On March 9, 2015 President Obama formally declared a new national emergency.
Most Americans went about their business that day without ever suspecting that what the White House called “an unusual and extraordinary threat to our national security” had suddenly popped up.
It wasn’t as though the United States was insufficiently engaged in war at the time. That very day the U.S. Central Command announced that in the period of just a few hours beginning the previous day it had conducted five new air strikes in Syria and nine in Iraq as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.
At the time Saudi Arabia was within weeks of going to war in Yemen with airstrikes that would rely on U.S. targeting and surveillance support. U.S. drone attacks had been ongoing in Yemen for years
President Obama’s declaration of a national emergency occurred on the same day, March 9, that the Pentagon announced the deployment of 3,000 troops to the Baltics for military exercises. The mission, “Operation Atlantic Resolve,” included some 750 US Army tanks, fighting vehicles, and other equipment. The deployment coincided with two weeks of NATO naval exercises in the Black Sea that got underway the next day.
It was on March 9 as well, that Defense News reported on a $1 billion administration funding package called European Reassurance Initiative, linked to Operation Atlantic Resolve, which included $70 million in May – September U.S. Army construction projects in Eastern Europe. A follow-up story described projects in six countries — Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria – that demanded the shipment of 160 pieces of heavy engineering equipment overseas, and include the construction of two-lane tanks trails, storage facilities and other buildings. Such projects are designed in part as wealth transfer programs to ingratiate the U.S. with allies by subsidizing local economies with infrastructure, resource, and local payroll spending.