There probably should have been one of those Joker meme's for it--"Someone says something outrageous and no one bats an eye, Donald Trump says American allies need to start spending their own money on defense and everyone loses their minds."
Of course, that isn't exactly what Trump said. What he said was a bit more along the lines of if a nation wanted the US to protect them by stationing troops there (Japan and Korea) or to send in troops to straighten out a mess they'd gotten themselves into (a goodly portion of the rest of the world) they' should be prepared to pay for the service.
Still, a lot of people lost their minds. Why, how dare he suggest that the American military be whored out as mercenary soldiers! The cad!
Why not? It isn't like we haven't walked up to that line a few times before and wiggled our toes over it. I think the Hawaiians might have a few words to say about it. So might the Cubans or the Dominicans. For quite some time, our armed forces were our big agriculturists' best friends. Some banana republic threatening to nationalize your holdings? We'll handle that for you. 1-800-USMARINES and it's done.
A slightly different situation has been NATO. Born from the ashes of World War II, NATO was formed to give the United States a international legal framework that could be used to block the Russian bear from swallowing a pretty much defenseless Europe after the war was over. The US provided the vast majority of the military might for the alliance, the European nations of NATO provided the land and took the risk of being the battleground should war actually break out. Not the greatest basis for a relationship perhaps, but it worked for almost 50 years.
Unfortunately, as time passed the fact that the US did so allowed the recovering European nations to use money that they had traditionally used to build armies and navies for other things, such as highly socialized societies. It is our fault that we allowed this to occur. If we had more backbone, we would have told the Europeans to spend it on guns rather than butter, and made it stick by withdrawing some amount of our combat troops per year. But for various reasons we didn't, and Europe got to have their socialism and their defense from the Russian bear too. Europe got soft and as time passes is getting softer and softer. Now they're being invaded by people with few to no weapons and they're losing badly. Another generation and having been swallowed up by the Russians might be looked on as having been a good thing. Damn those meddling Americans!
Once again George Friedman has penned a magnificent piece, this time on the history and lack of future for NATO. As usual, it's a great read and worth your time and effort. He goes into far more depth than I'm capable of. He's in Europe now, laying out the truth of things for the Europeans.
I bet they will be losing their minds.