President Donald Trump’s fanatical obsession with renegotiating trade deals could now endanger the national security of South Korea and the United States.
During a fundraising speech in Missouri on Wednesday, Trump floated the idea of yanking American troops out of South Korea in order to force them to renegotiate the trade deal that exists between our two countries. Trump said:
“We have a very big trade deficit with them, and we protect them. We lose money on trade, and we lose money on the military. We have right now 32,000 soldiers on the border between North and South Korea. Let’s see what happens.”
The United States has had troops in South Korea since the Korean War to prevent North Korea from invading our democratic ally in the south.
If Trump ordered troops out of South Korea, it would leave the country vulnerable to attack and cause instability in the region. This type of instability could threaten our own national security and hurt our own economy.
But Trump’s attacks on South Korea are really ridiculous.
According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative,
The U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea was $27.7 billion in 2016, a 2.3% decrease ($647 million) over 2015.
But the United States also has a:
“…Services trade surplus of an estimated $10.7 billion with Korea in 2016, up 2.6% from 2015.”
That leaves an overall trade deficit of $17 billion dollars that was shrinking even before Trump took office.
By threatening to abandon South Korea’s defense, Trump is basically blackmailing a valued ally we have shared close ties with for decades. North Korea literally has hundreds of artillery units aimed at Seoul and has repeatedly threatened to attack. Ordering American forces out of South Korea basically invites Kim Jong-Un to launch an invasion.
Speaking of Kim Jong-Un and North Korea, Trump also bragged about his upcoming meeting with the dictator by mocking former presidents and the media.
According to The Washington Post:
“They couldn’t have met” with Kim, he said, after mocking former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. “Nobody would have done what I did.”
“It’s called appeasement: Please don’t do anything.”
“They say, ‘Maybe he’s not the one to negotiate,’” he said, mocking the voice of a news anchor. “He’s got very little knowledge of the Korean Peninsula. Maybe he’s not the one. … Maybe we should send in the people that have been playing games and didn’t know what the hell they’ve been doing for 25 years.”
The reason why past presidents have not met with the North Korean dictator is because North Korea has been seeking a prestigious presidential meeting for decades without meeting the pre-condition of dismantling their nuclear program first.
By agreeing to meet Kim Jong-Un, Trump is giving North Korea exactly what it wants without getting anything in return and is giving Kim Jong-Un a high profile meeting he can use to embarrass the United States because he could use it to argue for recognition of North Korea as a nuclear power with equal world standing.
So, Trump is not only demonstrating his ignorance of trade deals, he is demonstrating his ignorance of diplomacy, all while putting the security of South Korea and the United States at risk. Kim Jong-Un must be smiling right now.
Featured Image: YouTube screenshot.