In an exchange the president promptly posted on Twitter, he said Germany is “totally controlled by Russia” in reference to the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is to supply the country with Russian natural gas. “Germany is a rich country,”Trump said, implying it should increase spending on its own defense.

So interestingly, those surveyed tend to favor American security draw down in the heart of Europe along with a humble German foreign policy.

New poll: 42% want US troops to leave Germany, 37% want them to stay (21% no answer).

Indeed, the latest Pew Research survey finds a distinct German reticence about taking on more of the global security burden. Asked if Berlin should play a more active military role in helping to maintain peace and stability in the world, only 25 percent of Germans agree.  Last month, a report suggested the Pentagon is already in the process of tallying the cost of keeping troops and its vast military bases (the US has over 20 – and many other joint command locations – with Ramstein Air Base being the largest; and at the height of the Cold War there were over 200) in Germany ahead of possible withdrawal. However, early this month Pentagon officials denied such an audit is taking place.  It will be interesting to see if Trump, in his notorious off-the-cuff and unpredictable manner of speaking, actually pulls this out as a negotiating card either publicly or in private exchanges in Brussels this week.  * * * Figures from a 2016 Germany Embassy in the US fact sheet on US military presence in Germany since the early 2000's: Each year, Germany contributes nearly $1 billion to the upkeep of US bases in Germany.  Ramstein Air Base, the biggest US base in Germany, costs about $1 billion annually – an amount equal to Germany's yearly contribution toward the upkeep of US bases.  On average, the other 43 bases cost about $240 million each – about the same as a single F/A-22 fighter jet.

With 34,000 American residents, Kaiserslautern is the largest American community outside of the United States.

Categories: ZH