Playing Tough

Josh Marshall beats me to the punch when he notes that the talk of withdrawing troops from the DMZ was aimed at South Korea, not the North. He’s also right that it is essentially a strong-arm tactic to ensure that the South realizes they do not have the luxury of anti-Americanism.

Marshall then reminds us that South Korea is an ally of the United States. That is true, to a point. However, they’re an erstwhile ally at this point, and deserve to be treated as such. Roh Moo-hyun, the new President of South Korea is the one who first suggested a strategic split between South Korea in the United States, playing to anti-American sentiments in the region. The talk about withdrawing US troops is a reminder that such an action benefits no one.

Just because a nation is your ally does not mean you must always treat them with kid gloves. The talk of a pullout is nothing more than a reminder to Roh as to where his loyalties should lie.

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