US to remove 9,500 troops from Germany

The Wall Street Journal reported on June 5 that President Trump directed the Pentagon to permanently reduce the U.S. military presence in Germany by 9,500 troops.  This corresponds to an approximately 27.5-percent troop reduction  and would cap the U.S. military presence in Germany at 25,000.

This move is coming just days after German chancellor Angela Merkel rebuffed an invitation from President Trump to attend a G7 leaders summit in Washington later this month.  Politico writes:

Trump's withdrawal plan appeared to be less a form of direct retribution for Merkel's G7 decision, but rather a follow-through on previous threats to reduce the U.S. military presence in Germany, which were conveyed by the U.S. ambassador, Ric Grenell, as part of the overall White House criticism of Berlin's military spending as too meager.

This assessment is correct.  Ever since he came into office, President Trump has been critical of our NATO allies, Germany in particular, for not carrying their proper share of the burden for their own defense.  Some NATO allies increased their defense expenditures, but not wealthy Germany, whose outlay for NATO is a mere 1.2 percent of its GDP.  In fact, last year, Germany cut its defense spending, saying it could be counted on in other ways for operational support.  This is diplomat-speak of telling the U.S., "You fight for us, and we'll hold your coat."

The disdain for the U.S. under Donald Trump runs deep in Germany.  Polls show that even now, after China has unleashed its Wuhan virus on the world, fewer Germans prioritize relationship with the United States over China.  Germany has also proved an unreliable ally by trying to undercut the sanctions on Iran and becoming more reliant on Russian energy.  The Germans are also upset that President Trump has started to make an issue of the unfair terms of trade between the U.S. and Europe.  That is another issue ready to drop after the election.

Trump's intention to remover troops from Germany will get the dogs barking here in the U.S.  We'll hear whines and gnashing of teeth from the usual suspects — former president George Bush; the #NeverTrumps; and old generals like Colin Powell, John Kelly, James "Mad Dog" Mattis,  H.R. McMaster, and other swamp officers.  They will falsely accuse the president of destroying the alliance that they are wedded to regardless of the cost to America of maintaining the status quo.  It doesn't register in their thinking that Trump spent years warning Germany to step up and help defend itself, and all he (and America) got back in return was abuse and ridicule.  According to Trump's critics both domestic and in Germany, America should continue to shoulder the cost of defending Germany ad infinitum and stop complaining about it.  That is not what Trump was elected to do.

It cannot be certain whether or not President Trump will follow through with this threat.  He could even split the difference by relocating the troops to a more receptive country like Poland.  In any event, Trump sent a message, and his words henceforth will not be taken lightly by friend or foe.

The Wall Street Journal reported on June 5 that President Trump directed the Pentagon to permanently reduce the U.S. military presence in Germany by 9,500 troops.  This corresponds to an approximately 27.5-percent troop reduction  and would cap the U.S. military presence in Germany at 25,000.

This move is coming just days after German chancellor Angela Merkel rebuffed an invitation from President Trump to attend a G7 leaders summit in Washington later this month.  Politico writes:

Trump's withdrawal plan appeared to be less a form of direct retribution for Merkel's G7 decision, but rather a follow-through on previous threats to reduce the U.S. military presence in Germany, which were conveyed by the U.S. ambassador, Ric Grenell, as part of the overall White House criticism of Berlin's military spending as too meager.

This assessment is correct.  Ever since he came into office, President Trump has been critical of our NATO allies, Germany in particular, for not carrying their proper share of the burden for their own defense.  Some NATO allies increased their defense expenditures, but not wealthy Germany, whose outlay for NATO is a mere 1.2 percent of its GDP.  In fact, last year, Germany cut its defense spending, saying it could be counted on in other ways for operational support.  This is diplomat-speak of telling the U.S., "You fight for us, and we'll hold your coat."

The disdain for the U.S. under Donald Trump runs deep in Germany.  Polls show that even now, after China has unleashed its Wuhan virus on the world, fewer Germans prioritize relationship with the United States over China.  Germany has also proved an unreliable ally by trying to undercut the sanctions on Iran and becoming more reliant on Russian energy.  The Germans are also upset that President Trump has started to make an issue of the unfair terms of trade between the U.S. and Europe.  That is another issue ready to drop after the election.

Trump's intention to remover troops from Germany will get the dogs barking here in the U.S.  We'll hear whines and gnashing of teeth from the usual suspects — former president George Bush; the #NeverTrumps; and old generals like Colin Powell, John Kelly, James "Mad Dog" Mattis,  H.R. McMaster, and other swamp officers.  They will falsely accuse the president of destroying the alliance that they are wedded to regardless of the cost to America of maintaining the status quo.  It doesn't register in their thinking that Trump spent years warning Germany to step up and help defend itself, and all he (and America) got back in return was abuse and ridicule.  According to Trump's critics both domestic and in Germany, America should continue to shoulder the cost of defending Germany ad infinitum and stop complaining about it.  That is not what Trump was elected to do.

It cannot be certain whether or not President Trump will follow through with this threat.  He could even split the difference by relocating the troops to a more receptive country like Poland.  In any event, Trump sent a message, and his words henceforth will not be taken lightly by friend or foe.