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Trump Orders some US Troops Out of Germany.

tomahawk6

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Pulling troops out of Germany is ok by me but seems to alarm the Europeans. Its in effect a small reduction from 34500 to 25000. But the 9000 troops might move from Germany to Poland .

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/trumps-order-to-pull-troops-from-germany-alarms-european-allies/ar-BB159XM2?ocid=spartanntp

 

FJAG

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One report on the German viewpoint:

German foreign minister laments decline of US ties

While other politicians have slammed a rumored 9,500 US-troop exit from Germany, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says Berlin will simply "take note of" Donald Trump's plan. He admitted that US-German ties were "complicated."

Germany's top diplomat Heiko Maas on Sunday gave a muted response to days of speculation that US President Donald Trump might slash US troop stationing in Germany from 34,500, capping it at 25,000 in the future.

"Should it come to the withdrawal of some of the US troops, we take note of this," Mass told Germany's Bild am Sonntag (BamS) newspaper.

And, Foreign Minister Maas exclaimed that decades of "close" US-German partnership post-war had become "complicated" since Trump became president.

Cooperation with US armed forces had been in the "interest of both of our countries," said Maas.

...

Opposition Greens veteran politician Jürgen Trittin accused Trump of having floated the withdrawal plan to sway the upcoming US presidential election.

".. this should come as no surprise to anyone on this side of the Atlantic," Trittin said, "but it should be deeply disturbing."
...

See whole article here

And this (translated from German using Google translate):

US General calls Trump's withdrawal order "colossal mistake"

President Trump has ordered a quarter of U.S. soldiers to withdraw from Germany. The former US commander for Europe flagged the move as a political maneuver with immense collateral damage.

By Matthias Gebauer
06.06.2020,

The former commander of all US troops in Europe has sharply criticized the planned withdrawal of 9500 US troops from Germany. "I think President Trump's decision by the US government is a colossal mistake," Ben Hodges told SPIEGEL. Hodges was a three-star general and commander of all US Army troops. He was in Europe until 2017. After retiring, he worked for the "Center for European Policy Analysis" think tank, and his advice was in demand worldwide.

The criticism of the top military is biting. He flagged the decision of Donald Trump's core team in the White House as a "purely political maneuver". Nobody in the administration had previously sought military advice on what the withdrawal of troops actually means for the US presence in Europe. "The decision illustrates that the president did not understand how essential US troops stationed in Germany are for America's security," said Hodges.

In the past few days, the White House had decided to withdraw 9,500 from the nearly 35,000 US soldiers currently in Germany. In fact, there is to be a rigid upper limit that limits the number of US soldiers in Germany to around 25,000. This would also affect those troops who are in the course of a change of contingent or in transit to the various areas of deployment of the US Army worldwide.

Plans would limit your own options

American and German military were surprised about the upper limit, because from the strategists' point of view, it limits itself in its possibilities. The United States uses Germany as a kind of bridgehead for military missions and exercises across Europe. Missions in Iraq and Afghanistan are also supplied via Germany. Thousands of US soldiers are temporarily in Germany, which would probably no longer be possible due to the upper limit.

Hodges goes further in his criticism. Accordingly, Trump together with Richard Grenell, the former US ambassador to Germany, the United States and Europe smashed the china (irrevocably caused much damage). "The congress was not inaugurated, US commanders in Europe were ignorant, nobody spoke to Germany or NATO," he said. Such an approach, the general said, jeopardizes cohesion within the alliance. "Many of our partners will wonder if the US still feels committed to security in Europe," he said.

US government provokes Berlin

In fact, the U.S. decision caught the federal government pretty cold. When DER SPIEGEL sent the relevant ministries questions about Trump's withdrawal order and the consequences on Friday afternoon, there was initially no film at all. Rumors of the move had been picked up on Friday. But officially, the Trump administration did not report to Berlin, which can be interpreted as deliberate provocation.

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee was disappointed with Trump, but remained diplomatic. "Such a deduction would be very unfortunate from every point of view," said Norbert Röttgen of the Funke media group. "I can't see any factual reason for the withdrawal," emphasized Röttgen. So the US soldiers are welcome in Germany, their deployment is "enormously important for the coordination of the US presence in Europe," he said.

The federal government's transatlantic coordinator went much tougher with Trump. "The German-American relationship could be severely affected by such a decision by the US President," said Peter Beyer of the dpa news agency. According to Beyer, the withdrawal would "break transatlantic bridges". Beyer also criticized the United States' dealings with Germany. It is "very irritating that the plans have not been discussed with the federal government". So far, the federal government has not received any information.

