*Editor’s note: On March 4, Russia enacted a law that criminalizes public opposition to, or independent news reporting about, the war in Ukraine. The law makes it a crime to call the war a “war” rather than a “special military operation” on social media or in a news article or broadcast. The law is understood to penalize any language that “discredits” Russia’s use of its military in Ukraine, calls for sanctions or protests Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It punishes anyone found to spread “false information” about the invasion with up to 15 years in prison.
The deployment of the 101st Airborne Division (its previous name, Air Assault, better reflected its purpose) in Romania is important at least because it escalates the situation in Ukraine to a new level.
Transitioning from the deployment of its forces and the reinforcement of its allies’ armies on a tactical level to the deployment of a full division, the U.S. is admitting that in the case of a possible escalation, the armies of the U.S. satellite countries which belong to NATO will be too weak to fight Russia and Belarus. U.S. actions demonstrate that the U.S. at least has the political will to escalate the situation, which proves that the “party of war” has seized power in the high offices of Washington. They believe that it’s feasible to win on the battlefield despite the faster-than-expected fading of the “local” divisions in the conflict zone (mainly Ukrainian and Polish).
The deployment also shows that the U.S. has no confidence in the military potential of its allies.
There are increasing signs that the U.S. is ready to transition from a “warm war” to a local “hot war,” in a way that is similar to how they transitioned from a hybrid war with Russia to a warm war, hiding behind the grain deal (and, in its shadow, behind the metal deal) talks. This warm war implies a deeper NATO dive into the armed conflict, if only in the form of mercenaries and technical specialists.
It’s important for us not to miss this transition moment concealed behind the political chatter about peace talks and the “freezing of the conflict.”
Let’s also look at exactly what the 101st Airborne Division is and what its goals and objectives might be.
The 101st Airborne Division is the main rapid deployment force of the U.S., a division that is close to a 100% deployment level and that is almost 100% equipped with arms and vehicles. Along with support units, its 15,000 highly professional fighters have been through all the local wars and conflicts in recent decades. Even the fearless warriors of Vietnam were afraid of this division. Not all the division’s forces are in Romania yet, but right now, it’s probably the most important and capable military force in the region.
The division is primarily designed to seize a position quickly, take some object or a geographical center under its control, destabilize the enemy from within and hold out until the main forces arrives. This is how the division was used back in Vietnam (the Battle of Hamburger Hill is a good example) and it had the same objectives during the Normandy landings.
The 101st Airborne Division includes subdivisions that could easily be labeled special forces, the elite of the elite, who are prepared for action deep behind enemy lines, including carrying out acts of sabotage.
The division has experience operating in regions facing epidemiological risk. In 2014, the division deployed its headquarters command in Rwanda to fight Ebola fever. How could that be connected to the United States’ biological labs in Ukraine and the “dirty bomb” prepared by the Kyiv regime? I suppose there’s no connection.
The main forces are also slowly assembling in Romania. Apart from the Romanian armed forces (ignoring them would be simply short-sighted), French troops are also arriving. Overall, Romania seems to be an extremely convenient place geographically for the U.S. to safely achieve many of its key objectives in the Black Sea region.
What could the division target given its high level of mobility? Targets could include Tiraspol, Kherson, Odessa or Kyiv. They could even include Belgrade.
I mentioned Kyiv deliberately. If Washington decided to change the political landscape, the 101st Airborne Division would be the one to seize control over the key facilities of the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
I also mentioned Belgrade deliberately. The Balkan conflict is not on hold anymore, and could become truly uncontrollable given its context, which is a mix of historical, religious, political and criminal elements. The 101st Airborne Division took part in the Bosnian sweeps, and now its subdivisions ensure the safety of the NATO-controlled criminal enclave of Kosovo.
The U.S. could easily form a team drawing from the 101st Airborne Division to enter Ukraine (for example, through the region of Odessa) and seize control of the sea ports that are still under Ukraine’s control if a real threat of losing the ports emerged.
Meanwhile, the U.S. could “pacify” Transnistria, which in reality would look more like a brutal ethnic cleansing. The U.S. has experience with that in Vietnam, where the 101st Airborne Division also conducted punishing missions.
Russian Kherson is more than a likely target for the “Screaming Eagles.”
I suspect that this division was supposed to enter the city one way or another (including by sea) after the planned dirty bomb provocation (obviously supervised by the Pentagon), a variant of which implied a strike in the lower reaches of the Dnieper.
Also, if needed, this division could show Recep Tayyip Erdogan that his plans for a gas superhub in Turkey are only possible if it is controlled by the Americans. Otherwise, this superhub could suffer an accident like the Nord Stream pipeline did.
By placing an elite division in Romania, the U.S. is establishing the basis of a “forceful multi-vector policy,” preparing for all kinds of developments in the Ukraine conflict, including the most adverse situations. This chess move by Washington, for now on their side of the board, is worth taking seriously.
It’s worth taking seriously because the 101st Airborne Division and its “stepsister,” the 82nd Airborne Division, are not just the High Command Reserve of the U.S. Armed Forces. They are the main force instrument of the American ruling class, and have always been employed in this role despite the chance of deviation from the norm.
The problem is, it’s very unclear who the high command in Washington is right now.
This is probably one of the main reasons why Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić could claim that the situation in the Black Sea – Balkan region is close to a perfect storm that could be triggered by the least provocation.
Alas, as Anton Chekhov once said, if the story features a gun, there must be a reason for it. And this gun, obviously loaded, is already center stage.
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