Trump said he would move troops out of Germany, and he is doing exactly that. Free-Riders in NATO? Trump’s Rhetoric In US-German Relations.
To shift military concentration to Poland, to increase presence in the Indo-Pacific region, to disengage from multilateral relations, to incentivize Germany to contribute more to NATO, or all of the above? Which of these is the reason for Trump’s latest plan to withdraw 9500 US troops from German bases?
Some of the troops will be coming home. A number will be moving to Poland, which the Poles have wanted for some time now. The rest will be moving around Europe.
Germany has been banking on our funding their defense for a very long time. And reaping the benefits of a large number of US troops living in Germany, spending money. And that may have made since in the 1950s. It makes less sense today.
And while I haven’t looked in a while, the German military is, or at least has been, in a sorry condition. When they don’t have enough weapons to outfit all of their military, I would say they are doing something wrong. (On Black Friday of last year, on one day, US civilians bought enough weapons to outfit the US Marine Corps. Probably not the kinds of guns the Marines would want, but in sheer numbers… On. One. Day.)
And the German Defense Minister is saying that they will get closer to their 2 percent commitment this year, but the reason might surprise you. Or maybe it won’t. US troop withdrawal a cause for NATO concern, German defense minister says.
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has suggested that a threat by Washington last month to pull out some 9,500 troops from the country will not damage ties between the two nations, however, the withdrawal plan will trigger a debate among NATO countries.
“If they [the troops] stay in Europe, then this remains a commitment towards NATO. But if they were to be restationed in the Indo-Pacific region, then that would indicate a change to US strategy.
Yes, they might have to pay for their own security. The HORROR! Oh, and then there is that 2 percent of GDP commitment. That’s the amount they are supposed to be spending on defense.
NATO countries agreed in 2014 to increase defense spending to 2% of total GDP by 2024. Germany currently falls well short of that target, in the region of 1.3%, although is likely to come a little closer this year owing to the coronavirus taking a bite out of its GDP.
My position has been for a very long time, that if the Germans don’t care about their own security, why should we? Yes they are sort of between real friends and real enemies, but we don’t have to subsidize their laziness with 40,000 people living in their country. And Poland would love to have us move farther east. But Moscow would think we were threatening an invasion if we moved everyone from Germany to Poland.