On Monday Obama’s defense boss Ashton Carter said the United States “will contribute weapons, aircraft and forces, including commandos, for NATO’s rapid reaction force” and hinted commandos would be used against separatists in eastern Ukraine.
On Tuesday in a stopover in the Estonian capital of Tallinn Carter cited the alleged Russian intervention in Ukraine as the reason the United States will permanently position tanks, artillery and other military equipment in eastern Europe on the Russian border.
The move is the first time since the Cold War the United States has positioned heavy military equipment in Eastern Europe. “It’s like taking NATO back to the future,”Julianne Smith, a former defense and White House official, told The New York Times.
“These are responses to Russia’s provocations,” Carter told CBS News. He said that “aggressive rhetoric, aggressive behavior — the kind of thing that doesn’t belong in a Europe” are responsible for the militarization on Russia’s border and the stationing of military hardware in nearby Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.
The Defense Secretary added that financial sanctions imposed on Russia following its opposition to the coup in Ukraine have not achieved the result sought by the United States.