The reaction of the German government so far against the US decision has been restrained. However, Rolf Muetzenich, a senior figure in the governing junior coalition party, the center-left Social Democratic, suggested that “arms cooperation must be evaluated in a new perspective.”

Muetzenich, head of the party’s parliamentary group, told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that “disorder and pressure” cannot be “the basis for working together in partnerships.”

His comments have drawn criticism from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party. MP Roderich Kiesewetter told the dpa news agency that “so far there has not been an adequate and affordable substitute” in Europe for US defense industry’s high-tech products. He argues that there are also checks and balances on Trump in the US

Another MP, Henning Otte, said Social Democrats should not speak of “further alienation in the alliance.”

Part of the plan announced by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper included moving the headquarters of the US European Command to Mons, Belgium from Stuttgart, Germany. Esper said the Pentagon would also move the US African Command out of the German city.

The African Command said in a statement on Friday that it had “been told to plan to move” and had begun to do so, although adding that “it would likely take several months to develop options, consider locations, and make decisions.”


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