This week President Obama traveled to eastern Europe with one billion dollars in his pocket. He plans to use it to finance more NATO military exercises on Russia's border and to rotate more US troops into Poland and other new NATO member countries. Yes, the same countries who have decided NATO is their best big stick with which to beat back the Soviet Union.
Never mind that there has been no Soviet Union for more than 20 years. Poland and the Baltics finally have the chance to extract their pound of flesh and they are looking to Washington dollars and Washington bullets to back up their tough talk.
Obama also plans to use the money to expand US military cooperation and influence in the former Soviet Republics of Moldova and Georgia, both of which have long desired to use the US military to solve their regional and internal divisions and disputes.
Said Obama in a press conference today with Polish President Bronisław Komorowski:
We’ll increase the number of American personnel -- Army and Air Force units -- continuously rotating through allied countries in Central and Eastern Europe. And we will be stepping up our partnerships with friends like Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia as they provide for their own defense.
Yet none of this is supposed to be interpreted as an escalation of the tense situation from the US/NATO side.
Obama made his intentions clear the moment he touched down on Polish soil, visiting US F-16 fighters while still at the airport and pledging that Polish security was America's top priority:
I’m starting the visit here because our commitment to Poland’s security as well as the security of our allies in central and eastern Europe is a cornerstone of our own security and it is sacrosanct...As friends and allies, we stand united together and forever.
Had Obama been a student of history he may have paused before pledging the US military to the service of Poland "forever."
And Obama, the peace president, declared the US commitment to go to war for Poland and eastern Europe -- even against nuclear Russia-- "sacrosanct," which Webster defines as "most holy."
A holy war against Russia? What strange imagery. Yet none of this is supposed to be an escalation.
No, it is Russia that is escalating. It is only Russia that is "provoking" unrest -- with troops on its own soil! US troops on the border with Russia -- including in a planned NATO exercise in Ukraine -- are not at all an escalation or provocative.
A "holy" US commitment to war. But not an escalation!