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American Troops in Europe

June 12, 2020

Episode Notes:

On June 5, The Wall Street Journal reported that President Donald Trump had ordered the Pentagon to withdraw 9,500 of the 34,500 American troops currently stationed in Germany. To some, the move was just a matter of time. Trump has long criticized Germany for its relatively low level of defense spending, its trade surplus with the United States, and the president’s belief that Berlin is free-riding off the American security guarantee. Unlike former President Barack Obama, who considered Chancellor Angela Merkel one of his closest international partners, Trump’s relationship with Merkel is famously frosty.

The decision to remove American troops from Germany was apparently done without consulting or notifying Berlin or other NATO allies, and is considered by many in the American foreign policy establishment as a strategic mistake. Nearly two dozen Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee published a letter to Trump opposing the troop withdrawal.

Timothy Andrews Sayle — Assistant Professor of History and Director of the International Relations Program at the University of Toronto, and author of Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order — joins the Warcast to provide a historical perspective on the president’s attitudes towards the U.S. troop presence in Europe.


[ 01:43 ] Attitude of past U.S. presidents to American troops in Europe

[ 05:45 ] Keeping U.S. troops in Europe after the Cold War

[ 12:05 ] This moment in U.S.-NATO ties vs. the 1970s

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