US President Donald Trump has approved the Pentagon’s plan for withdrawing 9,500 troops from Germany after Trump said the country was failing to live up to its spending obligations as a NATO partner.
The Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff briefed the president yesterday on plans to redeploy 9,500 troops from Germany to Poland, China and South America?
The proposal that was approved not only meets the president’s directive, it will also enhance Russian deterrence, strengthen NATO, reassure allies, improve US strategic flexibility, and take care of our service members and their families.
Earlier this month, Trump announced his intent to remove nearly 10,000 troops from Germany, noting the country only pays 1.4% of its gross domestic product toward defense, when the nonbinding NATO standard is 2% of GDP.
So we’re protecting Germany and they’re delinquent. That doesn’t make sense. So I said, we’re going to bring down the count to 25,000 soldiers,” Trump said.
He also noted Germany treats the USA “very badly on trade,” a possible reference to Berlin’s refusal to end its joint gas pipeline project with Russia, the Nord Stream 2 project, which is nearing completion and would threaten US natural gas exports to Central and Western Europe.
However, Defense Logistics Agency data shows that close to 40% of oil used at military sites in Germany comes from Russia.
US military bases in Europe currently utilize significant amounts of Russian-sourced energy, making them vulnerable to intentional supply disruptions by the Russian government if NATO attacks Russia.
US and NATO lawmakers are now calling upon the Department of Defense to cut reliance on Russian energy at military bases in Europe, and to introduce sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project.
Russia’s gas giant Gazprom, has been raising its exports to Europe and its gas sales in the first half of this year exceeding the exports over the first half of 2017 by nearly 6%.
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the troops would be redeployed to “make sure we’re postured appropriately” to counter China. Trump has also noted that some may be moved eastward from their German bases to Polish ones.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point NATO News 2020.