President Trump should think twice about pulling troops from Germany

President Trump should think twice about pulling troops from Germany
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The Pentagon has declared that the United States will move forward with the recent plan by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE to withdraw 12,000 troops stationed in Germany. The decision has rightly drawn opposition from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as well as concern from our European allies. The decision not only goes against the national security interests of the United States, but it works against the political interests of Trump.

This move by the administration further fractures our relationships with our critical European allies who count on American forces for protection and stability in the region. The decision emboldens Russia by leaving our European allies with less defense and less coordination across the region. It raises the threat of conflict and military aggression from Russia.

The American presence and military infrastructure in Germany is critical for global stability. Germany sits in the center of the European continent, and forces in this area ensure the United States can effectively work with our allies to counter hostile activity by our adversaries. Any movement of troops away from Germany to other areas across the European continent only diminishes the ability of the United States to effectively react to and retaliate against military aggression from Russia and even China.

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We can back look to history to see how Russia might respond to American troops leaving this region. When President Obama withdrew 7,000 troops from Germany in 2012, Vladimir Putin responded by invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea in violation of international laws. The decision by Trump follows a disturbing pattern of his inconsistent approach to foreign policy, by which he acts rashly and in a way that disregards our critical allies and national security interests, while emboldening our adversaries.

In my new book, “The End of Democracy,” I write about how the alliance between Russia and China poses a tangible threat to the interests of the United States, and how the foreign policy of this administration has only served to rein in our position as the world leader. Under his time in office, Trump has berated our closest European allies while sorely failing to hold our adversaries like Russia and China accountable for military aggression and verified attacks on our election system in the United States.

Trump has also taken concerning steps that have left our deployed forces at risk while advancing the threat of armed conflict. He withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty and expressed future intents to withdraw from the New Start Treaty. His ceding of authority on the world stage could not come at a worse time for him. With fewer than 100 days until the election, Trump is behind Joe Biden in the polls but continues to alienate those independent voters and moderate Republicans who have defected from him.

This rather erratic withdrawal of troops from Germany lends credence to the political narrative of Democrats that Trump is unfit to be commander in chief, has worked against the interests of the United States, and acts in a way that empowers our adversaries. Predictably, the domestic political backlash to his decision was swift. Leading Democrats have very harshly criticized the withdrawal, as have several moderate Republicans.

American foreign policy has become isolationist under this administration. We now seem to have lost our conviction that the United States, once the standard bearer of democracy, must engage with the world to defend our allies who share our values. The greatest deterrent which we hold against those nefarious ties between Russia and China remains our commitments to our important allies and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

It is more essential than ever for Joe Biden to reassure voters that he has the foreign policy experience to be an effective commander in chief. He will work to affirm our promise to our allies, stand up to our adversaries, and restore the position of the United States as the world leader.

Douglas Schoen is a pollster and a political consultant who has served as adviser to Bill Clinton and Michael Bloomberg. His latest book out is “The End of Democracy: Russia and China on the Rise and America in Retreat.”