Trump's moves and strategies on the US military in Germany. Giuseppe Morabito's in-depth analysis for Atlantico Quotidiano
Why President Trump has decided to withdraw approximately 10,000 of the 34,000 US troops in Germany, equal to 30 percent of NATO's "deterrence package" without warning, is one of the questions that all experts who write about the Atlantic Alliance are asking themselves in these hours. You need to understand the reason for this decision, and why it is a potentially dangerous move. Then, many wonder what could happen in the mind of Russian President Putin and, consequently, what could happen.
In the wake of the U.S. decision, Moscow has already announced that it will strengthen its western operating system with the Sevastopol Brigade. This unit "will carry out activities aimed at guaranteeing the defense of the Russian Federation on the western strategic direction", because as stated by the Russian general Sergei Rudskoi, the allied exercises, albeit on a limited scale, conducted by NATO near the Russian border are an example of "continued anti-Russian activities".
The reason why President Trump is carrying out this withdrawal of forces, in the midst of the election campaign and under the pressure of the demonstrations of the American left for the tragic events of Minneapolis, is clear. Trump "takes the boys home" to appeal to his electoral base which sees a downsizing of the Transatlantic Link and believes that Washington should use its armed forces to defend national interests endangered by the rise of Chinese military power in Asia.
President Trump's decision should also be understood as a warning to European members of the Alliance who have always had the certainty that the purpose of the American military on the Old Continent was to act in their exclusive interest.
Berlin's feared intention not to have nuclear weapons on German territory, which led to the veiled declaration / veiled threat that Moscow could resort to a "first use" nuclear policy in the event of a conventional military attack against Russia. As they would say in Rome, "in the face of the Flexible Answer!", Until now used as a "measuring meter" between opposing blocks. At this time, Berlin's non-hostile posture towards Beijing is also not negligible, widely in contrast with the current foreign policy director of the American government.
Today Western Europe is in crisis due to the Wuhan virus. London in rapid strategic decline after Brexit, even if it has the nuclear shield has little or no influence on international affairs, and France, bogged down by a major public debt, "has a say" only if Germany agrees .
In particular, the rest of Europe, including Italy, is unable to offer a credible deterrence and many states have close relations with Moscow which could compromise the Alliance's ability to act in an emergency. Turkey is now so alienated from the rest of Europe that it can no longer be a credible ally in case its contribution is needed to act during an Alliance emergency. In Ankara, unfortunately, the founding democratic values of NATO have become "an annoying option".
For his part, President Putin is again facing a difficult internal situation and has recently declared a state of emergency from Covid-19. The export of Russian hydrocarbons has been paralyzed by the collapse in the price of oil and gas and is unlikely to recover soon considering the crisis of European industries that need electricity to function and, in part, the arrival of the season hot. Gazprom, currently in deficit, alone contributes more than 5 percent of Russian GDP. Keeping the Russian armed forces operational has high costs and if Moscow's economy continues to decline it will be difficult to sustain them. Even though Putin is losing some of its popularity in its own home, it could be strengthened by the deterioration of relations between Beijing and Washington in recent months. The deterioration is due to the threatened policy of the Chinese Communist Party aimed at ending the "one country, two systems" model in Hong Kong, which could effectively lead to the military occupation of the former British colony. A warning also to the democratic Taiwan not to seek secession even after the formal one, in fact, from the post-war period.
As already discussed for some time in NATO circles, with the United States focused on the presidential election and Europe, as just mentioned, powerless, the second half of this year could be the perfect opportunity for Beijing and Moscow to support each other creating simultaneous crises in the Indo-Pacific and Europe. Clear signs are coming from Beijing and Moscow, which are said to be having diplomatic contacts to agree on an anti-Western strategy.
In Brussels, experts speculate that if Russia acts, it will do so with the use of its most congenial strategy: deception, disinformation, disintegration, destabilization and destruction (even effective). Ukraine could be the perfect theater again. As in the past, the period immediately preceding these actions could coincide with a deceptively calm season or a "holiday period". For example, in August 2008, Moscow used the international distraction of the Beijing Olympic Games to create the conditions and then occupy large territories of Georgia.
As stated on several occasions, Washington criticizes the European allies because they are not doing enough to defend themselves (continuous postponements of the increase in military spending, which to date are absolutely not enough to have a credible deterrence) and the United States is too often called to " do ”in their place, with many European leaders who, to curb internal opposition, deny the evidence of the danger coming from the East but also many, incredibly, from the South.
In conclusion, the decision to suddenly withdraw US troops from Germany is, therefore, strategically dangerous or hasty at best, unless justified by the theory that, perhaps, President Trump has a secret deal in store with the President Putin (a better proposal than that of Chinese President Xi?)
It is not the intention of these considerations to raise fears, but it seems logical that American actions will have consequences. Although, in the last hours, some rumors are circulating about a possible downsizing or delay of the withdrawal, which could turn into a redeployment of the same units in Poland. If confirmed by the facts, it could be seen as a punitive action, already hypothesized last year, against Germany, which would lose part of the induced presence of the US presence in partial compensation in favor of Poland for the loss of transit rights to the Europe of Russian gas due to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea. In short, a half measure.
Winston Churchill in 1936 said (and I would not like his words to be relevant now):
"The era of postponements, half measures, deceptively consoling gimmicks, delays is to be considered closed, now the period of actions that produce consequences begins."
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/perche-trump-vuole-ritirare-le-truppe-usa-dalla-germania/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=perche-trump-vuole-ritirare-le-truppe-usa-dalla-germania on Sat, 13 Jun 2020 05:46:23 +0000.