President Biden announced Wednesday during the NATO summit in Madrid steps that the US will take to increase its military presence in Europe, including the establishment of a permanent base in Poland.
The base in Poland will mark the first time the US will establish an official permanent military facility in the area known as NATO’s “eastern flank.” The US military presence elsewhere in Eastern Europe and in the Baltic states is technically on a rotational basis, although Washington has no plans to scale back its presence in the region.
Under the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, NATO agreed not to establish a permanent military presence east of Germany. US officials insist the base in Poland does not violate the act since it is only a permanent facility, and the troops will be deployed rotationally, but it’s unlikely Moscow will see it that way.
Other measures Biden announced include sending a “rotational brigade” of 5,000 troops to Romania, stepping up rotational deployments to the Baltics, sending two additional F-35 squadrons to the UK, and stationing more air defenses in Germany in Italy. A day earlier, Biden announced the US was sending two more Navy Destroyers to Spain.
“I said Putin’s looking for the Finlandization of Europe,” Biden said on Wednesday. “He’s going to get the NATOization of Europe. And that is exactly what he didn’t want, but exactly what needs to be done to guarantee security for Europe. And I think it’s necessary.”
The deployments are a step towards keeping US troops levels in Europe at over 100,000. Before the US began reinforcing its military presence in Europe around the time Russia invaded Ukraine, about 80,000 US troops were assigned to the continent.
While building up military forces in Eastern Europe and pouring billions of dollars worth of weapons into Ukraine, Biden has abandoned diplomacy with Russia altogether. As a result, the risk of a direct conflict between the two powers, which could quickly spiral into nuclear war, is at its greatest height since the Cold War.