This article originally appeared at Antiwar.com
US military officials are loudly bragging about their latest initiative to reassure Europe, a program that was called, unlikely enough, the European reassurance Initiative (ERI), and which to this point has involved moving a lot of sand around, and building some roads in rural parts of several Baltic states.
ERI is nominally the latest in a long line of programs the Obama Administration has announced to “combat Russian aggression,” and which are meant to build up nations along the Russian frontier to support massive US military deployments to spite Russia.
The plans are often ill-conceived, as the US idea to deploy huge amounts of tanks into several of these countries ran into problems because the tanks are stored in swampy areas where the mud makes it virtually impossible to drive a tank, and NATO has taken to having to “ship” those tanks back and forth to their various anti-Russia photo ops.
In this regard, ERI is trying to be the solution for the military-created problem, hauling thousands of tonnes of sand into those swampy areas to build “tank trails” that they can drive the tanks through, along with roads to support the infrastructure for the NATO operations in the area.
The army sees it as a win-win, as the pricey construction involves the use of contractors, and is subsequently popular with the host countries, and also lets the army deploy people to not-war-zones, which is “good for morale.”
That the whole program is make-work to “reassure” European nations about the US commitment to take part in some unlikely, disastrous future war with Russia is just gravy for them, as the Pentagon sees talk of a new Cold War as a great excuse to push for bigger budgets, and if they can’t physically position forces in the Baltic swamps for this scheme, they’ll build up the swamps so they can.