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A brief history of US betrayal of allies and partners.

This was not the first time an ally or a partner called foul over Washington’s betrayal of their trust. The following is a brief history of how Washington managed to stab its friends in the back or sit idle for the sake of its own interests.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) — The United States and Britain recently announced they will support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines under a new trilateral security partnership.

The pact stripped France of a multi-billion U.S.-dollar contract to provide conventional submarines for Australia. Blasting the U.S.-led deal as a “stab in the back,” livid France then recalled its ambassadors to both the United States and Australia.

This was not the first time an ally or a partner called foul over Washington’s betrayal of their trust. The following is a brief history of how Washington managed to stab its friends in the back or sit idle for the sake of its own interests.

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France was the United States’ first ally after the then American colonies declared independence from Great Britain in 1776. Under the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance that the two sides signed in 1778, France provided the United States with massive military and economic assistance in supporting the American Revolutionary War.

Many historians now agree that the French aid had tipped the balance of military power in favor of the United States, paving the way for the ultimate victory of the Continental Army, led by George Washington. However, it worsened France’s debt problems, adding more woes to its people who had already been struggling. With rising resentment against the monarchy, the French Revolution erupted in 1789.

The United States articulated a clear policy of neutrality in order to avoid being embroiled in European conflicts precipitated by the French Revolution. In 1793, French King Louis XVI, who had supported the American Revolution with financial aid and military support, was tried and executed.

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In April 1898, the Spanish-American War broke out, with warfare taking place in Spanish colonies, namely Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. The war ended later that year after the Treaty of Paris was signed between Spain and the United States.

In the treaty negotiated on terms favorable to the United States, Spain renounced all claim to Cuba, ceded Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States, and transferred sovereignty over the Philippines to the United States for 20 million U.S. dollars.

 

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The Filipinos, longing for independence from Spain’s colonial rule, had helped U.S. troops defeat the Spanish forces in the Philippines. However, the United States intended to continue colonizing the islands, sparking strong indignation among the Filipinos. In 1899, conflict broke out between U.S. forces and Filipinos, who demanded independence rather than a change in colonial rulers.

The Philippine-American War lasted three years, after which the United States began exercising colonial rule over the Philippines.

According to historical records, U.S. forces at times burned villages, implemented civilian reconcentration policies, and employed torture on suspected guerrillas. As many as 200,000 Filipino civilians died from violence, famine and disease.

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In 1956, Britain, along with France and Israel, invaded Egypt to recover control of the Suez Canal during what was known as the Suez Crisis.

The United States, upset with the British for not keeping it informed about their intentions and worried that the invasion could drive much of the Middle East and Africa into the arms of the Soviet Union, did not stand with them. Instead, it voted for United Nations resolutions publicly condemning the invasion, which the allies found humiliating.

The United States threatened all three countries with economic sanctions if the military campaign continued. Particularly, the United States launched a massive sell-off of British pounds, contributing to a sharp devaluation of the currency. It also pressured the International Monetary Fund to deny Britain any financial assistance.

With few options, the British and French forces withdrew. Israel bowed to U.S. pressure later, relinquishing control over the canal to Egypt.

The outcome of the Suez Crisis highlighted Britain’s declining status, while setting the stage for deteriorating relations between France and the United States years later. Meanwhile, seizing upon the crisis, the United States took a more powerful role in world affairs.

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During the Vietnam War, the United States supported the South Vietnamese side, sending it money, supplies, and military advisers. However, as the toll of the war grew greater on the United States, domestic opposition against the war swelled. Under the pressure, the United States began secret talks with North Vietnamese representatives in Paris.

In order to get Saigon to accept the agreement secretly negotiated between Washington and Hanoi, the United States promised to provide substantial military aid to the South Vietnamese side.

 

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A peace treaty was signed in January 1973 between the United States and Vietnam’s warring parties, leading to a full withdrawal of U.S. forces. The aid, which Washington had pledged to Saigon, however, never materialized.

“It is so easy to be an enemy of the United States, but so difficult to be a friend,” Nguyen Van Thieu, former leader of the South Vietnamese side, once commented.

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In 1977, the United States adopted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. After being amended in 1998, the law’s so called “anti-bribery provisions” applied to certain foreign firms and persons, which have become an important tool for America’s long-arm jurisdiction.

In April 2013, Frederic Pierucci, then an executive of French energy and transport giant Alstom, was arrested at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City for his alleged role in a corruption case involving Alstom years ago.

Later, Alstom was sentenced by a U.S. court to pay a record fine of 772 million U.S. dollars, and was forced to sell its core business to General Electric, its arch rival in the United States.

The case of Pierucci, who spent 25 months in a U.S. prison, epitomized Washington’s no-qualms approach to hostage diplomacy and economic warfare against others, including its allies.

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In the early 1980s, the United States entered a recession with a stronger dollar and a growing trade deficit. In order to address its economic problems, the United States started to pressure other major economies to begin trade talks.

