Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Simple Matter of Erasing the "Belo" Part

The anschluss continues:

Russia plans to deploy fighter jets in Belarus this year and eventually establish an air base in the former Soviet republic, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday.

The moves would increase Russia's military presence in Belarus, viewed by Moscow as a buffer between Russia and NATO, and could unnerve neighbouring members of the Western alliance.

By 2015 a regiment of 60 planes is supposed to be in place in the place once called Belorussia when it was a part of the Soviet Union (and oddly had its own UN seat).

Yeah, western NATO members are confident that Russia is far enough east not to be a threat. But the new NATO states in eastern Europe don't have that luxury. Belorus is flat so both Poland and Russia would prefer Belorus to remain outside the orbit of the other.

We haven't taken the Russian potential to advance west seriously (because they haven't had a serious military option), but that can change. And the absorption of Belarus into the Russian military network is a signal to take the defense of eastern NATO seriously before Russia has a military option.

Baltic states in NATO who already border Russia surely like the presence of other NATO troops on their soil. Poland will feel the need for American forces even more now.

This is one more step in Russia's creeping reconquest of Belarus. Is Belarus one financial crisis away from Russia taking over in fact if not name?

And in the year when the last American tank has left Europe, I still think we should put brigade sets of equipment--including heavy brigades--in Poland. If the British and Germans would join us, that would be nice. This is all the more important since we will have only two light brigades in Europe (one Stryker brigade and one parachute brigade).

This wouldn't be so worrisome if the Russians didn't bizarrely talk like NATO is their main enemy.