The Room Where it Happened

John Bolton Reveals His True Feelings About President Trump
Image credit to gageskidmore. Image modified from original.

No wonder President Trump is under the fire of agony from his own political party when he announced his wish to reduce the total number of US troops in Germany from 34,500 to 25,000. Twenty-two (22) Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee expressed their deep concern that the withdrawal of troops may strengthen the position of Russia to US’s detriment.

Even John Bolton recently Tweeted: “America is not ‘great again’ when it’s in retreat. Troop withdrawals from South Korea & Germany send the wrong message to authoritarian govts & abandon close allies.”

Well, it’s time to keep an open mind and see what’s good for the United States Of America which currently depends on the Trump Administration.

The troop withdrawal from Germany is not the first incident planned by the US President. In 2004, the then US President George W Bush pulled nearly 70,000 troops from Europe and Asia and among them, 30,000 troops were deployed in the two heavy divisions of Germany. Doing so, Bush promised, would “reduce stress on our military families” and simultaneously “raise the pressure on our enemies.”

The National Security Advisor of Trump, Robert C O’Brien said that the Administration is doing much the same thing. In a post in Wall Street Journal, O’Brien explained that while the details are being worked out, thousands of American soldiers who are currently deployed in Germany “may soon be redeployed to the Indo-Pacific, where the U.S. maintains a military presence in Guam, Hawaii, Alaska and Japan, as well as deployments in locations like Australia,” while thousands more “may be reassigned to other countries in Europe.” If that comes to pass, then the move will deter, not strengthen, Russia as well as China.

The truth is that the stationing of so many troops in Germany is a little illogical. The US troops are still stationed in the cold war line of contact that separated East and West Germany. Is there still a need to stop the Soviet tank invasion across the Fulda Gap? Presently, the main threat to US is in the East such that moving the US forces to the East would be more strategic.

If one thinks logically, one thing can easily be deduced that there’s no point of rewarding Germany with so many US force. The reason is very simple- Germany has the world’s fourth largest economy yet it spent only 1.38 percent (1.38%) of GDP on defense last year which is far below the NATO Agreement in 2006 which was 2 percent (2%). In comparison, Eastern European Allies including Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are all meeting or even exceeding their defense spending commitments.

US President Donald Trump was “very clear” that he wants to bring US troops home from South Korea, Japan and other allies, his former ambassador to Germany said, stressing Americans are “tired of paying too much” for the defense of other countries.

The discussion of troop withdrawal from Seoul sounded like Washington has been heaping too much pressure on Seoul to increase financial contributions to upkeep 28,500-strong US Forces Korea (USFK) under the bilateral cost sharing deal, called the Special Measures Agreement (SMA).

Richard Grenell just talked about the reality behind the troop withdrawal. He said, “This is a hotly contested issue in the United States. Donald Trump was very clear, we want to bring troops from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, from South Korea, Japan, from Germany.”

“It doesn’t feel like something that gives too powerful a message, other than Americans … are getting a little tired of paying too much for the defense of other countries. And this has been a very political point that President Trump has made for a long time.”

South Korea’s defense ministry, however, said that no discussions have taken place between Seoul and Washington about any possible troop withdrawal from the Korean Peninsula.