Op-Ed: One thousand U.S. troops sent to north-eastern Poland

Posted Feb 20, 2017 by Ken Hanly
One thousand U.S. troops along with their vehicles are to be sent to north-eastern Poland in late March according to the US Army's Europe headquarter in Wiesbaden Germany.
American troops arrive at the airport in Swidwin  Poland on April 23  2014
American troops arrive at the airport in Swidwin, Poland on April 23, 2014
Janek Skarzynski, AFP/File
Troops will be deployed to the town of Orzysz in northeastern Poland. The unit is part of a 4,000 U.S. troops that are being deployed in rotation as part of its "Atlantic Resolve" operation. Orzysz is 137 kilometers or 85 miles from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad that is heavily armed. A recent Digital Journal article discusses Kaliningrad.
The announcement came at the same time as the Munich Security Conference at which Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister claimed that NATO was a relic of the Cold War. Operation Atlantic Resolve is a response to Russia's action in the Crimea and support for separatists in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. In spite of Donald Trump's supposed friendship with Putin, the Trump regime is showing itself to be a strong supporter of NATO and of its operations against Russia. U.S. vice-president Mike Pence reassured Baltic and Black Sea countries including the Ukraine that they would continue to have U.S. support in spite of Trump's anti-NATO rhetoric prominent in Trump's campaign. He had called NATO "obsolete". He is still complaining that many member countries are not paying their fair share of two percent of their GDP to support NATO. This is certainly true. It seems now that the Trump administration is busy stressing its undying support for NATO. Mike Pence said that the US pledged unwavering support for NATO.
Dalia Grybauskaite President of Lithuania claimed that the country needed the support of the U.S. air defense systems for full protection. She also said that a quick decision-making process was needed. Both Poland and Romania are host to two U.S. missile interceptor stations that Russia considers a threat. In response, Russia deployed Iskander missiles into Kaliningrad. Russia feels that the west violated commitments it claims were made at the time of the fall of the Iron Curtain that NATO would not expand into eastern Europe. The issue is described in detail in this Der Spiegel article. The U.S. had a fit when Cuba became part of the Soviet orbit.
Just last weekend, Beata Szydio, Polish PM. welcomed a U.S. armored brigade that was to train with Polish forces. The brigade with 87 tanks and other vehicles had arrived in the port of Bremerhaven in western Germany in January. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg stressed that the enhanced training was only defensive claiming: "We don't want to provoke a conflict. We want to prevent conflict and preserve the peace." What NATO is doing is provoking Russia and causing a huge arms buildup in the Baltic and other areas.