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Kerry Opposes Reduction of Overseas U.S. Forces

Posted August. 18, 2004 22:35,   


The Financial Times (FT) of Great Britain reported on August 18 that Senator John Kerry of the Democratic Party is expected to express his opposition against the Global Posture Review (GPR) of overseas U.S. forces that U.S. President George W. Bush announced, making an issue about problems such as the deterioration of alliances and security threats.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in response, emphasizing that the redeployment of U.S. Forces in Korea (USFK) is not to weaken war-deterrence against North Korea, showing that security issues, including the one concerning the USFK, are becoming a crucial point of dispute in the coming presidential election in the United States.

Mr. Kerry is expected to criticize President Bush’s policy at the very place where the president announced his GPR plans. He will be focusing on how the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Europe and Asia will deteriorate the U.S. relationship with its allies and weaken external influences that the U.S. currently enjoys.

Wesley Clark, the former general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and who now campaigns in support of the senator, also criticized the president’s plan as “a strategic mistake” on August 17. Meanwhile, Secretary Rumsfeld said, “When we say there is a smart bomb that can replace eight generic bombs, it is like replacing 10 generic bombs with five smart bombs and not a retrenchment of forces.” Also, he added, “North Korea will never pass misjudgment about the defense status of the U.S.-ROK Combined Forces” when Senator Ben Nelson (Democratic Party, Nebraska) asked about the possibility of North Korea making a miscalculation with the troops being withdrawn just as it is embarking on a strategy of nuclear proliferation.

Senator John Warner (Rep., Virginia), the chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee, on the other hand, said that the U.S. administration would not use the troop realignment as leverage in negotiations with North Korea.

That was his answer to a reporter’s question after the Senate hearing about whether this realignment could be used as a card in the negotiation (with North Korea) to bring about concessions.

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com