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Why Alliances Matter

July 27, 2016

By Jim Talent

As regular readers know, I write mostly about the armed forces, but there are other tools of power and influence that America needs to protect its national security.  Alliances are one of those tools, and Donald Trump has made the subject timely because of his recent comments regarding NATO.

I don’t agree with Mr. Trump’s approach to NATO. But I don’t want to ridicule him for raising the issue either. Nothing is so sacred that it can’t be discussed; in fact, it’s long past time for American leaders to really think about the fundamentals of our foreign policy, including long standing policies like NATO.

Alliances are a means to an end; they are high-order means, to be sure, but means nevertheless. A good alliance serves the ends of all the parties to it, which is why they enter the alliance in the first place.

So what is the end, for America specifically, served by its alliances? In fact, what is the ultimate end of our foreign policy? If American foreign policy were a firm — one of Donald Trump’s businesses, perhaps — what would its strategic mission be?

It’s this: America manages risk in the world, so as to prevent both aggression against its vital interests and armed conflict, or at least escalating armed conflict that could trigger the use of weapons of mass destruction or spread and become a general war.

Read the full article at National Review Online: Why Alliances Matter