WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) – US President Donald Trump plans to reinforce US troops in Poland after the planned withdrawal of almost 10,000 US soldiers from Germany. Trump justified the move at a press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday (local time) in the White House with what he considered to be Germany’s lack of defense spending. Trump said some of the soldiers from Germany should return to the U.S. Other soldiers would be relocated to other locations in Europe and “Poland will be one of these other locations”.
Trump said Poland had agreed to pay for US troops in the country. The presence in Germany will be reduced “very significantly”. Trump again criticized the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline, which is to bring gas from Russia to Germany. “Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars to buy energy from Russia through this pipeline.” At the same time, the US wants to defend Germany against Russia. “I think that people in Germany are very unhappy about it.”
Trump said again on Wednesday that the number of US soldiers in Germany should be reduced to 25,000. Around 34,500 US soldiers are currently stationed in Germany. With a partial withdrawal of US troops, Trump wants to punish Germany for what he believes to be insufficient defense expenditure. Government officials in Warsaw have since stressed that the US military presence is not to be increased at the expense of Germany.
The national conservative PiS government in Warsaw has long wanted to have more US troops in their country – above all as a deterrent to Russia. The performances range up to a permanent US military base in Poland, called “Fort Trump” by the Polish public. So far, US soldiers have been stationed there on a rotation basis, according to the Polish government, currently around 5,000.
Trump pointed out that Poland, along with the United States, was one of only eight NATO countries that met the Alliance’s two percent goal. Germany, on the other hand, only pays a fraction of it. Trump spoke of “slightly more than one percent”, but it could – depending on the calculation – also be less than one percent.
NATO’s two percent goal is for all Allies to approach the goal of spending at least two percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense by 2024. Germany has increased spending significantly in recent years, but was still only at 1.38 percent of GDP in 2019./cy/DP/mis