Jonah, you raise an interesting point about America “spending more treasure” in the cause of liberty, etc. It’s undeniable that, by absolving Continentals of the need to pay for their own defense, the American taxpayer in effect subsidizes Euro-welfare and health care. It’s also true that at the dawn of the American era, in 1945, the new superpower chose to create a whole raft of transnational institutions largely funded by one nation yet dedicated to artificially inflating the voices of all the others. As a Canadian foreign minister put it after 9/11, these are global dinner parties in which the check comes and everybody heads for the bathroom leaving the same guy to pick up the tab every time.
Given that almost all the beneficiaries of American largesse are now pathologically anti-American, there’s surely a question about how effective this strategy is. And, because it’s so at odds with the behavior of conventional great powers, it’s seen in many parts of the world as an act of weakness. The jihadists, for example, concluded back in Afghanistan that America’s willingness to write checks to others was a sign that it was a mere ersatz-hegemon.