Conservatives criticize plan to withdraw US troops from Germany

Tuesday, 09 Jun, 2020

"Such a decision by the American president may seriously affect relations between Germany and the United States", said the German government coordinator for transatlantic cooperation, Peter Beyer (CDU), quoted by German press agency dpa.

But the decision swiftly provoked concern. "It's another dead cat thrown onto the political table to distract", he said, referring to criticism of Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and protests over racial injustice in the United States. "So we must resist the temptation of national solutions".

But Germany said it has not received confirmation.

He stated: "Weakening Nato in the hope this will lead to increased German defence is a unsafe game which plays into Russia's hands". But tell that to members of Merkel's ruling conservative bloc: "The Pentagon has not yet publicly commented and has instead redirected press inquiries to the White House-this indicates that the decision is purely politically motivated and not made by experts", one of them tells Deutsche Welle.

Kramp-Karrenbauer emphasized that USA troops stationed in Germany also served the security of the United States within the framework of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance and would significantly reduce U.S. commitment to European defense.

A US senior official told the paper that internal discussions have been continuing since September and the move is not in retaliation to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision not to attend the G0-7 meeting in Washington.

The last time a US president sought to downsize the USA military presence in South Korea, the year was 1977 and Jimmy Carter was in the White House. The most recent threat implies "this had gone out of the window", this individual said.

The reports that President Donald Trump has ordered the reduction of USA troops in Germany by 9,500 appears to have created a firestorm, at least among the German conservatives in the Christian Democracy allied with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

And, Foreign Minister Maas exclaimed that decades of "close" US-German partnership post-war had become "complicated" since Trump became president.

Merkel and Germany have been a prime target of Trump's push to shift more defense spending to North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies, which he has, in effect, accused of freeloading off us military power. South Koreans also have access to the internet, which means they are able to find Trump's 1990 interview in Playboy where he specifically called out South Korea by name for being a "so-called" USA ally who rose to the top of the pack on America's back.

But Karin von Hippel, the director general of the Royal United Services Institute, cautioned western countries from overreacting to what she described as characteristic grandstanding from Trump: "I just don't think it will be implemented in the next few months before a presidential election because Congress or the Pentagon will find ways to block it; but if he wins, then, yes, anything can happen".