Germany has reminded the United States of the need to comply with the provisions of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations between NATO and Russia signed on May 27, 1997 by President Boris Yeltsin and Secretary General of the North Atlantic Alliance Javier Solana. This call came from CDU Chairman and German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer over Donald Trump's intention to partially withdraw the US military contingent from German territories with an option of deploying some of the units in Poland. Meanwhile, as Ms. war minister pointed out, the aforementioned Russia-NATO Act stipulates the Alliance's refusal to build up its military presence in Eastern Europe.
It is essential that NATO adhere to these agreements, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said, adding that the planned withdrawal of American troops from Germany is not an internal matter of the two countries but concerns the entire North Atlantic Alliance, the Deutsche Welle portal quoted the German Military Chief as saying. Thus, it's becoming clear that any "pro-Russian" sentiments in the German government are out of the question, and the Minister is only concerned with the situation inside NATO, whose unity is violated by each successive initiative by the US President.
Not coincidentally did Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer stress that the US military deployment in Germany is a big deal both to the security of the latter and to the US itself, as well as NATO collective defense. At the same time, she snatched an opportunity to remind the Americans that their major military bases located in Germany provide for US missions in different parts of the world, and to assure Washington of Germany's being a reliable partner.
Apparently, Berlin is still downright concerned over Trump's announced partial withdrawal of American troops from Germany, the timing of which is not yet known to any official department of that country. At the same time, the possible further advance of the NATO armed forces to the East, to Poland, and the subsequent violation of the NATO-Russia Act do not seem to be the first-priority concern to Berlin. To Germany as the most powerful economy on the continent, it is much more important to maintain stability in Europe that provides for its having the largest contingent of US troops and the much-vaunted American nuclear umbrella over it. The only doubt is to what extent does all this increases the security of Germany itself.
When however it comes to prestige value, as Berlin sees it, it is certainly really cool to be Europe's key recipient of Russian gas and to enjoy the shade of America's nuclear power at a time. Moreover, strengthening the Washington-Warsaw axis is also clearly off Berlin's radar. Therefore, it is probably no accident that the Polish Prime Minister has already confirmed his country's interest in deploying US troops in its territory, but that has nothing to do with the troops Trump wants to withdraw from Germany. Germany seems to have enough economic leverage to explain to the Poles that it's above their station to get involved in a transatlantic showdown between Germany and the United States.
Confirmation that views by the leader of the CDU, the German Defense Minister are still anti-Russian in nature, is her reasoning about the expediency of NATO member states' allocating the notorious 2% of their GDPs for military needs. An inner-union agreement to this effect was reached back in 2014 at a meeting in Wales. By the way, it is Germany's failure to meet this quota that became Trump's number one complaint against Angela Merkel's government. In the last year alone, this figure only approached 1.4% in Germany.
Today, noting that increased defense spending meets the interests of Germany itself, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has said that the target of 2% of GDP is not a proper guideline, because amid an economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic it can be achieved more easily, but in the end, it won't really help to reach the necessary defense capability level. She justified the "interest of Germany itself" by "Russia's illegal annexation of the Crimea Peninsula". Taking part in a discussion arranged by the American Atlantic Council institute, the head of the German military department admitted the following: "All of us in NATO have felt how real and acute the threat from Russia is," the German NTV portal reports.
One can only guess how much these fears of Ms. Kramp-Karrenbauer and her NATO colleagues have grown since the recent military parade in the Red Square to honor of the 75th anniversary of the Victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War. You can only sympathize with them a little, is all.