The experienced General Hodges also viewed the withdrawal as a fatal signal to Russia in terms of foreign policy. "The Kremlin has done nothing to get such a gift, and Moscow has never given in to the Ukraine crisis or Syria," he said. The fact that the United States is withdrawing just over a quarter of its soldiers from Germany must be a sign of weakness and disunity within NATO for Moscow.

Hodges made a clear appeal to the U.S. Congress to correct Trump's decision. "I hope Congress will exercise its constitutional rights and refuse to fund the deduction," said Hodges. First of all, the relevant bodies of the congress would have to convene special meetings immediately and let the Pentagon explain what the strategy for securing American interests in Europe looks like.

https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/us-general-nennt-trumps-abzugsbefehl-kolossalen-fehler-a-2e034e83-dc9c-4bc9-8ce5-3c1a375fba15

So. About that Russian collusion?  ;D

:cheers:
 

tomahawk6

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These Generals need to watch their words because they are a violation of the UCMJ. To be held to account they would need to be called to active duty then charged with criticizing civilian leaders. From a practical standpoint they might be safe from recall and punishment but Trump might be tempted to send a message to the former Obama generals and admirals.
 

MilEME09

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tomahawk6 said:
These Generals need to watch their words because they are a violation of the UCMJ. To be held to account they would need to be called to active duty then charged with criticizing civilian leaders. From a practical standpoint they might be safe from recall and punishment but Trump might be tempted to send a message to the former Obama generals and admirals.

The article clearly states he is retired, nothing prevents a retired member from offering an opinion.
 

FJAG

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tomahawk6 said:
These Generals need to watch their words because they are a violation of the UCMJ. To be held to account they would need to be called to active duty then charged with criticizing civilian leaders. From a practical standpoint they might be safe from recall and punishment but Trump might be tempted to send a message to the former Obama generals and admirals.

They aren't "Obama generals". They are American generals and most of them have spent just as much of their careers (or more) under Republican presidents.

I presume that you're referring to Article 88 of the USMJ.

“contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the Governor or legislature of any State ...”

My understanding of the law is basically:

Although the armed forces could employ this prohibition to restrain retirees’ political speech, the government has only initiated court-martial proceedings against one retired service member—nearly one hundred years ago in United States v. Salvagno. And the retiree in question—a former Army musician—was acquitted.

Moreover, military prosecutors have limited discretion to proffer charges against retirees for violations of the UCMJ. For example, AR 27-10, Military Justice, states, “Army policy provides that retired Soldiers ... will not be tried for any offense by courts-martial unless extraordinary circumstances are present. Prior to referral of courts-martial charges against retired Soldiers, approval will be obtained from the Criminal Law Division ... of the Assistant Secretary of the Army.”

It’s therefore unlikely that retired officers’ political speech, even if personally offensive to named officeholders, will result in the referral of charges and court-martial.

See AR 27-10, article 5-4 at page 26 Legal Services - Military Justice

That said, in the cloud-cuckoo land that now makes up the US administration, anything could happen. Hopefully no one ever tells Trump that Article 88 exists, although I would think it would constitute the biggest case of command influence that your country has ever seen.

:cheers:
 

garb811

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tomahawk6 said:
These Generals need to watch their words because they are a violation of the UCMJ. To be held to account they would need to be called to active duty then charged with criticizing civilian leaders. From a practical standpoint they might be safe from recall and punishment but Trump might be tempted to send a message to the former Obama generals and admirals.
The really interesting thing is this administration is the first time in my entire life that I've heard anyone ever insinuate that just because someone served at a certain rank in the previous administration, they are therefore beholden to them and/or of like political views.

I suppose the next logical step for those who believe this nonsense is to push for a confirmation process for snr US military personnel that mirrors the circus that the confirmation hearings for the US Supreme Court have become, followed by purges of "wrong minded" snr leadership when the political winds change direction and a new boss takes the seat.
 

FJAG

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garb811 said:
The really interesting thing is this administration is the first time in my entire life that I've heard anyone ever insinuate that just because someone served at a certain rank in the previous administration, they are therefore beholden to them and/or of like political views.

I suppose the next logical step for those who believe this nonsense is to push for a confirmation process for snr US military personnel that mirrors the circus that the confirmation hearings for the US Supreme Court have become, followed by purges of "wrong minded" snr leadership when the political winds change direction and a new boss takes the seat.

Oh Boy are you ever going to be unhappy.

