A Powerless American Military In Europe
The Obama administration has removed all operational combat tanks from Europe and key strike aircraft, limiting the options for a show of force to bolster eastern NATO allies as Russia contemplates invading Ukraine.
That makes it a top priority to show Russian President Vladimir Putin that Washington stands militarily behind NATO members such as the Baltic states, Poland and other countries once under Soviet domination.
The problem is, the U.S. shelf is a bit bare. In the past two years, the Obama administration has deactivated the only two armored combat brigade teams in Europe equipped with the Army’s main M1 battle tanks. It also disbanded a squadron of A-10 ground-attack jets that proved effective over Libya.
While Mr. Putin is flexing his muscle in the east, Washington is tilting military away from Europe and toward Asia. “Everyone is moving west when we need to be looking east,” said Luke Coffey, a former Army officer who was a defense adviser to Britain’s conservative government.
“Ten thousand American troops have moved west out of Europe,” said Mr. Coffey, an analyst at The Heritage Foundation. “Ten thousand British soldiers have moved west out of Germany, while thousands of Russian soldiers have moved west to the Ukraine.”
On Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced an increase in air policing missions over the Baltic member countries. More allied warships will be sent to the Baltic Sea and eastern Mediterranean, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said.
“There really aren’t any American military options,” said James Russell, an instructor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. “The truth of the matter — the Russian army is there and ours isn’t, and the Europeans have mostly disarmed, so you can forget about them. It isn’t much more complicated than that.” source – Washington Times