America Needs to Stop Confusing Its Allies' Interests for Its Own

July 27, 2017 Topic: Security Region: Middle East Blog Brand: The Skeptics Tags: TrumpTillersonSaudiRiyadh

America Needs to Stop Confusing Its Allies' Interests for Its Own

Accepting the sometimes delusional worldview of allies will only lead to more frustration in the Middle East.

The historical record shows that, paradoxically, the United States can play the strongest leadership role in the world when it acts with restraint, carefully weighing every use of U.S. power rather than writing blank checks for local allies. Indeed, these blank checks hurt not only America but also U.S. allies, encouraging them to act rashly without thinking of potential consequences. John Quincy Adams famously cautioned Americans against going “abroad in search of monsters to destroy,” and this warning is especially true when such monsters are conjured up by local regimes looking to become Washington’s favorites.

Matthew Petti is a student at Columbia University.

Image: U.S. President Donald Trump (C) looks on as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef (R) exchange a memorandum of understanding, a commitment by the Gulf states not to finance militant organizations, at the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.