NEWSWATCH STRATFOR: The West Hems in Russia Little by Little
[“The West Hems in Russia Little by Little” – Stratfor.com – March 30, 2015]
Stratfor considers bolstered U.S. military activities in Europe, including in the vicinity of Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin must be feeling very claustrophobic these days. …
All along Russia’s frontier with Europe, the U.S. military is bustling with activity. Bit by bit, the United States is expanding various military exercises under the banner of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The exercises began in the Baltics and Poland and, as of last week, expanded into Romania with plans to move into Bulgaria. So far, most of these missions are on the smaller side, consisting of only a few hundred troops at any given time, and are meant to test the U.S. ability to rapidly deploy units to countries that can then practice receiving and working with these forces. Additionally, various headquarter units from U.S. Army infantry brigades have been rotating in and assuming control of Operation Atlantic Resolve in order to practice joint command and control.
Although this is primarily a test of military capabilities, the exercises also serve the political aim of reassuring Eastern European allies of U.S. support. Take, for example, the Dragoon Ride convoy that began March 21. This 11-day spectacle is taking a U.S. military convoy, including Stryker armored vehicles, 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany. In essence, the U.S. military is parading a giant American flag all along the European front.
The author also considers whether there might even be a kind of encirclement of Russia.
From the Baltics to the Black Sea and now the Caspian, the United States is on the search for recruits to encircle Russia. Romania threw its lot in with the United States last year, but this year, Turkey and Turkmenistan are the ones to watch.