- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 22, 2015

Two of Washington’s most influential lawmakers are asking the defense chief and secretary of state to update their plans for keeping troops in Europe in the wake of a “dangerous escalation” in Russian aggression.

Republicans Rep. Mike Rogers and Rep. Michael R. Turner, senior leaders of the powerful House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John F. Kerry today urging the two to update the nation’s defense policy due to the increasing threat Russia poses to European security. The United States is a member of NATO and has about 20 partner nations in Europe, which is why the two lawmakers are eager to see the Obama administration revise its defense plan in the region.

“In our opinion, the Administration must immediately move to update the U.S. defense policy and force posture in Europe,” the letter states. “These policies, which have not been updated to reflect that Russia has no interest in being a partner to the West, and, in fact, views the West as a military threat, were naive at inception and are simply dangerous at present.”

The Pentagon announced earlier this month that it intended to close and consolidate 15 U.S. bases and facilities in Europe.

Mr. Rogers, who serves as chairman of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee, urged the Obama administration to recalculate its approach to Russia and begin viewing the country as an adversary.

“You don’t deal with a thug like Vladimir Putin by asking nicely,” the Alabama Republican said in a statement. “He breaks treaties, he invades countries and then stations his nuclear forces on their soil, and he cozies up to terrorist regimes like [Syria’s Bashar Assad], North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and the mullahs in Tehran. What’s next? Who’s next?”

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