That being said, you have to be careful. There recently was an insightful article in the FAZ  (in German). Basically, a few years ago, the current minister of defense Ursula von der Leyen started to reform a department that may be seen as something between a gentlemen's club of military traditionalists and a lobby organization of the military industrial complex with around 250.000 employees. It swallowed up copious amounts of tax money, and Ursula von der Leyen made herself a lot of enemies among the profiteers of that system by trying to put this to an end. She then made the mistake of attacking Bundeswehr traditions which may be seen as politically incorrect and archaic from the outside, but are important for the troop morale. So, if you like conspiracy theories, you may argue that there are people inside the Bundeswehr who are interested in making the army look worse than it actually is, as long as it undermines von der Leyen's political position.
Is this actually indicative of a design flaw? All guns' accuracy degrade as the barrel heats up. The metal flexes more and expands, thus throwing off the zero. Weapons like belt fed machine guns mitigate this by having heavy barrels to soak up heat, and quick-change barrels to swap them out with fresh cold ones. Internet searches about the G36's accuracy problems seem rife with fudd-lore. Government studies did not find said accuracy problems: https://m.dw.com/en/heckler-and-koch-vindicated-in-g36-accur...
Other firearms like tank cannons get around this by having barrel sag sensors that adjust the crosshairs to compensate for the effect of the sag.
I get that nit picking the anecdote in the opening statements is kind of pedantic. But it shapes my senses of the author's technical understand (or lack thereof) for the rest of the article.
> the gun misses its target if it's too hot
What does 'too hot' mean? Too hot... to do what? How do we define 'too hot'? Too hot to hit its target? Well that's tautological then isn't it - a rifle that is too hot to hit its target will not hit its target.
Presumably all rifles at some point get too hot to hit their targets, because at some point they're going to simply melt. So all rifles miss their targets when they get too hot. If they're not missing their targets then they're not too hot are they?
I guess what they mean is that the rifle starts to miss its targets at a lower temperature than other rifles, but that's not what they said. It's one of those statements that seems to make sense on first reading but then when you really think about what it says, it doesn't say anything and you could say it about all rifles and be truthful.
"The weapon's capacity to hit targets fell to 30 percent when the surrounding temperature reached 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) or when the weapon became hot through constant use, the report said."
I mean, I guess they could limit their military operations to temperate days, and not shoot the rifle too much to avoid these kinds of problems.
It's important to remember that the German army's equipment was originally intended for NATO defense of western Europe, basically to defend a conventional soviet attack in Northern Germany. That's true for the tanks and armored vehicles as well, which also had issues when Germany first took them to places like Afghanistan. Germany participating in operations externally to Germany is only a thing since 1999 (Kosovo).
Then, the weapon trades of weight (plastic), against accuracy (in long fire fights). And if that is the correct trade-off to make is of course debatable and depends on the usage.
In fact, one could argue that Germany is _safer_ to have a hapless looking military, because it causes France, Poland, etc. to all see them as incapable of being a military threat, and that keeps relations with their neighbors on a friendlier plane. It seems unfair to the U.S., because many of the wealthiest nations of NATO spend the least on their defense, but it is simply a reflection of their actual position.
Not to say that it could never change, but it's not as if the current attitude towards defense spending in Germany is entirely nonrational.
Everywhere outside North America is touchy.
And there is something similar to be said of Russia. The US wants to maintain a dependency that is being harder to justify.
Literally China is grabbing international territory 1000's of Km of their coast.
China is rapidly developing the ability to project hard power beyond it's borders, most obviously in the S. China Sea wherein they are trying to declare otherwise recognized 'international waters' as their own, and trying to thwart others from passage.
They'll have almost 100 submarines soon (a shockingly large fleet), for example.
They are going to try to project their power within East/South Asia for their own gain, this news is not controversial at least not to the many other nations already feeling the tensions and buying up weapons.
See: 'String of Pearls' 
Sure there are US troops in Germany but only because you need them to be here for your own purposes like that Rammstein base for example which is used to relay data so your drones in the Middle East can work. Of course you’ll have to pay for something like that one way or another. We even pay a percentage (~10%) of the construction cost of your bases. But you‘re not here for us. The majority of Germans is against US troops in Germany btw.
We Germans don’t receive any kind of military financing from the US. In fact we pay you money in exchange for military equipment ($163.7 million in 2014 for example).
"We even pay a percentage (~10%) of the construction cost of your bases"
Because that base is the cost of the US military. I think you are focusing too much on the US assets in Germany as the deterrent.
Prima facie, this is obviously not the case. The big-ticket items, the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, have obviously reduced both regional and world stability, to the extent that bloody ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks are now a perennial threat in european cities.
I'd hazard a guess that the Obama-era, 'drone strikes for jihadis' programme probably was a net gain for world security, but the whole point about drones and targeted assassination is it's very cheap.
The other aspect of the US contribution to world safety is in the sense of a deterrent - the US keeps nations like Russia or China from getting too pushy. On the other hand, it has a habit of poking such nations in the eye with a stick. It's hard to see whether US actions have deterred Russian aggression, for instance, or whether they have actually provided the impetus for such aggression. Certainly, the latter interpretation is what the Russians think.
So I guess the US does pay for a lot, but I feel it's more in the sense that the US pays for the world's healthcare. Being the sheep that gets fleeced the most doesn't put the less-fleeced sheep in your debt.
"Scandinavians" is in this case seems deliberately vague. It's certainly covered in Norwegian media, can't speak to wherever you're from.
No, it is not. The petrodollar or seignorage as the basis for economic supremacy is conspiratorial.
The US essentially guarantees the safety of Europe because they had to given the situation after WW2.
Europeans consistently under invest on this issue largely because they know the Americans won't fail or back down.
And FYI, US bases in Europe do not guarantee any kind of petrodollar anyhow.
The response that 'America is the one that wins by protecting everyone' is factually incorrect and borderline hypocritical because it hides the fact that Europeans are absolutely not doing what they need to do to ensure integrity of their own nations.
Without US led action - the Baltic states would have already been grabbed by Russia, and Ukraine would be 100% politically controlled by Russia, if not occupied. Poland would again be 'the buffer'.
The EU has a gaping hole in this sense - they are a massive, federated economy who cannot defend themselves with some bad actors nipping at their heels.
China is very rapidly developing the ability to project hard power at least thousands of km away from it's land, at least in the S. China sea and beyond. Certainly with the objective of swallowing Taiwan, and maintaining supremacy throughout East/South Asia. For what it's worth.
The Euros need to do their part and coordinate defence of their own borders, right now they are behind in this area.
What changed? NATO was pretty popular in 1985, as I recall.
Sure, there's profit motive. But 80 years ago, US population was extremely against any kind of military involvement overseas, and funding of US military reflected it.
But turns out even if we don't want war, there's always someone/something like Hitler, Putin, Communism etc etc. And due to the size/location of US, US is forced to take a role overseas.