Monday, July 13, 2015

I'm not sure how this is supposed to help

The Pentagon has announced that it will be sending a Marine Corps unit to Bulgaria to help our Eastern European allies buck up. Sounds great, right? Yeah, until you get into the details:
BERLIN — A U.S. Marine Corps unit equipped with tanks, light armored vehicles and artillery will be sent to Bulgaria this fall as part of American plans to help reassure NATO allies worried by Russia's involvement in Ukraine, a top commander said Thursday.

Brig. Gen. Norman Cooling, deputy commander of U.S. Marine Corps Europe and Africa, told The Associated Press that 155 Marines equipped with four Abrams main battle tanks, six light armored vehicles and three howitzers are scheduled to be in place at the Novo Selo training area by early September. He spoke as NATO defense ministers met Thursday in Brussels.
OK, let's break it down. Four tanks is a platoon. Six LAVs is a platoon. Three howitzers is a platoon. Basically, they are sending a combined arms task force, reinforced company strength. These guys aren't a deterrent, they're a tripwire. They can't stop anything, but they give NATO and the US an excuse to get further involved should they get wiped out during a Russian invasion, something that apparently is an increasingly non-zero likelihood. These guys are Task Force Smith. They're a sacrificial lamb. Apparently, as announced by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter late in June, we're going to scatter Task Force Smiths all over Eastern Europe:
The U.S. will temporarily pre-position a brigade's worth of tanks and other vehicles in the Baltics and elsewhere in eastern Europe, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced in Estonia Tuesday, as the U.S. continues efforts to reassure allies concerned about Russian revanchism.
The U.S. will spread about 250 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, artillery and other equipment around Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, according to the plan, to make it easier for U.S. forces to participate in training maneuvers in those countries, according to the Defense Department. Such equipment is also stationed in Germany.
This is supposed to be a deterrent to Russian aggression. A single brigade, spread all over Hell's half-acre, isn't going to deter anyone, especially someone like Russian President Vladimir Putin, who knows that the guy across from him is a monumental pussy. Putin took Crimea, and Emperor Barry did nothing. He has taken half of Ukraine, and Emperor Barry commits token troops elsewhere, but won't help Ukraine with military aid. Putin muses in public that maybe Russia shouldn't have recognized the independence of the Baltic states, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. If a guy who has shown that he is willing to take what he wants decides he wants Bulgaria, or the Baltic states, or whatever, does anyone think that a reinforced combined arms company is going to stop him? Putin knows we won't send more troops. He's been watching Barry get buttfucked by the Iranians, who basically are trying to get all sanctions lifted while having no meaningful restrictions on their nuclear weapons program. It looks like they are succeeding in both goals, so Putin is not exactly that Barry is going to show Churchill-like spine any time soon. Putin knows he can take what he wants.

I ust feel sorry for the grunts in the new Task Force Smith.

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