Doug explains to readers:
Alliances should be a means to an end. Their purpose is to increase American security. They aren’t particularly useful where there’s no significant threat to the U.S., Washington can easily deter any significant adversary on its own.
Russia’s Vladimir Putin is a nasty fellow, but he has demonstrated no interest in challenging America.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is an unpleasant actor, but it is interested in America only because America, in the form of 28,500 military personnel, is next door in the South. Yet South Korea enjoys a vast economic and technological lead, an overwhelming international and diplomatic advantage, and a sizable population edge over the North. Seoul long ago should have graduated from America’s defense dole.
China, like Russia, is a regional power unlikely to seek war with America, which enjoys a large military lead.
Japan, which long possessed the world’s second-largest economy, could have done much more to advance its and its region’s defense for years. Even today Tokyo is well able to deter any Chinese threat to the former’s existence.
No Middle Eastern state directly threatens the U.S. America’s friends all are dominant: Israel is a regional superpower, Saudi Arabia vastly outspends Iran on the military, and Turkey’s armed forces, despite the aftermath of the coup attempt, outrange those of all of its neighbors, aside from Russia, which has no cause for conflict.
Why is the U.S. providing all of these nations security commitments, military equipment, and promises to go to war? What threat to America looms? Which allied states are vulnerable to attack? Which of them truly matters to U.S. security?
The honest answer: not many.