Is there any good reason why Germany is still occupied by the United States? After 75+ years one could make a strong argument that the Nazi threat is over. Donald Trump would seem to agree with this sentiment and directly stated that he wants to continue to reduce the number of American soldiers on the territory of today’s friendlier tolerant and geopolitically submissive Deutschland. The logic by which U.S. forces are stationed across the globe has been called into question many times and very often has no sellable answer. Trump himself agrees with the dubious nature of the need to have an American army base in every possible location. He even told the graduates of West Point that “We are not the policeman of the world”. This a very unusual statement from an American President, so is Trump’s threat to remove troops from Germany practical, ideological, or some odd reflection of his famed narcissism?
So how exactly did Trump threaten Germany with a troop withdrawal? On his most beloved platform of communication with the masses the President of the United States recently tweeted the following…
Germany pays Russia billions of dollars a year for Energy, and we are supposed to protect Germany from Russia. What’s that all about? Also, Germany is very delinquent in their 2% fee to NATO. We are therefore moving some troops out of Germany!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2020
The amount of U.S. forces in Germany, even before this demand by Trump was a good number for a flaccid superficial occupation but not a real determining factor in preventing a foreign invasion, but then again Germany is surrounded by allies and Switzerland so maybe one soldier would be good enough. With the Cold War having ended in the early 90s, from 2006-2018 the number of American personal occupying Germany went from around 72,000 to a bit over 32,000. A month before this historic tweet Trump had already threatened to remove 9,500 U.S. soldiers from Germany, shifting many to Poland, i.e. closer to Russia.
Since Germany did not pay up, after having a month to think about it, it would seem that the manpower shift has been increased to 12,000 men. So if this is a mob-style threat of “pay for protection or pay the price” then it really doesn’t seem worth it for Germany to bother, if they actually have the free will not to pay. So what is the difference if Berlin does or does not pay their tribute to NATO?
|Germany refuses to pay up||They remain occupied but by less men.
They become marginally weaker to a proposed highly unlikely Russian threat.
|Germany decides to pay up||They remain occupied by the current number of men.
They remain as weak/strong to proposed highly unlikely Russian threat as they were before.
The threat traditional land based invasion happening between major powers in the 21st century seems impossible. No matter how much the clowns in the Mainstream Media portray modern war through a filter of WWII understanding, this does not make it true. A conflict between Russia and the West would be conducted by missiles with nuclear warheads. But for the sake of argument let’s say things change and infantry become a viable means of winning big wars again. In this instance having your troops deep in the heartland of the EU away from the Russian front makes no sense. The exception to this would be air force bases as having one’s fighters and bombers off the front line is not a problem, but the idea that “guys with guns” is somehow protecting Germany from Russia is mental even if infantry warfare became viable again. Furthermore, what exactly would Russia gain by making a bayonet push the Reichstag actually get Moscow? The opportunity to occupy territory with no resources that traditionally hate them? Moscow has neither the means nor the motive to bother, making a Russian threat a very weak justification to do anything with tanks and men. Soft Power works against Russia, Hard Power cannot.If we look at things from this perspective this threat from Trump, it all seems rather empty and pointless, but if we take a look at it from the perspective of NATO’s future and not Germany’s national security we get a much different picture.
|Germany refuses to pay up||They and any who refuse to pay are slowly weaned off of NATO.
This can weaken an organization Trump does not like or force the weaker nations to beg for American protection from the Chinese/Russians who are scarier overlords.
|Germany decides to pay up||NATO becomes a profitable protection racket that continues to serve American interests without putting so much burden on the back of the core of the organization.|
Trump was very critical of NATO during his electoral campaign and seems to continue to be a skeptic. And perhaps this pressure on the big anti-Russian alliance could be a win-win scenario for Trump. If the member nations start paying up/contributing then this no longer becomes a burden for America while providing the same benefits that it always did. If the nations do not pay up, which could be bad for their health, then Trump does not seem particularly worried about this troublesome organization changing or dying out.
Certain member nations, especially those close to Russia are very weak and very poor, if they lose NATO protection then their destiny will be in their own hands which should prove to be a very terrifying thought to the leadership of these micronations – having to deal with great powers on their own two feet and not as a vassal of greatness.
It is obvious to everyone that the U.S. has long overstayed its “10-year Allied occupation” of then Nazi Germany, which is a country unrecognizable in comparison to today’s core of the EU. Presenting the need to protect Germany from the Russians makes little sense, but a little is infinitely more than zero.
Being occupied by ~20,000 U.S. soldiers is not much different than paying up to be occupied by ~30,000 U.S. soldiers from a German perspective.
Airbases in Germany could matter in a theoretical (and extremely unlikely) traditional conflict with Russia. Posting infantry in the country would contribute nothing in a conflict.
As a NATO skeptic, putting pressure on the organization is a win-win scenario for Trump as either he pushes it towards the breaking point to get rid of it or forces it to become profitable/beneficial to the United States and thus worth keeping.
Weaker NATO nations near Russia have no choice but to pay up to the West because their stability rests on being a complete part of it and having its protection.
Trump may want to coerce the Germans to buy oil/gas products from someone else.
By Tim Kirby – Strategic culture Foundation