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America’s Facebook Friend Allies

August 17, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Washington has been supremely embarrassed-by a nominal ally, as
usual. After the Trump administration insisted that its involvement
in Yemen helped reduce civilian casualties there, Saudi Arabia
promptly launched an air attack that slaughtered a bus full of
school children.

It was a demonstration of how America’s allies often cause
more trouble than her enemies do.

No country has more allies that the United States. The most
important ones are in Europe and Asia, though Washington also
designates favored nations as “Major Non-NATO Allies”
(MNNAs), which typically receive some mix of security guarantees
and financial support. Then there are a few informal allies, which
are security partners in all but name.

This list seems ever to increase. U.S. policymakers constantly
seek out more, rather like how many strive to increase their
Facebook friends. And indeed, many of America’s professed
friends have no more value than those on Facebook.

Washington should stop
automatically treating its allies’ enemies as its own
enemies.

There are 28 other NATO members, including such behemoths as
Albania, Montenegro, and Slovenia. Recently invited to join was
Macedonia. Presidents have designated 16 nations as MNNAs, which
includes Australia, Japan, and South Korea, along with Egypt,
Bahrain, Israel, Tunisia, Pakistan, and Argentina. Saudi Arabia and
Taiwan are de facto allies, with presumed but unclear security
guarantees.

That’s a lot of charges for America to keep track of.
Unfortunately, many of these allies haven’t been putting
their best faces forward lately, which has caused plenty of
headaches for Washington.

Germany. This enemy turned ally should be the
cornerstone of any continental defense alliance. The Federal
Republic has Europe’s largest economy and population. It also
has a history of military accomplishment (though Germans are
admittedly uncomfortable pointing that out). Yet Berlin treats
Germany’s and Europe’s defense as an afterthought. The
Merkel government has ramped up military spending slightly, though
to what effect is unclear: the Bundeswehr lacks even minimal
readiness and could not be deployed in any serious fight.

Turkey. Having morphed into the caliphate that
the Islamic State only claimed to be, Turkey is growing more
Islamist and authoritarian by the day. The new sultan, President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, still feels the need to hold elections. But
they are mere formalities, with Erdogan having seized control of
the media, imprisoned political opponents, punished critical
businessmen, and silenced academics. He’s also treated tens
of thousands of people as traitors, prosecuting some, firing
others, banning travel by many, and scaring private firms against
employing most of them. At the same time, Ankara has undermined
Washington’s security interests, purchasing Russian military
equipment, facilitating ISIS activity on Turkish territory,
targeting America’s Kurdish allies, threatening U.S. troops
stationed with Kurdish forces, and confronting …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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