In yet another sign that Washington is keen on preserving the sanctity of sovereign nations’ right to choose peaceful democracy over violent tyranny, the US is set to use Poland as a staging ground in an effort to prove (because some folks weren’t sure) that despite the UK’s inexplicable reluctance to engage in an arms race with Russia and China, the US can still blow things up at the drop of a dime. Here’s The State Dept with more:
This week the U.S. Army deployed to Poland about 30 vehicles and 100 troops from the 5th Battalion/7th Air Defense Regiment, based in Germany. The U.S. soldiers will train for several days with Polish troops from the 37th Missile Squadron of Air Defense, the 38th Support Squadron, and the 3rd Brigade of Air Defense Command.
The American forces will set up their Patriot air and missile defense assets in Poland to demonstrate the U.S. Army’s capacity to deploy Patriot systems rapidly within NATO territory. Training elements will include defending high value assets, ground forces, and population areas from ballistic missiles and air strikes.
Yes, “rapid deployment” of missiles systems. This makes a lot of sense because as we explained yesterday, Vladimir Putin (fresh from an as yet unexplained media hiatus), is busy conducting “snap combat readiness drills” in territories which the Kremlin has Santander-Consumer-style repossessed. But that’s certainly not the only reason for the White House’s move to ratchet up its Eastern European war readiness. As we noted on Monday, Moscow recently made it clear that it isn’t afraid to instigate a nuclear holocaust if it means defending Russia’s natural right to annex a peninsula:
Having re-emerged from his hibernation, Vladimir Putin is wasting no time getting back to business. Having paced 40,000 troops on "snap-readiness," AP reports that a documentary which aired last night shows Putin explaining that Russia was ready to bring its nuclear weapons into a state of alert during last year's tensions over the Crimean Peninsula and the overthrow of Ukraine's president, and admitted well-armed forces in unmarked uniforms who took control of Ukrainian military facilities in Crimea were Russian soldiers. In the documentary, which marks a year since the referendum, Putin says of the nuclear preparedness, "We were ready to do this ... (Crimea) is our historical territory. Russian people live there. They were in danger. We cannot abandon them."
So regardless of how rational that sounds (i.e. some people who may or may not be Russians live there, so it makes sense that we would deploy nuclear weapons on anyone who questions our right to unilaterally commandeer an entire republic), the US isn’t necessarily ok with what the West perceives as unnecessary acts of aggression and so, in order to counter the idea that military posturing is an effective foreign policy tool, Washington will get more aggressive militarily:
All of these Operation Atlantic Resolve exercises aim to reassure allies and demonstrate the freedom of movement of NATO defense assets throughout NATO territory. The United States remains dedicated to maintaining a persistent rotational presence of air, ground, and naval resources in Poland and the Baltic States as long as the need exists to reassure our allies and deter Russian aggression.
Meanwhile, US allies such as the UK, Australia, and South Korea are set to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Development Bank and Greek PM Alexis Tsipras is scheduled to meet with Putin next month in what looks like an attempt to undermine the perception of Western economic dominance. In the end, we've got posturing on both sides, and with the US seemingly determined to make a show of strength in the Kremlin's backyard, things could get interesting.