America's Alliances Are Costly Relics

Discussion in 'Politics' started by KenH, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. KenH

    KenH
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    America's Alliances Are Costly Relics

    by Justin Logan

    Over the past 60 years, the United States has accumulated a remarkable number of alliances. Today, nearly all of Europe, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia and a range of other nations peer out at the world from behind America's skirts. America's allies bring a multitude of liabilities and few assets to the table, however, and it is unclear how today's global archipelago of alliances serves American interests.

    ...

    This past summer, for example, the Czech Defense Ministry announced it was cutting its defense budget by more than 10 percent. Other countries complaining of the looming threat from Russia, such as Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all spend less than 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense, an anemic figure.

    Note that the countries could afford a robust defense against Russia if they chose. In 2008, the combined GDP of the NATO members added after the Cold War was roughly equal to Russia's. Along with wealthier Western European countries, these nations could keep Russia from pushing them around.

    The simplest explanation for these countries' low defense spending is that their leaders know that Washington will do the work for them. And why should they pay for a service that will be provided anyway? That was more or less how things went during the Cold War.

    ...

    America's alliances are no longer considered responses to security challenges. Instead, they have become ends in themselves. In an era of record-breaking budget deficits and serious economic problems at home, the billions of dollars Uncle Sam pays each year to baby-sit Europe and East Asia ought to be coming in for scrutiny, not perpetual affirmation.

    - more at www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10954
     

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