Sunday, August 06, 2017

The 1980s Called and We Just Answered

In 1987, when the Cold War raged and North Korea backed by the Soviet Union had an army that could have captured South Korea's capital Seoul (holding it was another matter of course), the United States decided it wanted its military headquarters in South Korea moved south from Seoul.

Fast forward thirty years, when the Cold War is won and the Soviet Union is no more, with a North Korean military rotting away and unlikely to get much past the DMZ. America has opened up a new base well south of Seoul:

Now, the $11 billion base [at Pyeongtaek] is beginning to look like the garrison that military planners envisaged decades ago.

The Eighth Army moved its headquarters here this month and there are about 25,000 people based here, including family members and contractors.

Now the base is safe from North Korean ground troops. North Korea will need to waste a nuke on it.

I assume it will also host THAAD and Patriot missile units.

Years ago we planned to move our combat units away from the DMZ so they wouldn't be easily targeted by the North Koreans. It made sense to have our forces in reserve. But now we promised to keep a combat brigade up there.

I guess the South Koreans weren't comfortable with America having the option of striking North Korea from the air behind a shield of South Korean troops who would face any immediate retaliation.

On the bright side, I'm sure the property we vacate in Seoul will be valuable real estate for civilian use.