500 US ground troops, with tanks and other vehicles, arrived in Romania today as part of a new infantry deployment in the southeastern European nation, which officials say is necessary to “bolster defense” in Romania, and to prove America’s commitment to the ally.
Romania is a NATO member, and this deployment is being presented as one of a series of US deployments across Eastern Europe, mostly in the Baltics, to “confront Russia,” even though Romania isn’t particularly close to Russia and the two nations have been on pretty good terms for decades.
The US has been keen, however, to get more and more troops into the region, and particularly has talked of having a growing presence along the Black Sea coast, and in many cases deployments to NATO nations are an end unto themselves, giving the US military a presence and by extension deeper influence in those nations.
The US troops arrive amid massive anti-corruption protests, with hundreds of thousands of Romania citizens taking to the streets to try to bring down the government and force reform. The timing of the US arrival to prove its support for Romania, then, also risks a backlash in putting the US on the side of an unpopular, and likely falling, government.