Headline:US to pull nearly 12,000 troops out of Germany
Sub-headline: Trump administration’s move set to exacerbate tensions within Nato
But critics have warned US withdrawal would undermine a strong symbol of Washington’s commitment to its European allies and embolden Russia, which has in the past been keen to exploit divisions between Nato members.
Richard Fontaine, chief executive of the Center for a New American Security think-tank, said the decision was “a mistake”.
“The administration has offered no real rationale for the change other than as retribution for a Germany it sees as insufficiently committed to defence spending,” he said, adding that shifting units and installations from Germany to other European countries would be costly and undermine efforts to unify Nato allies.
The opinion of Richard Fontaine chief executive of ‘Center for a New American Security’ as a disinterested/objective ‘expert’ on this question is dubious, at best:
Founded in 2007, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is widely considered to be an important source of national security and military analysis for the Obama administration, particularly with respect to counterinsurgency strategy (COIN). Described by the Los Angeles Times as “a haven for hawkish Democrats,” CNAS calls itself an “independent and nonpartisan research institution” that aims to engage “policymakers, experts, and the public with innovative fact-based research, ideas, and analysis to shape and elevate the national security debate.”
The question of ‘Europe’s self defence’ has been answered by Macron, in 2018:
Headline:France’s Macron pushes for ‘true European army’
Sub-headline: French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that Europeans cannot be protected without a “true, European army”, as he marks the centenary of the World War One Armistice.
On a visit to the former Western Front in Verdun, he said Russia had shown it could be a threat and Europe had to be able “to defend itself better alone”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed the idea of an intervention force in June, but said it would have to be part of “the structure of defence co-operation”.
Further in this news story, that not only embraces Russian revanchism but also “…increasingly aggressive Chinese posture in the Mediterranean, in south-eastern Europe”. The New Cold War is on two fronts, that is the purview of NATO?
While critics said the move was likely to embolden Russian ambitions in Europe, a senior defence official said relocating troops would allow the US to react to “very aggressive Russian activity . . . and also increasingly aggressive Chinese posture in the Mediterranean, in south-eastern Europe”.
This newspaper offers Brookings’ Thomas Wright’s ‘psychological evaluation of Trump’ as relevant, which it may be. Yet, the Eastern edge of The American Empire’s reach is now an anachronism, except to those who would fight a New Cold War with Russia and China. When will it be time, for a very prosperous Europe, to emancipate itself from American tutelage?
Thomas Wright, an expert in transatlantic relations at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank, said: “This is all to do with Donald Trump’s deep-seated psychological hostility to Germany in general and Angela Merkel in particular. There’s no strategy.”