Who says the Polish aren’t smart? This is actually brilliant on the part of the Polish government.
According to a Polish Ministry of Defence proposal, the Polish government has offered the US up to $2 billion to station a permanent armored division in Poland.
This is brilliant on the part of the Poles for four key reasons….
- It adds an automatic heavy layer of security that it would otherwise cost the Polish people much more money and many years to field themselves.
- It gives the Poles an even stronger tie to the world’s most powerful ally.
- It sends an important message to the Russians – “America has our back, so don’t even think about it.” (Russia is currently invading neighboring Ukraine)
- Most importantly, I think, is the economic boost the Polish economy will enjoy. They will receive far more in commerce than they are paying the US for security.
Win-win for Poland!
This is the way it should work for all of America’s allies that We the People have been providing gratis security for. The countries we are protecting should participate financially in the cost of that security, which is not inexpensive.
From Defense News
Following an April 28 meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Washington, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said he was “an optimist regarding an increase of U.S. military presence in Poland.”
“The decisions on this matter are moving in a good direction,” Blaszczak said, as quoted in a ministry statement.
The document, titled “Proposal for a U.S. Permanent Presence in Poland,” was obtained by local news site Onet.pl, which first broke the news. It was distributed to U.S. government institutions, Congress and some of the leading U.S. think tanks, according to information obtained from the ministry.
The ministry did not officially release the document; however, in a statement issued to local journalists, it said it was not classified and was developed “as part of the activities performed to deepen [Poland’s] defense cooperation with the U.S., including increasing the presence of U.S. forces in Poland.”
British defense chief puts a price tag on US military alliance
Although conceding that the relationship is priceless to Britain, the defense secretary did offer an amount.
“The Government of Poland will offer significant funding for this action … as it is important to share the burden of defense spending, make the decision more cost-effective for the U.S. Government, and allay any concerns for Congress in uncertain budgetary times,” the document states.
The Russian factor
The move is likely to trigger a bellicose reaction by Russia, which has opposed various initiatives to expand U.S. military presence in Eastern Europe. In 2014, Moscow launched a military intervention in Poland’s neighbor Ukraine. Since then, Russia has occupied parts of the country, including the Crimean Peninsula.
As a result, numerous member states from the region have called on NATO to deploy additional troops to Eastern Europe amid increased concern over potential Russian aggression.
Poland has also intensified efforts to upgrade its defense capabilities. On March 28, Warsaw signed a letter of offer and acceptance with the U.S. to acquire Raytheon’s medium-range Patriot system. The acquisition, developed under the Wisla program, is worth $4.75 billion, according to the ministry. The purchase will consume a large portion of the country’s military expenditure, as for 2018, the ministry forecasts defense spending of 41.5 billion zloty (U.S. $11.2 billion).
Łukasz Kister, an independent security analyst with the Jagiellonian Institute, a Warsaw-based think tank, told Defense News it is good that Poland’s authorities are willing to safeguard Poland’s security by various means, but that co-financing the deployment of U.S. troops on Polish soil could jeopardize the country’s military modernization program.
“The proposal to pay the U.S. for ensuring our security raises doubts whether we will be able to finance the modernization of our own armed forces,” Kister said. “Outsourcing our security could deprive Poland of the necessary funds for various programs to upgrade our military capacities.”
According to the analyst, Polish authorities should put emphasis on industrial cooperation between U.S. and Polish defense manufacturers and ensure the transfer of knowledge to local plants.
“Poland cannot afford highly offensive military capabilities, and the U.S. is definitely a key partner with whom we should cooperate. But this cooperation should be placed at a different level. We should pay the U.S. for top technologies, know-how, gear and training, and not for the deployment of troops,” Kister said.
“The funds that are to be spent on the Patriot contract should also benefit Poland, providing training to Polish soldiers, allowing local plants to perform maintenance and overhaul works on this gear, and providing the Polish industry with know-how. This could also be beneficial to the U.S. manufacturer, as it would have an industrial outpost in Europe, which could service and repair this equipment.”