We say we’re helping our allies, but in reality they’re part of our empire, an empire that has an exorbitant price. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:
U.S. foreign policy is dominated by a constant search for allies. Big or small, rich or poor, strong or weak. It doesn’t matter. The more the merrier, rather like acquiring more Facebook Friends than anyone else, thereby winning bragging rights.
This incessant search for new allies turned into farce with NATO’s celebration when Montenegro and North Macedonia were admitted. Members of the transatlantic pact exulted, apparently believing that they finally could rest easy, sure that Vladimir Putin’s Slavic hordes would be kept at bay by the vast new armies added to NATO’s ranks.
The US once sought alliances to achieve a common purpose and enhance its security – in theory, at least. Having decided to intervene in Europe in World Wars I and II and the Cold War, it good policy to cooperate with allied powers. (Not that joining the conflicts themselves necessarily made any sense. For instance, the New World had no security stake in the Great War, the imperial murderfest that brought mankind communism, fascism, Nazism, the Second World War, and endless Middle Eastern conflicts in succeeding years.)
Today, however, alliances have gone from means to ends for Washington policymakers. Of course, Europe should be defended, but not by America: the Europeans collectively outclass Russia on most every important measure of national power, and nothing suggests that Vladimir Putin hopes to achieve conquests that Joseph Stalin eschewed. Since NATO serves no necessary military purpose, it has become something very different, a welfare organization by which Americans subsidize the defense of European states which neither feel threatened nor see any reason to invest in their militaries since America has promised to do the job. Indeed, Washington’s defense guarantee almost makes it stupid for Europeans to even field militaries, other than for ceremonial purposes.