The United States could remove some of its troops stationed in Germany amid recent rifts over defense spending and a naval mission in the Persian Gulf.
In the case that the United States does decide to withdraw its troops in Germany, the troops would likely be relocated to Poland as multiple U.S. envoys have mentioned in the past.
“It’s really insulting to expect the US taxpayer to keep paying for over 50,000 Americans in Germany, but the Germans get to spend their surplus on domestic programs,” Grenell told DPA news agency on Friday. Grenell’s comments have since been widely circulated throughout German media.
The threat of withdrawal comes amid ongoing disputes between the U.S. and Germany over Germany’s NATO contributions. Relations between the two countries became even tenser after Germany refused to take part in a US-led naval mission in the Persian Gulf.
Earlier in the year, Germany also declined a US request to deploy troops in Syria which were intended to fill the gap left by departing American soldiers.
So far, the UK and Israel have been the only countries to join the mission. Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds has said that her country would give the idea “very serious consideration”.
US ambassador Grenell’s remarks follow a tweet by the US ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, where she said, “Unlike Germany, Poland is meeting its commitment to spend 2 percent of GDP on NATO. We would be happy to welcome American soldiers moving from Germany to Poland.”
Both remarks come weeks before President Trump’s visit to Poland. Trump has also remarked on the possibility of relocating some American troops from Germany to Poland during talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Washington in June.
“President Trump is right and Georgette Mosbacher is right,” Grenell commented. Many U.S. presidential administrations have implored Europe’s largest economy “to pay for their own defense,” but this plea has dragged on “for many years and by many [German] governments,” the ambassador said.
Germany hosts more American troops than any other European state. The country is also home to the Pentagon’s largest military installations on the continent.