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Trump's Germany troops pullout may be his last gift to Putin before the election

August 2, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Since he came to office, US President Donald Trump has obsessively picked at the ties that bind America to its allies.

The problem for NATO and America's other allies is that there seems little that can hold Trump back from his impulses.

This argument will ring hollow in the cavernous halls at NATO HQ in Brussels leafy suburbs, where commitment to 2% GDP came long before Trump began his presidency, as will the claim by Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said the drawdown would "bolster" America's support of its allies because it would "better distribute forces across Europe and increase the use of rotational forces. "

As recently as NATO's last leaders' meeting in Luton, England, in December 2019 Stoltenberg let Trump blow his own trumpet by announcing increasing GDP defense spending commitments he'd squeezed from the alliance's members.

Ironically Trump's generals are moving the US military's Europe command, EUCOM, from Germany to Brussels, home of NATO, to "improve EUCOM's operational flexibility," according to EUCOM's Commander Tom Wolters -- despite Belgium's glaring NATO contribution deficit; at 0. 93% it is lower even than Germany's.

Whatever Trump's motive, be it petulance or indeed a strategic pivot to Asia, as Esper has explained in recent weeks, the reality leaves allies rattled and runs counter to the US's long-term benefit; now those European countries must look to themselves for defense -- not for a quick fix, but as a major strategic shift.

Germany's Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said it was a "pity" Trump was pulling troops from Germany, adding, "I want us to finally advance more quickly towards a common European security and defence policy. "

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