4014,40* 44101.44.14,10Liikis *-.44111.11,ORIPINNINWINIIININimiwatimaxists .,00* A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance CompanyExecutive offices, Waco, TexasBernard Rapoport, Pres. economic growth has been equally steady, and Japan’s has been nothing short of spectacular. Altogether, Mr. Chairman, according to figures inserted into the Congressional Record by Senator Inouye on March 6 of this year, the Administration originally requested $425,418,000 in economic and military aid for South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan in FY 1974. \(Figures for the PL 480 appropriations bill for FY 1974 reduced that request to a total of $264,367,000 saving of over $161 million. Mr. Chairman, if you add together the direct cost of maintaining troops in those five countries, plus the aid figure of $264,367,000 that I have just mentioned, the total is $2,994,367,000 for FY 1974, or just under $3 billion. In the immediate wake of World War II, the argument could reasonably be made that protection by U.S. troops would permit our allies to rebuild and recover from the devastation of war. But those years have long since passed. The stationing of U.S. troops abroad in such large numbers was never intended to be permanent. Mr. Chairman, in his testimony on March 1, Secretary SChlesinger admitted that the major reason for keeping American forces in Asia at this high level “lies under the heading of political rather than military considerations.” He suggested in particular that the Chinese wanted U.S. troops to remain in the region to counterbalance the Soviet presence in Asia. Frankly, Mr. Chairman, I think this is a very dubious line of argument. It’s certainly not our job to carry out the goals of Chinese foreign policy particularly not when it costs us $2.7 billion in FY 1974 to maintain these troops. If in fact the Chinese really do want our troops to remain in Asia, which I frankly question, a case should still be made that it is in our national interest to keep them there. I do not believe any such case can be made. The Chinese have a growing armed force of their own, and a population of close to 800 million. Let them cope with their Russian threat. Our detente with China was never supposed to mean a new form of containment of the Soviet Union, the object of our affection in our other effort to achieve detente. Other political arguments advanced by the Administration in defense of overseas troops often center on the political stability which a U.S. military presence is supposed to provide. For example, the then commanding general of the U.S. Military Assistance and Advisory Group in Taiwan said to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 8, 1973: “American interests require that … a reasonable balance of power be maintained to permit the development of peace and political stability. This means that an American presence in the area is required to preclude creation of a power vacuum that would destroy any hope of such a balance.” Mr. Chairman, I think we should stop talking about “power vacuums.” I think that a local government itself should be and usually is largely responsible for its own fate. For a revolution to occur, there must be severe domestic problems, not merely conspiratorial influences from abroad. In three of the countries I have been talking about, Thailand, South Korea, and the Philippines, there have been major changes in the form of government in the last year and a half. In Thailand, dissident groups led by students succeeded in overthrowing the quasi-military dictatorship there, and as a .result there is real hope for democracy. In South Korea and the Philippines, however, democracy admittedly imperfect gave way to martial law. Yet in none of these three cases has it been suggested that U.S. troops were responsible for the instability, nor could their mere presence have prevented it. To the extent that the U.S. military role does influence domestic stability, it takes the form of military aid and military advisers. One lesson the Vietnam war should have taught us is that this form of promoting “stability” tends to become associated with the survival of one particular government or leader rather than with a stable political climate in general. To the extent that it becomes geared to the status quo, U.S. aid can and often does end up being used to put down domestic disturbances that threaten existing elites. At worst, such aid encourages recipient governments to persist in unrealistic policies, to engage in repression, and to disregard calls for reform. The most current example is the Philippines, where the Marcos government has been using American weapons to put down the Moslem rebellion in the southern islands. Not so long ago, Thai troops used American weapons to cope with an insurgency in northeastern Thailand. And I would not be surprised if the governments of South Korea and Taiwan used American weapons in the same way at some future date. I think we should keep our distance from that kind of “stability.” Still another defense of overseas troops comes under the heading of the so-called “tripwire theory.” According to this notion, American troops are a human tripwire guaranteeing American military involvement should hostilities break out. Rational calculations that might keep us out of a war will supposedly be swept aside by the sight of American boys bleeding on the battlefield. Without such a stimulus, it is argued, we would selfishly abandon an ally to the enemy. In my testimony before the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee last September, I argued that the tripwire theory was a poo,r foundation on which to base a military or a political decision. If a conflict breaks out, our response should not be based on revenge. Our policies should be designed to give us the freedom to choose whatever response is in our best national interest. American lives .should not be hostage as human sacrifices to insure that we will follow a policy that may not be in our national interest. Besides, U.S. force levels in most countries are not sufficient to meet a full-scale attack. If the purpose of the U.S. deployment is to guarantee full-scale U.S. involvement with massive participation of our manpower in combat then a token force would do just as well. So I, at least, am left with the suspicion that what we are up against is another version of the familiar “bargaining chip” mentality. According to this line of thinking, we shouldn’t give up anything we have. Every expensive weapon, every soldier overseas, every possession in our arsenal is supposed to represent some sort of negotiating power which can be used to force concessions from the other side. . But although the “bargaining chip” argument is often made in the name of a flexible position, it actually locks us inflexibly into the status quo and deprives us of the freedom to move. Furthermore, in the case of Asian troop deployments, it’s not even clear whom we are bargaining with, or for what stakes, or why. Mr. Chairman, on July 31, 1973, eleven former U.S. goVernment officials who held responsible positions in the field of Asian Affairs wrote a letter to Congressman Esch stating that 100,000 U.S. troops could be brought home from Asia and deactivated without harming either our national security or our important interests in the area. With the Committee’s consent, I would like to have this letter included at the end of my testimony. A partial withdrawal along the lines I have suggested will not unhinge the world. It will help to free up money that could be far better spent on domestic needs or simply left unspent, which I suppose is a new but perhaps refreshing idea. I trust you will agree that the time has come to cut overseas troops ourselves instead of waiting for someone else to do it for us. Thank you very much.
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