same brave rebels, enabling the Soviets to butcher thousands, if not tens of thousands, of men, women and children.

No amiable dunce was our Ike then. He was a preening, egocentric psychopath and racist, content to undermine America's alliances because his widdle feelings got hurt and encourage the 'Untermenschen' to get massacred. Sort of like Kaiser Wilhelm with two working arms.

I'll keep that in mind. Although I think my view of him as a greedy Grant without the booze problem is a little more accurate.

Posted by: Bart at February 20, 2005 2:32 PM


And therefore one of our most successful presidents. Inded, the only good one between Coolidge & Reagan.

Posted by: oj at February 20, 2005 6:59 PM

You and I will have to agree to disagree, as I hold FDR and Truman in significantly higher esteem than you do.

It should give one pause to consider that a New Left historian, Stephen Ambrose, could write fawning biographies of both George McGovern and Eisenhower.

Posted by: Bart at February 21, 2005 6:33 AM


I mentioned the Aleutians as one place of many. We have Guam, Micronesia and other places to set up bombers, which are what is really needed. The other stuff, the first response stuff, can be handled by the local forces. There's no reason Japan, the second largest economy on earth, can't field adequate air and naval forces to patrol her own little corner of the world. There's no reason S. Korea can't essentially do the same thing. If needed, we can always preposition equipment and supplies to help them in a longer war, but we need to place more of the burden on them, and we need to do it now while we can control the situation. That's acting with an eye towards the long term. Pretending things should always remain the same isn't.

As far as being a "little Americaner," I plead guilty. I see no reason for us to involve ourselves in fights not our own, particularly not when our allies have the ability to take care of themselves, as is the case in Northeast Asia and Western Europe. I don't think we should drop our responsibilities overnight, but I do think we need to start moving to extricate ourselves from affairs that don't directly affect our security. Our ultimate goal should be to have no American troops stationed overseas on a permanent basis.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 21, 2005 6:04 PM


That is the ultimate goal. It comes with History's End.

Posted by: oj at February 21, 2005 6:12 PM


You are correct that it is the ultimate goal to not need forces there, but we are not in that circumstance. For reasons I have stated, we need to have bases in theatre where we can deploy quickly if our interests, as I've outlined above, are threatened. Reducing the size of the permanent troop presence, I have no problem. But we need a permanent presence for obvious logistical reasons, if for no other reason than for the troops to have American-style equipment, housing and creature comforts when they hit the ground. Maybe, Japan can spend more but the ROK is quite obviously pretty much maxed out unless you think they should be a 'garrison state.'

OJ is right, at some point there will be an End to History, but until then it is exceedingly unwise to 'Declare Victory' and go home.

Posted by: Bart at February 22, 2005 6:29 AM