Allies, Part II
I do not mean to exclude altogether the idea of patriotism. I know it exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest. But I will venture to assert, that a great and lasting war can never be supported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a prospect of interest, or some reward.
This is a Part II to "Writing's on the Wall." As President Washington said, it is not enough to seek oneness of vision in an ally, especially one of convenience--you've also got to secure some benefit. A quid pro quo, or to use Mr. Covey's ubiquitous euphemism, the win-win.
Altruism worked well for Mother Theresa, but if you're not gunning for sainthood, probably best to seek some benefit from an alliance. Hence, the divorce settlement in the personal realm.
Of course, you must also secure the goodwill of your alliance partner. Generally, the terms are spelled out in the treaty, which is conspicuously absent in the United States' current Iraq endeavor. In our personal analog, it is the marriage certificate. While the agreement may be violated, and the alliance may be nullified, without it, you have sand underfoot.
An article in World Policy Journal argues for the exit of the formal alliance in the near future.
"(A)lliances have always been contextual and contingent. Pageantry and proclamations accompany their creation, and permanent interests and eternal principles are invoked hopefully, but change over time eventually corrodes such institutions, which ultimately are rooted in particular historical circumstances."As with the personal, so the political. But this is not to dismiss the importance of the covenant in a project of specific duration. However, the terms must be enumerated clearly and be achievable in order for success to be declared.
As 19th Century British foreign secretary Lord Palmerston held, nations do not have "permanent friends, only permanent interests." The same article in World Policy on the superfluity of the NATO alliance observes that it is the tendency of the U.S. to "threaten or punish allies who have the temerity to dissent," and if it does so, "NATO will become less an alliance than a bad marriage." Again, divorce is not a bad idea once the alliance has become nonfunctional.
Historically, international alliances are honored about 75% of the time, a better batting average than marriage in the States. But the Iraqi's cannot be allies to the U.S. because there is no treaty, because there is no unified country.
Plain and simple: If there's no treaty, they're not an ally.
It is not that the treaties are inviolable. However, if both parties can expect benefit, the project must be a partnership of equals. Entrance into a treaty implies mutual recognition and respect, without which any endeavor is doomed to somebody's disappointment.
--by Jim and Lisa