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Opinion
James Stavridis

Trump’s Retreat From Germany Is a Victory for Putin

Pulling U.S. troops from Europe won’t save any money but it will make America less safe.

On the same side now.

On the same side now.

Photographer: Vano Shlamov/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump has confirmed his intent to pull nearly 10,000 troops out of Germany, bringing the U.S. presence there to under 25,000. It’s hard to overstate how poor a decision this is. Cutting these troops is an outright gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin, unnecessarily strains the transatlantic alliance, reduces America’s global readiness to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations, and won’t save the U.S. any money. 

Trump’s rationale is that Germany is “delinquent” in payments to the North American Treaty Organization. This is not true: NATO’s budget is apportioned among the 30 member nations, and Germany’s obligations are up to date. While it is correct that Germany has yet to achieve the alliance’s goal of members spending 2% of GDP on their own defense, Berlin has been moving in that direction.