The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

Could The United States Be A Bad Ally?

For decades, the United States has held itself out as a staunch, strong ally.  Its industrial and military complexes make the U.S. a formidable power, and its geographic position in the world gives it an effective defense from any enemy who may try to attack it.  Flush with money (albeit much of it borrowed), the U.S. has been able to finance wars for years and has a seeming infinite stockpile of resources.

Other countries have responded to the strength of the United States and has sought refuge under her wings, to the point where these countries have let their own military atrophy under the expectation that no enemy would attack with the United States backing them up.  And even if war did come, it was assumed that the United States would provide for their needs in the event of conflict.

For decades this paradigm worked.  Both World Wars I and II saw the U.S. come to the aid of allies to the point where the United States was dragged into the wars and lost hundreds of thousands of lives for the sake of their friends.

Something happened, however, after WWII.  The U.S. grew tired of war, especially “war over there,” conflicts which did not seem to affect life in the United States or directly threaten the U.S..

Come the Korean and the Vietnam wars, while the U.S. military was about to defeat the enemies, politics in the United States hamstrung the military and turned the tide.  Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, politicians caused the U.S. to actually lose the Vietnam war and the Korean war ended in a stalemate which then turned into an actual nuclear threat both on the Korean peninsula but also coming to threaten the United States itself.

Betraying the Koreans and the Vietnamese, these were the first major modern signs that the United States was not as reliable an ally as it professed to be.

Additional incidents were to come.

In the Bay of Pigs, the United States encouraged revolution in Cuba to overthrow the communist government.  The revolutionaries were making great progress and the Cuban military suffered horrendous losses.  The United States waited out in the bay with their ships but offered no support.  In the end, attrition caused the tide to turn, and the Bay of Pigs conflict was lost to the Cuban government.

The U.S. also sought to support the overthrow of the Iranian government when a rebellion formed in Iran, but the rebellion was crushed by government forces despite pleas for assistance and a lost opportunity to rid the Middle East of a government that is widely hated even by other Middle East countries.

In July 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal in violation of their agreement with the United Kingdom.  Britain and France began preparing for war whilst the U.S. kept trying the diplomatic approach, while the United Nations General Assembly ordered an immediate ceasefire, a resolution tabled by the U.S.  To enforce this, the USA put immense economic pressure on the UK.  Ultimately, faced with the threat of economic ruin from the USA, the Anglo-French coalition withdrew from Egypt and ceded control of the Suez to the Egyptian authorities. The result of the crisis led to widespread decolonization and severely reduced Britain’s power in the Middle East, and globally.

More so, friendship with the United States has come with a cost.  While every country imposes condition when it comes to trade and — especially — arms sales, the United States’ conditions often are a significant hindrance to supposed allies.

The United States has imposed restrictions on arms sales to Israel, citing concerns about regional stability and potential misuse of weapons. These restrictions have at times been perceived as hindering Israel’s ability to defend itself effectively against its adversaries.

Consider the current conflict with Hamas.

On October 7, 2023, Hamas killed 1,400 people and took about 200 more hostage.  Israel responded by attacking Hamas strongholds in Gaza.  While the world was appropriately shocked and support for Israel was high, this support waned quickly, and the United States began to impose restrictions on Israel as to what they could and could not do, threatening to cut off arms sales if Israel did not comply.  The U.S. cited civilian casualties as its concern, however little consideration was given that the enemy was hiding in civilian areas and using the population as shields.  Should Israel accept civilian casualties because the U.S. is squeamish about Gaza civilian casualties?

Politics in the U.S again plays a role here as there are growing anti-Semite blocks in the U.S., with not just a few anti-Semite politicians holding office in Congress.  This has significantly played into the U.S. not supporting Israel as well as an ally should in war.

The U.S. has exerted diplomatic pressure on Israel to engage in peace negotiations and make concessions for the sake of regional stability.  While these efforts are aimed at promoting peace, they have been viewed by some as undermining Israel’s military position and compromising its security interests.

That, of course, begs the question: How much support should an ally give?  When does self-interest become a legitimate concern?

Consider Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The United States, like any nation, weighs various factors when formulating its foreign policy decisions. In the case of Ukraine, political considerations, such as concerns about escalating tensions with Russia or broader geopolitical implications, may have influenced the extent of military support provided. This has led to debates about the perceived level of U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s defense.

During the conflict with Russia, Ukraine sought increased military support from the United States. While the U.S. provided assistance in the form of lethal and non-lethal aid and training, some critics argue that the level of support fell short of Ukraine’s expectations and needs, potentially hampering its ability to effectively counter Russian aggression.

Additionally, the U.S. has places significant restrictions on Ukraine when it came to what targets Ukraine can use.  Ukraine was told to not target oil, likely so as not effect world oil prices.  Ukraine was also held back from targeting other critical areas so as to not escalate the war.  The U.S. has been concerned that NATO allies may be dragged into the conflict, which would necessitate a significant NATO bloc response.

Russian nuclear threats have also caused the U.S. to restrict Ukraine response for fear of nuclear retaliation.

All this has forced Ukraine into a WWI-style of fighting.  Russian forces have faced enormous — truthfully surprisingly enormous — losses against an enemy most thought would be rolled over in the first few days.  But despite Ukraine superiority, attrition has eaten away at Ukraine, and Russia simply has superior expendable numbers to continually throw at Ukraine.  Especially since Ukraine has been restricted from aiming at more effective targets.

The United States has also restricted the types of weapons Ukraine has received, futher reducing its effectiveness on the battlefield.  Long-range weapons, powerful weapons, and modern weapons have been held back, again to not escalate things with Russia that might cause the United States to be brought into the conflict.

As can be seen, the U.S. may be an ally on paper, but when it comes to support in a war, it is not as reliable as a country could hope.  In fact, a country may be held back from properly defending itself if the U.S. is its ally.

Countries may have begun to see this.

Germany has stated to bulk up its own defense, and there has been talk of a European defensive group.

A line in the movie The Day After may be food for thought:

“You see, the real fear is that when the chips are down and the red light is blinking, the United States won’t really want to sacrifice Chicago for Hamburg.”

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.

© 2024 The DEFCON Warning System. Established 1984.

The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.