Is the defense of South Korea a vital U.S. interest?

After the exchange of artillery fire between North and South Korea last week, President Obama reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to South Korea’s defense. Today’s Question: Is the defense of South Korea a vital U.S. interest?

  • Yes, if for no other reason than we’ve pledged for years to be South Korea’s ally. We have to walk our talk for our word to mean anything to any ally, or potential ally, around the world.

  • Hiram


  • Steve the Cynic

    Yes (unlike the Iraq war, which has sapped our military resources and made it harder to be a good ally to our allies).

  • Matt

    No, it is not our job to police the world. South Korea has their own army that can defend their own border. There is no reason for U.S. troops to be on the DMZ.

  • GaryF

    With this current mix up with Lil’ Kim and Junior, yes. We need to back them up on this.

    Depending on what happens with the current situation, we announce that we are leaving in 3-4 years, just like how we announced we were leaving Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines.

    Let S. Korea and Japan spend a larger percentage of their incomes on their own defense.

    While we are at it, we leave Germany too. Let Europe defend itself too.

    It’s a step in lowering our defense budget.

  • David

    No. The resources of the United States are already stretched thin enough, we don’t need another Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan on our hands. We currently have an unprecidented amount of national debt; it would be unconscionable to spend more money that we don’t have on yet another foreign war that doesn’t involve us (yet).

  • James

    I would have to say Yes.

    I do not support the USA being used as a global police force!

    However, with a nut like Kim J. I. at the helm of a communist country (how’s that commy dictatorship work-in for ya Norks?) I would have to support military action.

    I just hope that after Kim nukes Soul and Japan (and possibly hitting the USA mainland with an EMP), that BHO has the gonads to turn Pyongyang into a glass parking lot.

    We cannot fight a “Limited” war… Like Korea 1.0 , and Vietnam.

    We need to take out Kim and his cronies in the first air attack wave than offer peace or nuke… see what the Norks want.

    It will be interesting to see what the PRC has to say!?


  • dick holt

    I fear the internal collapse of our country unless we begin to redirect our resources to help solve domestic issues. The insanity of Iraq and the quagmire in Afghanistan have changed our ability to honor past pledges. I agree with previous comments that we should phase out our military commitments in Germany and Korea. Iran remains our most immediate concern. Our govt must be more open about the trade-offs involved by continuing to act as the world’s caretaker.

  • bsimon

    Yes. Anytime you have a rogue nation with nukes, it is of vital interest to the US & world that those nukes be contained. Sure, its a pain to be the de facto world police force, but if we quit that job, who’s going to step up & take it over?

  • Gerald Myking

    Unfortunately yes. As much as I oppose our role as world police I do realize the military importance of staying in Korea. Having been there I know the people want us there and depend on it. They have over the last 4 decades become more indendent militarily but we still have 25K of our people assisting them. The hatred between the two Korea’s is disturbing and I’m afraid that it will ultimately lead to war. I do believe the South would overwhem the North but the ensuing problems would be serious. Refugees ,repatriating, and Chinese relations will be areas of great concern.

  • Shane

    No. We should not be involved militarily with anybody unless it DIRECTLY effects the safety of our country.

  • kennedy

    It is not only a vital US interest, it is a vital global interest. The North Korean leadership has starved it’s citizens of food and information while spending it’s meager resources on military (including nuclear weapons).

    A starving and uneducated population with dangerous weapons is a danger to the world. Shame on China for propping them up as a distraction to hide behind.

  • Rusty

    If SKorea doesn’t first stand up to NKorea by themselves, it’s not worth defending them.

    The USA should only defend those willing to die for freedom.

    Our bigger problem is the lack of leverage we have with China (we owe them everything). They hold 1/3 of our debt. They’re not going to buy our T-bills to pay for an attack against one of their puppet nations.

    China would love to see Skorea turned over to the north and the US base out of there. China could easily take over Japan at that point.

  • Kevin VC

    What happened in Korea is part of our Communism paranoia after World War 2.

    The war that occured there is as much as our doing as it is China’s.

    I will bet China also does NOT want a fight there now and would prefer the truce to become a peace as much as us.

    Unfortunately North Korea was allowed to reinvent its own mythology in isolation from reality….

    Now we are paying a price for this ignorance….

    Calmer heads will if allowed reverse the ‘big ego’ north Korea has developed…. Namely wait til the leader kicks the bucket.

    If anything happens we need to help defend. If for no other reason then to stop NK from going ape and do as it wants….

    Not pretty, but if we are not there it would and will be worse.