Even as Trump seeks warmer ties with Russia, U.S. deploys troops across Eastern Europe

The Washington Post reports: On a snowy field in southwest Poland, U.S. tanks and troops gathered on Monday to defend against a resurgent Russia that President Trump wants to befriend.

The major new deployments of tanks and other heavy equipment will fan out to nations on the Russian frontier this week, part of the largest infusion of U.S. troops to Europe since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. But the long-planned effort comes at the most unsettled time for U.S.-European relations since World War II, with Trump questioning old alliances and seeking to build bridges to the Kremlin.

When President Barack Obama committed the troops, about 3,500 in all, to Europe last February, then followed up with additional commitments to NATO over the summer, they were a bipartisan expression of support for U.S. allies at a moment of heightened fear about Russia.

Now, however, they are coming despite the White House, not because of it. Eastern European ­nations say they fully trust Washington’s commitments — but the jubilation of the summer has been replaced by concern over Trump’s overtures to Russian President Vladimir Putin. NATO leaders acknowledge that the alliance will be rocked if Trump abandons the troop deployments.

The uncertainty has led to an unusual gap between Trump’s rhetoric and that of nearly the entire military establishment underneath him. [Continue reading…]

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