Europeans resent Trump's forcing them to contribute to their own defense
If you really want to shock leftists, tell them Europe does not have, and has never had, socialized medicine or, indeed, socialized anything. European nations certainly had government-controlled medicine. They also boasted short work weeks, long vacations, year-long maternity leaves, early retirement, fully-paid-for old-age care, and all sorts of other things that made them feel superior to Americans.
However, contrary to Europeans' self-satisfied faux-socialist vision of themselves, Europeans didn't fund their so-called "soft socialism." Instead, for the most part, Americans did. During the Cold War, the government collected taxes from Americans to pay Europe's defense costs, allowing Europeans to spend their tax money on all those little socialist luxuries. Americans, meanwhile; worked 60-hour weeks; got short vacations; and paid for their own medical care, old-age care, and maternity leave.
Meanwhile, even as the Europeans were luxuriating in the lap of America-funded social welfare programs, they constantly criticized America for seeking to have a bigger say in world affairs. As has been the case since WWI, which was the first time America rode to Europe's rescue, Europeans complained that Americans were unsophisticated bullies lacking in nuance. The general attitude was "pay the money, man the guns, and shut up."
With the Cold War's end, American spending dropped in Europe — a drop that coincided with Europeans beginning to have problems funding all their social services. Trump has taken things to the next level by demanding that Europeans start helping to pay for their own defense. (Indeed, Europeans have long promised to pay for that defense, but they have consistently failed to fulfill those promises.)
It turns out that Europeans are not pleased to be called out to make good on their promises. In addition, they're discovering that those gauche, bullying Americans were, in fact, a useful bulwark against evil in the world:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and French President Emmanuel Macron went toe-to-toe Saturday over the strength of America's alliances.
"I'm happy to report that the death of the transatlantic alliance is grossly exaggerated," Pompeo insisted in a speech to the Munich Security Conference. "The West is winning, and we're winning together."
His remarks were in response to the forum's theme of "westlessness" — and complaints by other speakers about President Donald Trump's "America First" stance, which has led to increasing pressure on NATO allies to ramp up their military spending.
To hear the Europeans whine, you'd think America was leaving them high and dry. That's not the case. One of the practical things America is doing is pledging $1 billion to Central and Eastern European countries to help them stop being dependent on Russia for gas. This is another Trump policy that harms Putin's power base, proving again that the Democrats' hysteria about Trump being Putin's lapdog and ally is delusional.
Europeans, though, want a return to the status quo: they want once again to get the benefit of American money, without spending their own, while retaining the moral high ground to hector and belittle America:
Pompeo had been, in part, responding to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who on Friday accused the United States, Russia and China of making the world more dangerous.
French President Emmanuel Macron told the conference of international leaders, lawmakers and diplomats he was not surprised by Steinmeier's speech and had liked it.
"We cannot be the United States' junior partner," Macron said, adding that while he supported NATO, Europe needed to be able to tackle threats in its neighborhood and at times act independently of Washington.
"I'm impatient for European solutions," Macron said.
Macron said the West's policy of defiance toward Russia in recent years had failed and, as nobody wanted to confront Moscow directly, the only option was to have a closer dialogue to resolve differences.
"I hear the defiance of all our partners, I'm not mad, but I know that being defiant and weak ... is not a policy, it's a completely inefficient system," Macron told the conference.
"There is a second choice, which is to be demanding and restart a strategic dialogue because today we talk less and less, conflicts multiply and we aren't able to resolve them, he added.
It's ironic to hear the Europeans insist on their solutions with America's money. Perhaps Trump will finally teach them that he who pays the piper calls the tune. If they want a different tune, they need to dig deep into their own pockets.