Americans are ‘tired of paying too much’ for others’ defense, says Richard Grenell.
Donald Trump’s former envoy to Germany Richard Grenell has confirmed plans to pull around 9,700 U.S. troops stationed in the country, telling German newspaper Bild that Americans are “tired” of paying for the defense of other countries.
The drawdown — which amounts to around 30 percent of the current force and would leave around 25,000 American soldiers stationed in Germany — was first reported by the Wall Street Journal last week, but NATO allies and Berlin were blindsided by the plan.
The Pentagon and White House did not confirm the move, and on Tuesday, Germany’s Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Berlin had received no official word about the withdrawal.
“This is a hotly contested issue in the United States, Donald Trump was very clear, we want to bring troops from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, from South Korea, Japan and from Germany,” Grenell told Bild in the interview, published late Wednesday. A senior U.S. State Department official told POLITICO Grenell had pushed to pull the troops out of Germany.
“It doesn’t feel like something that gives too powerful a message, other than Americans … are getting a little bit tired of paying too much for the defense of other countries,” he said, “And this has been a very political point that President Trump has made for a long time.”
He added: “There will still be 25,000 American soldiers in Germany, that doesn’t seem like a small number to me.”
U.S. troops stationed on European soil since World War II and through the Cold War have been seen as a powerful symbol of Washington’s commitment to its European allies and a deterrent to Russian aggression. Over the weekend, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pointed out that the troop deployment was also in Washington’s interests.
But Grenell — a close ally of Trump who officially resigned from his ambassadorial post earlier this month, reportedly to join the president’s 2020 campaign — said the move should not come as a surprise.
“Last August and in September 2019 we had a debate in the media about the fact that the United States was considering withdrawing troops for a variety of reasons,” Grenell told Bild.
“Then we went to the NATO summit in London last December and we talked about … the withdrawal of troops. No one should be surprised that Donald Trump is withdrawing troops and bringing our troops home.”
As of March 31, there were 34,674 U.S. military personnel stationed in Germany, including 20,774 from the Army and 12,980 from the Air Force, according to the most recent publicly available Pentagon deployment report.
Some 19,000 additional civilian employees support the uniformed military forces, and that number would almost certainly be cut as a result of the planned withdrawals.
Source: POLITICO https://www.politico.eu/article/us-to-pull-troops-from-germany-ex-ambassador-grenell-confirms/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication