Pentagon: troops withdrawn from Germany decided

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DThe partial withdrawal of the American armed forces from Germany desired by America’s President Donald Trump has now been decided. Trump agreed to a proposal to withdraw 9,500 of the approximately 34,500 soldiers currently in Germany, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry said on Tuesday. Minister Mark Esper and Chief of Staff Mark Milley therefore discussed the plans with Trump in the White House on Monday. A schedule for the probably lengthy withdrawal was initially not given.

The Pentagon will inform Congress in the coming weeks, and then NATO partners, the ministry spokesman said. Congress could block the partial withdrawal desired by Trump through the military budget, or at least make it significantly more difficult. Trump is also applying for a second term in November. If he lost the election, the new president could put the plans on hold.

Resistance to partial deduction

In Congress, opposition to the partial withdrawal has already been formed among Trumps Republicans and Democrats. The plan is viewed particularly critically there because it could weaken the NATO alliance and play Russia in the hands. There are therefore plans in the Senate and in the House of Representatives to prevent partial withdrawal via the Military Budget Act. The Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman, on the other hand, said the partial withdrawal would strengthen NATO, the deterrence of Russia and the “strategic flexibility” of the armed forces in Europe.

With the partial withdrawal, Trump wants to punish Germany for what he believes to be insufficient defense expenditure. Some of the soldiers withdrawn from Germany should then strengthen the units in Poland, as Trump said last week.

The federal government in Berlin was not consulted by the government in Washington before the decision was taken to withdraw troops, but has so far only been roughly informed. She points out that relocating troops to the east could increase tensions with Russia.

During the Cold War, 250,000 American soldiers were stationed in West Germany to defy the Soviet Union. After the fall of the wall, the number was reduced radically: in 2000 there were only 70,000 soldiers, ten years later 48,000, today there are just under 35,000 left. This makes Germany the second most important location for troops in the United States after Japan.

A withdrawal of 10,000 soldiers would have serious economic consequences for the regions affected. In the Rhineland-Palatinate alone, more than 7,000 German local forces are employed by the American armed forces, and there are said to be 12,000 throughout Germany. In addition, many thousands more workers are attached to American troops, especially in Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.

Some of the locations in Germany are of central importance for American troops beyond Europe. Ramstein Air Force Base is the hub through which the United States brings troops and supplies to their areas of operations in the Middle East or Africa. In the nearby Landstuhl is the largest American military hospital outside the United States, one of the largest military training areas in Europe in Grafenwoehr in Bavaria and the command centers for American troops in Europe and Africa in Stuttgart.



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