Despite Afghan fiasco, US again sends troops abroad – this time to Eastern Europe

Washington only responding to current conditions, officials say.



Reuters
Reuters

By Chidanand Rajghatta

Published: Wed 2 Feb 2022, 8:45 PM

Last updated: Wed 2 Feb 2022, 10:38 PM

Notwithstanding the recent fiasco in Afghanistan, American troops are heading out for foreign shores yet again. US President Joe Biden on Wednesday approved deployment of about 3,000 additional troops to Eastern Europe amid rising tensions with Russia over what Washington says in a potential invasion of Ukraine, on whose borders Moscow has amassed 100,000 troops.

Pentagon officials emphasized in a briefing that US troops are not being deployed in Ukraine but instead will go to Poland and Romania to protect NATO's eastern flank.

Roughly 1000 personnel based in Germany will move to Romania, while 1700 members from 82nd Airborne Division 300 members from 18th Airborne Corps, both based in Fort Bragg in North Carolina, will go to Poland and Germany respectively.

The officials maintained the moves are not permanent and that Washington is only responding to "current conditions," aiming to reassure NATO allies and meet Washington's commitments.

"I want to be very clear about something: these are not permanent moves...Moreover, these forces are not going to fight in Ukraine. They are going to ensure the robust defense of our NATO allies," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said. He however revealed the newly deployed troops will be going under bilateral arrangements with Germany, Poland, and Romania, and they will remain under US control.

The new deployments, backed by suggestions that there could be further injection of troops should the situation warrant, came amid apprehension in the Biden administration that if the US does not show up in military terms, it will further embolden Russia to train its sights on other former Soviet Republics to try and reconstitute a Soviet Union 2.0, which American analysts see as Moscow's endgame.

Smaller NATO deployments are also expected in Baltic Republics that were part of the former Soviet Republic and which expect Moscow to turn the heat on them after Ukraine.

The US deployment came on the heels of sharp exchanges from both sides about who is the aggressor in Eastern Europe, the ideological battleground during the Cold War.

US officials are accusing Moscow of predatory behavior in the region, alleging that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “invaded multiple countries in the past several years.” Russian officials in turn are accusing the US of undermining its security by shepherding countries in its sphere of influence, including Ukraine, into NATO.

On Wednesday, Russia's ambassador to US Anatoly Antonov lashed out at Washington's "bloody" experiments to "democratize" the world, saying it has "brought nothing but chaos, instability, and death."

"#Yugoslavia, #Iraq, #Livya, #Syria and #Afghanistan are just a small part of the countries that have experienced aggression by the United States foreign policy. We urge our colleagues to look in the mirror more often before blaming or reading other's preferences,"Antonov said in a Facebook post.


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