VodkaPundit

Tanks But No Tanks

Lithuanian defense Minister Juozas Olekas, left, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, second left, Estonian Defense Minister Sven Mikser and Latvian Secretary of Defense Janis Sarts, right, attend a joint press conference after a meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. (AP Photo)

Lithuanian defense Minister Juozas Olekas, left, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, second left, Estonian Defense Minister Sven Mikser and Latvian Secretary of Defense Janis Sarts, right, attend a joint press conference after a meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. (AP Photo)

The US Army is sending 250 tanks and other armored vehicles to Eastern Europe:

Ash Carter, the Defence Secretary, confirmed the deployment today, saying armoured vehicles, weapons and artillery would be spread across six countries.

Mr Carter said the equipment could be moved around the region for training and military exercises, and would include Bradley fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzer artillery guns.

“We intend to move those equipment sets around as exercises move around,” he told a news conference.

“They’re not static. Their purpose is to enable richer training and more mobility to forces in Europe.”

Having prepositioned heavy equipment is great, but are the vehicles manned? As we discussed here just last week:

Nothing signals commitment like boots on the ground — provided those boots have real soldiers’ feet in them, and aren’t merely pre-positioned empty boots.

Pre-positioning equipment, as Boot notes, isn’t dumb. But the absence of real soldiers is like buying your longtime girlfriend a very nice ring, but not an engagement ring. She and everybody else will wonder, “What the hell does that mean?”

It’s impossible to say how Putin will view this move, although I’m not at all certain that he can be deterred by anything less than a full commitment to Poland and the Baltic States — which means sticking our men in those tanks, and keeping them there.