Foreign Policy

Biden Abandons Trump Effort to Extort Allies

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

Trump repeatedly tried to extort our allies across the globe by saying they don't 'pay us' enough money to protect them.

That's not the way our relationships are suppose to work and not the reason we station troops in their countries. The troops are a deterrent for us just as much as they are for the countries they're stationed in. They're a stabilizing presence that reduces armed conflict between nation states.

The Biden administration has now formally ended Trump's extortion campaign in at least one country by reaching an agreement with South Korea.

A State Department spokesman said Sunday that the agreement “reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to reinvigorating and modernizing our democratic alliances around the world to advance our shared security and prosperity.”

In a statement, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the two sides had decided to “resolve the gap in the agreement that has lasted for more than a year through prompt signing of the agreement, and will contribute to strengthening” the alliance between the countries.

The countries had discussed a roughly 13 percent increase to Seoul’s payments, or about $1 billion per year, according to two officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations. Trump had rejected Seoul’s proposed 13 percent increase in 2019, instead demanding up to $5 billion.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it's understandable if this was lost down the memory hole, but at one point Trump openly floated the idea of withdrawing from South Korea if they don't pay us more money.

I'm not necessarily going to argue with anyone who believes we have too many troops stationed overseas, but I consider that another topic altogether. What Trump engaged in was extortion. He made the United States look like a neighborhood gang demanding protection money.