News

Politics & Policy

U.S. to Pull 12,000 Troops from Germany after Failure to Meet NATO Spending Target

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks with U.S. soldiers based in Grafenwoehr, Germany November 7, 2019. (Jens Meyer/Reuters)

In a move that sparked bipartisan criticism, the Trump administration announced Wednesday that the U.S. will pull nearly 12,000 troops from Germany, a decision President Trump said is a response to Germany’s reluctance to spend a greater share of its gross domestic product on defense.

About a third, 11,800 Army and Air Force units, of the 36,000 American troops stationed in Germany will be withdrawn from the long-time NATO ally, an expensive process that will take years, U.S. defense officials said. Some will be re-stationed in other European NATO countries, while others will return to the U.S. although they may later be deployed in Europe again.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at the Pentagon Wednesday that the changes “will achieve the core principles of enhancing U.S. and NATO deterrence of Russia, strengthening NATO, reassuring allies and improving U.S. strategic flexibility.”

“Our aim is to implement these moves as expeditiously as possible,” Esper said, adding that the plan “likely will change to some degree as it evolves over time.”

“We could see some moves begin within weeks. Others will take longer,” the Pentagon chief said.

Trump accused Germany of taking advantage of the U.S. on Wednesday, saying the U.S. is withdrawing the troops because Germany fails to spend 2 percent of its GDP on defense, the goal set by NATO.

“We spend a lot of money on Germany. They take advantage of us on trade, and they take advantage on the military, so we’re reducing the force,” the president said.

“They’re there to protect Europe, they’re there to protect Germany, and Germany is supposed to pay for it,” Trump said. “We don’t want to be responsible anymore.”

The decision attracted criticism from both sides of the aisle in Congress, including from Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, who called the decision “troubling.”

In a June letter, Thornberry along with other Republicans on the committee warned Trump about potential Russian aggression in the wake of proposed troop withdrawals.

“In Europe, the threats posed by Russia have not lessened, and we believe that signs of a weakened U.S. commitment to NATO will encourage further Russian aggression and opportunism,” the Republican lawmakers wrote.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Most Popular

Elections

The Jerry Springer Debate

It’s a shame that Joe Biden couldn’t attend Tuesday night's debate. Okay, Biden was in attendance, but during the 90 minutes, it felt like he barely ever finished a complete sentence. It’s not clear that President Trump necessarily won the night, in the sense that people who were leaning against ... Read More
Elections

The Jerry Springer Debate

It’s a shame that Joe Biden couldn’t attend Tuesday night's debate. Okay, Biden was in attendance, but during the 90 minutes, it felt like he barely ever finished a complete sentence. It’s not clear that President Trump necessarily won the night, in the sense that people who were leaning against ... Read More
Elections

Trump Did Himself No Favors

The debate was a remarkable example of the fact that Donald Trump, the most self-serving man in America, doesn’t know how to do himself any favors. For the first ten or twelve minutes of the debate, he was walking away with it — Trumpy, sure, but in control and surprisingly reasonable-sounding. If he had ... Read More
Elections

Trump Did Himself No Favors

The debate was a remarkable example of the fact that Donald Trump, the most self-serving man in America, doesn’t know how to do himself any favors. For the first ten or twelve minutes of the debate, he was walking away with it — Trumpy, sure, but in control and surprisingly reasonable-sounding. If he had ... Read More
Elections

On Last Night’s Debate

The fact that I believe the debate was unwatchable last night does not mean I believe President Trump did not have some good moments. And the fact that I imagine it was a net-net win for Joe Biden does not mean he did not have some utterly awful moments. Yet the unwatchability of the debate -- the cringe factor ... Read More
Elections

On Last Night’s Debate

The fact that I believe the debate was unwatchable last night does not mean I believe President Trump did not have some good moments. And the fact that I imagine it was a net-net win for Joe Biden does not mean he did not have some utterly awful moments. Yet the unwatchability of the debate -- the cringe factor ... Read More

Chaos in Cleveland

The 90 minutes of “debate” between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden cannot be told as a cohesive story, or reduced to a few bottom lines. It was too fast and too disorganized. Almost anyone watching would have just picked up impressions along the way. I’ve grouped mine into piles ... Read More

Chaos in Cleveland

The 90 minutes of “debate” between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden cannot be told as a cohesive story, or reduced to a few bottom lines. It was too fast and too disorganized. Almost anyone watching would have just picked up impressions along the way. I’ve grouped mine into piles ... Read More
Elections

Actually, The Debate Was About Issues

I know. A lot of folks are saying the debate was an ugly, insult-filled shouting match that barely got down to cases. Actually, I thought it was a highly entertaining exchange that helpfully spotlighted the candidates’ differences on issues. An ugly, angry exchange? Well, at least it looked like America. If you ... Read More
Elections

Actually, The Debate Was About Issues

I know. A lot of folks are saying the debate was an ugly, insult-filled shouting match that barely got down to cases. Actually, I thought it was a highly entertaining exchange that helpfully spotlighted the candidates’ differences on issues. An ugly, angry exchange? Well, at least it looked like America. If you ... Read More
Elections

Everybody Loses, Which Helps Biden

Reactions to tonight's debate will likely be deeply polarized, as everything else is. There are a few things that are clear. One, this was probably the worst presidential debate in American history. There was a ton of cross-talk and shouting down, there were many bald-faced lies and obvious evasions, a former ... Read More
Elections

Everybody Loses, Which Helps Biden

Reactions to tonight's debate will likely be deeply polarized, as everything else is. There are a few things that are clear. One, this was probably the worst presidential debate in American history. There was a ton of cross-talk and shouting down, there were many bald-faced lies and obvious evasions, a former ... Read More
Elections

Who Wins an Unwatchable Debate?

Over coffee this morning I read a fascinating interview with Martin Gurri, the former CIA analyst who first noticed the seismic impact of social media on world politics. The author of The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium, Gurri studies the fracturing of discourse and the ... Read More
Elections

Who Wins an Unwatchable Debate?

Over coffee this morning I read a fascinating interview with Martin Gurri, the former CIA analyst who first noticed the seismic impact of social media on world politics. The author of The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium, Gurri studies the fracturing of discourse and the ... Read More