Did you know?

The Patriot Post is funded 100% by its readers, avoiding the influence advertisers and special interest groups impose on other publications. Help us stay front and center in the fight for Liberty and support the 2020 Year-End Campaign.

Charles Paige / Mar. 12, 2019

Folding on Foal Eagle With South Korea

Trump's decision to cut war exercises with South Korea has significant implications.

The U.S.-North Korean Summit ended abruptly without resolving the question of North Korean nuclear ambitions. In its wake, pundits have been pontificating about who got the best end of the “no deal” deal. While no changes to North Korean posture or intentions were mentioned, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. and South Korea would cancel Exercise Foal Eagle, a large scale, multi-lateral exercise conducted for over two decades at bases and training areas across Korea. The president’s stated reason for canceling the exercise — “to save hundreds of millions of dollars for the U.S.” — is typical Trump: a gross exaggeration intended to burnish his self-bestowed credentials as a deal maker and fiscal conservative and to justify a decision he knows many will question.

The Korean Peninsula is one of the most dynamic and dangerous operating environments on earth. It’s a mature theater: The U.S.-led United Nations Command has either been conducting or planning operations continuously since 1950, and a robust exercise program has been in place for decades. While some might argue that these characteristics make Foal Eagle a cheap “chip” to trade for better relations with North Korea, they are only part of the equation.

One of the main reasons the theater has received so much attention (and money) for so long is because it’s hard to think of a place on earth where the combination of high tensions and proximity form a more volatile mix. North Korea has enough short-range missiles and conventional artillery within range of Seoul to inflict unthinkable casualties in the first few hours of an attack. Most believe those volleys would be accompanied by extensive sabotage and acts of terror carried out by North Korean sleeper agents and special operations teams. If the North Koreans launch an attack, those tasked with stopping it will have minutes to make critical decisions; there simply won’t be time to make introductions and check playbooks.

U.S. personnel policy also complicates matters. The majority of servicemen and women are on one-year “unaccompanied” orders — they leave their family at their last stateside duty station for the year they’re in Korea — which does actually save “hundreds of millions of dollars” by minimizing the infrastructure required (e.g., family housing, schools, etc.) as well as the cost of shipping household goods across the Pacific. But it also means that the relationships formed and lessons learned at last year’s exercises have no more than a 12-month shelf life.

Foal Eagle alone won’t make or break the good guys’ war-fighting capability, but canceling it is neither a purely symbolic move nor one that’s going have a meaningful financial impact. In the long run, President Trump’s statements couching the U.S.-South Korea relationship in primarily financial terms and absolving North Korean leader Kim Jong-un of any responsibility in the death of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier continue a troubling trend of bashing our allies and providing platforms that boost the credibility of opponents. There’s a lot of “The Art of the Deal” in Trump’s mix, but at some point, the leader of the free world has to call a spade a spade.

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2020 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.