Reported US troop drawdown could hurt NATO security, German official says

Reported US troop drawdown could hurt NATO security, German official says
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German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer warned Monday that the Trump administration’s reported plans to withdraw over 25 percent of U.S. troops could have adverse consequences for both the U.S. and NATO.

“The fact is that the presence of U.S. soldiers in Germany serves the entire NATO alliance security, including America’s own security,” she said, according to The Associated Press. “That is the basis on which we work together.”

The administration’s reported plan would cut the total U.S. troops stationed in Germany from 34,500 to a maximum of 25,000. Kramp-Karrenbauer told reporters Monday that officials in Berlin have not been briefed on any such plans.

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Peter Beyer, Germany’s coordinator of transatlantic cooperation, said the plan, if true, tracked with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE’s frequent calls for Germany to spend more on its own defenses but that he was frustrated to first hear of the idea through the media rather than diplomatic channels.

“The German-American relationship could be severely affected by such a decision of the U.S. president,” Beyer told the dpa news agency. “It’s not just about 9,500 soldiers, but also about their families, so about 20,000 Americans. This would break down trans-Atlantic bridges.”

In addition to facilities such as Ramstein Air Base and the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, U.S. Army Europe has its headquarters in Spangdahlem. The country is also the site of the continent’s largest NATO training facility, the Grafenwoehr Training Area.

“If this is confirmed, you have to ask yourself what impact this will have on NATO and the security architecture in Europe,” Beyer said.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas suggested the U.S. general election season could further complicate the Washington-Berlin relationship by bringing Trump’s populist rhetoric to the fore.

“Then co-existence within the country doesn’t just become harder, it also fuels conflicts on the international level,” he was quoted as saying, according to the AP. “That’s the last thing we need.”