US State Secretary Mike Pompeo met with American troops in southern Germany on November 7, during his two-day visit to Germany. He started his trip to mark the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall in an area where he served as an Army officer during the Cold War. Pompeo served as a tank platoon leader on the border with Czechoslovakia and East Germany in the 1980s. He interacted with the US troops at the Grafenwoehr training area and nearby Vilseck and attended a live-fire drill before heading north to meet up with the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in the town of Moedlareuth.
Moedlareuth was split down the middle by the border between East and West Germany with the southern part in Bavaria and the northern part in Thuringia during the cold war. Scores of Americans were stationed in West Germany during the cold war and the country was one of the US’s closest allies. Under the Trump administration, the ties between the nations have strained over a series of issues. He met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and is expected to discuss growing concerns about economic and strategic threats from Russia, China, and Iran. He is expected to restate U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which had been supported by Germany and Russia, according to American officials.
In his day two trip, he is scheduled to visit five German cities where he is expected to deliver a speech highlighting the U.S. role in helping eastern and central Europe, according to the US State Department. He will also unveil a statue of Ronald Reagan on an upper-level terrace of the U.S. Embassy, where the Berlin Wall once stood and the former president gave his famous 1987 speech imploring then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “open this gate” and “tear down this wall.”