Small Wars Journal

Interview with Jim Thomas

Fri, 06/10/2011 - 9:18am
Interview with Jim Thomas:

Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on US Traditional Alliances from Protectorates to Partnerships

by Octavian Manea

Download the Full Article: Interview with Jim Thomas

How did the US end up with a network of informal protectorates and free riders and not real allies per se?

Well, America's alliances were/are quite real, but they differ from a number of historical alliances in that the preponderance of military power was invested in the US military. The fragility of post-war economies in Europe and Northeast Asia limited what those states could do for their own defense, and led to their dependence on the US military to provide for their security. Consequently, they became to all intents and purposes protectorates of the US; that is, they became dependent on the US for their protection from the Soviet Union. What is troubling is that even in the aftermath of their economic recoveries and the dissolution of the Soviet empire, these states have not increased defense spending, but have in fact further reduced such spending and become even more dependent on the US to protect their interests, especially out of area.

Download the Full Article: Interview with Jim Thomas

Jim Thomas is Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). Prior to joining CSBA, Jim served for thirteen years in a variety of policy, planning and resource analysis posts in the Department of Defense, culminating in his dual appointment as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Resources and Plans and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy. In these capacities, he was responsible for the development of the Defense Strategy, conventional force planning, resource assessment, and the oversight of war plans. He spearheaded the 2005-2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), and was the principal author of the QDR Report to Congress. An expanded view of his thoughts is presented in From Protectorates to Partnerships.

Octavian Manea is the Editor of FP Romania, the Romanian edition of Foreign Policy.

About the Author(s)

Octavian Manea was a Fulbright Junior Scholar at Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs (Syracuse University) where he received an MA in International Relations and a Certificate of Advanced  Studies in Security Studies.