August 04, 2019

Is Manila Worth American Lives?
Washington policymakers treat allies like Facebook friends, the more the merrier. Montenegro or the United Kingdom, allies are viewed as much the same. Administrations routinely ink another “mutual” defense treaty and pretend the result is a real military alliance, designed to make America more secure.In fact, most U.S. “allies” are nothing of the sort. During the Cold War Washington’s principal objective was to prevent weak, war-torn, and/or failed states from falling under the control of the Soviet Union, and later China and North Korea. Although General and then President Dwight Eisenhower warned against turning the Europeans into security dependents, successive administrations ignored his advice. The U.S. inevitably took the lead and didn’t worry much about what its nominal allies did. They lagged behind the United States, failed to fulfill their commitments, and not too subtly took a very cheap if not quite free ride at Washington’s expense. U.S. officials whined on cue about the unfairness, but otherwise did nothing.The allies eventually recovered economically, with Japan, Germany, the UK, France, and South Korea becoming important international players. Nevertheless, Washington continues to be overwhelmingly responsible for national and regional as well as global security. The presumption is that its alliances are essentially costless. All Washington needs to do to deter impudent adversaries is make an occasional threat or issue a pertinent demand. There’s really no need for allies to even possess weapons.
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