AMU Homeland Security Legislation

US Troops in Europe: A Reaction to Russia’s Military Actions

Note: The opinions and comments stated in the following article, and views expressed by any contributor to In Homeland Security, do not represent the views of American Military University, American Public University System, its management or employees.

By Dr. Megan Schulze
Special Contributor to In Homeland Security

United States troops jumped into Europe for the first time since WWII in November 2015. What caused these actions, and is there a short-term and long-term goal?

This question is very complex as troop movement, especially outside of the United States, raises concern but also a strong-will for what our country supports when addressing international security concerns. What is the next step and should the American public be concerned about entering another war?

The United States government has made the decision to move additional troops from the 82nd Airborne Division into Europe as a support element in response towards Russia’s continued actions in Syria. Russia has taken a strong stance throughout Syria against the Islamic State (IS) and terrorist groups though their underlying intentions are not as clear. Russia works with the Syrian government is communicating their advancements and airstrikes in Syria however, the U.S. believes that Russia’s airstrikes are also targeting those rebels, armed by the U.S., working against the IS and terrorist groups. This is a concern of the United States as the support our nation continues to provide is for the better of the Syrian people. Is Russia annihilating not only the IS and terrorist groups but also any U.S. supported forces in Syria to establish a stronghold just as they had in Crimea in 2014? If Russia becomes the sole contributing force in eliminating the IS and terrorist groups operating throughout Syria, they may be gaining further support in their economic stance and significant political influences.

Russia is not a new concern to the U.S. but an increased concern as Russia’s military actions over the few past years have increased causing international controversy. The U.S. publicly does not support those military actions Russia has taken, specifically in Ukraine with the takeover of Crimea as well as the continued airstrikes in Syria. Is this the main reason why the U.S. sent additional troops to Europe with the sole purpose of support in the Syrian airstrikes? We the public, will not know the complete truth and for good reason.

The U.S. government wants to support the international community in efforts of maintaining a safe and secure world however; there are underlying causes for such international troop movement. Decisions were made by persons in government who have knowledge of potential situations which could lead to further international controversy and possibly increased homeland security concerns. The U.S. must continue to support its allies while keeping our own interests highly prioritized. Areas of concern for the U.S. regarding Russia’s current strong hand throughout Asia, the Middle East and parts of Europe are not only their military actions but their economic support.

One partnership that is significant and should be on considered an area for the U.S. to monitor is with China. Russia’s objectives are supported by non-involvement from other countries and economic support such as investors of imports and exports. Russia relies on investors who can significantly impact their economy through imports and exports while China looks to gain even more world economic power. The two countries seem to be able to benefit from one another although actions on either side leave their overall expectations a bit undesirable.

China and Russia have a relationship that continues to build through international economic development. China’s direct investments in Russia have almost tripled over the last year. This is significant as Russia’s other international investors, with France being number one, are declining. China’s increased investments in Russia are expected to reach $200 billion by the year 2020. The increased investments are projected through agreements on projects between China and Russia however, the most recent deals, such as the Rosneft oil deal, have yet to receive any payments for the project. China also has deals with Siberia and France which have received little or no advance payment. These deals and projects are primarily energy related and may not have an impact on future agreements between China and Russia.

Secretary of State John Kerry expresses the importance of and continued efforts in building a respected relationship with China, as expressed in Beijing on 27 January, 2016 in meeting with Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Secretary Kerry’s ongoing concerns are primarily focused on North Korea’s nuclear program and the activities occurring in the South China Sea. Both issues are important and must be addressed as China has a large stake in those concerns. However, the U.S. must not lose focus on other areas of concern. The U.S. must focus not only on Russia’s current airstrikes in Syria but also to their projected enablers which can increase Russia’s military forces and economic and political influences. China is displaying attributes of an enabler though not publicly agreeing with Russia’s actions. Russia should remain a priority and a concern for U.S. homeland security and international security.

About the Author
Dr. Megan Schulze recently graduated from Northcentral University with a Doctorate in Homeland Security Leadership and Policy. Dr. Schulze served 11 years in the United States Army providing her with an array of experience and expertise in homeland security from multiple perspectives.

Comments are closed.