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One more voice on the issue of the U.S. military presence in South Korea.
It is not that anyone expects you to love the U.S. military. Most marriages don’t last 50 years anymore, and 50 years of having someone in your backyard is certain to be annoying even if they are well-behaved.
When the U.S.-South Korea military alliance comes to an end, you will be responsible for yourselves in a potentially hostile environment. You are not the world economic power that China or Japan is, and you have a very poor track record (look at your history books) of defending yourself against foreign aggression.
And once the United States leaves, we just won’t care. There are no real ties between the United States and South Korea ― far less than the Philippines, and we abandoned them completely. (That’s what they asked for; that’s what they got.)
In Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States, certain pro-independence activists try to steer it toward independence. But every time the issue of independence is put to a vote, the Puerto Ricans overwhelmingly reject it.
It’s not because they particularly like the United States. They just know “where their bread is buttered” ― meaning that they get so many benefits from the United States that it’s too risky to seek independence.
When the United States leaves (and it seems certain to do so, given the current situation), South Koreans need to be prepared to go it alone ― higher taxes, a larger military, and a great deal of uncertainty and suspicion when your only neighbors are also your old enemies.

by Connie Arnold
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