Thanks for reminding me, you brought up the "hired gun" thought the other day. On reflection I basically agree with you. I think the "hired gun" scenario is a "slippery slope" !!
I also think there may be situations where "some recovery of costs/expenses" might be warranted.
One I recall Trump mentioning recently were the joint military (training) exercises conducted with S. Korea.
If those exercises are "training the S. Korean Navy" to function effectively, and in concert with "other Navies" should the need arise, then maybe reimbursement is reasonable given that S. Korea should be able to afford it.
We saved the butts of a lot of countries and spent $$ to rebuild them after. Would we have been "hired guns" if some of those countries made an effort to repay the US somewhat once they got back on their feet ???
Now that the thought has surfaced, a debate/discussion on this may be very worth while ....
I did say in the past that I thought Iraq oil proceeds should be divided by 5, one for each of the four "civil war factions" and one share for the US until we recovered our costs, not to mention the lives lost !!!
I would subscribe to the following:
If you want to build "weapons of mass destruction" and "threaten others" with them, we will take them away from you and you will pay the costs. Clearly stated, up front, where all will know the outcome of pursuing "bad behavior".
Enough for now, but we can no longer afford to "clean up" the "bad behavior" of others !!