One of the key principles of President Trump’s “America First” promise is that America’s military presence around the world will be reduced. So far, despite media silence, President Trump has delivered on that promise by keeping overseas deployments down.
According to the Pew Research Center, the number of active-duty U.S. troops abroad dropped below 200,000 for the first time in sixty years. Only fifteen-percent of the 1.3 million active-duty service men and women were deployed overseas by the end of 2016.
The countries with the most U.S. troops in 2016 were Japan (38,818), Germany (34,602), South Korea (24,189), Italy (12,088), and Afghanistan (9,023).
While President Trump said this week that his government is likely to send more U.S. troops into Afghanistan, this increase is predicted to be little more than about 4,000 additional troops. This means that Germany will still house more American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines than America’s most active warzone.
While tensions with North Korea mean that U.S. troops are likely to remain on the Korean Peninsula for the foreseeable future, President Trump’s campaign promise that America’s NATO allies will pay their fair share for defense spending could ultimately see American troops pulled from Italy and Germany. President Trump reminded Western Europe of this fact during a NATO summit in May.
Currently, Germany spends only 1.2-percent of its GDP on their defense, despite having the third largest military in Europe (excluding Russia).
Italy, which is on the frontline in Europe’s fight against human trafficking and illegal immigration from the Arab world (and North Africa), only spends about 1.5-percent of its GDP on defense.
According to a global index of military strength, Germany has the third strongest military in Europe, while Italy the fourth strongest. Clearly, these countries could spend more money on defense, and could rely less on American aid in terms of firepower and manpower.
It should be said that America’s diminishing military presence across the world began under the administration of Barack Obama. In 2011, President Obama pulled all U.S. forces out of Iraq, thus ending one of Washington’s largest military commitments. President Obama also scaled down America’s presence in Afghanistan.
Since then, President Trump has maintained a more sober foreign policy. That’s in the face of direct threats from the communist regime at Pyongyang, too. President Trump has not deployed permanent ground forces to South Korea or Japan.
Despite this historic low, many who support the idea of “America First” are afraid that, thanks to Generals Kelly, Mattis, and McMaster, Trump’s foreign policy will take on a more neo-conservative complexion. Many “America First” supporters were quick to denounce President Trump’s missile attack on Syria during the spring, and many more are now questioning the logic of his recent Afghanistan decision.
Dr. Sebastian Gorka, a leading expert on radical Islamic terrorism, recently resigned from the Trump White House because he feels that the “America First” agenda has been cast aside by globalists working inside of the White House.
With ISIS losing territory in Syria and Iraq, and with moderate troop increases in Afghanistan, it so far seems unlikely that President Trump will deploy more American forces across the globe than his predecessors did. We trust and support the president, who continues to silence his critics as he puts America first.