The United States threatens that it might withdraw some of its troops from Germany amid spats over defense spending and a naval mission in the Persian Gulf, according to the US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. With Poland being mooted as a possible new deployment, this threat of withdrawal comes amid ongoing disagreement between Berlin and Washington over Germany’s contribution to NATO and a current dispute caused by the German refusal to participate in a US-led naval mission in the Persian Gulf.
“It is actually offensive to assume that the US taxpayer must continue to pay to have 50,000-plus Americans in Germany, but the Germans get to spend their surplus on domestic programs,” US Ambassador told the media while the US ambassador to neighboring Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, tweeted that Washington would be happy for the US troops currently based in Germany to move to Poland instead. US President Donald Trump had also mentioned the possibility of moving some American troops from Germany to Poland during Polish President Andrzej Duda’s visit to Washington in June. “President Trump is right and Georgette Mosbacher is right, ” Mr. Grenell said, pointing to requests by “numerous presidents” for Germany to “pay for its own defense” that have so far been ignored.
Within Europe, Germany is the country where most US troops are based, with 35,000 soldiers deployed there along with 17,000 American civilians employed by the US military. German government announced earlier that it intends to spend 1.36% of GDP on defense this coming year, an amount that is still well under NATO’s 2% goal for member states. However, the projected increase of the current figure to 1.5% by 2024, the government’s financial planning for 2023 envisages spending only 1.24% of GDP on the military. Grenell’s comments came just after Germany angered Washington by refusing to take part in a US-led operation in the Strait of Hormuz to protect trading vessels from being attacked by Iran and rebuffing a US request to send ground troops to fight the extremist group ‘Islamic State’.