After generations of keeping huge numbers of troops in South Korea, the Pentagon is very used to the idea. Indeed, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford warned on Monday that any diplomatic progress with North Korea necessarily makes the military “more uncomfortable” on the Korean Peninsula.
Dunford was honest in his assessment on the situation, saying that over time, diplomatic talks with North Korea “will take a form where we’re going to have to start making some changes to the military posture on the peninsula.”
This is true, as a peace treaty would mean little need for a large US military presence in Korea. And while the administration has downplayed this, and North Korea has made no such demands, the reality is that peace would no longer justify the same military posture as decades of war.
And while Dunford said the military is prepared to make such changes as they are required, his comments also make it clear he’s not happy about it. In Korea, perhaps more than any place else, peace is a major threat to the status quo.