The Case for U.S. Alliances—and Why They Need to Be Updated

The Case for U.S. Alliances—and Why They Need to Be Updated
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses military personnel and their families at Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, South Korea, June 30, 2019 (pool photo by Ed Jones of AFP via AP Images).

The Trump administration is reportedly preparing to pull nearly 10,000 American troops from Germany, more than a quarter of the U.S. military presence in the country. For anyone who’s been paying attention to Donald Trump’s rhetoric since he first ran for president, the news of the withdrawal is very much of a piece with his disdain for America’s overseas alliances. The president and his supporters often rail against close U.S. allies like South Korea, Japan and certain NATO countries for supposedly free-riding on Washington’s largesse.

Today’s guest on Trend Lines has a new book out that investigates those claims and mostly finds them wanting. But she also argues that America’s alliances need to change and adapt to the new challenges of the 21st century. Mira Rapp-Hooper is the Stephen A. Schwarzman senior fellow for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior fellow at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center. She’s the author of the just-published “Shields of the Republic: The Triumph and Peril of America’s Alliances.” She has also consulted with former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign on an informal, voluntary basis. Click here to read the full transcript of the interview.


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Relevant Articles on WPR:
‘Never More Adrift’: William J. Burns on Repairing the Damage Trump Has Done
Can the U.S.-South Korea Alliance Weather Another Trump ‘Shakedown’?
Trump Works Overtime to Shake Down Allies in Asia and Appease North Korea
Amid Questions Over Its Strategic Purpose, NATO Proves to Be Resilient

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Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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