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Tags: nato

Are Some NATO Countries Allies or Dependents?

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Lee Steinhauer By Monday, 26 February 2024 11:05 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

America has been called the “indispensable nation.” But indispensable to whom exactly?

The phrase first coined in 1998 by then-U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asserted that America, at the time unequaled in its power, was the only nation capable of sufficiently addressing the world’s challenges.

This subsequently morphed into America being solely responsible for doing so. Which then led to America’s appointment as the world’s policeman, as if it were its sworn duty to protect and serve the global commons.

America is now expected to handle anything and everything that arises which in any way threatens world order, no matter how far removed from its own national interests or borders.

This can be seen recently in the U.S. military’s bombing of the Houthis in Yemen for purposes of keeping commercial shipping lanes halfway across the world open, and of course, its continual involvement in foreign conflicts in places like Ukraine and the Middle East.

America, however, has not only been appointed guarantor of world order, but also the provider of a massive global welfare system, financially funding countries across the globe along with defending them.

America’s indispensability in this regard has only bred dependency, for like any entitlement program, the beneficiaries are now reliant upon it, and rail against cuts to benefits they are accustomed to receiving.

Thus, when America threatens to pull back even slightly from the world or declines to provide economic aid to some needy country thousands of miles away, it is accused of betraying its obligations.

There are those, both at home and abroad, that argue this is merely the price America must pay for being the world’s leading superpower and largest economy, and for all the privileges, perceived and otherwise, that it possesses.

In short, to quote Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility.

While Americans have paid this cost, and then some, with their blood and treasure, the price, like everything else lately, has become increasingly unaffordable.

And Americans are rightfully wondering whether they wish to continue paying it at all, especially as it comes at the expense of their own homeland, which is deteriorating daily before their eyes.

Further, like with any welfare scheme, Americans are justifiably angered by those seen as freeloading upon their generosity.

Especially those with more than sufficient means to provide for themselves.

Europe, for instance, is one of the richest regions in the world, yet U.S. taxpayers have been forced to subsidize its defense for decades, while in turn, Europeans spend lavishly on social programs for their own citizens.

And now that Donald Trump and others are demanding Europeans carry their own weight, by fulfilling their obligations as members of NATO and providing for their defense in Ukraine, they are unwilling to do so, and act like they are entitled to America’s perpetual protection, as if some inherent right.

Some will retort that these are allies and must be accorded special treatment. But as U.S. Senator J.D. Vance posited in a recent op-ed in the Financial Times, if Europeans cannot even defend themselves, are they really allies, or in fact, clients?

The distinction matters, for allies and dependents are two very different things.

And while Europeans may chafe at this categorization, implying they are merely protectorates of an American empire, for many around the world it is an accurate one, as America is viewed as an imperial presence, especially with U.S. military installations spanning the globe.

If, however, America is indeed an empire, then one may rightfully ask why it is not permitted to act like those of the past, by actively acquiring additional territories and resources.

Why have all the burdens of empire without the benefits of conquest?

A point made by Donald Trump regarding the Iraq war, when he asked why America did not take the oil, as he, like the Romans, would have.

Though unlike past empires, America is forced to act altruistically for the world’s benefit instead of its own, like some sort of global utility.

Contrastingly, countries under America’s protection, whether they be allies or clients, are free, even expected, to put their own interests, and those of their citizens, before all else.

Moreover, while America is expected to make the world safe for others, and uphold the so-called Pax Americana, it must allow the world into its own borders by accepting droves of foreigners, no matter where they may come from or why, as if again part of some debt owed for the power it holds.

But this arrangement is no longer sustainable, if ever it was, let alone fair to American citizens who have footed the bill. And it is long past time that the “indispensable nation” dispense with these burdensome obligations and start acting again in its own interests.

Lee Steinhauer is a strategic policy and political consultant known for his book "The Art of The New Cold War: America vs. China. What America Must Do to Win." Lee is a frequent guest on Fox, Fox Business, Newsmax, and a published policy and opinion writer for numerous media publications. Read Lee Steinhauer's Reports — More Here.

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America has been called the "indispensable nation." But indispensable to whom exactly?
Monday, 26 February 2024 11:05 AM
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