His furious tweet comes after the U.S. military yesterday revealed plans to withdraw around 12,000 troops from Germany, following President Trump’s long feud with Berlin.
Donald Trump sent Angela Merkel a warning
Donald Trump called Germany a “delinquent”
But officials said he would keep nearly half of those forces in Europe to deal with tensions with Russia.
Other forces leaving Angela Merkel’s Germany will move permanently to Italy and the European headquarters of the US military is expected to move from Stuttgart in Germany to Belgium.
However, recent NATO figures show that Germany’s defense spending stands at 1.38% of GDP, Belgium at just 0.93%.
Mr Trump announced his intention to reduce the US contingent of 36,000 troops in Germany by about a third last month, criticizing the close US ally for failing to meet the NATO defense spending target and the accusing the United States of profiting in trade.
Donald Trump wondered why the United States was “protecting Germany from Russia”
Speaking at the White House, he said, “We don’t want to be suckers anymore.
“We’re reducing the force because they don’t pay their bills, it’s very simple. ”
In remarks that could irritate Moscow, Esper said some US troops would reposition themselves in the Black Sea region and others could deploy temporarily in waves to the Baltic states.
In total, just under 6,000 of the 12,000 leaving Germany are expected to remain in Europe.
Donald Trump said “we don’t want to be suckers anymore”
European Headquarters of the US Army to move from Stuttgart, Germany to Belgium
The moves from Germany represent a remarkable rebuke to one of the United States’ closest military allies and trading partners, while two beneficiaries, Italy and Belgium, are low-spending members of the alliance, according to NATO data.
But Defense Secretary Mark Esper played down signs of a simmering feud between the United States and Germany.
He said the military plan would prevent troop movements from undermining NATO and its efforts to deter Russia from intervening, after Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
Dossier d’information de Donald Trump
Many other forces will be based in the United States, but will rotate to Europe for temporary deployments without their families.
Mr Esper said: “I am telling you that this will accomplish what the President said in regards to bringing us down to a lower number in Europe, and it meets his other objectives that I have described in relation to the strategic piece. ”
Reacting to the news, Norbert Roettgen, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the German parliament and ally of Merkel, warned that the withdrawal of troops from Germany “would weaken the NATO alliance”.
But NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took an optimistic tone in a statement, saying the allies had been briefed by the United States.
Since World War II, the U.S. military has viewed Germany as one of its most strategic locations abroad and has served as a critical logistics hub for troop movements not only within Europe, but to the Middle East, Africa and beyond.
However, following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the number of American troops in Germany was steadily reduced from around 200,000.