European bureaucrats, media talking heads, and "Never Trump" critics gasped in collective horror this week when President Donald Trump confronted Europe for failing to spend its own money to defend itself from Western Europe's biggest foe.
"Wow, this looks like everyone's nightmare Thanksgiving dinner," opined an MSNBC analyst.
Other descriptions of Trump ranged from an "embarrassment" and "blistering tirade" to a "stooge for Vladamir Putin" for putting the U.S. allies on notice.
A total of 29 NATO countries are bound in a self-defense pact to fight side by side in a war against Russia but the famously high-tax European countries spend very little defending their own borders – even after pledging to spend more after Trump publicly called them out last year at a NATO summit.
But then Trump returned to Brussels this week for round two of that confrontation – and the diplomatic bullets started flying. He confronted Germany, which enjoys the biggest economy of its neighbors, for failing to meet its self-defense promises while depending on Russia for most of its natural gas supply.
"We're supposed to protect you against Russia, but they're paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that's very inappropriate," Trump lectured a table of diplomats.
A Factcheck.org story that predictably criticized Trump for his fight against NATO also acknowledged that NATO countries pledged in 2006, during the Bush administration, to increase their national defense spending to equal two percent of their GDP. They agreed in 2014 to meet that goal by 2024.
Only four countries have met that goal by 2017: Estonia, Greece, Britain, the United States.
National defense analyst Bob Maginnis, of the Family Research Council, tells OneNewsNow that Germany is currently spending just 1.27 percent on national defense.
"[Germany] cashed in their military in exchange for social benefits, which was politically expedient for the likes of Merkel," observes Maginnis. "But it has really undermined the country's ability to defend itself."
Germany's military is a far cry from its Cold War-era defense force, Maginnis says, and in fact the country made headlines when German soldiers literally used broomsticks for a NATO exercise because they didn't have enough firearms.
A spokesman for the Defense Ministry later claimed the soldier didn't need a firearm because the vehicle was an unarmed headquarters vehicle.
There have also been reports that all six of Germany's were out of service for repairs, it had no working transport planes, and only four fighter jets out of 128 were ready for combat.
Germany was the site of forward NATO bases during the Cold War that have now vanished, says Maginnis, which leaves other countries such as Hungary and Poland to serve that role today.
"So the President is right," concludes Maginnis. "He's putting pressure on Merkel. He's putting pressure on all of NATO that they've got to spend more."
NATO's secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has said U.S. allies have boosted defense spending by $41 billion
After confronting NATO leaders over defense spending, Trump later threatened to pull the U.S. out NATO is its allied countries fail to follow through on their promises.
After landing in Great Britain after the NATO meeting, Trump told the media that he views Putin and Russia as a "competitor" to the U.S. rather than an enemy. He is set to meet with Putin on July 16.
Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy tells OneNewsNow that Trump should talk tough to Putin, beginning with confronting him over building up Russia's nuclear forces that are aimed at the U.S.
"What Putin is up to," says Gaffney, "is really a mortal threat to our country."