Opinion: Chief US salesman strikes a deal with Poland | Opinion | DW | 13.06.2019
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Opinion

Opinion: Chief US salesman strikes a deal with Poland

US President Donald Trump has received his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, with an air show over the White House. This rare honor seals Trump's latest "deal." Both sides will benefit, writes DW's Bartosz Dudek.

The US is strengthening its military presence in Poland. The Americans want to increase their contingent by about 1,000 to around 5,500 soldiers.

Trump's decision was far beneath the Poles' expectations. There will not be a "Fort Trump," or large permanent base, like the American army base in Ramstein, Germany.

Instead, a network of smaller logistical bases and heavy weapon depots will be set up in Poland to make it easier to quickly deploy troops in case of emergency. The agreed location of US divisional staff also points in this direction.

The presence of US soldiers is still meant to be based on a "principle of permanent rotation." 

Read more: After 20 years in NATO, Poland is still eager to please the US

By doing this, Washington obviously wants to abide by the "Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation" of 1997.

Back then, Russia accepted the NATO accession perspective of the central and Eastern European countries under the assurance that no large NATO units would be stationed "permanently" on the territory of any of these countries.

DW's Bartosz Dudek

Bartosz Dudek heads DW's Polish-language service

Soldiers in return for orders of aircraft

Trump's warm words and the deployment of an additional 1000 soldiers come at a high price for Poland, which will buy 32 state-of-the-art F35 fighters from the US.

The salesman-in-chief put on a small air show over the White House during Duda's visit, even though there has been a no-fly zone over the building since 2001.

Another part of the "deal" was Poland's contractual commitment to purchase liquid gas from the US for $8 billion (€7.09 billion) a year. Measured in terms of the number of soldiers deployed, this is a roaring trade for the US.

Nevertheless, the declaration of intent to deepen military cooperation signed by Trump and his Polish counterpart Duda in Washington is a success for Polish diplomacy.

From a security policy point of view, the presence of US troops is an insurance policy against a potential aggressor, just as it was elsewhere in Western Europe after the Second World War.

Even if the presence has a mainly symbolic character from a military point of view, as it did in West Berlin at the time. Poland's security is in the interest of Germany and the EU as a whole. The intensified Polish-American military cooperation is therefore also good news for other NATO and EU partners.

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