Why are ARMYs and Blinks fighting
US Secretary of Defense Austin in Berlin : The US Army will remain in Germany, Mr Putin - it will even be increased
Joe Biden's Foreign Minister Antony Blinken had avoided Germany on his inaugural visit to Europe. At the end of March he honored the EU and NATO in Brussels and called on Germany from there to end the German-Russian pipeline project Nord Stream 2 - knowing full well that he has many EU partners on his side.
Now Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin has traveled to Europe as the second high-ranking minister in the Biden government. This time Germany is at the top. To begin with, he came to Berlin this Tuesday.
In contrast to Blinkens Trip, the pitch and the catalog of topics are geared towards common interests. Austin not only has demands on the federal government in its luggage, but also recognition for "one of our closest NATO partners".
Specifically, this means: The USA is increasing its troops in Germany by 500 soldiers. Austin announced this after a meeting with his colleague Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in Berlin. The soldiers are to be stationed in the Wiesbaden area as early as autumn. "These troops will strengthen deterrence and defense in Europe," Austin said.
The soldiers would be sent to Germany to prevent conflicts "and, if necessary, to fight and win". The stationing would, among other things, strengthen cyber defense and electronic warfare forces in Europe. Austin stressed that the stationing should also be understood as a commitment by the USA to its ally Germany.
Kramp-Karrenbauer: A strong sign of solidarity
Last summer, shortly before he was voted out of office, then US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of 12,000 of the approximately 35,000 US soldiers in Germany as a punitive action for what he saw as a lack of German military spending. His successor Joe Biden had already stopped this troop withdrawal. The fact that additional troops are now being sent to Germany comes as a surprise.
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Kramp-Karrenbauer spoke of a very "strong sign of solidarity". Everything will be done to ensure that the soldiers and their families temporarily find a good second home in Germany.
The defense budget is no longer the measure of all things
The political camps in the USA are equally dissatisfied with the German contributions to the security of the NATO countries. But, unlike Trump, Biden and the Democrats are not making this the main yardstick for dealing with one another. Allies strengthen the effectiveness of American world politics, is their motto. That is why they have to be treated as allies.
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The Russian march on the border with Ukraine has now become an unplanned priority on the agenda, including the question of how Europe and America can deter Vladimir Putin from renewed aggression. Another topic is the planning of how long and in what form German and American soldiers will stay in Afghanistan. The impression that the USA was conducting its Afghanistan policy without consulting its allies had caused irritation in Berlin.
Blinken and Austin surprisingly in a double pack at NATO
From Berlin it goes on to Brussels, where Austin wants to meet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Finally, he visits his British colleague Ben Wallace.
Biden apparently takes the danger of a new war in Ukraine seriously. On Monday, his government announced that Foreign Minister Blinken would join Austin's talks with NATO.
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