In fiscal year 2018 (which begins on 1 October 2017) the Trump administration will increase its allotment for the “Initiative For European Reassurance” (Eri) by more than 40%[. Eri was] launched by the Obama Administration following “Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine in 2014”. So announces General Curtis Scaparrotti. He heads the US European Command, a position which makes him automatically the Supreme Allied Command in Europe.
Starting at 985 million dollars in 2015, Eri funding has rocketed to 3.4 billion dollars in 2017 and will climb even further still (according to the terms of the balance sheet) reaching 4.8 billion dollars in 2018. That means that over four years, 10 billion dollars will be spent by the United States for “increasing our capacity to defend Europe against Russian aggression”. Almost half the expenditure for 2018 – 2.2 billion dollars– will be used to empower US “strategic pre-positioning” in Europe. By US “strategic pre-positioning” we mean depositing arms that stationed in advanced positions, will allow “the rapid deployment of forces in the theatre of war”. Another huge amount– 1.7 billion dollars – has been allocated to “grow the presence of the rotating base of US forces across Europe”.
The remaining amounts, each to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, will be used to develop infrastructure in bases throughout Europe to “increase the readiness of US action” and to enable military exercises and training to “grow the readiness and inter-operability of Nato forces”.
Eri funding – specifies the US European Command –is only one tranche of the funds earmarked for “Operation Atlantic Resolve, the purpose of which is to demonstrate the US’s capacity to respond to threats against allies”.
In the context of this operation, the armoured Brigade 3a (composed of 3,500 men, 87 tanks, 18 self-propelled howitzers, 144 Bradley combat vehicles, another 400 Humvees and 2,000 vehicles for transport), was moved from Fort Carson (Colorado) to Poland last January. Within a year, the 3a armoured brigade will be replaced by another unit, ensuring that US armoured forces are permanently poised for action in Polish territory. From here, their units are transferred for training and drills, to other countries in the East, mainly Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, and probably Ukraine as well. In other words, units are continuously being lined up at the Russian border.
Part of this same operation also involved transferring last February from Fort Drum (New York), to the base of Illesheim (Germany), the 10a Air Fighter Brigade, with more than 2,000 men and about a hundred military helicopters. From Illesheim, its task forces are sent “to advanced positions” in Poland, Romania and Lithuania. In the bases of Ämari (Estonia) and Graf Ignatievo (Bulgaria), US and Nato bomber fighters, including Italian Eurofighters are stationed, for “air patrolling” the Baltic.
Furthermore, the operation anticipates “a persistence presence in the Black Sea” with the air base at Kogalniceanu (Romania) and training base at Novo Selo (Bulgaria).
The plan is clear. After setting up the Maiden Square putsch to provoke a fresh confrontation with Russia, Washington (and this despite the change of administration) is following the same strategy: to transform Europe into the first line of fire for a new cold war. This will be to the advantage of US interests and their power relations with the biggest European powers.
The ten billion dollars invested by the US to “reassure” Europe is actually serving to make Europe even more insecure.