(Note: The title is a bad pun.)Most everyone must have heard about the recent developments with the US plans for a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. (They were pretty much cancelled, if you hadn't heard.) Anyway, the missile shield is being scaled back from a land-based one to a sea-based one. One can debate the practicalities of such a move and most of the response has been favorable, except from the respective governments. The Joe "Loose-Lips" Biden went on a whirlwind tour to calm down their fears, and apparently Poland is still going to get that battalion of Patriot missiles it always wanted.
Poland and the Czech Republic favored the initial plans (though their populations were hardly united on the issue) firstly because they were going to get a buttload of money (always something good.) BUT, it also did something else: station US troops on Polish soil in US installments. Russia was a bit peeved and threatened to place the Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad (already the most militarized place in Europe.) The US troops with US installments gave assurances for a few things. When Russia invaded Georgia over a year ago, most of Eastern Europe (Baltic States and Ukraine first and foremost) started to fear that Russia was going to come after them next. Some felt that the US response was lacking (i.e. no combat troops were sent.) US troops in Poland gave the Polish a warm feeling because it meant that if Russia attacked, US property and personnel would be in harm's way, forcing an armed intervention by the US and the rest of NATO (already, NATO (Poland included) flies patrols over the Baltic States, and has for some years.) You may ask, "Well, Poland is a major US ally, of course the US would defend Poland regardless if there were US troops in Poland or not." But remember, the Polish have been left high and dry too many times to really believe in a doctrine of defense. They'd rather have the troops. And they will.
Also, snow in October? Strange.
On a chance amount of luck, while rummaging through some old boxes a few years back, I found an unopened bottle of Russian cognac. When I first had it, it burned quite a lot and wasn't too pleasant. Recently, I've been adding just a smidgen to my sugar cookie eggnog, and it's been quite delightful. It smoothes out the over-sweet nog and enhances the body. I recommend it to all.