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I am from one of those countries that claims to be a US ally. I don't know whether there is or should be any military connotation linked to that. If there is, I wonder if there are any benefits of such a partnership. In the state of war, does the US come to the rescue? Or in times of economic crisis, does the US help in stabilizing the economy? Please elaborate.

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    I imagine the "perks" would vary from country to country. Would you be able to clarify which country exactly it is that you're from?
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Mar 18 at 11:36
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    Your profile says you're from Norway, but the title specifies "non-NATO allies of [the] US" and Norway is a NATO member, so I'm unsure whether you're referring to a different country or simply unaware that Norway doesn't meet the criteria specified in the title.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Mar 18 at 11:38
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    For the Republic of China (Taiwan) this question is explicitly unanswerable, as the US is deliberately secret about what military aid it would give in what circumstances.
    – Caleth
    Commented Mar 18 at 11:59
  • hosting bases or smaller forces. opportunity to buy the newest NATO weapons. improvement in negotiating position vs neighbors which are small neutral countries. government more likely to receive NATO support vs its domestic opposition, in exchange for maintaining the alliance
    – Pete W
    Commented Mar 18 at 12:38
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3 Answers 3

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Depends on the treaty, the relations, and the geopolitical situation.

First, a look at the military situation.

At one end of the spectrum we have Japan. The US is very direct in protecting Japan. The treaty, a descendant of the one ending WWII, is clear, and US positioning is unequivocal. Attack Japan, and you basically attack the US.

At the other end of the spectrum is Ukraine. The governing treaty has ironclad assurances that the US and Russia will respect Ukraine's 1991 borders. However, it does not require either provide military engagement when they were invaded. As we can see, the US didn't provide direct military assistance when Russians invaded in 2014 or 2022.

Most of the rest are somewhere in between, but it varies. US stance towards defending Taiwan in case of attack is deliberately unspecific. On the other hand, the Philippines can be a lot more sure in their protection should they be attacked.

From a military perspective, the benefits of defensive treaties depends greatly on a lot of different factors.

In terms of economic assistance, defense treaties may factor in, but aren't the only factor. A great deal of US economic aid goes to nations not formally allied with the US.

A secondary effect of the defense pact discussion, though, is the US (and a lot of the West) will often push for or require certain rule of law or democratic reforms as part of this. Even NATO itself requires such things for membership. While these are not economic aid, the Western world generally sees a strong correlation, and other reason to believe in causation, between such things and a healthy economy that benefits the whole population, not just the elites.

Finally, defense pacts with Western nations tend to bring stability and sureity that feeds economic progress. While wars are less common than previous generations, they are still a concern, and risk to stability or surety are risks to investment and growth.

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  • Ukraine is not officially [even] a MNNA. There's is a US law that (theoretically) forces the administration to treat Taiwan as a MNNA without such a desgination politics.stackexchange.com/questions/86440/… As with all defense matters, I suspect a lot would depend on the administration (in place at a given time). Commented Mar 18 at 18:32
  • As for pressing for democratic reforms, the US doesn't seem too interested in pressing e.g. MNNA Egypt with that. Commented Mar 18 at 18:37
  • The question doesn't bring up MNNA or differentiate what level of allies are being discussed. Hence the answer focusing on the "it depends" side of things. An answer discussing MNNA vs other forms of allies might make an even better answer, but I'm not up to writing it.
    – bharring
    Commented Mar 18 at 19:39
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Better conditions for buying US weapons

Congress has to approve arms sales proposed by the President. There are specific conditions that are different for particular allies.

Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process

This report reviews the process and procedures that apply to congressional consideration of foreign arms sales proposed by the President. This includes consideration of proposals to sell major defense equipment, defense articles and services, or the retransfer to third-party states of such items. Under the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), the President must formally notify Congress 30 calendar days before the Administration can take the final steps to conclude a government-to-government foreign military sale of major defense equipment valued at $14 million or more, defense articles or services valued at $50 million or more, or design and construction services valued at $200 million or more. In the case of such sales to NATO member states, NATO, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel, or New Zealand, the President must formally notify Congress 15 calendar days before the Administration can proceed with the transaction. However, the prior notice threshold values are higher for sales to these destinations.

The President must formally notify Congress of commercially licensed arms sales 30 calendar days before Department of State issuance of export licenses for sales of major defense equipment valued at $14 million or more, or defense articles or services valued at $50 million or more. In the case of such sales to NATO member states, NATO, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel, or New Zealand, the President must formally notify Congress 15 calendar days before proceeding with the transaction. As with government-to-government sales, the prior notice threshold values are higher for sales to these destinations. The President must formally notify Congress of commercially licensed sales of firearms controlled under category I of the United States Munitions List and valued at $1 million or more 30 days prior to approval of the relevant export license. In the case of proposed licenses for such sales to NATO members, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel, or New Zealand, the AECA requires 15 days prior notification.

Being an ally may stop short of formal treaties as well and one would assume a country generally on good terms with the US (ex: Saudi Arabia) would have less chance of a rejection (most of the time, cough Khashoggi cough).

Now, it may seem that congressional approval is a rubber stamp - and, yes, it is rarely denied. But that is also perhaps because a president would not even start the process without a good expectation that it would succeed, as it would be politically embarrassing to lose such a vote.

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I am going to focus on NATO allies, because it's hard to answer for every country because most countries benefit from a different sets of advantages, so it would take too long to answer.

The benefits of NATO membership include more than just security benefits and collective defense but also disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and scientific collaboration through the NATO Science for Peace and Security Program. The membership in the NATO Alliance carries with it economic benefits, as it creates a more stable political environment that attracts and increases foreign direct investment. It also has a positive impact on trade relations with other Alliance members. Furthermore, being a member of this prestigious Alliance bolsters legitimacy among fellow states and it would invariably accelerate BiH's movement toward EU accession and would serve to aid BiH's efforts toward unification and constitutional reform.

https://www.acbih.org/benefits-of-nato-membership-for-bih/

So NATO allies and as well and some if not all allies enjoy security benefits.

Also, they benefit from disaster relief, and humanitarian aid.

They enjoy the fruits of scientific collaboration through the NATO Science for Peace and Security Program.

They enjoy economic benefits.

They enjoy better trade relation with other NATO countries.

It increases the chance of EU accession.

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