Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Assume a Con Opener

Sometimes when I read articles on foreign policy, I just shake my head in wonder at what drivel can get printed.

This piece seems to want to defend Russia's paranoia about American moves in new NATO countries near Russia, assuming that the Russians are right to be wary of our moves.

This piece of scary news about two new bases in Romania and Bulgaria is so wrong that it is hard to believe it is based on the simplest explanation--sheer ignorance:

Upon completion of these base expansion projects in 2012, two-thirds of the highly mobile Rapid Reaction Corps of the U.S. Army in Europe will be concentrated in Romania and Bulgaria.

If the Russians are shaking in their boots over this, we're the least of their problems. First lets start with the denominator--the "Rapid Reaction Corps" of the US Army in Europe. Right now, our Army plans to have 2 brigades in Europe--maybe four if some worries about the drawdown are acted on. So that "corps" is really just one brigade--a Stryker brigade. That's about 5,000 troops.

So the scary numerator of troops "concentrated" in Romania and Bulgaria, where they can presumably knife their way through to Moscow leaving a swathe of destruction in their path, consists of two battalions of infantry (2 out of 3 in a Stryker brigade). Say, 1,600 men. These and other troops in battalion sized packages will rotate through the two bases on training exercises rather than being permanently assigned to the bases.

Is ignorance enough to explain this kind of writing?

And then there is this:

The whole world puzzles over Washington's motivation for seeking a greater military presence in the Black Sea region, since it hardly can be interpreted as mere expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

One, we seek a supply line across the Caucasus to Afghanistan. That's a pretty good reason. And then there is this reason. But that is in response to Russian actions. We are not engaged in some strange strangulation plan to kill Russia.

We have reasons to expand our presence in the Black Sea. Russia does not own the sea and there is no reason to assume that Russia has the right and expectation to have nobody else there. We're restricted enough in what we can send to the Black Sea under treaty limits, so it is silly to accept Russia's view of the situation as the basis of your analysis of what we are doing.

And for God's sake, learn the difference between a corps and a battalion.