Barack Obama hasn't called for the 1970s to take their foreign policy back, but his SecDef is sounding an awful lot like Mitt Romney these days:
Defense [Commissar] Ash Carter is criticizing Russia for aggression in Europe and is promising to continue a military buildup to deter war on NATO’s eastern flank.
In remarks Tuesday at a ceremony installing a new commander of U.S. Forces in Europe, Carter said he is particularly troubled by what he called Russian “nuclear saber-rattling.”
That would be in accordance with the new Russian military doctrine of using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear enemy countries that they announced last year. Although I don't think Vlad would be all that discriminating, given his recent naval wargames with our warships in the Baltic Sea a couple of weeks ago.
In response, to try and rebuild some sort of deterrent against the burgeoning Russian invasion of the European Union, Carter is planning to boost the U.S. military presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltics....by a handful of battalions:
The NATO alliance is considering establishing a rotational ground force in the Baltic states and possibly Poland, reflecting deepening worry about Russian military assertiveness, U.S. Defense [Commissar] Ash Carter said Monday.
“That is one of the ideas that’s under discussion,” Carter told reporters flying with him from Washington to Stuttgart, Germany, where he is to preside Tuesday at a ceremony installing a new commander of U.S. European Command. Army General Curtis Scaparrotti is to replace Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who has frequently and publicly cautioned that Russia poses a potential threat to European stability. [emphasis added]
And now you know why General Breedlove is being replaced - for violating the Regime's Chip Diller strategic military doctrine.
Carter said the allies are considering a rotational ground force of four battalions, which would mean about four thousand troops. That would be in addition to, and separate from, a recently announced unilateral U.S. decision to send a U.S. armored brigade of about 4,200 troops to Eastern Europe next February.
Carter said the idea of a separate NATO rotational ground force is likely to be further discussed at a NATO meeting in June.
Now don't get me wrong, folks, I welcome any progress towards returning to a sane military stance vis-a-vie any of our enemies, particularly the Russians. But what good are four thousand troops against a Russian invasion that will be tens of times larger than that? Sheesh, the forty or so thousand troops we've had stationed in South Korea for decades have been considered a cannon fodder "tripwire" against a NoKo invasion, essentially a sacrifice that would, doctrinally speaking, bring a U.S. nuclear response into play. That's their primary purpose. But at least they could theoretically defend themselves, even in a Pusan Perimeter-esque delaying action. What could a "force" a tenth its size do, especially when charged not with covering an inevitable retreat, but with the defense of three small, defenseless countries spread over a much larger land area than the width of the Korean peninsula?
Serve as cannon fooder, of course. But as a trip wire for what? Does anybody believe that Barack Obama would ever fight the Russians if they attacked NATO, much less use nuclear weapons against their invading forces? I'll guarantee you Czar Vlad doesn't. Which means that those few U.S. battalions can't have any deterrent effect. They're not even "window dressing". They are, effectively, irrelevant.
That's not Ash Carter's fault per se. It's simply all the force strength the gutted Obamilitary has available. And it is completely inadequate to the ostensible task.
So NATO remains a hollow facade just waiting to be exposed by the most minimalist Russian incursion, and the Baltic States are the front door. I provided a sneak-preview of the war to come thirteen months ago, thus saving the news media a lot of time and legwork that they'll still get all wrong anyway here.