WASHINGTON─ On Monday, June 15, President Trump affirmed that he is to withdraw 9,500 of the 35,000 American troops on German bases.
“We’re putting the number down to 25,000 soldiers… Germany’s delinquent… 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,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
He has previously expressed that he does not want Europe’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, members relying solely on the U.S. to maintain the financial aspect of the alliance. Those within NATO set the target of each member reaching 2% of GDP by 2024. However, Germany, and other countries, have yet to meet the target. He has repeatedly pushed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to do so.
President Trump also justified his decision because he is unsatisfied with U.S. and Germany’s trade negotiations. Moreover, he claimed that the German economy was profiting off the money spent by troops.
“So we get hurt on trade, and we get hurt on NATO,” he said.
There has been opposition by certain members of Congress who argue that the U.S. presence in Germany is necessary to counter Russian aggression. 22 Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee, led by Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas, wrote a letter of concern to Trump.
It stated: “We strongly believe that NATO allies, such as Germany, should do more to contribute to our joint defense efforts… 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.”
Currently, Germany hosts the most U.S. forces in all of Europe.