by John Hawkins | February 12, 2003 11:59 pm
Alliances Are A Two Way Street: The following exchange between Colin Powell and Ernest Hollings does a pretty job of highlighting the different way that Conservatives and liberals tend to view our alliances with other nations…
“NATO “is breaking itself up” over Iraq, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday as the alliance plunged deeper into crisis by again failing to order preparations to defend Turkey against Iraqi attack.
During a Senate Budget Committee hearing, Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, South Carolina Democrat, asked the secretary whether it was worth breaking up Washington’s alliances “just to get” Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
“Who is breaking up the alliance?” Mr. Powell replied. “Not the United States. The alliance is breaking itself up because it will not meet its responsibilities.”
In essence, Powell is saying that an alliance is a means to an end, whereas Hollings is saying that having an alliance is end unto itself. I wish that I could say that Hollings positon was on the fringe, but unfortunately his views are shared by a majority of the Democratic party and more than a few Republicans.
That philosophy is why, even today, as we prepare to go to war with Iraq, we’re scrambling to get minor nations on board with us. Sure they may contribute no more than a few hundred poorly trained men or a couple of rusted out boats to the cause, but if they’re with us we can say, “See, we told you we had an alliance! They’re with us too! We’re not being unilateral!”
Now there is nothing wrong with alliances — real alliances — but an alliance for it’s own sake is little more than a hindrance. There is little use in being “allied” with countries that use us at every opportunity and then when we need help, either at worst undercut us, or at best do little more than give us a, “good luck over there — if you’re determined to do this.” Alliances have got to go BOTH ways and unfortunately because too many Americans have forgotten this, many of our “allies” have been allowed to forget it as well.
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