Friday, February 10, 2017

Poland's Warm Welcome: Operation Atlantic Resolve

Aside from the unprecedented inauguration in January, another monumental event took place but received far less attention. In an effort to reassure NATO allies in Eastern Europe, the United States officially began Operation Atlantic Resolve. An armored brigade from Ford Carson, Colorado, was warmly welcomed in Poland this past month, which marked the largest deployment of U.S. troops to Europe for defensive purposes. 3,500 troops will begin back-to-back rotations of U.S. soldiers and equipment within the region.

Operation Atlantic Resolve follows rising tensions and fear surrounding Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Russia's advancements in the region provoke instability and insecurity, and at the ushering of Eastern European NATO allies, the U.S. responded. Atlantic Resolve is a continuous commitment to Eastern European security and a reassurance of America's dedication to NATO through multinational military and training cooperation. Its intentions are not only to strengthen the capabilities of the region as a whole, but to increase trust among allies. 

The buildup of NATO forces in Eastern Europe has not sat well with Moscow. Russia deems the operation a 'direct threat' to Russian national security and intends to respond in suit. Frequent increases in Russian forces on the border, under arguably false pretenses of training purposes, strain the delicate relationship between Eastern European states and Russia.

Furthering aggression, the completion of a U.S. missile defense system base in Romania, called Aegis Ashore, was also not well-received by Russia. Aegis Ashore, as per U.S. description, is a necessary security measure to counter threats from rogue states, like Iran. Russia is accusing the U.S. of violating the Immediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; in effect, Russia has threatened to therefore withdrawing from the treaty, leaving the threat of a potential nuclear war looming in the minds of many Eastern Europeans. The possibility is unlikely, however, as Eastern European leaders are hoping to convince President Vladimir Putin to ease his advance in Ukraine and the region. 

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