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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Biden’s Afghanistan Plan Triggers New Debates Over Wartime OPCON Transfer in South Korea

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What is the chance that the U.S. will abandon South Korea? U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan has observers worried whether South Korea’s army could withstand an attack by North Korea should the U.S. suddenly pull out. Don’t worry, it won’t happen. But even if it did, South Korea would be fine. However, Biden’s recent move has reignited an unresolved debate over transferring wartime OPCON back to South Korea.

Wartime OPCON what? Wartime operational control. In the event of war in Korea, the Korean military wouldn’t even control its own army, we’d take cues from the U.S. military. For decades, the U.S. has wanted to give the power back to South Korea, but we’ve been holding back. Within South Korea, it’s also been a divisive political issue. The far left wants wartime OPCON back right away. The far right wants to keep the U.S. military alliance firmly in place with the U.S. in the command position. The public wants to kick the can down the road if things are stable as is.

Anyhow, with all of the fearmongering over North Korea in the international press, most people around the world know more about Pyongyang and Kim Jong Un than they do about South Korea and our strategic military alliances. Let’s explore some of the intricacies of the South Korea-U.S. security relationship in a fun and easy-to-understand video.

The Korean War: A History

The Evolution of the South Korea–United States Alliance


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