People don’t enjoy military occupations.
A plurality of Germans in a new poll supported a reduction in the number of US troops based in the country, with a majority wanting to see all 20 US atomic bombs located in Germany removed as well.
The Trump administration last week announced plans to remove nearly 12,000 troops from Germany “within weeks.”
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the move supported US strategic goals and would “strengthen NATO and improve operational efficiency.” It comes amid months of tension between Washington and Berlin and triggered angry responses from allies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Peter Beyer, Germany’s coordinator of transatlantic cooperation, said it was “completely unacceptable.” Johann Wadephul, a senior figure in Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, said: “We expect our leading ally to act as a model, with orientation and balance — not maximum pressure. You don’t treat partners like this.”
Speaking about the move at a press conference last week, President Donald Trump once again vented his frustration with Germany for not planning to hit the NATO spending target of 2% of its gross domestic product on national defense by 2024.
“We don’t want to be the suckers anymore,” Trump said. “We’re protecting Germany, so we’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bills. It’s very simple. They’re delinquent.”
But while Trump sought to frame the removal of US troops as punishment for Germany, and while Berlin opposes the move, Germans in the new poll largely supported it, including some who would like to see further reductions of US military presence.
It doesn’t really matter if it’s punishment or a gift to remove a military occupation of a country. It just matters that we do it.
It’s insane that we are attempting to manage a bizarre global anti-communism empire 30 years after the collapse of communism, when we can’t even keep the peace in our own capital city.
For their part, I don’t know if Germany will all of a sudden throw off the yoke and go full-Hitler as soon as the Americans leave. Sure would be funny if they did. But I kinda doubt it.