President Donald Trump announced plans to pull 11,900 troops out of Germany on Wednesday, 6,400 of whom will be coming home to the U.S.
The move comes more than a month after Trump accused Germany of “delinquency,” saying Germany had failed to contribute its fair share to the NATO defense fund in June. Roughly 5,500 of the troops currently in Germany will be redeployed across Europe, including in Poland. The U.S. will now have a total of 24,000 troops stationed there, but Trump said he may add more again if Germany contributes a greater share of its gross domestic product (GDP) to NATO.
“We don’t want to be the suckers anymore,” he told reporters. “The United States has been taken advantage of for 25 years, both on trade and on the military. We’re protecting Germany, so we’re reducing the force because they’re not paying the bills. It’s very simple. They’re delinquent. So we’re reducing the force. Now if they start paying their bills… I would think about it.”
Trump made the initial threat to withdraw troops from Germany in June during a White House press conference alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda. He said thousands of troops would be redeployed in Poland.
While Duda thanked Trump for sending troops to his country at the time, he also admitted that he had asked Trump not to remove any military forces from Europe. Trump’s move increases the number of soldiers present in Poland, but fewer forces will be present in Europe as a whole.
NATO members are expected to pay at least 2% of their GDP toward defense. Trump says Germany contributes just over 1% of its GDP, a figure supported by official numbers. Trump has long called for NATO allies to up their defense spending, saying the U.S. is contributing the lion’s share.
The projected cost of the troop movements is between $6 and $8 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal, which Congress would have to approve.
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