Possible reduction of American troops in Germany is a “huge mistake.” This opinion in an interview with Politico on June 6 was expressed by the former commander of land forces of the United States in Europe, the General-the Lieutenant in resignation of Ben Hodges.
Hodges commanded the American ground forces in Europe from 2014 to 2017. Now engaged in strategic studies at the Washington-based Center for European policy analysis.
The General-the Lieutenant in resignation called the decision of the President of the United States Donald trump political and noted that it was a surprise to the Pentagon, Congress, U.S. diplomats, and NATO allies, especially Germany.
He said that the main benefit it will receive from Russia, and stressed that “the Kremlin did nothing to deserve this gift.” Russia has not changed its policy towards Ukraine and Syria, there have been no changes along the Eastern flank of NATO in the Black sea, said Hodges. Therefore, the General-the Lieutenant in resignation, the decision trump is hardly justified.
He recalled that we are talking about a reduction of 28% of American troops in Germany, which is key to the NATO strategy to contain Russia. Hodges suggested that due to pandemic and coronavirus emerged in this regard, the logistical challenges will be very difficult and expensive to transfer several thousand U.S. troops back to the US.
June 5, the American newspaper the Wall Street Journal reported that trump has directed the Pentagon to reduce the number of American military in Germany at 9.5 thousand by September 2020. Now in Germany is constantly 34.5 thousand American soldiers. Officially, the document is not yet published.
Foreign Minister of Germany Heiko Maas said that if the intention of the trump to reduce the contingent in Germany to implement, it would not be in the interests of the United States. The Minister admitted that the relations of Germany with the largest partner in NATO now are hard.
Trump not once criticized the allies for the lack of funding NATO. He argued that Germany pays contributions equal to 1% of its GDP, and US 4%. In 2018, the American President threatened to withdraw from the Alliance.