US Air Force conducting military exercises in South Korea. Credit: DoD
Today at Al Jazeera America I argue that the U.S. should stop occupying South Korea, not only because they don’t belong there but because the highly militarized alliance between the U.S. and South Korea doesn’t actually weaken North Korea, but helps sustain the regime by incentivizing China to continue to prop up Pyongyang.
At Medium.com, Robert Beckhusen reports on the latest round of U.S.-South Korean military exercises and reveals for the first time that U.S. special operations forces are training for guerrilla war in North Korea and practicing how to grow an “indigenous resistance organization” inside North Korea.
Every year, the U.S. and South Korea team up for one of the world’s largest military exercises. Thousands of troops backed by fighter aircraft, strategic bombers and Navy warships plan for the worst.
But America’s elite Special Operations Forces are also involved—planning for the day when they might be the first ones tasked with stepping across the DMZ.
The training is a less publicized element of the Pentagon’s exercises in South Korea, which are emphasized as defensive in nature. But for three days in April 2013, American commandos carried out simulated North Korea missions during Balance Knife 13-1—part of the much larger Foal Eagle exercise—near Iksan and Damyang, South Korea.
Along with the 7th and 11th ROK Special Forces Brigades, the exercise involved two American commando groups of 12 men each—Operational Detachment Alphas 1336 and 1333. Both American teams belonged to Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion of the 1st Special Forces Group.
Notably, the training dealt with how to move special operators into and out of North Korea, according to a review published in the January edition of Special Warfare, the wonky, academic journal of the Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. The scenario also dealt with how to grow an “indigenous resistance organization” inside the North.
Why? How can this possibly be in the U.S. interest? And don’t say it’s to save the North Korean people from dictatorship, because obviously Washington couldn’t care less about that.
Americans frequently see media reports of the aggressive North Korean regime carrying out this or that ostentatious military maneuver, which indeed does happen.
How often do Americans hear about the incredibly ostentatious military exercise, one of the biggest in the world, that Washington carries out right in South Korea, at least in part to threaten Pyongyang?
If a designated enemy state of ours was conducting training on the Mexico border designed to prepare for regime change contingencies, how would Washington react?