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Geopolitics: The South Korean/North Korean Border

A key point to remember: Generally speaking, the more the U.S. spends on national defense, the fewer Americans killed. Expensive weapon systems give our soldiers an advantage.


This is not the definitive word on the subject of the South Korean and North Korean border. People in the Pentagon and military academies spend their careers strategizing for these contingencies. This is a review of the basics. And, no surprise, socialist feminists have some bad ideas about this issue further below.


There are at least six countries involved concerning the Korean border: the U.S., South Korea, and Japan; and North Korea, China, and Russia. Four of the ten biggest economies in the world: the U.S., China, Japan, and Russia. And, six of the ten biggest militaries in the world.


There is a known peacetime cost for the U.S. to maintain a military presence in South K. There are unknown, potentially high, costs for us if we help South K. in a war with North K. There are potential economic costs for us even in neutrality or in our absence from South K. should a war occur.


Peacetime Cost for U.S.:

“U.S. military non-personnel costs in South Korea totaled about $1.1 billion in 2012.” (“Time for U.S. Forces to Leave South Korea.” Christopher Lee. July 24, 2014.)

I am going to estimate a higher figure of $5 billion to account for both the non-personnel and personnel costs to keep 28,500 U.S. soldiers in South K.

If we bring all of them home the U.S. could save $5 billion per year.


Wartime Cost for U.S.:

If we bring all of our soldiers home, and North K. attacks South K., does the U.S. put all of those 28,500 – plus many more – soldiers back in there to save South K.? I don’t know what another Korean war would cost, but can we agree the warfare cost would be far more expensive than what we are currently spending on the peacetime cost? It would have been better to keep 28,500 soldiers there in the first place. U.S. soldiers are there to deter an act of war by North K., China, and Russia.

In my estimate, the cost to the U.S. of another Korean war is at least hundreds of billions and possibly one trillion dollars or more.


Economic Cost for U.S. Neutrality or Absence During a Korean War:

If we bring all of our 28,500 soldiers home, and North K. attacks South K., and the U.S. is neutral or absent in the war.

There would be an economic cost to the U.S. for doing nothing. South K. has the 15th biggest economy in the world. The U.S. annually trades $100 billion with South K. Compare the size of their economies, South K.'s GDP is $1.1 trillion, North K.'s GDP is a tiny $14 billion.

South K., alone, will lose in a war with North K. How can I be so sure?

North K. will get help from China and possibly Russia, each has a border with North K.

South K. will be in much worse shape afterward because South Koreans have so much more to lose. Even if they fight to a geographical draw, with the borders exactly where they are now, they will lose so much more in their economy. If they are defeated and annexed, their economy will go the way of communist North K.

The U.S. and other countries lose a big trading partner if South K. is defeated.


Rebuilding and Refugee Cost for U.S.:

If we bring all of our 28,500 soldiers home, and North K. attacks South K., and we are absent, and we are willing to accept the economic cost, is the U.S. still expected to pay South K.'s rebuilding costs?

The answer is, yes. This assumes that South K. can fight to at least a draw and not surrender to communist North K. Americans are very generous and always fall for a hard luck story. We will be expected to help in every way – individually, organizationally, and through the U.S. government – with money, food, goods, and services. Ironically, the rebuilding cost would be less expensive if North K. won outright, but the U.S. would lose economic trade with South K.

The cost to rebuild South K., should they fight to a draw, would be as costly as the warfare cost.


The Socialist Party USA's 2012-2013 National Platform. International section:

We call for an end to U.S. arms sales throughout the world.

We call for the disbanding of NATO and all other aggressive military alliances, and the closing of all overseas bases.


Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean you don't have any enemies. And, just because you're a naïve, hippie, peacenik doesn't mean you don't have any enemies. Communists still might attack you or your allies.


We call for an immediate 50% cut in the military budget, followed by additional cuts, with the aim of rapidly reducing the military budget to less than 10% of its current level,...

So, socialist feminists want to cut military spending by more than 90%, but if you think they will wisely balance the budget, guess again.

...with the “peace dividend” directed to essential social services and to the cost of cleaning up contaminated military sites.

Yes, socialist feminists want to blow even more money on welfare.


Korean Reunification:

The U.S. and some Koreans on both sides would like Korea to reunify the way East and West Germany did in 1990. Germany reunified in the direction of the West.

The South Korea/North Korea standoff is a geopolitical battle between democracy and communism.

For all of the headaches, the U.S. doesn’t want to lose the South to the East, and China doesn’t want to lose the North to the West.


Geopolitics is complicated. Just when you think you have it figured out, other unforeseen complications can arise. Conditions change and plans need to be constantly reviewed.


For national defense planning, we need to have a vision for the future and the generations that follow. We need to think in terms of decades, not years. We have to consider all other countries involved, not just the U.S., because other countries can have a direct and indirect effect on the U.S. We also need to avoid a one-size-fits-all mentality. Just because we should stay in South K. doesn't mean we have to keep soldiers everywhere.


In the context of a balanced budget amendment, I think we could cut military spending by 10%, close a few bases, and still protect ourselves and help our allies.


However, South Korea shouldn't be forfeited because of a short-sighted decision to leave.