Is the German military capable of defending Europe?

Source: The Local

The election of Donald Trump to President of the US has awoken fears that the US will no longer be the guardian of European security. If Washington steps back, can Berlin fill the void?

After less than a month of life with the Trump administration, it is still far from clear how Washington now sees NATO and the defence of Europe.

On Tuesday US Defence Secretary James Mattis described NATO as “the most successful military alliance in history” on his way to a meeting of defence ministers in Brussels.

But his boss in the White House has repeatedly called the alliance’s continued utility into question and has called on other member states to do more.

On the campaign trail before his election Trump said that if Russia attacked the Baltic states, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing if those nations have “fulfilled their obligations to us.”

As the largest economy in Europe, and the powerbroker in the EU, Germany is the obvious NATO partner to step into the breach, should the US draw back.

In late January and early February, hundreds of German soldiers landed in Lithuania tohead up a deployment of a 1,200-strong battalion that will include forces from several NATO members.

Germany’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who was at the base to welcome the troops, said that “it sends a clear and important message to all: NATO stands strong and united.”

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