9383. 8/11/2017

FOREIGN POLICY/GERMANY/NATO/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “On the outskirts of this small town in southern Germany, the U.S. is spending $1 billion on a hospital an Army general describes as the most ambitious medical construction project the military has ever undertaken.
The excavators rumbling across an expanse of red soil close to the size of 90 football fields send a message, U.S. military officials say: Europe is a vital ally, even in the age of ‘America First.’…
President Donald Trump’s evolving rhetoric about how he views the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has left Europeans confused over whether the U.S. military remains as committed to Europe as it has been in past decades.
U.S. officials have told allies that it is America’s deeds they should focus on. Construction on the Weilerbach hospital began in 2014, and has continued since Mr. Trump’s election. Now Mr. Trump wants to spend even more on Europe.
The House of Representatives last month authorized the Trump administration’s request for $4.8 billion in European defense funds—which would be a $1.4 billion increase over current spending—for everything from improving runways to expanding exercises. The Senate must still approve the measure, though congressional officials say the European defense initiative is not controversial…
For Europeans, however, the situation is more complicated. European defense analysts and officials say they have no doubt that a robust American military presence will remain on their continent for years to come. As evidence, they point to American investments such as the new hospital, which will treat wounded soldiers from as far afield as Africa and Afghanistan.
But they also say they struggle to see an overarching strategy in Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, and they worry that his frequent criticism of allies risks alienating Europeans from the U.S. alliance.”

-Anton Troianovski and Julian E. Barnes, “Despite ‘America First’ Rhetoric, Pentagon Ramps Up Presence in Europe,” The Wall Street Journal online, Aug. 11, 2017 05:34am

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