US President George W. Bush has proposed bringing home more than 70,000 US troops stationed in Asia and Europe. It's a good start, but remains only a start. \nWashington should withdraw all 230,000 service personnel guarding against phantom enemies in Europe and protecting well-heeled friends in East Asia. And the US should begin withdrawing them now rather than in 2006, and finish in two or three years rather than in 10. \nThe Cold War ended nearly two decades ago. America's friends face few conventional threats and are capable of defending themselves. \nAn invasion of Europe by Martians is about as likely as by Russians. In East Asia, the dangers are more real. But South Korea has 40 times the GDP and twice the population of the North. Japan understandably looks at China with unease, but Tokyo should construct a defensive force capable of deterring Chinese adventurism. Taiwan is an obvious potential flashpoint, but no sane American president would inaugurate a ground war with China. \nStill, critics contend, having troops nearby would better enable the US to intervene in some future crisis. But most potential conflicts, like past ones in the Balkans, would not warrant American involvement. \nMoreover, allies often limit Washington's options. France would not even grant overflight rights to Washington to retaliate against Libya for the Berlin disco bombing. Seoul and Tokyo would be unlikely to allow Washington to use their bases in a war with China over Taiwan. \nFinally, changing technology has reduced the value of propinquity. As Bush said, our forces are "more agile and more lethal, they're better able to strike anywhere in the world over great distances on short notice." A major conflict like that in Iraq would require an extended build-up, irrespective of where the forces were located. \nIn contrast, the benefits of withdrawing are obvious. As Bush said: "our service members will have more time on the home front, and more predictability and fewer moves over a career. ... The taxpayers will save money as we configure our military to meet the threats of the 21st century." \nDrawing down unnecessary overseas garrisons would reduce pressure on personnel resulting from the difficult Iraqi occupation. Roughly 40 percent of the 140,000 troops now stationed in Iraq are reserve or National Guard. \nBush contended that his proposal would "strengthen our alliances around the world." Actually, pulling out troops would not improve existing relationships. Former UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke complained that "the Germans are very unhappy about these withdrawals. The Koreans are going to be equally unhappy." \nA few officials in Asia might actually fear for their security. Some Europeans complain that the administration is retaliating for their opposition to the US invasion of Iraq. However, critics most worry about the economic impact on local communities surrounding US bases. \nWashington's response should be: so what? Proposals for drawing down US forces were made long before the Iraq war and are justified by changing strategic realities, whatever Bush's private political intentions. Americans aren't responsible for making Germans and Koreans rich. The economic health of small German villages is a problem for Berlin, not Washington. Still, some US devotees of the status quo worry about the impact of Bush's initiative. Wesley Clark, who commanded former president Bill Clinton's misbegotten war on Serbia, said the move would "significantly undermine US national security." \nBut even if trans-Atlantic ties loosened, the US would be better off. America's alliances are mostly security black holes, with Washington doing the defending and allies doing the carping. Withdrawal would force friendly states to take on responsibility for their own defense, which would enhance US security. \nWhy are Americans patrolling Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia, which are of only peripheral interest to Europe and of no concern to the US? Japan should take a front-line role in deterring potential Chinese adventurism. Why does Washington treat populous and prosperous South Korea as a perpetual defense dependent? \nHowever, the Bush proposal only makes sense if the troops are sent home, rather than elsewhere. The core threat against American security today is terrorism, and troops in Australia or Poland would be no more relevant to destroying terrorist groups than are those in Korea or Germany. \nFinally, more troops should be brought home more quickly. US forces, now at 140,000, must be withdrawn from Iraq as that nation becomes responsible for its own fate. \nBush recognizes that the status quo is untenable. His plan should be but the opening move toward full disengagement. \nDoug Bandow is a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute and a former special assistant to the late US president Ronald Reagan.
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
US President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday last week announced it would impose sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a vast paramilitary organization that is directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has been linked to human rights violations against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The sanctions follow US travel bans against other Xinjiang officials and the passage of the US Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which authorizes targeted sanctions against mainland Chinese and Hong Kong officials, in response to Beijing’s imposition of national security legislation on the territory. The sanctions against the corps would be implemented
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business with WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok. The orders are to take effect 45 days after they were signed, which is Sept. 20. The orders accuse WeChat of helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) review and remove content that it considers to be politically sensitive, and of using fabricated news to benefit itself. The White House has accused TikTok of collecting users’ information, location data and browsing histories, which could be used by the Chinese government, and pose