President Trump said on Monday the US plans to cut troops in Germany by about 9,500, which would bring the number of US troops in the European country to 25,000. The president’s statement confirmed a June 5th report from The Wall Street Journal, which is how Germany first learned of the plan, a sign of souring relations between the two countries.
The move reflects the Trump administration’s strategy to leverage allies into spending more on defense. “They owe NATO billions and they know it,” Trump told reporters. “Why should we be doing what we’re doing if they don’t pay?”
The Wall Street Journal report said a directive was signed by National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien that would cap the number of US troops permitted to be stationed in Germany at 25,000. The current cap is 52,000.
While the US plans drawdowns in Germany, another NATO ally is expected to receive more US troops. Last week, US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher said on Twitter that an announcement regarding an increased US presence in Poland is “coming soon.”
Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Monday that it was not Poland’s intention to increase the US presence at the expense of troops withdrawing from Germany. Morawiecki also said the negotiations on the increased troop presence are “proceeding as planned” and that the outcome will be “impressive.”