Contributed by Jim Hayes
American military presence in Poland has been there constantly for years and it is there to press on Russia’s border. The new presence includes the addition of 87 M1 Abrams tanks, 103 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, 18 Paladin self-propelled Howitzers, and other trucks and equipment, according to the U.S. European Command (EUCOM).
The response has been to encircle Russia with troops and missiles. Russia has reacted. And this scenario has not changed under Donald Trump’s administration.
Both the American presence in Poland and the Russian war games come at a time of heightened tensions between the two nations, over not only the dispute over the Crimea, but also differences over Syria, north Korea and other global issues and this is what makes it more dangerous.
The large-scale American led NATO presence in the countries bordering Russia’s borders, has created one of the worlds gravest hot spots, which threatens to engulf the world in as new war and places a range of former Soviet republics into a state of dependency, creates interference in their internal politics into, fashioning them to serve American strategic interests. It also involves a faceoff between the world’s two most heavily nuclear armed powers.
Zapad 2017 is a continuation of military exercises that has taken place every four years, since they were begun by Russian leader Vladimir Putin in 2009. NATO sources claim that this this time around, there are more than 12,000 troops involved, the mandatory cutting of point. This is where Russia after is supposed to inform the American dominated NATO about the details. There is no independent verification of this and Russia vehemently denies it.
Displaying the thinking on the other side, US Army Lt General Ben Hodges, the commander of Army forces in Europe has described the war games as a Trojan horse.
However, recent NATO war games involved 25,000 troops in Eastern Europe, practicing war with Russia, which Russia accused of being a threat to its national security.
Tension on Russia’s borders is driven by efforts to contain Russia’s growth and global influence and especially when it comes to Europe, which has tremendous economic, political and strategic importance. Collectively, the European Union is at present, the biggest economic block and the single biggest challenge to American global supremacy.
Considering the reality of a weakening American economy, great effort has been put in recent years to open Europe for unrestricted American investment. Europe is resisting this. At the same time, it is highly dependent on gas and oil resources coming in from Russia.
American strategic ambition is to take control over these resources. Achieving this would secure extra pressure over Europe. Doing so depends on removing Russian influence.
For its part, Russia can use its control over the strategic resources, to apply its own pressure on Europe.
Hence there is both continuing involvement in NATO and resistance to being fully merged into American ambition. One form this has taken is to limit NATO’s scope and the European role in it. Economically, it is leading to a rise in European protectionism.
Unless there is a major demilitarisation of the region, tensions are bound to increase and for this reason, ways must be found to make this a reality.