News about the withdrawal of part of the US military from Germany and the transfer of the headquarters of the European Command of the US Armed Forces (Eucom) from German Stuttgart (Baden-Württemberg) to Belgian Mons excited ... journalists. No serious conversations, let alone any action by the department, which seems to be supposed to react, did not undertake. Meanwhile, Washington has announced a truly global restructuring.
To begin with, a few figures were announced by officials in the American and German governments, as well as in NATO. Let's start with President Trump's statement. For most analysts, this American president has long since become not so much a political president as a businessman-president.
So, the United States intends to reduce its contingent to 25 thousand people. Today, according to Trump, there are 52 troops in Germany. That is, 27 thousand Americans have to pack their bags? Alas, Mr. Trump is disingenuous. In fact, only 34,5 thousand soldiers are serving at bases in Germany. The American president somehow, probably by accident, added another 17 thousand civilians to the military. Donald Trump's arithmetic fails.
Moreover, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced on July 29 the withdrawal of 11900 troops. Moreover, Esper said that only 6400 soldiers would return home to the United States. The rest will simply be transferred to other bases in Eastern and Southern Europe. Probably, we are talking about the Baltics and Poland for ground units and Italy for the Air Force. At least, it was these countries that were already heard by the alliance command.
All means are good to win
So why are there no angry statements from German politicians, from the head of NATO? Angela Merkel is silent. On this occasion, only the official representative of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova spoke ironically:
"The fewer American soldiers in Europe, the better."
The perception of the American military in Europe as occupiers has become so commonplace that no one even thinks about the fact that, in fact, for the majority of Germans living in the area of these bases, this is nothing more than a place of work. Stable work with a good salary. And the American military, with their dollars, is a great way to make money. About the same as tourists in resorts. By the way, Americans leave up to 40% of their salaries in German shops and cafes.
And there is only one reason for the silence of the European elite. Trump the businessman has once again got the better of Trump the politician. Numerous statements by the American president that Europe "must pay the United States for protection from evil Russians" are already bored with everything.
Europeans agree that today the armies of their countries are more amusing troops than a real military force. Moreover, they agree to pay to revive their own armies. Pay the same 2% of the budget that NATO should pay according to the agreement. But where can I get them?
For example, Germany, according to the letter of the treaty, "owes the alliance" 2019 billion euros in 66 alone! This is 2% of the 3,34 trillion euros of Germany's GDP last year. Despite the fact that for 10 years the FRG has been pursuing a tough policy of cutting government spending to pay off the huge national debt - two trillion euros! It is clear that it is simply impossible for the Germans to find such money, even theoretically.
Some time ago, Angela Merkel agreed with Trump that Germany should still bring payments to 2%. But it will be able to do this only in the next 10-20 years. Not earlier. Today, even these dates seem fantastic. The pandemic has done its job, spending in most countries has grown exponentially.
So why did President Trump bring up the issue of the US military in Europe again? In my opinion, this is another attempt by presidential candidate Donald Trump to win the next election. Nothing more than a game directed more towards the interior of the United States than towards the outer contour. An attempt to show the American people their concern for American prosperity.
Trump's statements are another soap bubble
The silence of European politicians about the statements of Washington politicians is also due to the fact that they are simply impossible in principle. No, it is quite possible to relocate a small part of the military personnel from the base in the FRG to the Baltic states or Poland. A couple of battalions or even brigades with equipment. Moreover, local governments, with the stubbornness of a donkey, declare that they are even ready to pay for the construction of bases.
Outwardly, it looks good. The Americans are moving units closer to the borders of Russia at no special cost. But in essence? Where does the same Poland want to get money for the construction of military bases? In the EU and the USA! Now the question is, are there free funds there in such volumes? Unfortunately no. So these very battalions and brigades will be located in Poland and the Baltic states on a rotational basis. Like going to the training ground.
