If you had any doubt that Trump's order to reduce America's permanent military presence in Germany is about anything other than petty revenge against the German government, this should put those doubts to rest.
Trump's decision was first announced earlier this year and it came as a surprise to the Pentagon which had not been consulted. Multiple reports indicated that Trump agreed to the plan after discussing it with Richard Grenell, the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany who repeatedly offended the German government and interfered in their domestic politics.
The Pentagon has now formalized Trump's orders and it calls for withdrawing American forces from Germany, but that doesn't mean they'll return to the United States. Some will temporarily return home only to be deployed back to Europe.
And this will come at an enormous cost.
Approximately 11,900 US troops, a mix of Army and Air Force units, will be removed from Germany to meet Trump's mandated cap of 25,000 US forces in Germany, according to a senior US defense official, a number higher than the figure of 9,500 that was used when the reduction was first announced. [...]
Of the troops leaving Germany some 5,400 will be "staying in Europe," the official said. The remaining 6,400 forces and their families will be returned to the US and will in time redeploy to Europe.
Defense officials said this will cost billions of dollars as new military construction will likely be required both in Europe and the US to house the additional troops.
So, what are we talking about here?
We're talking about spending billions just to rearrange the deck chairs and we're doing it because Trump has had a lingering bug up his ass about German Chancellor Angela Merkel for four years.
Defense officials say this realignment will take years to complete so, obviously, if we replace Trump with Joe Biden in November there's a very high chance this will never happen. Moreover, this much spending will probably require authorization from a Congress that is opposed to the decision.
Even if you are staunch pacifist who is personally opposed to maintaining a permanent military presence in other countries, Trump is not ending that practice. All he's trying to do is move troops around in an effort to stick it to one of our most important allies in the world.
Can you even imagine how infuriating it must be to have your family uprooted and relocated -- twice! -- just because Angela Merkel cancelled the G7 meeting at Trump's golf resort?