It's no picnic to be friends with US

China Military Online
Li Jiayao
2023-04-26 14:42:44

By Zhang Hong

"It may be dangerous to be America's enemy, but to be America's friend is fatal." Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's words must have been echoed by many US allies these days.

As an ally of the US, one has to be able to endure the embarrassment of being monitored. The Pentagon "leak gate" has provoked much discussion, with some classified US documents leaked online containing sensitive information about new hotspots. Close friends of the US including both members of the Five Eyes Alliance (FVEY) and NATO, found their names constantly exposed to the public in the most embarrassing way. Perhaps the public was used to it. Faced with the indiscriminate monitoring of the "big brother", the inferior followers can only swallow anger and dare say nothing. The statement by US President Joe Biden regarding the "leak gate" is extremely meaningful, "I'm concerned that it happened, but there's nothing contemporaneous that I'm aware of that is of great consequence.”

As an ally of the US, one has to bear a huge economic cost. Over the past year or so since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the US has been fanning the flames, keeping encouraging its allies together to deliver heavy and offensive weapons to Ukraine. What about the results? The US has made a lot of money in this move: significant increase in the US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe has rendered US energy companies and traders rake in huge profits; the US military-industrial complex is thriving, with most of the military aid bills of US$30 billion worth promised by the Biden administration to Ukraine flowing into the pockets of native arms giants. In contrast, the European allies of the US have been trapped in high inflation and the spread of energy crisis; under the US Inflation Reduction Act, the trend of "deindustrialization" has been exacerbated in Europe, resulting in ever-rising risks of economic recession; and the strategic autonomy these European allies have been obsessed with seems to be receding, and their military dependence on the US is further improving instead.

As an ally of the US, one has also to be willing to give up its own global interests. In order to contain China, the US in combination with the ROK, Japan and the Taiwan region has struggled to promote the so-called "Fab 4" semiconductor alliance, trying to reorganize the global division of labor system for the semiconductor industry and ultimately expand its own semiconductor production capacity. However, being forced to abandon China, the world's largest semiconductor and equipment market, will certainly harm the their own global profits, with growth opportunities relinquished to competitors. The allies though close to the US still feel pain and are reluctant in this regard. What makes these allies even more helpless is that the US has also adopted the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, with seemingly favorable terms proposed to attract chipmakers to build new manufacturing facilities in the US. However, discerning people know well that these terms may seem like generous, but they will actually cost you more.

Political dignitaries of multiple countries being monitored have expressed that the US action to monitor its allies is completely unacceptable, though this has not prevented the US from continuing to monitor the world; French President Emmanuel Macron once publicly accused the US of exporting LNG at high prices to the European countries, claiming it as "not the true meaning of friendship," but this did not prevent the US from fishing in troubled waters. Although the ROK semiconductor industry has kept questioning investment in the US, this clearly will not prevent the US from continuing its own chip subsidy trap. In fact, as former CIA analyst Raymond McGovern once said, the so-called allies of the US are merely its dependencies. The US hegemony has filled the heart of Uncle Sam, leaving no room to consider the interests of its allies. Under such a hegemonic logic, the America First mindset is only natural, though its allies are looking forward to the "friendship" as expected.

It's really hard to be friends with the US.

Editor's note: Originally published on, this article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information and opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of

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