‘We won’t let the Americans blackmail us’: German MPs lash out at US threats over NATO spending
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German lawmakers have fired back at threats made by the US envoy to Berlin, Richard Grenell, describing his ultimatum demanding higher defense spending as outrageous and extortionary.
Thomas Hitschler, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), described the ambassador’s remarks as “highly problematic” and “indecent.” He added that Grenell’s criticisms of Germany’s financial contribution towards NATO do not correspond with reality.
Hitschler described how Pentagon officials had praised Berlin’s defense commitments during a recent visit he’d made to Washington.
The secretary-general of the SPD, Lars Klingbeil, went one step further, accusing Grenell of trying to bully Berlin.
“We will not be blackmailed by the Americans,” he told the Augsburger Allgemeine.
The spat began earlier this week when Grenell demanded that Germany increase its defense spending, arguing that it was “really insulting to expect the US taxpayer to keep paying for over 50,000 Americans” stationed in the European country.
The complaint was followed by a suggestion from the US envoy in Poland, who advocated for US troops to relocate to Poland – an ally which, unlike Germany, “spends 2 percent of its GDP on NATO.”
Germany has been reluctant to involve itself in Washington’s most recent military adventures. Berlin has refused to join US- and UK-led naval patrols in the Persian Gulf, after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in retaliation for its own oil carrier being captured by the UK near Gibraltar.
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