In 1985, the United States and four other major economies, including Japan, signed the Plaza Accord at the Plaza Hotel in New York City and agreed to manipulate exchange rates by depreciating the U.S. dollar relative to the Japanese yen and other currencies in order to reduce the mounting U.S. trade deficit.

The Plaza Accord led to the yen dramatically increasing in value relative to the dollar, denting Japan’s robust exports, then the world’s second largest economy. It also paved the way for the collapse of the East Asian country’s asset price bubble and the “Lost Decade” of sluggish growth and deflation in the region.

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The Keystone Pipeline, an oil pipeline system connecting Canada and the United States, came into operation in 2010. Its proposed Phase IV, Keystone XL Pipeline, had been a source of tensions between the two neighbors for years.

In 2015, then U.S. President Barack Obama temporarily delayed the extension of the project run by TC Energy Corporation, a Canada-based energy company. After Donald Trump took office, he sought to revive the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. His successor, Joe Biden, revoked the permit for construction immediately after taking office. Months later, TC Energy Corporation abandoned plans for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a phone conversation with Biden early this year, “raised Canada’s disappointment with the United States’ decision on the Keystone XL pipeline,” according to a readout. Canadian media accused the United States of betraying Canada.

During the Trump administration, the United States also sought to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement with a new trade deal, pressuring Canada and Mexico to begin negotiations. In 2020, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement took effect.

Trudeau declined a White House invitation to mark the agreement in Washington, D.C., citing the COVID-19 pandemic and tariff threats from the U.S. administration.

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In 2013, whistleblower and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked highly classified documents from the intelligence agency, which unveiled how it spied on U.S. citizens and leaders of European countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

New rifts emerged between the United States and its European allies this year after a media investigation exposed that the NSA, collaborating with Denmark’s secret service, had for years spied on high-ranking officials from Germany, Sweden, Norway, and France.

 

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France and Germany deplored the spying as “unacceptable,” and demanded “full clarity” from the U.S. side. “This is not acceptable between allies, even less so between European allies and partners,” French President Emmanuel Macron said at a Franco-German Council of Ministers.

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In October 2015, ministers of 12 countries, including the United States, Japan and Australia, announced the conclusion of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the member countries formally signed the free trade pact in February 2016.

However, Trump signed an executive order to withdraw from the TPP shortly after taking office early 2017, saying the trade deal was destroying the U.S. manufacturing sector, in the first of a series of unilateral trade protectionist measures.

With the United States out, the rest of the TPP members had to restart negotiations and signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2018.

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The Kurdish forces in Syria, who had helped U.S. troops battle the Islamic State, were considered a key ally by the United States, while Turkey has long regarded Syrian Kurdish forces as terrorists and sought to root them out.

In October 2019, the White House said Turkey would “soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into northern Syria,” and the U.S. forces “will not support or be involved in the operation” and “will no longer be in the immediate area.”

Following the U.S. decision to withdraw its troops from northern Syria, Turkey began military operations against Kurdish troops in the region. Many Kurds said they had been betrayed by the United States.

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The United States has for years tried to obstruct the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which links Russia and Germany via the Baltic seabed, bypassing Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and other eastern European and the Baltic countries, to send Russia’s natural gas elsewhere to Europe.

In December 2019, then U.S. President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which included sanctions related to the Nord Stream 2. German officials rejected the U.S. legislation, calling the sanctions “serious interference in the internal affairs of Germany and Europe and their sovereignty.”

In July this year, the United States and Germany reached an agreement to settle their disputes surrounding the gas pipeline project, which angered Ukraine and Poland, two other American allies.

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In May 2017 during his first trip to Europe after taking office, then U.S. President Trump declined to explicitly endorse Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty on mutual defense at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit.

The act was said to have upended decades of American foreign policy dogma and fueled angst across Europe.

Upholding a policy of “America First” while in office, Trump had repeatedly pressured NATO allies to increase military spending, while threatening to contract the deployment of U.S. forces worldwide, causing cracks within the military alliance.

In November 2019, French President Macron told The Economist in an interview that they were experiencing “the brain death of NATO.” “You have no coordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its NATO allies. None,” Macron said.

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In July 2018, then U.S. President Trump called the European Union “a foe” to the United States on trade during an interview with CBS Evening News.

“I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade,” Trump said. “Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union but they’re a foe.”

The remarks sent shockwaves across the EU, where countries generally consider the United States their closest ally.

During Trump’s term in office, the United States imposed tariffs against goods from many economies, including those of EU allies. The Trump administration also declared that foreign vehicles exported to the United States from some of its closest allies were posing a national security threat.

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In August this year, the United States ended its military presence in Afghanistan by pulling the last of its troops from the war-torn country.

The evacuations, widely criticized as hasty and irresponsible, brought chaos and tragedy. The White House accused the previous administration of leaving behind a mess while attempting to shift blame on the Afghan government.

While meeting then Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani at the White House just a few months ago, Biden called him “an old friend,” promising diplomatic and political aid to his government.

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The Kabul Times.