Greta Gamberini, International Affairs Officer
On July 29th, United States Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, announced a military plan to withdraw almost 12,000 troops from Germany, reducing US presence in the country by one third.
According to the plan, the US will relocate 5,400 troops to other European countries, while sending home the remaining forces. The Defense Secretary motivated the move by adducing it as part of a larger strategic plan against Russia; however, it remains unclear whether the plan is being used as retaliation for strained relationships between the President of the United States and Germany.
The move does not come unexpected, as Trump had previously warned that if Germany did not increase its defense spending to meet the 2% NATO requirements, he would withdraw almost 10,000 troops. Germany, from its end, has moderately condemned the decision, with the German Defense Minister pointing out the move will not affect US–German relations, but is cause for concern within NATO as it can weaken the alliance and favor Russia’s aggressive policies.
The same concern has been echoed by former US commander in Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges. Mr Hodges has openly condemned the move, pointing out how the decision risks permanently damaging diplomatic ties between his country and their best ally in Europe.
For more about US presence in Germany check out this link: