It is the reason that Mayor Ralf Hechler van Ramstein hardly seems to be worried yet. He shows on a large map in his office how important the American airbase is to his municipality. “More than a third of my town is made up of the base,” he says. “The first golf course in the country was at the base, now. There is a huge shopping center. And now they are building a new military hospital, for a billion dollars.” You don’t just throw that kind of big investment away, thinks the mayor.
On one point, he also agrees with Trump’s criticism of the German government: he believes that he invests far too little in his own defense. “When you see the desolate condition of our military. We are NATO partners, want to be with us, but we often don’t have the right equipment. If Trump or his ambassador tells us we don’t have enough money he is right about that. “
Hechler is a party member of Chancellor Merkel, but the lines are not so short that he calls Berlin regularly to plead for an increase in the military budget. “We’re really too small for that. They really won’t listen to me. That would of course be nice, but you have to be honest about that.”