In honor of NATO's 70th anniversary, the Alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made Warsaw a royal gift. He announced that the member states will invest 260 million dollars in the establishment of a military structure for US forces in Poland. "The investment in the infrastructure project in central Poland," he said, "is part of a broader effort to strengthen military mobility. We will invest in different facilities to enable maintenance and storage of equipment. And by prepositioning equipment, we will increase the readiness of our forces, because then we need to move in people and not heavy equipment." According to the official, this project will, among other things, involve modification of such military transportation infrastructure facilities as a port for NATO ships and the transfer of Alliance forces all across Europe.
Stoltenberg did not say that by creating such facilities in the territory of Poland, NATO turns the country into a target for a devastating retaliatory strike, if this country initiates aggression against Russia. Because the construction of military infrastructure for the US army implies the country's militarization with all that it entails. However, the leadership of Poland is not even concerned about this but inspired to military spending.
Polish President Andrzej Duda recently announced a significant increase in the purchase of military equipment for the armed forces. One of the largest was, for instance, a contract to purchase American HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems, capable of hitting targets at distances up to 300 kilometers. This transaction, which includes not only two dozen launchers, but also support vehicles, ammunition and other necessary equipment, will cost Warsaw 414 million dollars. And to update their artillery alone, the leadership of Poland is ready to spend 2.1 to 2.7 billion dollars. This program will cover the purchase of anti-tank guided missiles to replace Soviet 9К14М Malyutka P systems and the expansion of the anti-tank battalion outside Suwałki, next to the border with Belarus and Russia's Kaliningrad region to become an anti-tank regiment to receive the Israeli Spike LR anti-tank systems equipped on US-made armored Humvee vehicles.
In addition, according to Andrzej Duda, Poland is negotiating with the United States to provide the republic's armed forces with American fifth-generation multi-functional F-35 fighter-bombers. The Polish military made request for 32 aircraft to replace the 27 obsolescent Soviet MiG-29 lightweight fighters that the Poles are unable to upgrade or repair because of sanctions declared against Moscow and ceased relations with the MiG aerospace company, which has recently led to an air disaster involving one such aircraft. However, Warsaw has 48 more F-16 and 18 Soviet Su-22 fighters, but both models are rather old, produced back in the 1980s and cannot face new challenges that Warsaw has assumed within NATO regarding the so-called protection of the Alliance's eastern borders.
And these challenges are really demanding. To address them, Poland is going to spend up to 50 billion dollars in the coming years and plans to purchase short-range air defense systems, particularly to counter unmanned aerial vehicles. This project will have to be integrated with the Wisla program, under which Warsaw will purchase a long-range Patriot PAC-3 anti-aircraft missile system from Washington. Also it will get the UAVs, reconnaissance planes, a submarine, helicopters to combat submarines of a potential aggressor, some off-road vehicles and, besides, will spend nearly one billion dollars to develop a cyber security system for the republic.
In almost every speech President Andrzej Duda points to the fact that the eastern borders of Poland, and hence NATO, must be carefully protected. So did he at the Prague celebrations to commemorate the 20th anniversary of entering the North Atlantic Alliance by Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, declaring the need to withstand Russian provocations at the common border.
"Every Russian provocation, say an aircraft violating the airspace of any NATO member state, or other tricks of this kind appear as an examination of our ability to ensure our own security," Duda claimed. "These are attempts to find out whether we will respond to them or not. If we stop reacting to them, the Russian planes will soon emerge over Prague and Warsaw, and then, perhaps, over Berlin as well."
However, he did not give any specific examples of a provocation involving Russian planes violating the borders of NATO member states, which actually was not required by the audience he was addressing. Such statements are accepted there a priori, as a general truth with no evidence to be presented. And therefore, the Polish President's statement was taken for granted when he said that "We [Poland] will increase defense spending, strengthen the army, the air force and the navy; this must be done to protect our citizens, to strengthen democracy and freedom". Especially when Duda spoke in favor of strengthening the US military presence in Europe, as well as in Poland. "The US army has always been a guarantee of European security. The presence of American troops helped bring peace and moderation back to Europe," he stressed.
