The United States has been Europe and Japan's standing army since the end of WWII. Likewise; the U.S. military has occupied South Korea since the cessation of fighting against the communist North. America has expended enormous amounts of blood and treasure abroad preserving our interests in the belief that we are reflecting a collective desire to spread liberty and freedom elsewhere in the world.
The word on the Korean and European street is that America is an imperialistic, velvety gloved dictator pushing the little guys around while our GI's drink heavily in the local pubs and harass their womenfolk. This hegemony has resulted in protests here and abroad of U.S. out of: (fill in blank)!
Whittaker Chambers, the author of Witness wrote: "a man has to have something to live for and something to die for". Believing as he did at the time that communism was humanity's answer to the ills of the world. Chambers went all-in with the belief that communism was worth defending with his life. Years later Mark Steyn has written that Europeans are not having enough children to replace their aging populations. 'Mohammad' has become one of the most popular names of British born children. If given the choice today, would Europeans and/or South Koreans citizens be willing to die in defense of their own nation's interests?
When should the American military leave Europe or Japan? Should we also bail on Korea? In a military sense no. Those regions are as good a location as any we may get to project the occasional cruise missile or Stealth fighter against foreign enemies. But when, if ever, will we give military license back to any of these otherwise self-governing political entities? Iraq is well on its way to self governance, what about Japan?
We are scolded from many quarters that America is "not liked" abroad. We hear ad nausea about how any goodwill bestowed from abroad after 9/11 was squandered with our militaristic escapade in Iraq. Squandered because we did not find huge stockpiles of Weapons which ostensibly justified our reasons for going in. As if fighting al Qaeda was merely the equivalent of busting a check forger or the local crack dealer.
Would Europe's birthrates increase if Europeans were faced with having to live and fight for their own sovereignty? Would South Koreans shelve their placards of protest if they had to make the personal choice of what kind of weaponry would best repel the North? Do the people of Japan feel likewise? Dunno. For many decades now, America's electorate has continued to green light the human, emotional and monetary capital to nations abroad to maintain a relatively stable world.
If any of these countries suddenly had the responsibility of self defense thrust upon them, would they find themselves waxing nostalgic for that 'ol American military presence? Would they find in themselves any appreciation for what we as a nation had been doing for them all those years?