Despite being Commander-in-Chief, they want to legislatively constrain the President from withdrawing troops from South Korea.
Donald Trump isn’t withdrawing troops from South Korea. He’s merely said it would be good if they could do it some day if there was verifiable peace between North and South Korea.
That’s all it took for Congress to panic.
Not only are they speaking out to the media to disparage the idea of withdrawing troops—which, again, Trump is not doing—but they are trying to legislatively constrain him from ever being able to do so without their permission!
Politico reports, “Republicans buck Trump on Korea troop pullout talk.”
Republicans and defense experts are warning that President Donald Trump’s idea of pulling American troops from South Korea would undermine stability across Asia and weaken the U.S. against China.
One GOP senator, Alaska’s Dan Sullivan, is pushing legislative language touting the importance of the U.S. military presence in deterring North Korean aggression — in contrast to Trump’s repeated calls for withdrawing American forces someday. And other Republicans have sounded that theme since Tuesday’s summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, where the president expressed a desire to eventually “bring our soldiers back home.”
“There’s a reason we’ve had a U.S. presence there, and it’s always served its purpose,” Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah), a former Air Force B-1 bomber pilot, said in an interview Wednesday. Stewart said U.S. forces should leave only if something happens to ease the threat from Pyongyang, such as a future peace agreement that unifies the two Koreas.[…]
The defense authorization bill being considered by the Senate includes language championed by Sullivan that says the American troop presence in South Korea “continues to play a critical role in safeguarding the peaceful and stable rules-based international order that benefits all countries.”
Trump spoke about withdrawing from South Korea as a presidential candidate, citing the cost to U.S. taxpayers of maintaining the tens of thousands of troops who have remained there since the Korean War ended 65 years ago. But at the summit on Tuesday, he acknowledged that “that’s not part of the equation right now. At some point, I hope it will be, but not right now.”
Then follows a paragraph I can’t believe was published (emphasis added).
Even so, security and defense analysts say Trump may be drastically underestimating the importance of the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea: Withdrawing them could could lead Japan to question why it continues to host more than 50,000 American troops — especially when those troops repeatedly get into trouble for actions including drunken driving and sexual assault. And a loss of the American presence in Japan could force the U.S. out of the region entirely, Brookings Institution fellow Ryan Hass said.
Here’s Lindsey Graham falsely implying that Donald Trump might withdraw troops:
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