Perhaps Trump telling the NATO countries to ‘stump up’ is him paying back some donors and also making a pitch for Clinton/Bush donors and their bought politicians in Congress. Even psychopaths like Trump can be pragmatic and he’s learned the internal power dynamics of Congress and the lobbies.
‘Operation Stump Up’ is about transferring hard-earned European tax Euros and pounds into the dollar accounts of arms companies and their shareholders and their political protectors. It’s ‘protection’ money in many senses. This is gangsterism. But, Trump didn’t invent this. He’s just the messenger here.
The US, like all empires, has evolved into a Vampire State, run by corporate vampires for corporate vampires. Unable to sustain itself with its own resources it is ever more ‘taxing’ its vassal states. The US didn’t invent this. History shows this is what empires do, especially when coming to the end of their lives.
Anyone with experience in management knows that the more control you have, the less control you need to exercise. The naked use of power is the last resort of decaying Power.