ANALYSIS/OPINION: The Trump administration has been pushing our European allies to take a bigger role in Syria in the final campaign to mop up the last vestiges of the once-vaunted Islamic State caliphate. France and the United Kingdom have agreed to step up (modestly) their military presence in Syria to replace the departing Americans, reportedly down to around 400 troops. Germany, by contrast, has flat out refused Washington’s request. “When I say that the government intends to maintain its current measures in the context of the anti-ISIS coalition, then that certainly includes no ground troops,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told reporters in Berlin. In light of recent trade and energy disputes between Berlin and Washington, this development is simply shocking — and highly predictable. Germany does not have the will or sufficient forces to defend itself. After decades of chronically deficient defense spending, Germany’s military is a shell of its Cold War self. After promising President Trump to significantly boost defense spending, Berlin simply hasn’t delivered. Military expenditures hover around 1.2% of GDP — far below the agreed NATO target of 2%. Known for having very few combat aircraft that can actually fly, German readiness for any… Read full this story
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