Increase in cost countries pay for U.S. military presence.

December 1, 2018

During President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” rally on Oct. 2 2018 he claimed that he planned to increase the cost of sustained military presence in foreign countries. He claimed that this would reduce the burden off American taxpayers. Of the countries mentioned, he made particular emphasis on Saudi Arabia and South Korea; as he feels that sustained military presence benefits the foreign country more than it benefits the United States and I am in agreement with this decision.

One of the central reasons that the United States established a military presence in Saudi Arabia was to preserve our own national security by safeguarding the Saudi Arabian oil industries, to sustain our main source of cheap energy. However, the United States has recently become the number one oil producer in the world due to our use of previously untapped reserves, making Saudi Arabia less of a demand for our national security. While the cost of the presence has steadily risen over the years, the Saudi Arabian government does not pay even half the cost the United States spends on the sustained presence (47 billion).

“The presence of the United States military decreases the threat of Iranian pressure for Saudi Arabia,” senior Rileigh Hanley said.

If American troops were to to leave the country, the threat of possible Iranian invasion or pressure would increase due to their religious differences and the Iranian wish for a caliphate in the Middle Eastern region; the Iranians are Shiites and the Saudi Arabians are Sunnis’, both of which are different branches of Islam that have been in conflict for centuries. The United States is one of the only things separating Iran from Saudi Arabia. This can be inferred due to the spread of Iranian footholds in surrounding countries; Iran is currently in Syria fighting Yemen rebels, the HuTu, and they already have a major presence in Iraq. The presence of the U.S. military also increases the Saudi Arabian economy due to the protection offered from outside influences and our promotion of capitalism.

While Saudi Arabia reaps the benefits of the protection, all the United States receives is the minimal reimbursement and business though arms deals (recent deal for 110 billion), which is why increasing cost is a beneficial idea. Also, on Oct. 10, Turkish officials, claimed that a journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, was brutally murdered by the Saudi Arabian government. This journalist had previously criticized the Saudi Arabian royal family and exiled himself to the United States; however, he entered a Saudi Arabian consulate on Oct. 2, and has been confirmed as dead. Saudi Arabian officials claimed that he left shortly after his arrival, but he is still missing. This sent Congress into a frenzy with pressure to pull out of any future deals with Saudi Arabia, as they have grossly violated American ideology of “freedom of the press” and potentially murdered a U.S. resident. This is a big reason as to why Saudi Arabia should be more than willing to increase their payment to the United States, as the United States government is in serious consideration of ceasing business relations and potentially pulling out of the country. The price of sustained presence should also be used to apply pressure to the country and act as a type of economic sanctions against them to dissuade them from anymore bold moves. Although the U.S. is threatening to pull out of the country, I do not think that it is a smart idea because should Iran invade or create a foothold in the country, they would have succeeded in creating an oil monopoly in the Middle East. This is why I think economic pressure is the most beneficial strategy, rather than pulling out completely.

President Trump is also planning to increase the cost for the country of South Korea. I believe this is the best way for the United States to reap benefits for this endeavor, as the United States gains nothing from the sustained military presence. However, the people of South Korea reap the benefit of protection from North Korea. The presence of American military deters North Korea from making any advancements on South Korea and becoming a total communist country, as it was the United States that pushed North Korea back to the 38 parallel and freed the conquered South Korea at the end of the Korean war. If the United States were to pull out, South Korea would be vastly outnumbered, as their army consists of 495 thousand, while the North Korean army numbers over two million. Although the United States only has 40 thousand troops stationed in South Korea at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), it symbolizes an active military support and the promise of quick retaliation. Many believe that the United States should pull out of South Korea due to their agreement to end their nuclear missiles programs; I do not agree. This is because an agreement is only effective if the country continues to abide by it; it can be broken at any time. The essential role that the United States plays in the protection of South Korea is more than enough of a reason to pay the United States for sustained presence.

In my opinion, an increase of funds is the best solution to the growing American overseas military budget because foreign countries rely on the United States more so than the reverse.The United States needs to take measures to relieve the burden on taxpayers that is caused by foreign expenditures. Although the United States cannot pull out completely from the countries due to the threat of the spread of communist ideology (Iran is not a communist country, but is governs with fundamental Marxism principles), we can use our recindication as a threat to increase foreign budget to the United States. Even the countries fail to comply, than the troops stationed in each country has room to decrease.

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