U.S. President Donald Trump’s tendency of valuing alliance only in terms of financial gains has turned out to be a lot more stronger than anyone ever thought. Former National Security Advisor John Bolton wrote in his memoir that Trump complained about the fact that the U.S. soldiers fought in the Korean War and U.S. troops are still stationed on the Korean Peninsula in the presence of diplomacy and security advisors in July 2018. He even suggested a possibility of making actual changes by saying that the U.S. will stopping being a fool.
At the U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore in 2018, President Trump said joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises were provocative and a waste of time and money when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un asked to reduce military drills. He even announced to suspend the military exercises after the summit without discussing with advisors. President Trump even said Washington should not spend a penny on wars after the breakdown of negotiations with Pyongyang in Hanoi.
Trump instructed to use North Korea’s launch of super-large multiple rocker launchers and missiles as a card to put pressure on South Korea to increase their share of defense cost, saying that it was high time to ask Seoul for money. The U.S. president told his staff to leave the room if they cannot get the 5 billion-dollar deal in August last year when the combined command post exercise was held. The future of the South Korea-U.S. Alliance is bound to be dim as the leader of the White House tries to make money out of its ally’s crisis.
President Trump has been trying to create a new isolationist international order based on the America first policy rather than promoting alliance and multilateral security regime. If he is reelected, he would lower alliance cost by reducing the size of U.S. troops in South Korea or even withdrawing the U.S. military. The issue will remain even if Trump does not get reelected. The U.S. has been complaining of fatigue coming from taking a role as the world’s policeman.
South Korea, which marks the 70th year since the Korean War broke out, is in a critical situation where North Korea’s provocations continue, China opts for expansionism and the South Korea-U.S. alliance, an axis to hold China and North Korea in check, is agitated. Against this backdrop, Seoul lacks diplomatic capability to coordinate with and persuade President Trump. It is time for Seoul to find in-depth measures as to how to deal with nuclear threats of Pyongyang if the alliance with the U.S. falters. The situation on the Korean Peninsula is sending Seoul warning bell signs to prepare security plans. Seoul now has to prepare for an era devoid of South Korea-U.S. alliance.