The U.S.？South Korean alliance has maintained peace on the Korean Peninsula for over six decades. Maintaining strong alliances and robust forward-deployed U.S. forces is a critical and cost-effective component to mitigating risk in northeast Asia. The U.S. military presence in South Korea is an indispensable signal of Washington’s commitment to defending its ally and deterring a North Korean attack. Alliances are not transactional relationships, but instead are based on shared values and strategic objectives. U.S. and South Korean policymakers need to carefully navigate the rocks and shoals of military threats, shifting political objectives, and growing public trepidation to maintain the alliance that has served as a stalwart defense of freedom and democracy.