Berlin still has not received any official confirmation from Washington about reports that the United States plans to withdraw thousands of troops currently based in Germany.
Senior Trump administration officials told Reuters last week that the president had ordered the U.S. military to remove almost 10,000 troops.
With nothing said over the weekend, Germany's Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was cautious when speaking to reporters on Monday (June 8).
“The fact is the presence of U.S. troops in Germany serves the entire security of the NATO alliance - so American security too." The American official who made the initial announcement had said the move had nothing to do with the deteriorating relationship between Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently thwarted Trump's plan to host a G7 meeting this month, and has clashed on everything from trade wars to climate policy.
But the news did come as shock to Berlin, and policy watchers.
The German Marshall Fund, a Washington think tank that focuses on U.S.-European ties, was one.
Its vice president Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff told Reuters he couldn't think a worse time for the alliance in decades.
“Donald Trump seems to see Angela Merkel, not anybody else, as his systemic rival”.
If the U.S. went through with the withdrawal it would reduce its troop numbers in Germany to 25,000, from the 34,500 currently there.
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