Tuesday, September 27, 2011

From Israel to Pakistan to Taiwan, Washington's 'client states' are becoming a headache

"... Whatever the reasons, U.S. client states have been causing Washington more headaches than normal this year, and particularly over the past week. Here are ten of the most closely held U.S. clients, measured in part by foreign assistance (scheduled for fiscal year 2012) and by number of U.S. troops stationed there (according to Department of Defense statistics). Each is labeled with the reason for their strategic importance and with a rough gauge of how much trouble it's been causing the U.S., rated on a scale from "Zero Problems" to "Migraines in Washington." The most extreme cases are labeled "Client Relationship at Risk." Looking over the list of troubled client relationships, it's easy to wonder if the entire Cold War-inspired enterprise could be nearing its end. Maybe Egypt, just as it helped end the centuries of European imperialism in 1956, could make 2011 the year that began the end of clientalism. 
Of course, what separates a client state from an ally is a subjective matter. Japan and Germany, despite the thousands of U.S. troops stationed in each, aren't listed -- the two are powerful, wealthy, and democratic enough that the U.S. assumes they will go their own way, which they often do. Israel is listed for its economic, military, and foreign policy reliance on the U.S. Though the long-term U.S.-Israel alliance is built on much deeper and more enduring cultural and ideological ties than any amount of money can buy, the day-to-day is deeply informed by a client-like relationship.... 


  • Afghanistan
  • Pakistan
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Taiwan
  • Colombia
  • South Korea
  • Yemen
  • Bahrain
Foreign Assistance: $3.1 billionU.S. Troops: 35Strategic Value: Israel-Palestine peace, Middle East peaceStatus: Migraines in WashingtonThe Obama administration's relationship with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been declining sharply for over a year, with now-retired Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently calling Netanyahu an ungrateful ally that has given the U.S. nothing in return. Israeli conduct in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Israeli raid on last year's Gaza-bound aid flotilla have put the U.S.-Israel relationship at odds with U.S. efforts to court newly democratic Arab states. Netanyahu has also made domestic political problems for Obama, courting Congressional Republicans and, in a speech last year before Congress, haranguing the president who is also his most important sponsor. The close ideological and cultural ties between the U.S. and Israel appear to overpower any political divisions, but can that last forever?

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