Multiple threats, now ordered: US President Trump has decided that 9500 of the 34,500 soldiers stationed in Germany should withdraw. The move is likely to have serious economic consequences for the regions affected.
US President Donald Trump has now decided on the partial withdrawal of the US armed forces from Germany that he has requested. As a defense ministry spokesman said, Trump approved a proposal to withdraw 9,500 of the approximately 34,500 soldiers currently in Germany.
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 likely lengthy withdrawal was not given. The Pentagon will inform Congress in the coming weeks, and then NATO partners, the ministry spokesman said.
Resistance in Congress – also from within our own ranks
The US Congress could block the partial withdrawal desired by Trump or at least make it more difficult via the military budget law. Republicans and Democrats were already beginning to resist the partial withdrawal. The plan is viewed particularly critically because it could weaken the NATO defense alliance and play into Russia’s hands.
There are therefore plans in the Senate and in the House of Representatives to prevent partial withdrawal via the Military Budget Act. “The withdrawal of US troops from Germany would be a gift to Russia – and that’s the last thing we should do,” said Republican Senator Mitt Romney. Trump’s close confidante, Senator Lindsey Graham, also supported the move.
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 US armed forces in Europe.
Dispute over defense spending
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 Some of the soldiers withdrawn from Germany should then strengthen the units in Poland, as Trump said last week.
At the time of the Cold War, 250,000 US soldiers were stationed in the Federal Republic. After the fall of the wall, there was a radical reduction: in 2000 there were only 70,000 US soldiers, ten years later 48,000, today there are just under 35,000 left. This makes Germany the second most important US troop location worldwide after Japan.
Fears of negative consequences for affected regions
The withdrawal of almost 10,000 soldiers would probably have serious economic consequences for the regions affected. In the Rhineland-Palatinate alone, more than 7,000 German local forces are employed by the US armed forces, and there are said to be 12,000 throughout Germany. In addition, many thousands more workers are attached to US troops, especially in Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.