The deployment is reportedly a part of the U.S. policy to reassure the European allies that Washington is not abandoning them in light of Russia’s bold interventions in Ukraine. According to media reports, this will be a very small deployment of about 150 troops for drills which are planned to continue for two weeks.
NATO has already announced last week that it would be increasing its presence in eastern Europe on land, sea and air. It is expected that there will be more fighter patrols over the Baltic nations and warships in the Baltic Sea and eastern Mediterranean.
The reason Washington is sending such a small number for drills is both to boost confidence of its allies which share immediate borders with Russia and to not aggravate Moscow which may reciprocate at any time.
The policies of the United States vis-a-vis Russia have drastically changed over the last two months, as the administration is dipping into a Cold War mood. Enlarging the military presence as part of the policy of containment seems to be on the agenda. Both Poland and Estonia have a bitter memory of Red Army’s misbehavior in the last century and they are the first countries which happen to under risk of Russia’s standoff with NATO.
Although the United States announced sending a platoon, the Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski had already asked for NATO to station 10,000 troops in Poland. In the first days of Russia’s invasion in Crimea, U.S. deployed 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland.
The increase of military presence in eastern Europe signals a possible arms race with Russia and is reminiscent of Cold War in the last century when the race brought the Soviet Empire on its knees by forcing Moscow to spend unthinkable amounts of cash on military expenditures and over-extensive conflicts which depleted its bank reserves and effectively collapsed its already poor economy. With Russia dependent on oil prices – which can be lowered by allies of U.S. – the collapse of Russia’s hegemony is not too far off.