Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ground Troops to Poland?

Will we send ground troops to Poland?

That's what this says:

Poland and the United States will announce next week the deployment of U.S. ground forces to Poland as part of an expansion of NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe in response to events in Ukraine. That was the word from Poland’s defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, who visited The Post Friday after meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon on Thursday.

That's a good idea. When I hear about US ground forces, I think maneuver units. Not air defense or helicopter units or anything else. Those units are great and valuable. But nothing says commitment like a maneuver unit of infantry, armor, and artillery, designed to take and hold land.

I agreed with a proposal to put our Germany-based Stryker brigade in Poland. Plus liked the idea of reinforcing the Army in Europe.

And while I'm at it, noted my earlier call to move our equipment in Norway for a Marine brigade to the Baltic states region.

And then noted my post-Georgia invasion proposal to put Army brigade sets of equipment in Poland. I stand by that, too.

But then I read elsewhere later (sorry--lost link) that this is referring to moving an American company of 150 men to the area for exercises.

Which is symbolic only.

Sure, we get familiar with the area. Which is valuable. And a big decision to base a brigade in Poland would take a lot more time to make and plan. So this could just be easing into that. But it isn't the big deal I thought it might be.

Of course, the biggest job will be to improve the logistics network of NATO to support the movement of western NATO forces into eastern NATO countries to come to the aid of NATO states under threat from Russia. That's the biggest brake on meeting a Russian threat.

But whatever agreements we had with Russia about not basing troops in the east is as dead as Crimea's status within Ukraine. Russia can whine and complain about this as our latest sin, but Russia is driving bad relations right now.