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In Human Events today, Pat Buchanan has a column on Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’s speech ten days ago at West Point. Pat says Gates is onto something–then poses a few good questions.
“(A)ny future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as Gen. MacArthur so delicately put it,” Robert Gates has just told the cadets at West Point….
[H]is position implies a new foreign policy….
[W]hat are we doing with 28,000 troops in Korea..? Why not withdraw the U.S. troops, let South Koreans take their place and sell Seoul the weapons to defend itself, while restricting our role, should the North attack, to air and naval support…?
[E]ven as Gates was speaking, Pentagon officials were talking of using Marines to evict Chinese troops, should they occupy disputed islands in the South and East China seas. Among the claimants to the islands in the South China Sea are Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei….Why should holding or recapturing these islands, none of which is ours and almost all of which are uninhabited, be the Marine Corps’ job..?
As for Europe [where we still have some 50,000 troops], the Red Army went home decades ago….As President Eisenhower urged JFK 50 year ago, we should bring U.S. troops home and let Europe man up to its own defense.
As I say, those strike me as good questions.
Over to Ricochet. Care to suggest any answers?