When Occupation Happens

Noah Millman debates military intervention:

We want to avoid counter-insurgency situations. But sometimes they are “thrust upon us” – and then what do we do? It seems to me, the right answer has two parts. First, be very careful about concluding that such a situation has actually been thrust upon us. Are we actually obliged to become an occupying power? Is there any other entity, national or supra-national, who might be more appropriate to serve that function, assuming someone has to? How much would it cost us, in terms of achieving concrete policy objectives, to decline the part? Second, assuming there really is no alternative, how can we effectively thrust that situation onto somebody else in rapid fashion?

That sounds callous, but I don’t think it needs to be. Is there any reason to assume that we would handle an occupation of North Korea better than South Korea would? Is there any reason, assuming South Korea needs more boots on the ground to provide basic order than they can provide, to assume that the United States would be a less-provocative provider of said boots than some combination of friendly countries like Canada and the Philippines?