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Broken Hearts Club: 6 Allies America Needs to Divorce

February 12, 2015 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

It’s hard to get out of a bad relationship. The good times may be over and the once vibrant connection may be dead, but people just can’t admit that it’s time to say goodbye.

Countries have the same problem, especially the U.S. Washington has spent decades collecting allies like many people accumulate Facebook “Friends.” Virtually never, irrespective of the changed circumstances, does America drop an ally. Indeed, the less relevant the ties the more insistent U.S. officials become in demanding that the relationship be “strengthened” and “expanded.”

With Valentine’s Day almost upon us, the Obama administration should take an unsparing look at the ever-growing crowd of American allies and ally-wannabes. It’s time for Washington to send the equivalent of a “Dear John” letter to a half dozen foreign capitals.

Where to start? There are so many undeserving deadbeat friends.

Saudi Arabia

U.S. officials make much of shared values while issuing military guarantees and writing lavish checks to scores of nations. No one can mistake Saudi Arabia as a country that America has much in common with other than commerce in oil and the occasional common enemy, such as Osama bin Laden.

However, no alliance is necessary for the two states to cooperate when their interests coincide. Indeed, the Saudis must sell oil to survive:  they will cash anyone’s check, friend or foe. And when the monarchy is under threat, it will respond vigorously, even ruthlessly, without outside prodding.

When it comes to values, Riyadh is an extraordinary embarrassment to the United States. Essentially a totalitarian state, the monarchy plunders people, brutalizes political opposition, suppresses religious expression, and even exports Sunni tyranny—to next door Bahrain, for instance. The late King Abdullah was hailed as a moderate and modernizer, but that was only in the context of one of the least free societies on earth. And his successor King Salman seems determined to halt if not reverse the minuscule progress of the last two decades.

It’s time send Riyadh a text message breaking up. The two governments can still cooperate where appropriate.  But there should be no more presidential visits to pay respectful obeisance to the Saudi throne. There should be no more intimate, hand-holding meetings at the president’s retreat. The U.S. military no longer should be treated as an inexpensive bodyguard for the al-Saud family, ready to do Riyadh’s bidding.

South Korea

If ever there was an alliance made irrelevant by circumstances, it is America’s defense guarantee for the Republic …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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