Washington (dpa) - US President Donald Trump wants to send a former army officer, Colonel aD Douglas Macgregor, to Berlin to succeed Richard Grenell as US Ambassador. This comes from a message from the White House.
Proposals for an ambassadorial post must be approved by the US Senate. It is completely open when a corresponding hearing could be scheduled for this.
The White House announcement falls in the week when details of U.S. troop withdrawal plans for Germany are to be released. Macgregor had been critical of German defense policy in the past, which is why he should have welcomed Trump's decision. Trump had justified withdrawing almost 10,000 of the nearly 35,000 US soldiers in Germany from what he considered to be insufficient defense spending in Germany.
Like the former Ambassador Grenell, Macgregor appears again and again on the conservative broadcaster Fox News, which is one of Trump's favorite channels. Two years ago he said there: «Thanks to us, the Germans do not feel obliged to defend themselves. And the president just said: look, why should the American taxpayer defend you when you are unwilling to defend yourself? »
Macgregor could help Trump's plan to reduce troops in Germany become a reality, Daniel Davis of Defense Priorities think tank told Politico online. Macgregor is fluent in German and has lived in Germany for many years, said Davis, who has known Macgregor for decades.
The White House said the war veteran, author and advisor was known as an "expert in armed forces planning". During his career in the U.S. military, Macgregor had assisted the US Special Representative for the Balkans in the peace talks that ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the Dayton Agreement.
Macgregor was also chief of planning for the commander-in-chief of the NATO forces in the Kosovo war. For his use in the Second Gulf War, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in 1991, according to the website of his consulting firm, the Burke-Macgregor Group. Macgregor, a native of Pennsylvania, has published several books, including one in 1989 about the GDR's alliance with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
He is an outspoken critic of the Afghanistan mission and is in favor of the withdrawal of troops that Trump has repeatedly invoked. "That's why we chose him," said Macgregor earlier this year. Also in January, he appealed to Trump to withdraw the remaining US troops from Iraq and Syria. "The war is over, we lost it," he said.
Macgregor is not known as the most diplomatic, wrote Politico. In an article on the state of NATO in March 2019, the ex-officer wrote: «NATO does not die. She is a zombie. » With the disappearance of the Soviet threat, she ran out of life. The military alliance is only "reanimated" again and again, usually with "voodoo magic". "Zombies also die at some point," said Macgregor.
Grenell, a close confidante of the US president, resigned in June after a good two years as US ambassador to Germany. As an ambassador in Berlin, Grenell saw his task in aggressively representing Trump's policies in Germany and Europe - in an unconventional, rather undiplomatic way.
Already shortly after his appointment as ambassador in May 2018, he warned German companies against working with Iran. Out of anger at what he considered to be insufficient German military spending, he threatened to withdraw US troops from Germany. And because of the German-Russian Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 2, Grenell introduced sanctions against German companies at a very early stage.
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