The U.S.-South Korea alliance has outlived its usefulness. Instead of reassuring Seoul, the Trump administration should prepare to renegotiate the alliance, creating a looser but more equal cooperative military relationship. South Korea should take on responsibilities commensurate with its capabilities.
Obviously the world is a messy place. But what stresses American policymakers? It’s not the problem of defending the U.S. No other country has a conventional capability to reach America. Thus, America's national security team need not worry about the sort of potential threats facing virtually every other nation.
U.S. policy toward the North Korea has failed. Successive U.S. presidents have inveighed against a nuclear North Korea and insisted that the North would not be allowed to become a nuclear state. It is one. And its capabilities are growing.
Extended nuclear deterrence always has been a risky proposition for the U.S. It means being willing to fight a nuclear war on behalf of others, that is, Americans would risk Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles to, say, defend Berlin and Tokyo.
The U.S.-South Korea military alliance once made sense. No longer. American policy will not have really succeeded until South Korea ends its embarrassing security dependence on Washington.
There never has been any question about the extraordinary nature of North Korea's tyranny. But the United Nations just released its own gruesome analysis.