US troops in Germany: Republican congressmen protest Trump’s withdrawal plan


There is massive criticism from the US Congress of Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw 9500 US soldiers from Germany. In a letter, a group of Republicans asks the President to cancel his order.

President Donald Trump’s plans for a massive withdrawal of US soldiers from Germany have triggered harsh reactions in the US. On Tuesday, a group of about two dozen Republican congressmen sent a letter to the White House asking Trump to reconsider the plans. “We believe that these steps would significantly weaken US national security and at the same time weaken our position vis-à-vis Russia,” the Congressmen wrote. The “Wall Street Journal” was the first to report on the letter; the letter has been submitted to SPIEGEL.

The authors appeal to the President not to forget American interests because of his critical attitude towards Germany. For example, a reduction of troops would make large exercises in Europe impossible and ultimately hinder the readiness of US troops for a confrontation with Russia. In addition, the reduction would make troop rotation significantly more difficult for international missions of the U.S. Army, since Germany is immensely important as a logistical hub.

No reaction from the White House
The letter from the members of parliament, among them many loyal supporters of Trump, is remarkable. The Republicans are calling directly on the President to reverse his decision. “We urge you to reverse those plans,” the letter ends. A total of 22 congressmen signed the letter.

There was initially no response from the White House to the letter of protest. Trump himself has not yet confirmed the plans. The federal government has also not yet been officially informed about the planned withdrawal.

Over the weekend, the “Wall Street Journal” and the “SPIEGEL” had reported on White House plans to withdraw about 9500 of the 35,000 US soldiers currently in Germany by fall of this year. In a directive, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has instructed the US Department of Defense to draw up corresponding withdrawal plans. The Pentagon had not previously been informed of this spectacular move. The commanders of the US Army in Europe were also quite surprised by the reports.

The German government has so far avoided commenting on the plans. Lastly, Secretary of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said that there was no official confirmation from the US so far, so no comment was necessary. At the same time, she stressed the importance of US soldiers in Germany for the transatlantic connection between Berlin and Washington.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had previously made a similar statement. Behind the scenes, the ministries of both are making intensive efforts to get clarity about the US position.

Former top general Ben Hodges had criticized the plans most strongly. Until 2017, he was the head of all US Army troops in Europe, but now he works for a think tank in Frankfurt. Hodges called Trump’s plan a “colossal mistake”. He argued that the US troops stationed in Germany were primarily serving the security interests of the US, as the US bases in this country were essential for the global missions of the US. He accused Trump of carrying out the plans on purely political grounds in order to symbolically punish Berlin.


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