The U.S. Army 2d Infantry Division, together with South Korean forces, is likewise poised near the demilitarized zone. The 2d Infantry Division is also supported by massive air power that could easily — and quickly — decimate North Korea just as air power was used during the Korean War to level hundreds of North Korean cities, towns and villages. According to Bechtel, “The 2d Infantry Division operates 30 multiple-rocket-launcher systems and 30 M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers” (p. 76).
Taken together, the research showed that it is little wonder that North Korea is jittery about tens of thousands of American troops remaining on South Korean soil and its nuclear arms program and military buildup can be better understood when these issues are taken into account. Given the uneasy state of affairs that exists between North and South Korea as well as the United States today, an objective observer might suggest that North Korea was justified in its militarism. After all, it is unlikely that the United States would tolerate a North Korean infantry division armed to the teeth stationed right across the border in Canada or Mexico.
By maintaining a substantial military presence in South Korea, the United States may be doing more harm than good by keeping the North Korean leadership nervous and forcing them to counter with their own military forces along the 38th parallel. The research also showed that there were in fact two sides to this story, and a more balanced view of the historical events that created the current situation on the Korean peninsula is needed to help understand North Koreas views about the West.
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