Storella Explains why Allies are “America’s Super Power”

World Affairs Council Executive Director Tim Horgan and Professor Amb. Mark Storella

Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy Ambassador Mark C. Storella spoke to the New Hampshire World Affairs Council April 24 in their series on “Making Sense of the World.”  Addressing an audience in Manchester, NH and Southern Hew Hampshire University, Ambassador Storellaaddressed the question:  “Allies:  What are they Good For?”

Ambassador Storella explained how America’s alliances and our engagement with multilateral organizations are critical in helping the United States provide for its own security, manage the challenge posed by a rising China and deal with the host of global challenges like climate, migration and health that require global responses.  He acknowledged that there is important work to be done for the United States in ensuring that our allies share the burden of our common defense.  Speaking on the day that President Biden signed the $95 billion security assistance bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, Storella noted that until that bill passed, European allies had provided more aid to Ukraine than had the United States and, in almost all cases, had exceeded the contributions of the United States in terms of per capita GDP.  He also stressed simple defense budget figure to not capture all the contributions our allies make, including the fact that Europeans are hosting six million Ukrainian refugees and that our allies often host U.S. forces and frequently foot the bill for those bases on their own territory.

Professor Storella acknowledged as well that many Americans deride the UN system and many multilateral fora as a waste of resources.  While there is waste in some international organizations, Ambassador Storellahighlighted the pivotal role that multilateral organizations play in everything from permitting international flights to operate, enabling GPS systems to work, allowing U.S. businesses to protect their patents worldwide – which contributes to $6.6 trillion of the U.S. economy – and provide a surveillance network that scientists need to develop vaccines.  Storella argued that the $10.0 billion the U.S. spends on UN organizations each year  — 80% of which is made up of voluntary contributions, not assessed dues – is a wise investment for the American people.  He concluded that America’s engagement with allies and international organizations is not charity, but an enlightened way to protect the interests of the American people in the 21st century.  Indeed, this engagement and U.S. leadership with our allies and international organizations are America’s “Super Power” in world affairs.

Ambassador Mark C. Storella was a United States Foreign Service Officer for over three decades serving as Ambassador to Zambia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, and Dean of the Leadership and Management School of the Foreign Service Institute. Storella is a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Excellence in Service Award, the Thomas Jefferson Award presented by American Citizens Abroad, and several Department of State superior and meritorious honor awards. Learn more about Ambassador Storella on his faculty profile.