Comes the retort: American troops are in Japan to defend South Korea and Taiwan. But South Korea has a population twice that of the North, an economy 40 times as large, access to the most advanced weapons in the U.S. arsenal and a U.S. commitment to come to her defense by air and sea in any second Korean War.
And if there is a second Korean War, why should the 28,000 U.S. troops still in Korea, many on the DMZ, or Marines from Futenma have to fight and die? Is South Korea lacking for soldiers? Seoul, too, has been the site of anti-American demonstrations demanding we get out.
Why do we Americans seem more desperate to defend these countries than their people are to have us defend them? Is letting go of the world we grew up in so difficult?
Consider Taiwan. On his historic trip to Beijing in 1972, Richard Nixon agreed Taiwan was part of China. Jimmy Carter recognized Beijing as the sole legitimate government. Ronald Reagan committed us to cut back arms sales to Taiwan.
Yet, last week, we announced a $6.4 billion weapons sale to an island we agree is a province of China. Beijing, whose power is a product of the trade deficits we have run, is enraged that we are arming the lost province she is trying to bring back to the motherland.
Is it worth a clash with China to prevent Taiwan from assuming the same relationship to Beijing the British acceded to with Hong Kong? In tourism, trade, travel and investment, Taiwan is herself deepening her relationship with the mainland. Is it not time for us to cut the cord?
With the exception of the Soviet Union, few nations in history have suffered such a relative decline in power and influence as the United States in the last decade. We are tied down in two wars, are universally disliked and are running back-to-back deficits of 10 percent of gross domestic product, as our debt is surging to 100 percent of GDP.
A strategic retreat from Eurasia to our own continent and country is inevitable. Let it begin by graciously acceding to Japan's request we remove our Marines from Okinawa and politely inquiring if they wish us to withdraw U.S. forces from the Home Islands, as well.
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