American soldiers rolled into Poland on Thursday, fulfilling a dream some Poles have had since the fall of communism in 1989 to have U.S. troops on their soil as a deterrent against Russia.
Some people waved and held up American flags as U.S. troops in tanks and other vehicles crossed into southwestern Poland from Germany and headed toward the town of Zagan, where they will be based. Poland’s prime minister and defense minister will welcome them in an official ceremony Saturday.
“This is the fulfilment of a dream,” said Michal Baranowski, director of the German Marshall Fund think tank in Warsaw. “And this is not just a symbolic presence but one with a real capability.”
In a climate where the U.S. is involved with 7 armed conflicts in the Middle East, do we really need to poke the bear that is Russia by deploying troops to a country that borders Russia? The purpose of this deployment, while celebrated by Poland, is a clear and present danger to what is already starting to be a pattern of military escalation and potentially a pre-cursor to Cold War 2.0.
The deployment marks the start of a new phase of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which foresees the continuous presence of an American armored brigade combat team in Europe on a nine-month rotational basis. The mission is meant to help allay concerns from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and other NATO allies over an increasingly unpredictable and bellicose Russia.
The U.S. also plans to move in a combat aviation brigade with about 10 Chinook and 50 Black Hawk helicopters and 1,800 personnel from Fort Drum, New York, and a battalion with 24 Apache attack helicopters and 400 personnel from Fort Bliss, Texas. They’ll be headquartered in Germany with some aircraft positioned in Latvia, Romania and Poland.
I get it, NATO is at the center of this deployment that involves several countries, not just the U.S. in the region. We are, naturally, the largest component of troops and armaments though because we spend more than the next 10 countries combined on our military. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that Russia is reacting to our increased presence just outside their border from several countries due to NATO’s “concerns […] over an increasingly unpredictable and bellicose Russia.” Well, duh, of course their being unpredictable, there are military forces amassing in numbers around their country’s border. I may be a little naive on this and potentially don’t know the whole story (who does honestly?) but I take things at face value. Russia has done some dumb things in the past few years to warrant suspicion, however with a new President coming into office that has indicated he wants to work with, not against, Russia, the timing of this troop movement is inconvenient. It almost feels as if it was done on purpose.
Prediction time: I see this escalating tensions that are already high between the world and Russia. The U.S. will be at the center of it and if not careful, could find itself unavoidably in another decade long storm of tension that we all thought was over and done with since Communism fell in 1989. We’re headed down what is going to be a rough and bumpy road.