South Korea: Close Friend Of The U.S., And A Defense Welfare Queen

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Despite North Korea’s many threats to turn South Korea’s capital of Seoul into a “lake of fire,” the city acts pretty normal. Residents say the North’s vituperation has raised tensions, but the streets are as busy as ever. There’s been no exodus from the Republic of Korea’s population, economic, and political heart.

Also unchanged is the conventional wisdom that the ROK must rely upon America for its defense. The assumption dominates Washington, D.C. as well as Seoul, and will be on display during President Park Geun-hye’s visit to the White House tomorrow and address to Congress on Wednesday.

The bilateral relationship is close. Too close, in fact. Both America and South Korea pay a high price for the South’s unnecessary defense dependence.

For 60 years the U.S. has defended the ROK. The “mutual” defense treaty is mutual in name only. Washington defends the South. Seoul does not defend America.

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