It’s also an example of the Poles not only seeking to profit from the French and Germans being at odds with the Americans over reinstating the Iran sanctions, but also preparing for the day when the European Union could fall apart. Warsaw is also joining with Washington and Kiev to oppose the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline that’s planned to run under the Baltic Sea to Russia, bypassing Poland and Ukraine. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is rejecting U.S. pressure to cancel Nordstream 2, in the form of threatened tariffs on German cars -- a hard line Poland supports -- but for how long?
Considering that Poland like every other NATO member is defended by the U.S. nuclear arsenal-backed Article V guarantee, that an attack on one is an attack on all, and Moscow has shown zero designs on Polish territory since the end of the last Cold War, the decision appears odd (though not as odd as the nominally neutral Swedes, who haven’t fought Russia in over two centuries, suddenly issuing pamphlets to their population on being prepared for war). However, if you follow the money, and Polish elites’ ambition to become the Israel of Central Europe, a heavily armed state that benefits a great deal from American military aid and spending, the bold proposal makes sense. Including as Washington’s contingency plan for the Germans eventually doing the unthinkable, which the French did in the 1960s under President Charles De Gaulle — asking the Americans to pack up their nuclear bombs and leave.
May 30, 2018 (EIRNS)—The Polish Defense Ministry’s proposal to the U.S. for Warsaw to pay up to $2 billion for the permanent stationing of a U.S. armored division on Polish territory is a direct attack on the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act. This made explicit in a follow-up article on the proposal published by Politico Europe earlier today which stresses that it was a bilateral offer made directly to Washington and bypassing NATO channels in Brussels. It especially upsets the “taboo” against the permanent stationing of NATO troops in Poland and the Baltic states as enshrined in the NATO-Russia Founding Act. “The Act is not a legally binding document,” the Polish Ministry of National Defense writes in its proposal. “Additionally, by engaging in increasingly aggressive hostilities toward NATO states since the Act’s signing, Moscow has definitively created a new geopolitical status quo that is no longer consistent with the ‘current and foreseeable security environment’ of 1997.”
The Politico report reveals that the Poles actually first made their pitch not to the White House, but to a visiting Congressional delegation led by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, that was in Warsaw last week. Inhofe is responsible for the provision in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act that calls on the Pentagon to study the matter.
While permanently stationing U.S. troops in Poland (as in Germany during the Cold War) has appeal for certain circles in Washington, the idea is making other NATO allies nervous.
Former German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, now the head of the Munich Security Conference, tweeted: “Abrogating the NATO-Russia Founding Act and bilateralizing defense arrangements to the detriment of NATO solidarity: a particularly bad idea. Should be rejected, categorically.”
Polish President Andrzej Duda, in an address to the NATO Parliamentary meeting in Warsaw on May 28 that was the occasion for his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, declared Russia to be “the world’s greatest threat,” citing Crimea’s reunification with Russia, the 2008 Georgia war, and other “examples” to make his case.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was much more measured in discussing NATO activities in Poland and the Baltic states, yesterday, during a joint press conference with Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei in Minsk. Lavrov stated that both Russia and Belarus “are alarmed by NATO’s growing activity, which we recently noticed in direct proximity to our borders, primarily in the Baltic countries and Poland.... The unilateral development of military infrastructure and unilateral deployment of weapons and forces close to our borders are destructive; they are damaging trust and mutual understanding in Europe and splitting the European security space. We have agreed to continue to try to normalize our relations with these organizations in keeping with the political documents that were adopted at the top level at the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, primarily within the framework of the OSCE,” referring to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.