He appears willing to kick nations off of the U.S. defense dole.
By Doug Bandow
August 23, 2016
The American Conservative
America collects allies like Americans collect Facebook friends: the more the better. As a result, Washington defends more than a score of prosperous European states, several leading Asian nations, and a gaggle of Middle Eastern regimes.
Yet most of the countries on the Pentagon dole appear to be perpetually unhappy, constantly complaining that Washington doesn’t love them enough and demanding reassurance that America, without hesitation, will sacrifice ever more of its people’s lives and money on their behalf.
Their sense of entitlement exceeds that of the average trust-fund baby. The U.S. is expected to protect virtually every prosperous, populous, industrialized nation, but that’s just a start. Washington also must coddle, pamper, praise, uplift, pacify, encourage, and otherwise placate the same countries. Once great powers, they now believe it to be America’s duty to handle their defense, what should be the most important duty of any government. Alas, U.S. officials are only too willing to enable this counterproductive behavior.
Except for Donald Trump. There is much to say about his candidacy, most of it bad. Even when he makes basic sense his view is, shall we say, rather unsophisticated. And that certainly applies to his view of U.S. alliance policy.
Nevertheless, he gets one big concept very right. He’s not interested in reassuring allies. Or, as he might put it, he won’t make nice to a bunch of wimpy leeches living off of America. If he’s president, party time at U.S. expense will be over.
Which has horrified the gaggle of well-to-do nations on America’s defense dole. For instance, the New York Times reported “an undercurrent of quiet desperation” among European officials. They could instead have demonstrated “quiet determination” in choosing to rely on their collective economic strength and population—larger than America’s—to ensure their defense. But no. They went to Hillary Clinton’s campaign begging for, yes, reassurance.