(CNSNews.com) – President Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget quadruples defense spending on the U.S. “presence and posture” in Europe, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told PBS on Tuesday.
“We’re putting in heavy equipment into Eastern Europe. We are putting forces in now — not on a permanent basis, but a persistent, rotational basis.
“There will be a lot more American troops in Europe in coming years than there were past years. So we’re doing a lot. Sadly, Russian conduct in Europe and elsewhere makes that necessary.”
Carter noted that after the Soviet Union fell, there were many years when the U.S. Defense Department didn’t have to think about Russia “as a competitor.”
But that changed in 2014, when Russia backed an armed separatist movement in eastern Ukraine, and after a referendum not recognized by the West, annexed Crimea. Russia’s intervention prompted U.S. and European Union sanctions, completely negating the Obama-Hillary Clinton attempt to “re-set” relations.
Carter told PBS on Tuesday that as long as Vladimir Putin is running Russia, “we are going to have a competitor in Russia.”