The announcement by Washington that it has decided to permanently cease the Pentagon’s massive annual war “games” in Korea is welcome news for working people everywhere. The Foal Eagle and Key Resolve spring maneuvers are a reminder of the scale of the devastating military power U.S. imperialism brandishes in its intervention there.
In 2018, Foal Eagle alone mobilized some 11,500 U.S. soldiers and 290,000 South Korean troops. The exercises included flights of fighter-bombers, practice amphibious landings and assaults on North Korean nuclear missile facilities, and the mock seizure and execution of North Korean leaders by special operations forces.
The war exercises have included practice for battles near the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean Peninsula. The Pentagon called the simulated raids its “Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation” plan.
The maneuvers are billed as “joint” exercises. And on paper Seoul has day-to-day control of its own military. But since the 1950-53 Korean War, Washington has had formal control over the South Korean army in any conflict. The U.S. military brass calls the shots.
Since 1992 the war drills have aimed to prepare U.S.-led forces to attack long-range artillery the North Korean government deploys near the border, which is capable of destroying much of the South Korean capital, Seoul.