More than 70 years ago the United States redesigned what an alliance could be used for. For centuries, countries allied with each other in order to fight and win specific wars. But after the devastation of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, the US needed help preventing another from starting.
In the span of just a few years, it joined a collective alliance with 11 other countries, called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and signed several alliances with countries in Asia. These agreements obliged the US to protect these countries — but it also gave them an unprecedented number of partners around the world.
This system largely proved to be a success. A third world war never happened, and the US won the Cold War. But in the past decade, the US and its allies have been drifting apart, and many believe the system needs an update. The question is what to do about them.
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