A group of Republican legislators in the House of Representatives urged President Donald Trump on Tuesday to reconsider his decision to cut the number of US troops in Germany, saying their presence is the backbone of NATO’s deterrent against Russian aggression.
Why does Trump want to cut troop numbers in Germany?
Trump accused Germany of being “delinquent” in its payments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and vowed to stick with the plan unless Berlin changed course. Trump said earlier this month he would cut the number of US soldiers in Germany to 25,000, faulting the close US ally for failing to meet NATO’s defence spending target and accusing it of taking advantage of the US on trade. The plan would mean a reduction of about 9,500 soldiers.
How has Washington reacted?
The six legislators led by House Foreign Affairs Committee senior Republican Michael McCaul said in a letter that the US military footprint in Germany served Washington’s strategic interests beyond Europe and into the Middle East and Africa, which have seen the growing influence of Russia and China.
The withdrawal would be a remarkable rebuke to one of the closest US trading partners.
The plans immediately drew the ire of Democrats and Republicans alike. “This is not the time to take any action that might cause the Putin regime to question the credibility of the NATO deterrent or might lead our NATO allies and partners to doubt the US commitment to our collective security,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters news agency.