Anaconda 2016 is the largest—though annual exercises by Polish military forces and Romanian military forces could conceivably be larger in absolute numbers. It is very probable that this is NATO’s largest field exercise in Europe east of the current German-Polish border since 1992. The Guardian seems to recognize that this is “the biggest movement of foreign allied troops in Poland.”Mr Bay focusses on the message the exercise sends to Tsar Vladimir.
Anaconda is big: 31,000 soldiers from 24 countries are exercising for ten days, with 14,000 American troops participating.
The U.S. Army Europe map of Anaconda 2016 is very likely an act of information war that supports NATO political goals. Note phase three on the U.S. Army Europe exercise map. Phase three is scheduled for execution on June 10. Alliance troops and vehicles will cross the Vistula River and enter Lithuania. Come one, come all. Lithuania is a NATO member.Early on in the history of Cold Spring Shops, I alluded to Anaconda in a brief reference to the proposed expansion of the Atlantic Alliance into southeastern Europe. Perhaps something similar is still at work.
However, the maneuver explicitly cuts off Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast. Kaliningrad was once the Prussian city of Konigsberg. Russia kept the city and its environs as a special Kremlin reward for winning World War Two.
Anaconda 2016’s conclusive fictional thrust isolates and surrounds Kaliningrad.
NATO officials may deny that the exercise is designed to send that message. Let them do so. However, the maneuver delivers a useful political warning. The Russian exclave can be taken by NATO military forces. So hey there, Vladimir Putin of the tight tee shirts, don’t miscalculate. Putin, you seized the port of Sevastopol in Crimea and then swallowed the entire Crimean peninsula. Would a Polish-controlled Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea be a fair trade?
The ongoing exercise might be a warning to Tsar Vladimir, or perhaps it reflects the permanent interests of Poles and Lithuanians, or is an opening gambit for a restoration of Prussia, or not, is for experts in international relations (two countries screwing each other) to parse.
Focus, dear reader, on the exercise name. In United States military practice, it dates to Winfield Scott and Gideon Welles, and it was implemented by Farragut, Grant, and Sherman.