Trump Suddenly Decides to Screw Yet Another Ally

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

CNN’s Nicole Gaouette reports that President Trump has suddenly decided that South Korea should pay the United States a whole lot more for the troops we station there:

Trump is demanding that South Korea pay roughly 500% more in 2020 to cover the cost of keeping US troops on the peninsula, a congressional aide and an administration official confirmed to CNN.
The price hike has frustrated Pentagon officials … deeply concerned Republican and Democratic lawmakers … and unnerved Seoul.

….In the US, congressional aides and Korea experts familiar with the talks say the President’s $4.7 billion demand came out of thin air, sending State and Defense Department officials scrambling to justify the number.

I can’t say that I care a great deal about the terms of our troop presence in South Korea, but I do care about whether our allies feel like they can trust us. Trump has made it abundantly clear that they can’t. From Canada to Europe to Ukraine to the Syrian Kurds and now to South Korea, Trump has repeatedly pulled the carpet out from under alliances both new and old. This is one reason, among many, that eight years of Trump could very well be far more than twice as catastrophic as four years.

And for the record, $4.7 billion in the South Korean national budget is about the equivalent of $50 billion in the US federal budget. It’s a lot of money he’s asking for.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate