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US to increase troops stationed in Germany

The United States of America will increase its troops stationed in Germany. To the hitherto 34 800 men and women in uniform, some 1 500 more US soldiers are to be added in the next two years, according to US ambassador Richard Grenell.

Published: September 8, 2018, 10:48 am

    The increased number of soldiers would act in “strengthening NATO and European security”. This would strengthen the transatlantic alliance and increase the US defense capability, Grenell said.

    Earlier this year, the US media reported that the US government was in the process of assessing the cost of keeping troops in Germany, citing Pentagon sources.

    There had been talks of a troop withdrawal at the 13 US bases in Germany. The Washington Post had reported a possible mass withdrawal of US soldiers from Germany, but it was denied by the US government.

    US barracks are an important economic factor in the area. According to calculations by the US military, they bring over € 2 billion a year to the local economy. In the Kaiserslautern region, for example, the US Army is the largest employer with 6 000 Germans employed. No other European country currently host more US troops than the German Federal Republic.

    But Germans would actually welcome the withdrawal of American troops stationed in their country, a poll has found – as Donald Trump threatened to pull the plug on military support.

    A YouGov poll for the dpa news agency found that more Germans would welcome the departure of the 35 000-strong American force than would oppose it.

    Some 42 percent said they supported withdrawal while just 37 per cent wanted the soldiers to stay, with 21 per cent undecided.

    A possible US withdrawal enjoys support from across the political spectrum in Germany, but certain parties feel stronger about it.

    Voters for the left-wing Die Linke are particularly in favour of withdrawal, with 67 percent backing it, as are supporters of the AfD, on 55 percent. Both parties are seen to be pro-Russian too. Greens also back withdrawal by 48 percent.

    Less supportive of withdrawal are voters for the centre-right CDU, at 35 percent, the SPD at 42 percent, and the FDP at 37 percent.

    The same poll also found significant opposition to spending on the military in general. Only 15 percent of all Germans agree with Angela Merkel that the country should increase its military spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2024, and 36 per cent believe the country’s already spends too much on its army.

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