August 17, 2004

Remove Troops Where They're Not Needed

Going to the store I heard Richard Holbrooke on the radio explaining how President Bush's plan to reduce troop strength in Europe and Asia was a bad idea. As a Kerry campaign advisor, he really seemed to go into the tank. Foreign deployment of our troops doesn't cost more than domestic deployment, our allies pay for that deployment, it will weaken our alliances at a time of delicate negotiation, and it'll be exactly what Jacques Chiraq wants.

The last part puzzled me as I usually thought that strengthening alliances meant doing what your ally wants so you get what you want. But I guess what Holbrooke meant was that we should interfere with France's politics so that Jacques Chirac is no longer president. Oops, did Holbrooke really say that? What a smooth operator, that guy.

We've spent an awful long time in Germany and Japan, guarding against Soviet imperialism. We even stayed an extra decade and a half after the Soviets collapsed, just to make sure that we didn't rush out just as a new threat was rising. It's time to leave, and its time to do so without playing politics over the whole thing as an election issue. No doubt that's why the Bush administration has been working on these changes for years and will phase them in over further years so that our allies don't get slammed or feel punished over the whole thing.

Holbrooke, unfortunately, doesn't want to go along with the whole "politics stops at the water's edge" tradition and is trying to spin this for Kerry. His claims that this will strengthen N. Korea's hand in negotiations exhibits a strange divorce from reality as I understand the situation. The US is accused by the N. Koreans of planning an invasion. By both pulling back from the border and by reducing US troop strength in S. Korea, the N. Korean position becomes much more difficult to maintain. The idea that more US troops on their border are supposed to induce N. Korea to cease nuclear weapons development as a counter to those troops seems rather far fetched.

Why is Richard Holbrooke descending into political hackdom for Kerry?

Posted by TMLutas at August 17, 2004 05:21 AM