A major development in Europe is occurring that the American media, obsessed with internal American politics, is either ignoring or to which it has given scant attention. Previous posts have described the many schisms and fractures developing inside the EU and traditional European politics as the nationalist/populist movement in Europe is replacing more globalist/insider governments in elections and is steadily gaining more clout in other nations. Poland is one nation which is particularity chafing under the EU bureaucracy’s meddling in Poland’s internal affairs. Rather than backing off, the EU is becoming steadily more hostile to Poland, threatening to punish it within the EU system.
Poland is a nation whose history and geography does not allow it to take either its independence or its security for granted. Just after World War I, Poland drove back Russian armies from its territory to preserve its independence (as described in a post available in the archives of this blog). Poles recall this great victory, but few Americans realize it ever occurred. More recently, Poland has endured very dark times. After being invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany in World War II, Poland then suffered the oppression of the Soviet Union from 1945 until 1990. Indeed, all the Eastern European and Baltic nations are in a similar situation to Poland. Being dominated or occupied by either the Nazis or Soviets from circa 1939-1990, the Eastern European nations do not take their independence or respective national sovereignties for granted the way the nations in Western Europe, long protected by the USA in NATO, have done. Poland is continually threatened militarily by Russian forces to the east, and it is increasingly threatened politically from the west by the German-dominated EU. Seeing this dilemma, Poland is taking steps to protect itself.
The Polish government has offered to spend $2 billion of its own money to build a large, permanent military base for the USA on Polish soil. This base could host an entire US armored division, their families and supporting air assets (warplanes or military helicopters). The first link, second link and third link offer diverse perspectives on Poland’s offer. As an added inducement to the American president, Poland is willing to name the new US base, Camp Trump, in honor of the friendship between the current US and Polish governments. This prospective action infuriates the Russians, who clearly see it as a threat to any future invasion plans that the Russians might have for Europe in the future. Poland is one of the few nations in NATO that is meeting its military spending obligations. Poland is determined to build its military forces into having unprecedented military power to defend the Polish nation. I applaud their action in doing so. It is my personal opinion that Polish leaders realize that no other nation but the USA can come to its aid in sufficient strength to help it if Russia invades it in the future. Will Germany protect it? No. Germany has a military force too small to protect itself. Other European NATO nations barely have adequate self-defense capabilities in the event of a major Russian attack; they couldn’t help Poland either. Poland also, I think, realizes that its current independence and freedom is a direct result of the actions of American President, Ronald Reagan. If Reagan had not militarily challenged the Soviet Union and further challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” the Soviet Union may not have fallen and Poland might still be a mere captive state of the Soviets. Poland has good reason to think that since American actions freed Poland and the other Soviet satellite states from the Soviet Union, only America can really keep Poland free in the long run.
Poland is also taking additional actions to ally itself with the USA. Poland is trying to become a European unloading port for the distribution of American natural gas into Poland and other European nations (fourth link and fifth link). This would be good for both the Polish and American economies, and would further strengthen the Polish-American alliance. While Poland is working to secure American and Norwegian energy sources to liberate itself from dependence on Russian energy, Germany is, oddly, acting to make itself more dependent on Russian energy sources, a self-defeating policy for Germany and NATO that has drawn the attention and ire of American President Trump (sixth link).
Poland is also in the process of hosting a major US air defense installation already being built in Poland. This is an Aegis Ashore facility that will be able to, at the very least, intercept Russian warplanes or missiles fired at American allies in Europe from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Construction delays have moved its operational start-up date until 2020 (seventh link). As further evidence of the growing American alliance with Eastern European nations, a similar American Aegis Ashore facility in Romania has already been built and is now operational (eighth link). This US facility in Romania can defend the airspace of several Eastern European nations.
Will the USA accept Poland’s offer of building a major US military base on Polish soil? Russia will oppose it, but then Russia didn’t bother to obtain NATO’s approval when it invaded and annexed the Crimea and initiated a low-level shooting war in the eastern provinces of Ukraine. Given that ongoing example of Russian militarism, why should the USA or NATO care if Russia doesn’t like the idea of NATO nations enhancing their own defensive interests? Given the growing tensions that have developed between German Chancellor Merkel and US President Trump, Trump may find Poland’s offer irresistible. It would set a precedent that nations hosting US forces should make a major contribution toward supporting American troops that are stationed there to defend them. Has Germany spent $2 billion to build or support US bases in Germany? If the answer is no, why shouldn’t the USA move its military forces from German bases to new Polish bases? Hosting a large number of American troops and their families near Polish cities would be a major boost to the Polish economy. For decades, Germany has benefited from US military personnel being deployed to Germany. Did Germany ever help “pay the bill” for the deployment of US troops on its soil to protect Germany from a possible Russian invasion? If the answer is no, President Trump may decide to accept Poland’s offer and redeploy the US military assets and personnel to Poland, which obviously wants them there and will appreciate their presence more.
Regardless of what happens with Poland’s excellent military base offer to America, the politics of Europe are in a state of increasing flux and major shifts and realignments are rapidly becoming more possible, and even likely. Given that the American media is now so preoccupied with internal American politics, it will likely declare that future major changes in the European geopolitical landscape, when they occur, were “a complete surprise.” They will be wrong. Readers of this blog will have been prepared for years to expect major changes inside Europe which could affect the entire world very quickly.