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About a third, 11,800 Army and Air Force units, of the 36,000 American troops stationed in Germany will be withdrawn from the long-time NATO ally, an expensive process that will take years, U.S. defense officials said.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

World

A Shattered City

On the menu today: Unraveling the mystery behind yesterday’s devastating, jaw-dropping explosion in Beirut; reports suggest that Joe Biden’s vice presidential search isn't going well -- although one report suggests his list is down to two contenders; and yesterday’s primary leaves one less thing to worry ... Read More
World

A Shattered City

On the menu today: Unraveling the mystery behind yesterday’s devastating, jaw-dropping explosion in Beirut; reports suggest that Joe Biden’s vice presidential search isn't going well -- although one report suggests his list is down to two contenders; and yesterday’s primary leaves one less thing to worry ... Read More
U.S.

Our Summer of Cultural Suicide

Cultural suicide used to be a popular diagnosis of why things suddenly just quit. Historians such as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee cited social cannibalism to explain why once-successful states, institutions, and cultures simply died off. Their common explanation was that the arrogance of success ... Read More
U.S.

Our Summer of Cultural Suicide

Cultural suicide used to be a popular diagnosis of why things suddenly just quit. Historians such as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee cited social cannibalism to explain why once-successful states, institutions, and cultures simply died off. Their common explanation was that the arrogance of success ... Read More
World

Massive Explosions Devastate Beirut

A series of massive explosions detonated in Beirut on Tuesday, with footage showing a mushroom cloud and shockwave emanating from the city port. [embed]https://twitter.com/air_intel/status/1290676373485490177[/embed] It is still unclear what caused the explosions. Lebanese security forces claimed the ... Read More
World

Massive Explosions Devastate Beirut

A series of massive explosions detonated in Beirut on Tuesday, with footage showing a mushroom cloud and shockwave emanating from the city port. [embed]https://twitter.com/air_intel/status/1290676373485490177[/embed] It is still unclear what caused the explosions. Lebanese security forces claimed the ... Read More
Education

The Shame of the Teachers’ Unions

No other group has shown as much contempt for its own work during the coronavirus crisis as teachers. Their unions are actively fighting to keep kids out of the classroom and also to limit remote instruction, lest it require too much time and attention from people who are supposed to be wholly devoted to ... Read More
Education

The Shame of the Teachers’ Unions

No other group has shown as much contempt for its own work during the coronavirus crisis as teachers. Their unions are actively fighting to keep kids out of the classroom and also to limit remote instruction, lest it require too much time and attention from people who are supposed to be wholly devoted to ... Read More