It’s good to see Cold War paranoia is back in 2017:
Russia says it views the arrival of more than 3,000 US soldiers in Poland as a threat to its own security.
The troops are part of President Barack Obama’s response to reassure Nato allies concerned about a more aggressive Russia.
It is the largest US military reinforcement of Europe in decades.
Here is a map of Poland and its surrounds:
The distance between the eastern Polish border and the western Russian border is about 500km. There are entire nations lying between Russia proper and Poland; they might as well complain about the troops in Germany as Poland.
Of course, they may be talking about the Russian enclave around Kaliningrad, in which case it is necessary to note that:
Last October, Russia sent nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to its exclave of Kaliningrad, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, followed a month later by Bastion anti-ship missile launchers.
Which presumably don’t threaten anyone, oh no. They’re for defensive purposes, you see.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the BBC that the move “threatens our interests and our security”.
Perhaps if the Russians would state clearly what their “interests” in Poland and its neighbours were, such agonising would be unnecessary. And this is just bollocks:
“It’s a third country that is building up its military presence on our borders in Europe,” [Peskov] said. “It isn’t even a European country.”
Poland’s not in Europe? Where is it then, Africa?
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”.
Ah, finally somebody who is speaking sensibly.
Mr Trump’s nomination for defence secretary – Gen James Mattis – is likely to be asked about the new administration’s attitude to Russia in his Senate confirmation hearing later on Thursday.
Leaving aside Obama’s last-minute posturing, a thousand quid says Mattis fully approves of the troops being in Poland and sees preventing Russia from attempting to annex more of Eastern Europe as being a top US strategic priority in the way that confronting them over Syria most certainly is not. I can well imagine Trump pushing the Europeans to start paying more for their own defense and rightly so, but I think Putin will be making a very big mistake if he thinks the US is about to abandon Eastern Europe to Russian control.
And whaddya know?
President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees for defence secretary and spy chief have been taking aim at Russia during their Senate confirmation hearings.
General James Mattis, defence secretary nominee, warned Nato was under its biggest attack since World War Two.
Mr Mattis, a retired general and Mr Trump’s pick for Pentagon chief, said Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to divide Nato nations.
“I think right now the most important thing is that we recognise the reality of what we deal with with Mr Putin,” he told the Armed Services Committee.
“And we recognise that he is trying to break the North Atlantic Alliance and that we take the steps… to defend ourselves where we must.
“I think it’s under the biggest attack since World War II, sir, and that’s from Russia, from terrorist groups and with what China is doing in the South China Sea.”
I think we might get to find out fairly soon just how much of a Russian puppet Trump is. My guess, as I hinted at earlier, is the stance of his administration will be “You can have Syria, but if you start rattling sabres in Eastern Europe, we’ll arm them to the teeth”.