Trump says US 'era of endless wars' over

Steve Holland
US President Donald Trump told army graduates the government was "ending the era of endless wars"

US President Donald Trump has told West Point's graduating class that their job will be to defend "America's vital interests" and not fight "endless wars" in faraway lands.

Trump's reported plans to withdraw 9500 troops from Germany and relocate them to Poland and elsewhere have drawn the ire of some German officials and raised concerns in the US Congress about a military retreat from the world stage.

In his commencement address to the US Military Academy at West Point, Trump told more than 1000 graduating cadets, arrayed in a social-distancing pattern, that the job of the US soldier is not to rebuild foreign countries but "defend, and defend strongly, our nation from foreign enemies".

"We are ending the era of endless wars," Trump said.

It is not the job of US forces "to solve ancient conflicts in faraway lands that many people have not even heard of," he said.

"We are not the policeman of the world but let our enemies be on notice: if our people are threatened, we will never, ever hesitate to act. And when we fight, from now on, we will only fight to win."

As president, Trump has pulled troops from Syria and pushed US allies worldwide to pay more for the commitment of US forces to defend them.

In relatively rare criticism from his own party, 22 Republicans on the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee wrote to Trump saying a troop cut in Germany would hurt national security and could encourage Russian aggression.

In his remarks on Saturday, Trump only touched obliquely on the debate over racial injustice in the United States, saying the cadets were examples of the country's diversity.

"You have come from the farms and the cities, from states big and small, and from every race, religion, colour and creed. But when you entered these grounds, you became part of one team and one family, proudly serving one American nation," he said.