Breaking with Trump policies, US deploys more troops in Germany

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announces 500 additional troops, allaying German fears of a planned Trump withdrawal.

The United States will post an additional 500 military personnel in Germany to strengthen bilateral relations, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said at the start of his first official visit to Europe.

This move distances President Joe Biden’s administration from his predecessor Donald Trump, who decided to reduce troops and move Germany’s military commands over allegations that NATO’s key ally has not paid its fair share for defense.

“Today, I am happy to announce that we will increase the presence of US forces in Germany,” Austin told reporters after talks with his counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on Tuesday in Berlin.

“I have informed the Minister of our intention to permanently station around 500 additional US troops in the Wiesbaden area as of this fall,” he said.

Kramp-Karrenbauer hailed the development as a “strong signal” of a healthy US-German relationship.

The Biden administration said in February it would suspend Trump-era plans to withdraw about 12,000 troops from the roughly 34,500 stationed in Germany.

Although the prospect has been looming for years, Trump’s decision has sparked shock and opposition from Germany, in particular states where the basics are.

The Biden administration has emphasized a multilateral approach to world affairs and said it will seek to strengthen ties with its longtime allies.

Continuing with this change of tone, Austin pledged that Germany “will continue to be an important economic and security partner” for the United States “for years to come.”

When asked if the move meant Washington would not make Trump’s planned withdrawals, Austin said the Pentagon had “stopped planning” for troop cuts.

The German minister, meanwhile, said she had heard from Biden that “there will be no downsizing as previously planned.”

Afghanistan, Ukraine and Iran lead NATO negotiations

Tuesday’s meeting came as Austin was due to join US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for a series of NATO meetings in Brussels this week, with the May 1 deadline looming for Withdrawal of American troops Afghanistan – as part of the Trump-era deal with the Taliban – and Russia formation of troops at the border with Ukraine should be high on the agenda.

U.S. officials are also expected to discuss the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with European parties to the deal.

Talks on restoring the deal began in Vienna last week, the first sign that a stalemate between Washington and Tehran could break, but a “Sabotage” attack on the nuclear installation of Natanz on Sunday scrambled the negotiations.

In 2018, Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal, which offered sanctions relief in return for Tehran’s reduction in its nuclear program.

Austin also said the ongoing dispute over the Nord Stream gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany would not hurt relations between Berlin and Washington.

The United States and several European countries have strongly opposed the $ 11 billion project, arguing that it would increase Germany and the EU’s dependence on Russia for critical gas supplies. .

“We have expressed our opposition to this deal and the influence it will really give to Russia,” Austin told reporters. “But we are not going to let this issue get in the way of a great relationship we have with the German country.”

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