“The United States cannot continue to be the policemen of the world,” said U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday, practically declaring an end to America’s global intervention diplomacy. Visiting U.S. troops stationed in a conflict zone in Iraq, the American president emphasized a clear shift in Washington’s diplomatic and security policy direction, saying America is no longer “suckers.” Concerns are growing that this will have a significant impact on various issues of ROK-US alliance such as defense costs sharing.
On Wednesday, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit to U.S. airbase located in Al Asad, Iraq. The U.S. president spent about three and a half hours with the servicemen, taking pictures with them and signing autographs. They were accompanied by National Security Advisor John Bolton, but Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who recently announced resignation, did join the visit.
Visiting a combat zone for the first time as president, Mr. Trump made a hefty amount of comments about the direction of his diplomacy and security policies. "America shouldn’t be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all,” said Trump. “If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price. We’re no longer the suckers, folks. And people aren’t looking at us as suckers.”
“We are spread out…in countries most people haven’t even heard about. Frankly, it’s ridiculous,” said Trump on his flight to Ramstein Air Base in Germany after visiting the air base in Iraq. President Trump said he will no longer allow rich nations to use the U.S. for their defense, emphasizing that he meant all wealthy countries in the world, not just the Middle Eastern countries.
Such remarks came up as a response to the public opinion souring against the U.S. president after announcing withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, and the following resignation of Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Foreign media outlets focused more on the intensity of Mr. Trump’s bashing America’s allies, which he perceives as “free-riders of defense.” The AFP News analyzed that Trump used his visit to Iraq to declare an end to America’s role as the global “policeman.”
Such a policy direction characterized by America-Firstism is projected to apply a strong pressure to South Korea, which is facing a negotiation on sharing defense costs with the U.S. With the joint military exercises between the two countries being either called off or reduced in scale, experts propose the possibility of a surprise announcement being made on withdrawal of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea. In fact, President Trump, who is implementing his campaign pledges one after another, previously mentioned during his campaign trail that he would pull out the U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula.