The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw approximately 12,000 troops from Germany has led to bipartisan attacks in the Senate, amid warnings it would disrupt the US alliance.
Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, faced persistent questions in the Senate on Thursday, and while doing so, he claimed that when he was stationed there as an army lieutenant in the late 1980s, fighting on the East German border Had fought There was no fighting in Germany during the Cold War.
The Pentagon has insisted that a withdrawal was ordered as the overall strategic location of US forces abroad, but Donald Trump clarified that he saw it as a punishment for Germany for not spending enough on defense.
Pompeo said the State Department was part of the discussion about the redevelopment, with 6,400 troops being brought to the US and 5,500 others to Europe, mostly Belgium and Italy.
Questioning Pompeo at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Democrat Jeanne Jane Shaheen said: “The only country that has publicly endorsed the removal of American troops from Germany today.”
Republican Senator Mitt Romney told Pompeo about the move, reflecting widespread uneasiness in the GOP: “I heard from the highest levels of the German government that it is seen by them as an insult to Germany, and I would not imagine it can do. At a time when we need to draw in our friends and colleagues so that we can collectively face China, we want to insult them. “
Pompeo insisted that the withdrawal of troops for the US did not mean that they were “off the field”.
“These units will participate in rotational activity. They will be deployed. “They will not deploy or Gary, but make no mistake about it, they will be fully available to ensure that we can properly meet the challenges faced by global powers.”
His remarks reflect the assurance of the Department of Defense that troops repatriated to America will be available for temporary tours in the Baltic States, Poland or the Black Sea region.
When the impact of the withdrawal by Shaheen on relations with Berlin was suppressed, Pompeo did not respond directly, but said: “This is personal to me. I fought on the border of East Germany when I was a young soldier. I was there Was stationed. “
Pompeo served as a lieutenant in a tank regiment in West Germany from 1986 to 1991, during which the East-West border was completely peaceful. He did not take part in any fighting during his military career.
Shaheen reminds him that his former unit was one of those who were called back to America. Foreign Policy on Thursday cited Defense Department documents that reported redeployment to troops in Germany as “it would take months to plan and years to execute”.
Trump said he ordered the move because Germany was not spending enough to protect itself and American taxpayers were being taken “for suckers”.
However, Germany has recently increased its spending, saying it has to achieve the 2% GDP target for defense spending that NATO is set for by 2024.
Belgium and Italy, where many American troops are to be reappointed, spend less than Germany as a share of national income.
Diplomats and former officials have suggested that Trump’s decision may be motivated by personal animosity towards Germany and its Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Fox News reports As a retaliation for Angela Merkel’s decision not to attend the G7 summit at the height of the epidemic at Camp David, in June, as ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenl, stepped down.