When 62 ton American tanks fire off salvos into the night in Poland the commander of US forces in Europe, General Ben Hodges, wants you to know this is “not just a training exercise”. To the contrary, it’s a message to Russians:
“We’re serious — this is not just a training exercise. We are here to convey a strategic message that you cannot violate the sovereignty of members of NATO … Moscow will get the message — I’m confident of it.”
I don’t know where Hodges is from but in my neck of the woods when you transport a full armored brigade half way across the world to fire at the doorstep of a rival power the message you’re trying to send tends to get a little confused.
Especially when you’re insisting your message is a warning against something — invading Poland — that Russians never indicated they had an interest in in the first place.
Maybe Hodges is too young to remember but in 1989-91 the Russians voluntarily gave up a giant land empire. In a completely unprecedented move for any great power the Russians allowed dozens of nations and hundreds of millions of people to assert and declare their independence without ever being forced to do so militarily.
Why would they ever re-invade places they had already given up when they didn’t have to? Except of course if they ever got nervous about Americans, Germans, Brits and who knows who else installing themselves on their border.
We need to ask, do the likes of Hodges actually believe their own nonsense, or are they just trying to stir things up to keep careers and budgets going?