The role of the Senate in confirming senior military officer promotions and appointments stems directly from the U.S. Constitution. Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states that the President "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other Public Ministers and Counsels, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all Other Officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law." Generals and Flag Officers (Admirals), fall into the category of "all Other Officers of the United States" and require Senate confirmation. Other military officers also require Senate confirmation, but this report, will focus on the process for the military's highest ranking leaders -- one-star through four-star officers.

https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/RS21714.html

10 U.S. Code § 531 - Original appointments of commissioned officers
(a)
(1)Original appointments in the grades of second lieutenant, first lieutenant, and captain in the Regular Army, Regular Air Force, and Regular Marine Corps and in the grades of ensign, lieutenant (junior grade), and lieutenant in the Regular Navy shall be made by the President alone.
(2)Original appointments in the grades of major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel in the Regular Army, Regular Air Force, and Regular Marine Corps and in the grades of lieutenant commander, commander, and captain in the Regular Navy shall be made by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

See for example: https://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/legislative/one_item_and_teasers/noms_confn.htm

and see here: https://www.stripes.com/news/military-update-senate-seeks-to-end-limbo-in-promotions-for-officers-1.50378

So far it hasn't become that type of circus BUT, the mechanisms are all in place for it.

:cheers:
 

tomahawk6

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garb811 said:
The really interesting thing is this administration is the first time in my entire life that I've heard anyone ever insinuate that just because someone served at a certain rank in the previous administration, they are therefore beholden to them and/or of like political views.

I suppose the next logical step for those who believe this nonsense is to push for a confirmation process for snr US military personnel that mirrors the circus that the confirmation hearings for the US Supreme Court have become, followed by purges of "wrong minded" snr leadership when the political winds change direction and a new boss takes the seat.

Generals and Admirals appointed by a democrat DoD to my mind are suspect. Officer promotions are approved by the Senate but the list can be held up by just one Senator. Sadly the case of Gen Powell is an instance where he claimed to be a Republican but he is known to have voted democrat including Obama and Hillary. The military is supposed to be apolitical but evidently that has changed. I served under Presidents of both parties, but the budget cuts came under Democrats.
 

FJAG

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tomahawk6 said:
Generals and Admirals appointed by a democrat DoD to my mind are suspect. Officer promotions are approved by the Senate but the list can be held up by just one Senator. Sadly the case of Gen Powell is an instance where he claimed to be a Republican but he is known to have voted democrat including Obama and Hillary. The military is supposed to be apolitical but evidently that has changed. I served under Presidents of both parties, but the budget cuts came under Democrats.

The military kowtowing to the political party that gives them the biggest budget is how most tin-pot dictatorships get started.

The last time that I looked your military's oath of office was to the constitution and not to the president nor to the Republican party. Democracy: the right and privilege to vote for whosoever you think will serve the country best.

:cheers:
 

Mick

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So where do "Obama Generals" stop and "Trump Generals" start?  CJCS Gen Mark Milley has been a general officer since at least 2007, and was appointed to 4-star billets by President Obama, starting in 2014, first as Commanding General of US Army Forces Command, and as Army Chief of Staff.  Similar career trajectories are no doubt similar for all incumbent JCS members and combatant commanders.  Are they Trump Generals or  Obama Generals?  Or is that only determined once they offer an opinion in retirement?
 

garb811

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FJAG said:
Oh Boy are you ever going to be unhappy.
...
Thanks, but I know the process exists. It's just not the circus the Supreme Court is, yet.
 

Lumber

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tomahawk6 said:
Generals and Admirals appointed by a democrat DoD to my mind are suspect.

Suspect of what? You think generals and admirals appointed by a democrat DoD are somehow less capable? Less honourable? Less loyal? More likely to drag their feet when carrying out missions approved by a Republican president? Less likely to be successful in their missions because they weren't promoted based on their skill but instead based on some assessment of their political ideology? Actually, to that last somewhat rhetorical question, how would the DoD even know what their political leanings are if, as good officers, we don't blatantly advertise our political opinions?
 

Colin Parkinson

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If I recall correctly there has been past scandals by the selection boards of US Generals. I think there was one prior to WWII and another involving the Mexican war?
 

tomahawk6

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FJAG said:
The military kowtowing to the political party that gives them the biggest budget is how most tin-pot dictatorships get started.

The last time that I looked your military's oath of office was to the constitution and not to the president nor to the Republican party. Democracy: the right and privilege to vote for whosoever you think will serve the country best.

