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Washington’s Lonely Hearts Club: Six Allies America Should Dump

US Ukraine Military

It’s hard to get out of a bad relationship. People can’t admit that it’s time to say goodbye.

Countries have the same problem. Washington has spent decades collecting allies, like many people accumulate Facebook “Friends.”

After Valentine’s Day Washington should send the equivalent of a “Dear John” letter to at least a half dozen foreign capitals. America has many undeserving deadbeat friends.

1) Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and America have little in common other than commerce in oil. But no alliance is necessary for the two states to cooperate when their interests coincide.

When it comes to values, Riyadh is an extraordinary embarrassment. Essentially a totalitarian state, the monarchy plunders people, brutalizes political opposition, suppresses religious expression, and even exports Sunni tyranny.

It’s time to send Riyadh a text message breaking up. The two governments still should cooperate where appropriate.  But the U.S. military no longer should act as an inexpensive bodyguard for the al-Saud family.

2) South Korea.

If ever an alliance was made irrelevant by circumstances, it is America’s defense guarantee for the Republic of Korea. The U.S. was drawn into war in Korea during the Cold War. Then American troops were required on the peninsula until the South gained both political stability and economic development.

However, by the 1980s the ROK had raced well ahead of North Korea economically. Today South Korea enjoys a 40-1 economic lead, 2-1 population edge, vast technological advantage, and overwhelming diplomatic support.

The South can defend itself. Other forms of cooperation could be conducted without a “Mutual Defense Treaty” which is mutual in name only.

3) Iraq.


The Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq was based on a number of illusions which cost 4500 Americans and upwards of 200,000 Iraqis their lives. The rise of the Islamic State was blowback after the U.S. invasion triggered a bitter sectarian war.

The two countries do not share values. Nor is there much strategic agreement. The relationship always will be one of convenience.

Joining with Baghdad has entangled the U.S. in a sectarian war on behalf of radical Shiites, some of whom continue to kill Iraqi Sunnis. Better to make the relationship purely transactional when advantageous for America.

4) The Baltic Trio.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania live in a bad neighborhood. But Washington has forgotten what alliances are supposed to be.

In the aftermath of World War II the U.S. feared Soviet domination of Eurasia and created NATO as a shield behind which Western Europe could revive. With the end of the Cold war the alliance lost its purpose. Bringing in the Baltics added countries which were security black holes, weak states with minimal military capability but potential conflicts with Russia.

America’s real problem is NATO. Washington should drop out of the alliance, forging a set of more limited military cooperation agreements with the European Union and leading European nations.

5) Philippines.

America long has had a tortured relationship with this semi-failed Pacific state. More than a century ago Washington grabbed it as part of imperialistic expansion toward China.

Eventually granted independence, the nation has sputtered through dictatorship and corrupt and incompetent democracy. Manila’s military reflects this flawed foundation. Yet the Philippines wants to challenge China.

More accurately, Manila wants the U.S. to do so. But Washington has little interest in the local territorial disputes. Dear Manila, should run the letter written by President Barack Obama.

6) Ukraine.

Technically Kiev is not a U.S. ally, but you wouldn’t know it from how the administration is treating Ukraine and the usual gaggle of hyper- hawks wants to treat Ukraine. And how the government in Kiev wants to be treated by America.

Ukraine was dealt a tough hand by history and geography. But it never mattered much to the U.S. The U.S. signed the 1994 Budapest Memorandum after Ukraine divested its nuclear weapons, but the agreement offered only platitudes.

Washington’s meddling a decade ago helped bring erratic, incompetent Viktor Yushchenko to power. The administration’s promotion of last year’s street putsch backfired even more disastrously on both America and Ukraine, leading Russia to sever Crimea and back separatists in the Donbas.

Ukraine always will matter more to Russia, which will pay far higher costs and take far greater risks to prevail. The U.S. should make clear that Kiev will never be in NATO. There will never be American troops in Ukraine. Washington will not give weapons to Kiev.


America long has had trouble saying no. But the U.S. should start dropping faux allies. Doing so is far more likely to increase American security than extending new commitments and guarantees to additional weak and unimportant states.

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Dear John Letters for nations

The big one got left out of this article. There is absolutely no reason for the U.S. to maintain membership in and fund the collection of despotic nations known as the United Nations. This would be a much better idea than dumping NATO. After the U.S. dumps the U.N., they should evict them from the U.S.

How to hide rightwing pacifism: Push sophistries

Doug's explanation for ending alliances with at least four-five of his listed countries reveals his philosophy: right-wing pacifist libertarianism. The West has advanced to the highest socio-economic levels because it has been the best at the natural selection process of cultures, whether atheist and religious. For example, general conservative foreign policy holds that Russia continues to compete with us. Conservatives, not libertarians, want to have the Baltic states and Ukraine continue to be our FORWARD line against Putin/Russia's violent expansion instead of just Britain/France/Germany, etc.