MOSCOW, May 22 (RIA Novosti), Rick Rozoff - US Vice President Joseph Biden appeared at a military base in the capital of Romania on May 20 and, against the backdrop of this year's annual Carpathian Spring joint military exercises, announced that Washington's willingness to go to war over the mutual military support clause of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, the founding document of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is not only clear and unwavering, but indeed of a mock-religious - extramundane and sempiternal - nature.
In his precise words: "America's commitment to collective defense under Article 5 of NATO is a sacred obligation in our view - a sacred obligation not just for now, but for all time." In aeternum, in saecula saeculorum and in line with eschatological imperatives.
Biden, the once, (near) future and perennial candidate to succeed the current commander-in-chief of the world's sole military superpower (the exact words of his current superior, President Barack Obama in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech of five years ago), an abrasive and pugnacious Walter Mitty of a malign bent who has often experienced difficulties distinguishing between fact and fiction, campaign claims and occurrences in the real world, and his own modest abilities and megalomaniacal inflation thereof, began his speech in Romania upbraiding his hosts for not providing him the clement weather a personage of his elevated stature deserves and had, moreover, been promised, querulously and inconsistently grousing, "it's very hot in here. I was supposed to - I was told it was going to be cooler here, but thank you for the great weather."
A Roman emperor, Trajan for example, the conqueror of Dacia (modern-day Romania), would have severely chastised and as severely punished the leaders of a subjugated province for not having secured nicer weather for a visiting imperial dignitary of Biden's rank.
Though his modern avatar did commend the military prowess of Romanian troops serving under NATO command in Afghanistan, martial values serving in lieu of miracle-working ones, evidently. The American satrapy, a NATO member for a decade, maintains one of the largest troop contingents remaining in Afghanistan, 1,000 soldiers, and Bucharest will continue to provide NATO with cannon fodder in South Asia even after the formal completion of troop withdrawal at the end of this year.
The vice president acknowledged that Romania, with whom then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed an agreement in 2005 for the acquisition of bases and the stationing of military personnel and equipment, is housing a permanent force of US Marines at the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base near Constanta on the Black Sea. That base is also home to US Army Europe's Task Force East and the US Marine Corps' Black Sea Rotational Force, the latter a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) used as the model for US Africa Command's SPMAGTF.
Biden also obliquely pressured Romania in regard to demands of the US (and at least implicitly NATO, because of interoperability exigencies) for the country, like neighboring Bulgaria, to replicate the purchase of American F-16 Fighting Falcons by Poland at the beginning of the century - 48 in all, the largest military outlay in Polish history - by reminding the Romanian officials present that "You're building a fleet of F-16s." Bucharest like Sofia was being pressured to purchase 24-36 apiece of the General Dynamics-manufactured warplanes before the US-generated economic downturn of six years ago led to a scaling back of that number.
With characteristic bravado and brusqueness, he also stated:
"America and our NATO allies have urgently stepped up our military presence in the air, land and on the sea of NATO's eastern flank. In just the past weeks we've had ships visit. The USS Truxton, Cook, Taylor, as well as the Dacian Viper F-16 exercise. And in the coming days, new ships - the Vella Gulf will enter the Black Sea to conduct port visits and maritime training. Period."
The four US warships mentioned are guided missile vessels and part of the US Navy's Aegis Combat System, which is being integrated into the US-NATO European Phased Adaptive Approach interceptor missile system to cover all of Europe west of Russia, the Mediterranean Sea Basin and the South Caucasus.
USS Truxton and USS Donald Cook are Arleigh Burke class destroyers, USS Taylor is a Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate and USS Vella Gulf a Ticonderoga class cruiser.
With an anachronistic martial ethos more suitable to a - much - earlier epoch, say, the late Roman Empire, the deputy commander-in-chief of the world's sole military superpower flattered US military personnel at the event as "the greatest generation of warriors the world has ever produced." He immediately added, "And that is not hyperbole," though of course it is.
Last month's Dacian Spring joint US-Romanian week-long exercise he alluded to consisted of drills with US F-16s and host country MiG-21 Lancers.
At the end of his ex officio declamations, Biden shifted from sub-imperator to pontifex maximus in tone, dispensing benedictions broadcast: "May God bless Romania, may God bless America, and may God protect our troops." It is uncertain which deity, of the underworld or other sphere, has conferred on him the office of bestowing blessings, as it were on the eve of a campaign, a war.
Adjectives like grandiose, magniloquent, millenerial and bombastic come to mind in reference to the pronouncements of Mr. Biden. But they, even, are too generous and elevated in tone.
Having recently had occasion to re-read Imperial Purple (1892), a series of belletristic sketches of the first twenty-five Roman emperors by American-born writer Edgar Saltus, I am more reminded of one or more of the later of those the author, a friend and colleague of such fellow writers as Oscar Wilde and Arthur Symonds during his London years, limned with a combination of urbane bemusement and visceral repugnance. Commodus, say, or Heliogabalus.