US plans to cut troops in Europe by a third

by ThiChi 7 Replies latest social current

  • ThiChi

    I wonder how this will affect the local economy......Are most here glad to see the Yanks leave? Was it worth it, all these years......?

    US plans to cut troops in Europe by a third

    By Judy Dempsey in Brussels
    Published: February 3 2004 21:59 | Last Updated: February 3 2004 21:59

    The US is preparing to cut the number of troops stationed in Europe by up to a third, diplomats said on Tuesday. This will be one of the biggest reductions since American soldiers were first based there after the second world war.

    Washington will not establish new permanent bases in eastern Europe - allaying fears that the Pentagon was preparing to punish some countries of "old Europe" for their opposition to the US-led war against Iraq.

    "If anything, the troops taken out of Europe will be sent home," said a Nato diplomat. "From there, they will be sent on exercises or training missions to small bases established on a temporary basis in Poland, Romania or Bulgaria. The old days of the giant US barracks . . . are over."

    Romania and Bulgaria will be disappointed by the news, although east European diplomats played down their concerns. "We will be delighted if we now get a little base," one said.

    The US has 119,000 troops in Europe, 80,000 of which are stationed in Germany. At the height of the Cold War, Washington had more than 300,000 troops in western Europe.

    Russia has warned against moves by Nato or the US to shift forces eastwards once seven new countries, all former communist states, join the European Union in May.

    In Moscow last week Colin Powell, US secretary of state, told Vladimir Putin, Russian president, that Washington had no intention of encircling Russia.

    "We are not looking to move bases, of the kind we used to have during the Cold War, closer to Russia just to put a base closer to Russia," said Mr Powell.

    Diplomats said the Pentagon was set on creating highly flexible, small units that could be moved quickly to temporary bases. General Jones, the US commander in Europe and Nato's military chief, wants to create these structures for Nato as well.

    Mr Powell and Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary, are not preparing to cut the number of troops in one sweep.

    "The US is still consulting a great deal with all its allies. It has yet to make the final decision over what bases will be closed," said a German diplomat.

    "Much is at stake. Entire villages have built their future around the bases, particularly in Germany. You just can't destroy those 60-year-old relationships."

    A Pentagon spokesman denied that any decision had been taken on troop reduction levels, saying discussions were still ongoing.

    Nato officials said the US would not close Ramstein, its biggest military base in southern Germany, as it is a key strategic asset for US operations in Afghanistan and Iraq

  • JH

    I also read a few weeks ago that the US will remove the 37,000 troups in South Korea in the near future.

  • stillajwexelder

    why not? Europe should pay more for its own defense - -this is a good move

  • Pleasuredome

    i dont think US troops are needed much in europe now, especially if a european rapid reaction force is created. it seems that the US troops will be stretched over the next few years, so it makes sense to redeploy them elsewhere, 'where the need is greater'.

  • ThiChi

    I agree. Does Europe appreciate what the US has done in the area of defense, all these years, or, is it "good riddance" like recovering after a bad marriage?

  • Englishman

    Most foreign bases learn to like the strangers in their midst.

    The UK still has bases in Germany, especially around Rheindallen, Krefeld and Dusseldorf, and locals rely on the soldiers for their income.

    No, they are generally not resented, nor are the US troops.


  • Simon

    The US is finding it's budget stretched a bit and having trouble keeping the troop numbers up. The forces have possibly been stretched too thinly and overcommitted. Everyone knows that for all the posturing, there is no way that the US can take on any more action while it's still stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq, however much it pretends otherwise.

    I don't think war is going to break out in the UK or Germany anytime soon so it makes sense to reduce the numbers stationed here. I'm sure the troops concerned would rather be here though that where they wil no doubt be going to.

  • JH

    It's normal to make ajustments once in a while. With only 480,000 troops, the US is stretched thin these days. During the Cold War with the Soviets, the US had three times as many troops.

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