Obsessing over credibility can also be harmful when it allows the U.S. to be guilted into supporting a bad policy goal favored by an ally or client for fear that the ally or client will “lose faith” in the U.S. unless Washington eagerly does what its dependent wants done. The danger is not that the ally or client will seriously entertain aligning with some other major power. The connection with the U.S. is vastly more valuable to the client government than it is to the U.S. The danger is rather that the U.S. government will trick itself into thinking that this might happen and therefore indulge the client in its pet project regardless of its wisdom or necessity or relevance to U.S. interests. We have seen something like this in the complaints from eastern European NATO allies about Ukraine over the last six or seven months: they believed it was imperative to pull Ukraine out of Moscow’s orbit, and to that end they very much wanted a change in government in Ukraine, and so they were dissatisfied with any U.S. policy that didn’t pursue their parochial goals as vigorously as they preferred.