:cheers:

The same oath members of Congress make. The US officer corps used to be rather conservative , but now maybe not so much.
 

blacktriangle

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Is there not almost always an element of politics involved when someone is appointed by a politician?

And self-interest isn't limited to just politicians.
 

daftandbarmy

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reverse_engineer said:
Is there not almost always an element of politics involved when someone is appointed by a politician?

And self-interest isn't limited to just politicians.

You're not suggesting that some CAF Generals had leanings towards particular political parties now, are you?

Oh, wait...
 

CBH99

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While the relationship between the US and Germany might not be what it used to be (Can be said about the US and almost any country) - this isn't that big of a deal.

Reducing from approx. 34,000 to 25,000.

25,000 is still a pretty hefty chunk of troops, equipment, and capability in Germany.  Capabilities the German's don't necessarily have.




Any attack from Russia would require considerable reinforcement from American units stateside, regardless of whether there are 25,000 or 34,000 stationed there. 

Repositioning those troops to Poland, a country that has invested some serious $$ and interest in being a real regional ally to it's neighbours, could be a good move for both.  :2c:
 

Kirkhill

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And we continue to demonstrate why we should always hope for Republican presidents.  They will never invade us or buy us.  They have no desire to add 8 more Democrat states.  Now the Democrats..... They are another matter entirely ... And they have a track record.
 

FJAG

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CBH99 said:
While the relationship between the US and Germany might not be what it used to be (Can be said about the US and almost any country) - this isn't that big of a deal.

Reducing from approx. 34,000 to 25,000.

25,000 is still a pretty hefty chunk of troops, equipment, and capability in Germany.  Capabilities the German's don't necessarily have.

Symbolically its a big deal particularly in that there was no warning to the Germans that it's happening and in that the 25,000 is designed as an upper limit of Americans in the country including those transiting through Germany which happens frequently (we'll have to see if that really happens once this baby goes into effect).

Spending is a strange issue in that the Poles spend appx US$13 Billion on defence and the Germans US$49 Billion. For their money though they have roughly equal armies with the Germans with newer better equipment (although Polish artillery is far more numerous as is their AD even though pretty old systems). For Germany it's the typical high cost of a western professional full-time soldier issue that is hitting all NATO armies (like ours).

:cheers:



Any attack from Russia would require considerable reinforcement from American units stateside, regardless of whether there are 25,000 or 34,000 stationed there. 

Repositioning those troops to Poland, a country that has invested some serious $$ and interest in being a real regional ally to it's neighbours, could be a good move for both.  :2c:
 

FJAG

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Trump’s Former Ambassador to Germany Gets His Revenge

In order to punish the Germans for their supposedly low military expenditures, U.S. President Donald Trump wants to withdraw troops from the country. Observers see it a petty move by former Ambassador Richard Grenell that will primarily hurt American interests.

By Matthias Gebauer, Christiane Hoffmann und René Pfister
15.06.2020, 17.27 Uhr

When American ambassadors leave their positions in the German capital, the moment is usually marked by a big farewell celebration and a sense of sadness. In 2013, Barack Obama’s ambassador, Philip Murphy, even rented Berlin’s Olympic Stadium for his going-away party. He and many of his predecessors still maintain close ties to Germany to this day.

But when the news made the rounds in late May that Donald Trump’s ambassador to Germany, Richard "Ric" Grenell, would be leaving his posting early, the reactions ranged from glee to relief. Former Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) described Grenell’s departure as "an act of kindness." He joked that Trump must still have a soft spot for the Germans after all.

"Over generations, every ambassador I have met left Germany as a friend and respected partner," writes Andreas Nick, a lawmaker with Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) specializing in foreign policy. Grenell, he says, behaves like "the representative of a hostile power."

Grenell reacted in his own way to the jubilation. In late May, he tweeted: "You make a big mistake if you think the American pressure is off. You don’t know Americans." It sounded like a threat. It’s now clear that it was.

On Friday of last week, shortly after Grenell left Berlin, it became known in Washington that Trump was planning to drastically reduce the number of U.S. troops in Germany. Without consulting with NATO partners, the U.S. president had asked the Pentagon to develop plans for the withdrawal of a large portion of the U.S. soldiers stationed here. According to German and American government representatives, the decision was made extremely quickly by a circle of three men: the president, his security advisor Richard O’Brien - and Grenell.

...

Read rest of article here: https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/donald-trump-s-former-ambassador-to-germany-gets-his-revenge-a-e201cdff-9563-4ad8-be40-efb2c6fc6d99

:cheers:
 
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