Donald Trump is poised to remove a sizable contingent of U.S. troops from Germany, according to a report from The Hill.
The president confirmed plans Monday to reduce the maximum number of American soldiers in Germany by approximately one half, owing to Germany’s “delinquent” status in paying for its own defense.
“We’re putting the number down to 25,000 soldiers,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday.
Troop reductions confirmed
The president’s comments validate an earlier report from the Wall Street Journal that that such reductions were looming, a move viewed as extremely alarming by Germany and other European allies of the United States.
Trump has often complained about America being “ripped off” in its trade agreements with other nations, and he has similarly argued that NATO countries are too reliant on the U.S. for their security. The president is seeking to withdraw some 9,500 troops stationed in Germany, asserting that the country has been “delinquent” in paying its fair share of NATO’s defense burden.
There are 35,000 troops present in Germany now, and Trump wants to slash the existing cap on American soliders — which stands at roughly 52,000 — by about 50%, according to The Hill.
“Germany’s delinquent,” Trump added. “They’ve been delinquent for years, and they owe NATO billions of dollars, and they have to pay it. So we’re protecting Germany, and they’re delinquent. That doesn’t make sense.”
Germany has failed to reach a target set by NATO that calls on all member nations to contribute 2% of their GDP for their own defense by 2024, the BBC noted.
Playing on familiar Trumpian themes, the president also argued that Germany has not been a fair trading partner. “So we get hurt on trade, and we get hurt on NATO,” he declared.
NATO and hawks in Washington argue that Trump’s decision will undermine trans-Atlantic cooperation, weaken American influence, and embolden Russia — a riff on familiar critiques of Trump’s calls to pare back U.S. military commitments abroad.
“We strongly believe that NATO allies, such as Germany, should do more to contribute to our joint defense efforts,” a group of House Republicans warned Trump in a letter. “At the same time, we also know that the forward stationing of American troops since the end of World War II has helped to prevent another world war and, most importantly, has helped make America safer.”
But Trump is sticking to his MAGA rhetoric, and that sounds like a smart move, because it’s long past time for other countries to step up.