Republicans on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday urged President Trump to reconsider the withdrawal of US troops in Germany, warning that the move would “complicate” the United States’ position with the allies and put national security “at risk”.
“As Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, we are writing today to express our concern about your administration’s plans to significantly reduce the number of American service members stationed in Germany,” wrote Republicans, including Representative Adam. Kinzinger and rank committee member Michael McCaul. in a letter, obtained by Fox News.
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“The presence of the United States in Germany serves as a cornerstone of NATO’s deterrence against Russian aggression,” they wrote, noting that the Obama administration oversaw the withdrawal of thousands of troops from Germany in 2012, and two years later, Russia invaded Ukraine and “illegally” annexed the Crimea.
“That reduction has since been reversed and the United States’ military presence in Europe has increased, largely thanks to the efforts of its administration,” they continued. “However, the Putin regime has yet to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and its evil activities across the continent have continued unabated.”
“Meanwhile, NATO’s main allies and front-line partners in the Baltic and Black Seas see their security intrinsically linked to the support of the United States and the NATO alliance,” they continued, noting that “this is not the time. taking steps that could cause the Putin regime to question the credibility of NATO’s deterrent or could lead our NATO allies and partners to doubt the United States’ commitment to our collective security. “
Republicans noted that the United States’ military footprint in Germany also serves the “strategic interests” of the United States by “allowing the projection of United States power beyond Europe and into the Middle East, Africa, and Asia of the South”.
Lawmakers added that the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany operated by the United States Army “provides critical care to wounded American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan,” while
Stuttgart, Germany is home to the United States Africa Command, which they said “has been sounding the alarm regarding the dangers of the growing influence of Russia and China in Africa.”
“We are concerned that a partial withdrawal from Germany may jeopardize efforts to reverse this trend, as well as hinder efforts to counter terrorist organizations that pose a security threat to Africa, Europe and the United States,” they wrote.
Lawmakers urged the president to “continue to build and maintain a united coalition of like-minded allies” to “ensure that free and open societies triumph over the Vladimir Putin regime and the Chinese Communist Party.”
“The withdrawal of thousands of troops from Germany will only complicate this crucial effort and, in turn, jeopardize the national security of the United States,” they wrote.
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Lawmakers noted, as the president has said throughout his administration, that NATO allies should “contribute more to our common defense, since sharing the burden is critical to the cohesion of the alliance,” while arguing that a withdrawal from the United States “would not convince Berlin to spend more, while jeopardizing the strategic interests of the United States.”
The letter, signed by Representatives McCaul, Kinzinger, Ann Wagner, Joe Wilson, Brian Fitzpatrick and John Curtis, was sent to the White House early Tuesday morning.
The letter comes after the president suggested reducing the 52,000 soldiers in Germany to 25,000, bringing the total number of US troops in the region to about 35,000.
“We are at 52,000 soldiers in Germany,” Trump said earlier this month. “That is a tremendous cost to the United States. Germany, as you know, is very delinquent in its payments to NATO. “
“We are protecting Germany and they are criminals. That doesn’t make sense, “said Trump.
Time magazine reported that Germany has yet to pay 2 percent of its GDP in the military, which was agreed in 2014. Germany distributed 1.3 percent of its GDP in military spending in 2019, according to the report.
A senior administration official said there have been internal discussions about the withdrawal of US troops since September.
But McCaul told Fox News that while he shares the administration’s frustration that Germany has not followed through on its 2 percent spending commitment, “I am concerned that significantly reducing the US military footprint. In Germany it may further damaging the national security interests of the US than it would to incentivize Germany will contribute more to the collective security of the NATO alliance. “
“I look forward to collaborating with the Administration on this issue and receiving information about the future of the US military posture in Europe and the Indo-Pacific,” McCaul told Fox News. “I also hope to discuss your strategy to ensure that the interests of the United States, and those of our NATO allies and other partners, are better served in the face of aggression by the Putin regime and the Chinese Communist Party.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.