US boosts military budget in Eastern Europe

The US plans to spend more on its military presence in Eastern Europe. According to US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter the budget will be quadrupled to 3.4 billion dollars. Commentators disagree as to whether the measure is necessary.

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Novosti (HR) /

Russian aggression just a US invention

The US's justifications for increasing its military budget in Eastern Europe deliberately cast Russia as an enemy, the centre-left weekly paper of the Serbian minority Novosti criticises:

“The Russian aggression of which the American Defense Secretary speaks is cheap propaganda on the part of those who want nothing but a new Cold War. They need a bogeyman in the East to unite the US while disciplining the states of Western Europe, as well as some in the East. Because even in the former Soviet satellite states, which are today in the throes of democratic change, not everyone is happy about a stronger American military presence in Europe. That's why Russia must be depicted as the enemy and a danger to the 'Free World' - and to world peace in general.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Washington provoking Moscow unnecessarily

The US's announcement that it plans to boost its military spending in Eastern Europe is badly timed and could end up rekindling the Ukraine conflict, the centre-left daily The Guardian comments:

“By planning to increase spending in this way, the US is sending hostile signals to Russia. And that although there is now less reason to do so than for a long time. It is nearly two years since Russia annexed Crimea and 18 months since the downing of MH17. The fighting in eastern Ukraine has died down; there is no evidence of recent Russian material support for the anti-Kiev rebels, and there is a prospect, at least, that the Minsk-2 agreement could be honoured, with Ukraine (minus Crimea) remaining - albeit uneasily - whole.”

Der Bund (CH) /

MIlitary build-up justified

The US is quadrupling its military spending in Europe mainly for one reason, the liberal daily Der Bund believes:

“Washington has set new priorities. When Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter gave a speech on the major threats to the US, he focused less on terror and North Korea than on Russia. The fact that Putin is now also bombing IS fighters in Syria has done nothing to improve relations, on the contrary: his firm backing for Assad and strikes against moderate rebels are making a mess of the US's already weak strategy for the region. The US is not wrong to start reinvesting in a credible threat of force against Moscow. The Kremlin boss is unpredictable. Nevertheless no one can be happy about the development. When [former presidential candidate] Mitt Romney called Russia America's biggest geopolitical threat, he was scoffed at as a Cold Warrior. That was in the good old days.”

Contributors (RO) /

Romania must seek US military funding

Romania must try to secure as much money as possible from Washington, political scientist Valentin Naumescu writes on the blog portal Contributors:

“We have to face the fact that there is a race for resources, and we have to stay ahead. Everything counts: over and above geographic size and population political willingness, infrastructure, the rule of law and the fight against corruption are also key factors. ... Money and security don't come of their own accord or as the result of geopolitical factors but because we have access to the Black Sea and have a tradition of being anti-Russian. But other countries are also competing with us for these resources and for their own security - with their own arguments. Starting with the Baltic states, Poland and Bulgaria - not to mention Ukraine, the Moldovan Republic and Georgia, which are 'outside' the West's borders.”