Ron Paul, Hope for a Reunited Korea
By Joshua Snyder
Among the candidates for the 2008 presidential election, only one has offered a proposal that would seriously work toward the reunification of the tragically divided Korean Peninsula. That candidate is Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), and his plan is to withdraw all American military forces from South Korea. Dr. Paul has not isolated Korea for a removal of American forces. In keeping with warnings of Presidents Washington and Jefferson to avoid "foreign entanglements" and "entangling alliances," he has called for the withdrawal of the American military presence throughout the world, not only in South Korea, but also in Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Ending a costly empire that is causing the American economy to sink into what appears terminal decline is crucial, and fully in keeping with the traditions of the "Old Right" and with the non-interventionism that was the intent of the founding fathers. The Korean people, however, have at least as much to gain from a speedy withdrawal of the American military presence from the peninsula. The USFK presence is in its 63rd year. If this is not a "foreign entanglement" and "entangling alliance" than what is? In any entanglement, both entangled parties lose. America loses treasure in a faraway land in which she no vital interest. South Korea suffers the loss of prestige and self-respect that comes with being a protectorate, along with the various cultural and social problems associated with hosting a 37,000-strong foreign military presence. Both South Korea and the United States stand to gain from an amiable end to their six-decade long entanglement, and only Dr. Ron Paul of Texas is talking about getting the process going. Not only do the Korean people south of the DMZ stand to gain from a USFK withdrawal, but so do their separated brethren to the north. As the recent summit between the heads of state of Seoul and Pyeongyang demonstrated, the Korean people are perfectly capable of working out their own differences by themselves. The presence of the military of the last remaining superpower, albeit one overtaxed and in decline, only complicates matters and delays the eventual reunification of the Korean peninsula. Kim Jong-il's recalcitrance and nuclear brinkmanship are largely in response to the threat he feels from the USFK. If this threat were removed, he would likely speed up reforms of the backward economy over which we rules, and this would require further assistance from the South. Dr. Ron Paul's non-interventionism would afford the people of both Korea's an opportunity to enhance cooperation and integration, leading to a speedier reunification of the painfully divided country. A USFK withdrawal would create some minor short-term costs that would be net gains for South Korea, which would find itself in need of further modernization and expansion of its own defense capabilities. But these short-term costs would be very beneficial to the country in the long-term, and would do much to improve the national self-esteem. South Koreans and Korean-Americans would be wise to support Dr. Ron Paul and his message of peace and freedom. An American Catholic son-in-law of Korea, Joshua Snyder lives with his wife and two children in Pohang, where he serves as an assistant visiting professor of English at a science and technology university. He 'blogs atThe Western Confucian.
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Mr. Joshua Snyder, American Catholic son-in-law of Korea, lives with his wife and two children in Pohang, where he serves as an assistant visiting professor of English at a science and technology university. He blogs at The Western Confucian