Even as President Joe Biden signaled an impending drawdown of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, he announced an increase in the number of troops stationed in one European nation.
According to the Washington Examiner, the current commander in chief is reversing his predecessor’s position to reduce America’s presence in Germany.
“Our commitment to Germany and the entire NATO alliance”
The Associated Press cited Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who said that 500 additional military personnel would underscore “our commitment to Germany and the entire NATO alliance.”
He said the “forces will strengthen deterrence and defense in Europe” while augmenting “our existing abilities to prevent conflict, and, if necessary, fight and win.”
Less than a year ago, then-President Donald Trump announced his intention to recall thousands of troops out of Germany in a move that some of his critics panned.
Nevertheless, he defended his position by said that Germany’s government had been “delinquent for years” and owes “billions of dollars” toward the funding of NATO.
“Those are well-paid soldiers,” Trump said at the time. “They live in Germany. They spend vast amounts of money in Germany. Everywhere around those bases is very prosperous for Germany. So Germany takes, and then, on top it, they treat us very badly on trade.”
“This would not have been my recommendation”
Retired Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, who served as NATO supreme allied commander for Europe during the Obama administration, was among the military figures who decried Trump’s proposal.
“This would not have been my recommendation to the president of the United States,” he said.
Instead, Breedlove recommended “increasing forces in Europe,” although he acknowledged that Trump had, up to that point, been “a better partner for NATO than Obama had been.”
He went on to note that “NATO has had more exercises, further east, under Trump than under Obama.”
Others were more emphatic in their opposition to Trump’s position, including Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who said: “The administration has made no effort to explain how our country is stronger because of this drawdown decision. This drawdown weakens America and Europe. And Vladimir Putin understands and appreciates that better than anyone.”