The prospect of war in Europe took another step forward this week as the US deployed thousands of combat troops to Romania, Poland and Germany.
According to the Stars and Stripes US military newspaper, these included 300 soldiers from the 18th Airborne Corp. A Nato military headquarters is being set up in the German city of Wiesbaden.
Elite combat troops from the 82nd Airborne arriving in Poland last Sunday joined a force of already 4,000 US military personnel operating in various parts of the country. They were last deployed in Kabul, Afghanistan.
US president Joe Biden, who came to power promising “no more forever wars”, has put a further 8,500 troops on standby to join them. Meanwhile, the Social Democrat and Green-led German government is pledging to send more of its troops to Lithuania. And as the West ramps up its troop numbers, so too does Russia.
President Vladimir Putin sent an additional 10,000 Russian troops to the Ukraine border region, including infantry and airborne forces.
Some Ukrainian observers suggested the Russian army had almost reached numbers required to mount an invasion. This line was soon picked up by the media across Europe and the US.
Neither the US nor Russia are thought to want a military conflict over Ukraine. But as troop numbers rise and the sabre rattling from both sides becomes more pronounced, there is always the danger of an accidental trigger.
Fear that such a conflict could be very bad for business is driving sections of the ruling class in Europe to worry. In particular there are concerns over the increasing US military dominance in the region. They dream of pursuing a separate military agenda from that of Biden, in the shape of a European Union army.
French president Emmanuel Macron was due to hold talks with Putin this week in a bid to diffuse tensions. Aware that the industrial nations of central Europe depend on Russian gas supplies, Macron wants to return relations with Putin back to a more normal level of tension.
“Do we want a Russia that is totally aligned with China or one that is somewhere between China and Europe?” Bruno Le Maire, the French economy minister, said last week.
But no one should confuse their agenda with one that is seeking peace. It is precisely the combined expansion of the neoliberal EU and the militaristic Nato alliance that has created a repeated risk of war on the Russian frontier.
Supreme Court attack on Roe v Wade
It comes ahead of a national demo
Joint struggle can create unity