Is US troop withdrawal from Germany warranted?
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday confirmed plans to withdraw troops from Germany. The number of soldiers stationed there is to be reduced from around 34,500 to 25,000. Trump cited Germany's failure to comply with agreements regarding its contribution to Nato as a reason for the move. Commentators for the most part agree with his stance on the issue.
Europe's hegemon should pay up
Lidové noviny can understand Trump's attitude towards Germany:
“Seventy-five years ago Germany was in ruins. Thanks to its own energy and under the umbrella of the US Marshall Plan it picked itself up and is now the locomotive of the European Union. If countries like Poland, Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania can spend two percent of their gross domestic product on defence, why can't the EU's economic and political driving force do so too? It is the answer to this question that Trump is pushing for with his threat to withdraw the troops.”
No rhyme or reason
The US is only hurting its own interests, says Sme:
“In withdrawing half of the American forces from Germany, Trump is topping off his geopolitical madness in other regions. There is no factor that is more strategically important for global security and peace than the US base in Ramstein. ... Korea, Iran, Syria, Russia, Ukraine and also Israel - Trump's dealings with them are evidence of his contempt for experts, his complete ignorance of history, best practices and the value of alliances. Anyone who wants to withdraw from Ramstein like this is ruled by emotions instead of intellect, and narcissism instead of national interests.”
Berlin's policy of deception is unworthy
Germany won't be able to simply sit out this conflict in the hopes that Trump will be voted out of office in November, writes Handelsblatt:
“Under a President Biden the tone in German-American relations would ease considerably, but the conflict over content would continue: Germany is still a long way from the self-imposed target of all NATO members of bringing their defence spending up to at least close to two percent of their economic output by 2024. ... In this matter the German government is pursuing the survival technique of deception and camouflage, a common strategy among recruits. You praise improvement, but do little to fulfil your promise. You try to stand in the back row during the roll call so that your poorly polished boots don't attract attention. This behaviour is unworthy of Europe's most economically powerful nation.”
Trump and Obama have something in common here
Linas Kojala, director of the Eastern Europe Studies Centre in Vilnius, points out in Delfi that Trump's announcement is not entirely without precedent:
“It's somewhat paradoxical, but the two presidents, Obama and Trump, who have virtually nothing in common in other areas, have pursued a similar course in foreign policy. ... The US wants at least some of its troops to come 'back home', and this certainly isn't something Trump came up with. Clearly Obama declared his doctrine in a more academic and concise way. ... It was Obama who in 2012 made the concrete decision to withdraw two out of four US combat units from Europe because he saw no need to keep them stationed in a rich and stable continent.”