Now on the territory of Germany there are about 40 American military bases. Most of which have long performed completely different functions than those announced by the American president. What is Europe's defense against Russia? What is the confrontation between East and West? The days of the Cold War are over.
During the existence of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact Organization, the Americans really performed the function of the defenders of Europe. But then there really was a confrontation between systems. Let me remind you of our recent past. Just on the example of the FRG and the GDR. Remember the 80s of the last century?
Army of the GDR - 180 thousand soldiers and officers with Soviet weapons and military equipment. Plus the GSVG, equipped with the latest military technology, numbering at least 500 thousand people. On the opposite side, behind the fence, in the FRG - the Bundeswehr with American equipment and weapons and very good examples of its own equipment, numbering 500 thousand local and 250 thousand Americans.
Today, I repeat, military bases on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany are engaged in a completely different matter. Not by the defense of the EU, but by the coordination of military actions of NATO countries and the United States in other countries, logistics, support and others. This is the rear of NATO. Even more, these are strongholds close to the theater of operations, where the Americans are fighting!
The NATO headquarters in Stuttgart, which I already mentioned, is actually responsible not so much for Europe as for Africa. The European theater of operations is more concerned with the headquarters in Wiesbaden. And where is the largest US military hospital in the world? A hospital where more than 3000 people serve only doctors? And where is the largest US air base in the world? I don't want to write about reconnaissance centers and other training camps. All this is in the Federal Republic of Germany!
I wonder how the Ramstein airbase will be cleaned up? Yes, there are only about 9 thousand military personnel. But this is the flight and technical personnel of the Air Force. So add to this another 50 Americans living near the base. This is 1400 hectares of area. These are state-of-the-art control points aviation drones operating far beyond the borders of not only Germany, but also Europe.
Well, and the last argument in favor of the "soap bubble" from Trump. We remember what happened to the Soviet Army, when Mikhail Gorbachev did something like Trump plans to do. We remember regiments and divisions in an open field. Remember hundreds tanks, which stood "on conservation" in the fields on the outskirts of some cities. The American president's plan looks about the same.
The withdrawal of troops and the redeployment of units and formations require not only huge funds, but years. It was years. It is impossible to create infrastructure in a new location by simply increasing funds. It's just technologically impossible. And the Americans know how to count, unlike their president. So that…
Don't dig a hole for another, you will fall into it yourself
Donald Trump has once again become a little bit Russian. I think that we will soon get acquainted with such conclusions of Western experts. The logic of these experts is simple. Moscow sleeps and sees how it will conquer Warsaw, Berlin, Lisbon and London. The Americans are withdrawing ten thousand of their soldiers from the FRG, and Moscow, seeing such a weakening of the defense, begins an attack on Europe. Well, maybe not for all of Europe at once, but for some weakly protected part of it. Like the Baltics, Poland or Ukraine.
I understand the smiles of the military readers. However, I bet that such conclusions will definitely appear in the expert community. I am already accustomed to such turns of human thought, therefore I will not be surprised at all. At least, there is already a statement by Peter Bayer, coordinator of transatlantic cooperation under the German government, that such actions of President Trump "are not in the interests of Germany and NATO."
Trump really scared the Europeans seriously. Playing on the feelings of American voters, he received a huge number of enemies among European politicians. Although the American president is already accustomed to the fact that Europeans are nobody for the United States. They will do what Washington says.
Understanding that the US plans to withdraw its own soldiers in a short time are unrealizable a priori does not mean that in the event of Donald Trump's re-election for a second term, these plans will not be implemented. And this will mean a real breakdown of the existing NATO mechanism. Moreover, it will call into question the existence of the bloc itself as such.
The Alliance today faces the same problems as the EU. The thoughtless increase in "equal members" has led to the fact that some pay and others decide. This situation does not suit many. Especially from the countries of old Europe. So, it is quite possible that President Trump really played, if not on the side of Moscow, then against Brussels for sure.
The US elections are truly becoming an important event for Europe ...