The Pentagon is analyzing the costs and implications of a large-scale retreat or deployment of US troops stationed in Germany, with tensions between President Donald Trump and Chancellor Angela Merkel mounting, according to people familiar with the work.
Efforts follow Trump's expression of interest in removing the troops hit with the White House and military aides earlier this year, US officials said. Trump is astounded by the size of the US presence, which includes some 35,000 active soldiers, and complains that other countries do not fairly contribute to common security or pay enough for NATO. Emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art … = 1
US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to comment on the unpublished efforts, emphasized that the exercise should focus on one limited internal investigation of options. The top military are not yet involved, and the Pentagon does not have the job of figuring out how to run any option.
A National Security Council spokesman in the White House said in a statement that the NSC had not asked for an analysis by the Department of Defense to reposition troops in Germany. But "the Pentagon continues to assess US troop deployments," the statement says, and such "analysis exercises" are "not out of the norm."
Several officials suggested that Pentagon policymakers had advanced the evaluation to prove the value of the current basic agreement and that Trump refuses to carry the idea of withdrawal.
Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon dismissed any proposal for a complete or partial withdrawal from Germany and described this analysis as routine.
"The Pentagon regularly reviews power management and cost-benefit analyzes," he said in a statement. Germany is hosting the largest US presence in Europe – we remain deeply rooted in the common values and strong relationships between our countries, and remain fully committed to our NATO Alliance and NATO alliance. "
Since the end of the Second World War, the presence of US troops in Germany has been regarded as a bulwark against a possible Russian invasion of Europe and as a base for US operations in Africa and the Middle East.
Defense officials said a cost analysis made changes at the staff level to allow a broader discussion of the presence of US troops in Europe. As part of the regular analysis of the costs and justification for their troops around the world, the United States has drastically reduced its troop levels in Germany from the Cold War.
But continuing doubts in Europe over Trump's commitment to the Alliance The possibility of routine changes to American forces in Europe has also become much stronger.
The implementation scenarios examined include a large-scale return of US troops stationed in Germany to the United States and a complete or partial resettlement of US troops to Poland in Germany – a NATO ally that has achieved the Alliance's defense objectives and whose leadership suits Trump better.
In recent months, Poland has proposed spending at least $ 2 billion to get a permanent US base. The US military already has a rotating force in Poland, while other Allies in the Baltic States are doing the same to prevent Russia's increasing aggression along the eastern flank of the Alliance (19659002) unit at the NATO summit on the 11th and 12th . July. Trump continues to be dissatisfied that many NATO countries spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense, a target alliance to be achieved by 2024. The United States spends about 3.58 percent of its GDP on defense.
Although several US administrations have asked Europe to spend more, Trump is focusing particularly on the balance sheet. He was particularly critical of Merkel, the defense and a number of other issues.
Last week, the White House's frustration was evident in a contentious Washington meeting between Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen. Von der Leyen said the German budget projections called for an increase in defense spending to 1.5 percent of GDP by 2024. The White House was disappointed by Germany's efforts, officials said.
A senior NATO official said neither the Alliance headquarters nor the individual Member governments were informed of any Trump plans that would address the issue of withdrawal or repositioning of US troops in Europe at the summit, although all were aware of Polish lobbying are to place at least some components there. The official talked about the condition of anonymity to discuss a member government ahead of the summit.
The official said that Poland's offer is "peanuts in comparison" to US military investment in Germany, including "the value of 60 years of sunk costs in facilities such as the Landstuhl military health complex and the Ramstein Air Base.
NATO Officials and others suggested that the cost analysis of the US presence in Germany and an opt-out to recall Trump's leaked request last winter for military options in the war with North Korea, "designed to scare the living daylights out of everyone and [North Korea] "In this case, the official said, the goal may be to" inflict more trouble "on Merkel while generally rattling the Alliance and positioning himself as a summit spoiler.
US Allies housing permanent American military imprints, pay for a certain portion of the costs in a number of ways: Japan and South Korea to B Cash deposits, according to a 2013 study by Rand Corp. While Germany has prepared for the presence of US troops through contributions in kind such as land, infrastructure and construction (19659002) Based on statistics from 2002, the study estimated that Germany was about 33 percent of the cost of US stationed there Military compensated. It is unclear how much would be saved by bringing everyone home, because the United States would still be responsible for paying them, in addition to housing and other personnel costs. At the same time, a large proportion of American troops in Germany are involved in the efforts of the US military outside Europe and are setting up operations in the nation.
The US military had reduced its presence in Europe for years prior to the annexation of Russia for years. In early 2014, Crimea from neighboring Ukraine caused a change of attitude, with Washington wishing to deter Moscow from further attacks. The US and Allied forces began to make brigades through the Eastern members, and the US began returning equipment such as tanks and helicopters to the theater.
Trump's contempt for the alliance, which he had declared "obsolete" during his presidential campaign, was clearly focused on Germany, and in particular on Merkel, including the recent tweets stating that she lost power at home.
Bolton met with von der Leyen, and his emphasis on the final result came more than a year after Trump tweeted in March 2017 that Germany owes "huge sums to NATO and the US needs more for the powerful and very expensive Defense that Germany offers to be paid! "
Trump's Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has also been brushing off Feders, who is calling on a conservative news agency this month to "strengthen" European rights – a remark that some European governments consider threatening.
The upper house democrats approved a letter this week Republican Seth Moulton, D-Mass., Called on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to dismiss Grenell. A US State Department official confirmed receipt of the letter, but did not comment on its content.
When Trump lashed out at NATO, he described this year's Group 7 summit in Canada as "worse than NAFTA," which also denounced the trilateral trade agreement-allies were comforted by the support of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and partially by Pompeo.
At a Senate hearing on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' budget on Wednesday, Pompeo spoke of "strong, unified Atlantic unity, even as" we have urged them to increase their willingness to support the NATO forces. "
Pompeio added to the confusion of the American Embassy at a time when Trump promotes better relations with Russia Moscow, imposed on the annexation of the Crimea.
"It is time for them to be so interested in how we are going against Russia" and "to convince them that the sanctions regime is important results that are in the best interests of Europe," Pompeo said.
While Trump ponders why the alliance continues to marginalize Russia over Crimea and passes on the proposal to include Russia in the G-7, Pompeo reiterated that we reject the "Russian occupation of Crimea and Georgia and the government recognizes it." The threat posed by Moscow to Eastern Europe. " The United States under Trump had increased its resources for the rotating NATO forces in the Baltic States and Poland. "I think this government is clearly ruthless towards Russia," said Pompeo. "I think that's indisputable."
The Pentagon's analysis in Europe is based on the fact that relations between Trump and Europe over its decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports initiate "tit-for-tat" measures and withdraw after the nuclear agreement with the Iran has been considered a pact in Europe as a model for peaceful conflict resolution. The President's decision to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on 16 July brings a new twist to his trip to Europe, which includes a stopover in London.
Among the statements about the unity and indispensability of NATO – and the alarm bells Trump – the alliance is probably undergoing a tectonic change, and Trump could be as much his manifestation as his cause. Having lost its original cause for the end of the Cold War, it found new foundations for its existence during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, followed by a focus on Afghanistan and counter-terrorism. The resurgence of Russia as a threatening force in Europe has recently given the alliance a new purpose.
But the question of where the Western Defense Pact fits into a 21st century in which Europeans disagree with each other and with the US In matters of economics, trade and immigration, where the world is undergoing a fundamental reorientation the rise of Asia, some have led to consider a new agreement.
– – –
Missy Ryan and Greg of Washington Post Jaffe contributed to this report.