"Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none."
Mr. Jefferson fears that if the interests of the nation become so enshrined with out own, they may well divert resources away from our own interests, or even compromise our own national interests for the sake of another country.
He argues instead that we should offer equal friendship to all nations. Of course, nations like North Korea and Cuba will refuse said friendship, but that doesn't mean we should form an alliance with their enemies to curb a threat.
Yet with the former threat of the Soviet Union, we did just that. Indeed, the United States entered into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to keep the Soviet Union at bay. If NATO isn't an entangling alliance, then I don't think anything would ever qualify.
Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty stipulates that if there is an attack on one country in the alliance, all other countries must act as if they were the country which had been attacked. The typical argument from journalists and legal scholars alike is that this provision could bring the United States to armed conflict although NATO leaves it within the power of each individual country to decide what type of assistance it deems necessary. Nevertheless the United States would be compelled to assist in some way.
Thus, even if our national security is not at stake, or if our national security would be better served by supporting the attacking party, we must work and spend our resources to protect the interests of our ally in NATO. Jefferson would have been appalled. This is the definition of an entangling alliance, pulling us into conflicts we don't belong and letting the security of other countries, whether democratic or tyrannical, subvert our own.
This alliance has the capacity to cause us great harm. Unless of course, we have no intention of fulfilling our obligations. In which case, why do we bother to be in it in the first place?