Home / World / German Ministers Hit Back At Trump Plan to Withdraw U.S. Troops
German ministers hit back at Trump plan to withdraw US troops

German Ministers Hit Back At Trump Plan to Withdraw U.S. Troops

BERLIN – German ministers have criticized Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw some 9,500 US soldiers from German soil, saying the move is likely to weaken the United States’ security architecture and European security.
We believe that the presence of the United States in Germany is essential for the security not only of Germany but also for the protection of the United States and especially for the safety of Europe,” Heiko Maas, the foreign minister, said.
Earlier this week, the U.S. President had confirmed reports of his intention to reduce the presence of U.S. troops in Germany to 25,000, saying “we are protecting Germany and they are criminals,” and claiming that the deployment of soldiers occurred at “a tremendous cost to the United States.”
Trump claimed that there were 52,000 US soldiers stationed in Germany, although the Pentagon puts the figure at 34,000 to 35,000. The United States’ military presence in Germany dates back to the end of the Second World War.
Contrary to Trump’s repeated claims, Germany does not owe NATO or the U.S. any payments. But it falls short of the NATO target where members commit 2% of their annual GDP to military spending by 2024.
According to NATO’s 2019 annual report, only seven of NATO’s 29 allies meet the target. Chancellor Angel Merkel’s government has promised to increase German defense spending to the agreed threshold for 2031.
Maas said he had not yet received information on when the U.S. administration intended to withdraw troops and from which units.
“Neither the State Department nor the Pentagon has been able to provide information on this,” Maas said, adding that any change in Europe’s security architecture “should be discussed.”
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer also criticized the tone of the United States’ threats.
“NATO is not a trade organization, and security is not a commodity,” Merkel’s outgoing Christian Democratic Union president said at an event with expert group Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.
“NATO is founded on solidarity, on trust. And it is based on common values and common interests.”
The centre-right newspaper Die Welt, a media outlet that has consistently criticized the German governments’ reluctance to increase defense spending, described Trump’s plans as shortsighted and counterproductive.
“Trump’s partial withdrawal weakens NATO, weakens the United States’ position in Europe and damages the relationship with its important, albeit sometimes irritating, ally Germany,” foreign affairs commentator Clemens Wergin wrote Wednesday.
On Tuesday, NATO secretary-general said a timetable or firm plan for Trump’s proposed pullout had not been agreed, suggesting it could be softened if Berlin agrees to increase its defense budget.
Jens Stoltenberg said, “how and when this decision will be implemented has not yet been decided.”
The NATO chief said he hoped “ongoing dialogue” on the issue would be at the centre of discussions during a two-day summit of alliance defense ministers to be held on Wednesday and Thursday.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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