Many view trump’s demand that a rich South korea pay the entire cost of keeping U.S. troops in the country (as a buffer against North Korean aggression) as mere posturing, a negotiating tactic. In 1950 South Korea was poor and War torn but no longer. But Trump (6 luxury condos in Seoul) might see another possible outcome.

What might happen

There’s been no progress in 65 years but the threat of annihilation has a wonderful way of making people focus on compromise. War is the worst case scenario, although this it isn’t likely to trigger a world war, or another U.S.

invasion. Trump could be thinking that without a U.S. troop presence South Korea may discover that they really can negotiate a peace agreement. What about the North? Kim Jong-Un is dangerous and unpredictable (as is Trump) but if he isn't clinically insane then he knows that his generals probably don’t want to face nuclear annihilation and he too might feel pressure to compromise.

If the U.S. withdraws

In 2014 South Korea paid about $866.6 million or 40% of the cost of keeping 28,500 U.S. troops there. The argument for keeping U.S. troops there is the North Korean nuclear and missile threat. But does that make sense? North Korea threatens the U.S. because we have 28 thousand armed troops on their southern border and impose sanctions.

What if we weren't there?

South Korea won't let U.S. troops leave over a mere billion dollars when the alternative might be another invasion from North Korea and resulting chaos. The prospect of going from rich to third-world status should be enough to get them to cough up another billion or so for our protection.

What's the chance of nuclear war if Trump did pull out all but the troops providing security for the Embassy?

There are scary scenarios about North Korea raining nuclear weapons on the South, but is that realistic or mere fantasy?

Armed strength

There are only 28 thousand U.S. troops. South Korea has about 630,000 active troops and about 6.6 million total armed forces when you include reserves and 3 million "paramilitary" about 6.6 million total.

North Korea (the DMZ) is only 30 miles from Seoul, the capital of South Korea. North Korea has about 1.6 million active military and more reserves than the South. South Korea is on a constant war warning footing with underground shelters for about 20 million.

Some, perhaps many experts feel North Korea can’t mount a nuclear attack on the U.S. although it could transport devices on a truck, ship, or airplane. The question is, would even a paranoid brutal sociopath who executes a general with an anti aircraft gun for falling asleep really want the nuclear retaliation a Trump administration might feel necessary. China might get upset but the fallout would be unlikely to move over China and the leadership might feel getting rid of Kim was a good tradeoff.

President Elect Trump has reportedly suggested he negotiate directly with North Korea’s celebrity crazy Kim Jong Un, perhaps over fast food which both leaders are thought to love.

How about Japan

We also have a lot of troops in Japan and Mr. Trump wants them to pay up too. Japan has said it is working to convince him that having troops in Japan is in the U.S. interest. But is it? The U.S. nuclear threat is mostly submarine based and aircraft carriers are the force majeure of U.S. conventional forces. Do we really need boots on the ground all the time? We were there in the first place as an occupying force and stayed to prevent “the domino effect” which proved a myth. Vietnam, Cuba, and China have little interest in military expansion despite the isolated horrible situation in Tibet.

The U.S.S.R. is another story - but Russia suffered horrible, massive destruction and civilian deaths in several wars because of invasions through the Polish Corridor.

This may all be wrong, but it shows that the world is complex and Trump needs to give it some serious thought. Media pundits - remember, Trump is an isolationist!