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Starting from scratch: Zero-based alliance formation
Foreign Policy ^ | June 8, 2012 | Stephen M. Walt

Posted on 06/12/2012 3:15:54 PM PDT by pavlova

Robert Kelley has done a series of interesting posts on his own blog (cross-posted to Duck of Minerva) exploring options for U.S. retrenchment and offering a template for thinking about U.S. alliance commitments. Consider what follows a set of variations on the theme he began.

Kelley asks: if U.S. leaders tried to pursue a policy of partial retrenchment, what alliances commitments might they choose to limit or terminate, and which allies would still be considered important? Framing the question this way acknowledges that there may be some reputational issues involved in downgrading a long-standing security partnership, even if its original strategic rationale has diminished or even disappeared. But what if we let our imaginations really run free and frame the puzzle a bit differently? What if we were starting from scratch, and doing a "zero-based" assessment of U.S. alliance options? If historical ties weren't an issue, what features would you look for in a strategic partner and how might America's future alliance portfolio differ from its current set of arrangements?

So here's my quick list of the qualities we ought to look for, notwithstanding some obvious tensions and tradeoffs between them. As you'd expect, I lean heavily on more-or-less realist considerations, and less on shared "values" or domestic political similarities.

(Excerpt) Read more at walt.foreignpolicy.com ...


TOPICS: History; Military/Veterans; Miscellaneous; Society
KEYWORDS: allies; foreignpolicy; politics
1. Power 2. Position 3. Political stability 4. Popularity 5. Pliability 6. Potential impact
1 posted on 06/12/2012 3:16:04 PM PDT by pavlova
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To: pavlova

I prefer what Washington said.

If anybody tries to invade us, we destroy them. No more nation building.


2 posted on 06/12/2012 3:22:31 PM PDT by wastedyears ("God? I didn't know he was signed onto the system.")
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To: wastedyears

“If anybody tries to invade us, we destroy them. No more nation building.”

Amen.


3 posted on 06/12/2012 3:38:11 PM PDT by RedStateRocker
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To: wastedyears

“I prefer what Washington said.”

Though President Washington spoke against entangling alliances in Europe as he was leaving office, he was unable to avoid them during his presidency - perhaps this is where the lesson came from. The Jay Treaty set up an undeclared naval war with revolutionary France, then going through the terror. The unfortunite fact of history is that every American president has to deal with entangling alliances - neutrality is a fine line to toe.

BTW - President Washington also warned against political parties in that same Farewell Address. We didn’t listen to that warning as well.


4 posted on 06/12/2012 3:40:03 PM PDT by Owl558 ("Those who remember George Satayana are doomed to repeat him")
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