For the time being, an American tank crew accounting for about 3,5 thousand people is deployed in Poland on rotation. As is a multinational NATO battalion comprising thousands of combat soldiers in the country's territory. In the small town of Redzikowo, a base of the US Aegis Ashore anti-missile component is being built with MK-41 launch containers which fit not only SM-3 counter-missiles, but also the Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles. Including those equipped with nuclear warheads. President Andrzej Duda asked President Donald Trump to add a heavy armored division here to be maintained by means of the republican budget's money – 1.5 to 2 billion dollars a year. He even came up with the name for the garrison to host it – Fort Trump. Beautiful and declamatory, that's for sure. Nor is the Polish leader afraid of the US President's promise to level up the price for the deployment of US troops in Europe fivefold plus 50 percent of this amount. The Polish President is ready to pay.
The emergence of an American heavy armored division in the Polish land is stalled by the Congress. But US Ambassador to Warsaw Georgette Mosbacher pledged to resolve the problem within 60 to 90 days. "We have not yet completed the negotiations, but we are close," she said. "I am convinced that the Poles will be very pleased with the package that we will eventually offer. Poland will get a lot of what it wants because it deserves it."
It is difficult for the author of these words to judge what Poland deserves in Washington's views, but at least today Polish citizens still cannot visit the United States on a visa-free basis, unlike the Czechs, the Germans and the Hungarians. Even such an enduring devotion of the Polish leadership to American interests in Europe is of no help so far. It is probably possible but not necessary to explain why. There is another pressing issue here.
Does not the Polish society understand that the militarization of the country, the deployment of foreign, although allied within NATO, military units in its territory, nearly the first-strike capacity, as well as frankly aggressive anti-Russian rhetoric of the country's leadership and massive growth of military exercises along the Russian and Belarusian borders cannot but cause a response from Moscow and Minsk? President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has already touched upon this matter. "We are not going to indifferently look at the threats to the republic's security at our borders," he said. And even though the head of the Republic did not specify any measures taken, it is obvious that Russia and Belarus as Collective Security Treaty Organization allies are each closely monitoring the developments in the neighboring country.
In response to the deployment of the US Aegis Ashore missile defense system in Poland, Moscow transported an Iskander-M tactical complex brigade to the Kaliningrad region. As a protection against F-35 fighter-bombers which Poland buys from the United States, an air defense regiment of the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system has been deployed in the area. Apart from the F-35, it will help protect against the Tornado and F-16 aircraft capable of carrying American B61 gravity nuclear bombs that are stored in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy. In particular, these aircraft are on station at the Lithuanian Zokniai airport outside Šiauliai. It will take them some five minutes to reach Kaliningrad. And there is also an army corps in the region providing protection from the American tank battalions, as well as from a heavy armored division, equipped with everything to stop and talk sense into both overseas aggressors and their Eastern European vassals. Moreover, behind the Kaliningrad special area there is a Western military district and the whole might of the Russian armed forces. The response to the aggression from the Polish territory, as well as from the territory of any other NATO country, will not be long in coming. Sure enough.
I will never believe that Warsaw is unaware of this or does not understand the situation. Then why is it so persistent in turning the country and its population into targets for a retaliatory blow from Russia? What's the game? Is it about low historical self-esteem? Is the szlachta elite still unable to forgive Russia that four hundred years ago the latter averted its endeavors to enthrone their king in Moscow and then kicked them out of the Kremlin? Or because of subservience to Washington? I recall former Polish Foreign Minister and later Marshal of the Sejm Radoslaw Sikorsky speaking to his colleague about how Polish politicians, to put it mildly, licked the US boots, which only entailed discord with Germany and Russia. Is it possible that these revelations, that made the news, taught Sikorsky's current heirs nothing at all? They did, though.
At the recent Munich Security Conference, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz reasoned candidly about the consequences of America's withdrawal from the INF treaty.
"We do not want any missiles to be placed in our territory. But we will work out a solution with our NATO allies, because the Russian threat requires a common response in that respect," he said. But "if we do this, it will be the Alliance's decision."
That's about it. Decide for yourself whether this is more about thoughtless or insane devotion to the allies, including overseas ones, which Radoslaw Sikorsky implied, or outright stupidity amounting to betrayal of the genuine interests of his own people. One thing is obvious here: the Polish masochists are eager to become a retaliation target. And what in the world can be done about this is not in my wildest dreams.