Allies are critical – we cannot take our friends for granted

When a German state official was asked a few years ago what are the strengths of America, he noted its military power and its allied relationships. His concern at the time was the lack of respect that the previous president was showing to our allies. Sadly, the current president has made a second mistake in keeping our allies abreast. This cannot happen.

The first mistake was not giving ample heads up to our allies that the US was pulling out of Afghanistan. They were somewhat surprised and, as a result, less prepared to act when the time came. That is poor form.

The second mistake happened this week when Australia canceled a deal with a French entity for submarines to make a better deal with the Americans. No phone call or heads-up was made to the French and they were beyond frustrated. In fact, France pulled their US ambassador in protest. Just three months ago, President Macron said side-be-side with President Biden, America is back.

Allies are critical. With allies on our side, we have been able to build coalitions to do things. Yet, when we lied to our allies about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) as pretense for invading Iraq, our allies were left holding the bag as well. A UK investigation faulted President Bush and Prime Minister Blair for misleading the UK people about the WMDs.

The US announced leaving the Paris Climate Change Accord in 2017, an accord that all but three countries had signed. It was an agreement we helped forge, yet our word does not mean as much with fickle presidents. Fortunately, we rejoined the agreement under President Biden. One departure under the last president that got less press is the US pulled out under an eleven country Trans Pacific Partnership to enable Pacific based countries to better compete with China. The other ten countries went on without us.

No deal is perfect. No relationship is perfect.. But, we cannot take our friends for granted. This is especially true when an action may be detrimental. You must talk it through. Thinking of it in terms of married relationships, marriage is hard work. You have to work at it and you cannot take your partner’s love for granted. Our allies may not love us, but the same goes for them. Do not take them for granted.

16 thoughts on “Allies are critical – we cannot take our friends for granted

  1. Under the former guy, the ‘America first’ mantra became ‘America only,’ and the rest of us quickly recognised that we could no longer trust our ally. That is starting to be built back, but I don’t think the US is really at fault for ‘surprising’ us over the withdrawal from Afghanistan: that had been signalled last year and as far as the UK goes our unreadiness was due to the incompetence of our government, not to any lack of notice. We find ourselves in a similar situation: thanks to the bombast, rhetoric and ignorance of our government the EU no longer trusts anything we say or do, or in our ability to abide by a deal.

    As for the TPP I’d be happy if the US stayed out of it: that would prevent your predatory healthcare companies from swarming over the NHS, cherry picking the bits they can monetise for profit.

      • Both the US and the UK need to do a lot better. We had a cabinet reshuffle this week. The Foreign Secretary, who had received heavy criticism for his lack of action over Afghanistan (and refusal to cut short his holiday), was replaced. Sadly, the previous public utterances of his successor show her to be an idiot, so I can’t see things improving any time soon.

      • Clive, it seems there is a dearth of good leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. When I was younger, the quality of people in Congress was much higher on both sides of the aisle. Now, we have tribalism and inanity in too many of them. Keith

  2. I agree Keith. We need to have healthy relationships with our allies – it’s an important part of governing. Sadly, I can’t see the allies trusting the US again until they deal with the internal strife ,ensuring there won’t be a repeat of the last four years.

  3. Yes, Yes!! We can not make it all on our own, we need our Allies and I was hoping that President Biden could restore them again after the fires that Trump left! I pray that things can turn around because friends are ALWAYS important!

  4. Naturally after the catastrophe of 2016-2020 we had hoped President Biden would steer a steady path back to a least ‘business as usual’. Although there were never going to be any easy or right ways of dealing with Afghanistan’s issues, the USA might have at least tried the Peace Talks manoeuvres as conducted in Paris on the fate of Vietnam. These recent events came across as another country leaving a very difficult, nay impossible land with tail between legs. Of course it’s easy to say this, we’re not the ones looking at the allies casualty lists, even so American troops were killed and injured in the final days.
    From the world geo-political perspective the Aukus agreement might be argued as being as astute move since China’s policy has been softly aggressive for some time…after all who else builds islands in the Pacific to extend their ‘diplomatic’ national boundary range.
    That said, France should have been consulted, brought into the general inner circle and some sweetener of a deal worked out in the atmosphere of Realpolitik (It is said there are two things an average person does not want to see being made Sausages and Foreign policy).
    The events of the past two months do not arguer well for the USA’s badly damaged image. Alarms must be ringing if Boris Johnson feels he has to meet with President Biden and raise the issues of Climate Change along with Humanitarian concerns in Afghanistan.
    Meanwhile Putin goes off to church once more and says ‘I knew it! You had to Russian’

    • Thanks Roger. Well put. The happiest man in the world is Putin as he has artfully used social media, disinformation and true screw ups on our part to divide the western world. We will miss Angela Merkel who had been a glue. Biden needs to do more of what he does naturally and build coalitions that are damaged. Right now, he keeps shooting himself in the foot. Keith

      • Thanks Keith.
        I suspect that Biden is at heart more of a domestic politician, as have many presidents before him, regrettably the USA is not able to turn inwards, the world does not work that way.
        Putin has indeed won at every turn. There is only one minor benefit in the UK; since there have been indications of Russian oligarchs sifting funds to the Conservative Party, the Left-Wing’s clutch of Useful Idiots no longer slavishly deny Russia has done anything wrong.

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