An American heavy brigade has started to arrive in Poland. The Russians act as if this force might knife through all the way to Moscow:
It is the largest US military reinforcement of Europe in decades.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the BBC that the move "threatens our interests and our security".
"It's a third country that is building up its military presence on our borders in Europe," he said. "It isn't even a European country."
Remember, the American deployment is a single heavy brigade. That's about 4,000 troops.
Yet the Russians--they who wrestle bears bear-chested--are soiling their armor over this killer rabbit (all references figurative, of course)? Really?
And the Poles are happy to have them:
Poland's Undersecretary of State for Defence Tomasz Szatkowski said the deployment was necessary because of Russia's "large exercises" next to its border and its "aggressive actions in our vicinity - I mean Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea".
America sent these troops east to set up a continuous presence in Poland 25 years after the Soviet Union collapsed not because our aggressive intent has taken this long to gear up--recall that it was only a few years ago that we actually pulled out our last tanks from Europe--but as an effort to respond to Putin's aggression.
It took Russia's invasions of Georgia and Ukraine plus repeated aggressive verbal threats and military exercises aimed at their neighbors, up to and including nuclear threats, to get a single heavy brigade--not even permanently based there--back in Europe.
I think we should restore a corps to Europe (see "Transforming USAREUR for a Strategy of Preemption"--which I now think should be a heavy corps) with 5 brigades on the ground in Germany, Italy, and eastern NATO, plus prepositioned NATO equipment sets in southern Poland.
Sure, technically we shouldn't base troops in Poland per an understanding with the Russians, which is why the unit is only rotating in for 9 months--to be replaced by new units for rolling 9-month deployments that gets around that agreement. But doesn't the caveat in our pledge that this restriction would be honored "provided the security situation remained unchanged" be triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine despite the pledge Russia made in an agreement (the Budapest Memorandum) to respect Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity?
Please note that I don't know why Military Review credits me with a PhD in that issue I link to. I never reported that and after publication I notified them of the error. They published my correcting email in the next issue and at one time corrected the error online, but the mistake has reappeared. I claim nothing more than an MA in history.
As an aside, given that Russia refused to join the West when communism was defeated there, and given that most of Russia's territory is in Asia, is Russia really a European country?
UPDATE: I mentioned back in October in this data dump that American Marines were heading to Norway where we have a brigade's worth of equipment stored. Well, the Marines have arrived and the Russians have gone from eeek to irked:
Some 300 U.S. Marines landed in Norway on Monday for a six-month deployment, the first time since World War Two that foreign troops have been allowed to be stationed there, in a deployment which has irked Norway's Arctic neighbor Russia.Well, Russia and Norway share a border. Which is always dangerous. Being a small nation yet unable to move to a safer location, being a member of NATO with American troops on the ground is the next best thing.