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What the %&*# Are US Troops Doing in Lithuania on Russia's Border?

A detachment of US special forces has arrived in the Baltic republic to act as a 'deterrent' to 'Russian aggression'

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The poor helpless Baltic state of Lithuania, languishing under constant terror of Russian invasion, has just received much need reinforcement courtesy of lame-duck Obama's Pentagon. 

From International Business Times:

<figcaption>Members of the US 173rd Airborne Brigade and a Lithuanian soldier (L) participate in 'Iron Sword' military exercises on Nov. 24, 2016</figcaption>
Members of the US 173rd Airborne Brigade and a Lithuanian soldier (L) participate in 'Iron Sword' military exercises on Nov. 24, 2016

The Lithuanian government has confirmed the presence of US special forces in the country, which it said had been deployed to train local forces and act as a deterrent against Russian aggression.

"The United States was the first to offer additional safety assurance measures to the Baltic countries following the deterioration of the security situation in the region after the annexation of the Crimea," Defence Ministry spokeswoman Asta Galdikaite told local media on Tuesday (4 January), following a report in the New York Times.

This comes as a welcome relief. Especially since Lithuania has you know, a big long border with hostile Russia. Oh never mind - they don't:

Yeah there's Kaliningrad (the small part of Russia west of Lithuania), but the idea Russia could launch an invasion of NATO from the small exclave, or amass troops (which would have to come by sea and air) without being detected, is ludicrous. 

Of course, whenever Russia does invade Lithuania, Moscow seems to punish the Lithuanians (like the Ukrainians) by rewarding them with increased territory. After Stalin annexed Lithuania in 1940, he bolstered the fledgling republic with a large swath of former Polish territory - including their current capital Vilnius - formerly the Polish city of Wilno. 

Maybe just a couple more Russian invasions would see Lithuania emerge as the largest state in Europe. (Actually, it was for a time in the middle ages.) 

On the other hand, if the Lithuanians detest their long history as part of Russia and then the USSR, perhaps they ought to consider giving Poland back Vilnius and all the territory the evil Russians stuck them with against their will. 

Lithuania's Washington lap-dog president elaborated on the purpose of the US troops:

"US Special Operations Forces presence in Lithuania is one of the deterrents" against Russia, and is another sign of the "long-term close cooperation with the US forces", Galdikaite said.

She added that the US forces were training Lithuanian special forces, and would remain there as long as the security situation made it necessary.

Russia's President Putin has declared ad nauseam that Russia has no intention of invading the Baltic states, Ukraine, or any other European country, and no aspirations to empire or reestablishing the USSR.

In fact, Moscow would be within its rights to respond. Imagine the US response if Russia sent troops to conduct military exercises in Canada or Mexico. Washington would probably launch a full scale invasion to expel them. 

The Balts live in their own reality. Vilifying Russia is the more palatable alternative to facing up the fact that the EU has taken their sovereignty away and their economies are struggling since cutting many trade ties with Russia. 

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