WASHINGTON D.C. / BERLIN – U.S. President Donald Trump has followed through on threats of withdrawing U.S. soldiers stationed in Germany. The decision was met with condemnation from some U.S. and German officials.
Several months ago, Trump threatened his German NATO ally with the withdrawal of more than 9,000 U.S. soldiers from German territory. On Wednesday, the U.S. Army announced a potential withdrawal of about 12,000 soldiers from Germany.
Trump’s rationale for the move was Germany’s failure to fulfill its financial commitments towards NATO, as well as “exploiting” the U.S. commercially.
On Wednesday, Trump confirmed the move to reporters at the White House, “We are reducing our forces because Germany does not pay the bills.”
The decisions were met with condemnation by some U.S. officials. Republican Senator Mitt Romney stated that withdrawing troops from Germany is a fatal mistake and is considered a slap in the face to a friend and an ally.
On the German side, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the German Parliament Norbert Röttgen told the Augsburger Allgemeine Newspaper that the withdrawal will weaken NATO capabilities, instead of strengthening them.
Furthermore, some defense experts fear the news will weaken the position of the U.S. in the world, arguing that the effectiveness of the U.S. military has eroded after decades of wars in the Middle East.