Should the U.S. military restart war games?
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Should the U.S. military restart war games?

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The U.S. will no longer suspend military exercises on the Korean Peninsula, according to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Mattis made the statement weeks after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would be ceasing war games while negotiating with North Korea. Supporters of the military exercises say they are necessary to keep the country's defenses sharp and that canceling them signaled weakness to North Korea. Those who want the exercises suspended worry they are unnecessarily antagonistic. What do you think?

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In his initial announcement that war games would be suspended, President Trump cited numerous concerns, including the cost of the exercises. 
In a Tuesday news conference in Singapore, before heading back to Washington, Mr. Trump focused on the potential cost savings of ending major exercises, which he said were “tremendously expensive” to conduct.
“We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money,” the president said, also criticizing South Korea for not defraying more of the costs. “We have to talk to them. We have to talk to many countries about treating us fairly.”
Mr. Trump singled out long-range bombers, like B-52s and B-1s, that routinely fly in exercises near the Korean Peninsula.
“We fly in bombers from Guam,” Mr. Trump said. “I said it when I first started, I said, ‘Where do the bombers come from? Guam. Nearby.’ I said ‘Oh great, nearby, where is nearby?’ Six and a half hours. Six and a half hours. That’s a long time for these big massive planes to be flying to South Korea to practice and then drop bombs all over the place and then go back to Guam.”
“I know a lot about airplanes,” Mr. Trump added. “It’s very expensive. I didn’t like it. What I did say is and I think it is very provocative.”

The initial cancellation was widely considered a mistake by those in the defense community. Per The Guardian:

Trump’s announcement in June that drills would be suspended took South Korean and American officials by surprise, and was widely seen as a large concession.
“This is a concrete example of how badly the administration has mismanaged talks, military exercises, and alliance relations,” Adam Mount, director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists, wrote in response to the announcement.
“If future exercises are suspended, [North Korea] will say it was expected, perhaps required for talks to continue. If the exercises resume, it will damage talks and relations with Seoul.”

Mattis, as well as others at the Pentagon, felt the original suspension of war games was a dangerous show of weakness to the North Koreans. Per the Washington Examiner

The Pentagon, completely blindsided by President Trump’s major concession to Kim Jong Un in June, was never in favor of canceling the annual U.S.-South Korean exercises, which it has argued for years are vital to maintaining the readiness of forces to defend the South against the North. Trump’s description of the defense drills as “provocative war games,” language employed in North Korean propaganda, along with labeling the exercises needlessly expensive, further rankled Pentagon officials, who don’t see military training as a waste of money when compared to the cost of going to war unprepared.
Mattis had no choice but to support Trump in what was widely viewed within the building as a capricious and naive gamble designed to jump-start diplomatic efforts. But with the talks now faltering, Mattis seemed ready to bring the short-term experiment to an end. “As you know, we took the step to suspend several of the largest exercises as a good-faith measure coming out of the Singapore summit,” Mattis said. “We have no plans at this time to suspend any more exercises.”

Some involved in the ongoing negotiations with North Korea worry the move to restart war games could be seen as antagonistic. According to The New York Times

Restarting military drills would likely infuriate North Korea, which has in the past responded to the annual drills with threats of force. But the comments highlight frustrations within the US administration over stalled nuclear negotiations.
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