White House considers withdrawing 9,500 US soldiers from Germany
US President Donald Trump wants to withdraw 9,500 of the 34,500 soldiers stationed in Germany.
According to the Wall Street Journal, citing government officials, said Trump’s National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien recently signed a memorandum.
For years there has been a dispute between the US and Germany over the level of military spending. Washington had already threatened to withdraw troops. This will now apparently be carried out in the coming months.
The newspaper named September as the time horizon for the troops withdrawal. The maximum number of US soldiers who can stay in Germany at the same time should therefore be limited to 25,000. According to current practice, the size of troops can temporarily increase to 52,000 when units move in and out or participate in exercises.
The Wall Street Journal referred to Trump’s demands on Germany to increase defense spending. In the dispute, the then US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, threatened partial withdrawal of US soldiers from Germany last August if the federal government did not increase its military budget.
Defense policy spokesman for the SPD, Fritz Felgentreu, tweeted, “The US can decide how it makes sense for them. The topic is not suitable for building up pressure.” The exciting question is where the soldiers are going. “Home or further east?”
NATO countries have committed to defending defense spending as a percentage of gross domestic product annually.
Germany has been lagging behind this agreement for years despite approval. The Institute of German Business had recently estimated that the rate was 1.36 percent last year.
Berlin had agreed in NATO to move towards a two percent target in defense spending by 2024.