“American Retreat from Europe”

Congressman Mac Thornberry (R, TX), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, has misunderstood the American situation in Europe. In his Thursday Wall Street Journal op-ed, he asserted that

press reports surfaced of a proposal, backed by some in the administration, to withdraw a significant number of troops from Europe….

His piece went on in that vein.

Thornberry is badly mistaken along a number of dimensions.

First, the alleged withdrawal of troops is from Germany, not from Europe.

More than that, though, Germany along with the majority of NATO members have demonstrated that they have no interest in defending themselves or each other—for starters, they’ve all welched on their own commitments to spend even minimally—a whole 2% of their national GDP—on NATO capability.

We can’t force those nations to defend themselves, nor should we spend American treasure or risk American blood trying. Poland and the Baltics do have such an interest, and that’s where our troops should go. All of those currently stationed in Germany should go, not just the token 9,500 currently being bandied about by “reports” for withdrawal. Apparently, too, at least some of those supposed to be taken out of Germany would be slated for Poland.

Overarching all of that is this. Germany isn’t upset over the 9,500 American troops supposedly to be withdrawn from the country. Germany is upset over the loss of all those millions of American dollars being spent on the German economy by the tens of thousands of American dependents of those soldiers, as well as by the soldiers themselves.

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