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Trump to halve U.S. troops in 'delinquent' Germany

Trump to Halve U.S. Troops in ‘Delinquent’ Germany

WASHINGTON – The United States President Donald Trump said on Monday that he would halve the number of U.S. troops in Germany because Berlin is “delinquent” in contributions to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and treats the United States “badly” on trade.
“Germany is criminal, they have been criminal for years, and they owe NATO billions of dollars, and they have to pay it. So we are protecting Germany, and they are criminals. That doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Trump told reporters that there are 52,000 American soldiers stationed in Germany and that he will bring it to 25,000.
“It is a tremendous cost to the United States,” he said.
“So we are removing a number, we are reducing the number to 25,000 soldiers.”
Germany, he said, is not delivering on its commitment to spend two percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense as required by the NATO alliance.
Member countries pledged to reach the two percent threshold by 2024. Germany has said it hopes to meet the target by 2031.
American troops have been stationed in the geopolitically vital country since the end of World War II, forming the bulk of NATO’s conventional defense against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The revival of Russia’s military ambitions under President Vladimir Putin has given the U.S. presence.
USA New importance in the past two decades, with central and eastern European states leading the way in pressing for more robust American defenses.
Trump also accused Germany of treating the United States “badly” in trade. “So we hurt ourselves in trade, and we hurt ourselves in NATO,” he said.
He complained that Germany was benefiting from the presence of American troops.
“Those are well-paid soldiers. They live in Germany; they spend large amounts of money in Germany. Everywhere around those bases is very prosperous for Germany. So Germany takes.”
In addition to the 34,500 US troops in Germany, there are also approximately 17,500 Defense Department civilians. The number is much lower than during the Cold War when Germany was the central focus of American and NATO efforts to deter invasion by the former Soviet Union.
In recent decades, Germany has hosted vital U.S. military installations and provided a transit point for troops deploying to and from the Middle East, even during years of conflict in Iraq.
Trump has repeatedly accused European NATO members of free charge by failing to deliver on his commitment to spend at least two percent of GDP on defense and over-reliance on the alliance’s historical leader – the United States.
Last week, top German politicians expressed concern over reports that the United States planned to limit the number of troops to around 25,000, which seemed to surprise Berlin.
The plan raised new questions about Trump’s commitment to long-standing cooperation agreements with European allies and the Western military alliance itself.
Trump has had irritable relationships with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the past. A new strain emerged in recent weeks when he said no to an invitation to a G7 summit in Washington, citing the protracted coronavirus pandemic, which has drastically restricted international travel.
Trump, who is behind in the polls ahead of the November presidential election, expected the summit to show America’s leadership.
The momentum for the quickly organized G7 ran out after Merkel’s refusal and Trump reacted by announcing that it would hold a summit later this year, possibly in September.
In a surprise move, the Republican president said he would invite Putin to join, along with several other non-G7 world leaders, and called the group of seven wealthy Western allies “obsolete.”
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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