By Daniel DePetris
The U.S. ambassador to Germany caused a stir last week by suggesting Washington could withdraw U.S. troops from Germany if Berlin continues to fall below its NATO commitment to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense. “It is actually offensive,” Richard Grenell told German media, “to assume that the U.S. taxpayer must continue to pay to have 50,000-plus Americans in Germany, but the Germans get to spend their surplus on domestic programs.”
Grenell’s frustration is justified. U.S. presidents since Dwight Eisenhower have complained about NATO’s European members sitting passively on the sidelines while the United States does most of the heavy lifting for their security. The American people are likewise right to find it patently absurd that a wealthy country like Germany, whose $3.9 trillion GDP is the largest in Europe, is unwilling to invest in its own national defense. There is simply no excuse, other than domestic politics, for Berlin to continue dragging its heels.
This piece was originally published by Defense One on August 14, 2019. Read more HERE.