Amid growing US-German tensions, President Trump has ordered 9,500 US troops to be removed from Germany by September. The new order would limit the number of US troops present in Germany to 25,000, a drastic decrease from the 52,000 currently permitted. Tensions have continued to rise between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-allied countries as Trump has continually pressured leaders to fulfill their vow of 2% military spending. The move also comes after Berlin’s recent resistance to pressure from Washington to limit “gas purchases from Russia, ban Chinese components from its communication networks, and prevent German companies from doing business with Iran.”
Many on the Left and Right are critical of the move.
“Russia has done nothing to lower its threat to our allies. Why would we want to reward that behavior with a reduction of our forces in Europe? Germany is the most important ally we have in Europe. This looks like punishment somehow.”Frederick Hodges, retired Army general
The Senate Armed Services Committee head Democrat commented the move is a “favor to Putin and another leadership failure by this administration that further strains relations with our allies.” Many have said that decreasing the number of troops could greater risk the lives of the remaining US soldiers and put them in danger if conflict were to ensue. Others have noted that despite Germany’s weak allyship, Trump’s order will negatively signal to Russia that the US is unwilling to defend Europe and could endanger our alliances everywhere.
Richard A. Grenell, former US ambassador to Germany, said, “NATO members clearly pledged to move towards, not away, from 2% by 2024. That the German government would even be considering reducing its already unacceptable commitments to military readiness is a worrisome signal to Germany’s 28 NATO allies.” Christian Whiton wrote in a Fox News article of America’s need to focus on challenges stemming from China and Iran and noted that “Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Germany is a good start and an important lesson to Europeans that we will no longer stand guard while they canoodle with our adversaries.”