Americans must be realistic about what they expect from allies. We rightly prefer to engage on a multilateral basis and with as broad a coalition as possible. But too often we find ourselves surprised, offended, and alienated when our partners, especially regional states, seem to pursue their own interests at the expense of what we see as the common good. Americans must accept that no two states have perfectly aligned interests, tensions will always hinder full cooperation, and the episodic nature of our own engagement in other parts of the world weakens the force of our demands on our partners.
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