It appears as though President Bush will be moving 70,000 troops out of Germany and South Korea in a massive reorganization of the US military’s force-projection infrastructure. Especially in the case of Germany, there’s little need for US troops to remain as the Cold War is long over, and having brigades of soldiers to defend Western Europe from attack is no longer necessary. In the case of South Korea, the moving of the South Korean capital outside the range of North Korean artillery also mitigates much of the need of having thousands of US troops in harm’s way on the DMZ.
Where the US needs to be able to project force has shifted from Europe to the Middle East and Asia. The Soviet threat is gone – the new threat is global terrorism originating out of failed states from the Sudan to Southeast Asia. This reorganization recognizes that the geopolitical situation is not the same as it was in 1950, and we need to adapt our military to its new mission.
These changes have been suspected for some time now, and aren’t much of a surprise. However, for all those protestors who chanted “Yankees out” the day US forces leave may be a harsh awakening. A US military base is an economic goldmine, and the departure of these troops may have some significant impact. It’s another example of why you should be careful what you wish for – you just might get it.