On September 18th, Polish President Andrzej Duda suggested hosting a permanent US military base during a joint press conference in the White House with US President Donald Trump.
As reported by Vox, Poland has wanted to host a permanent US military base for years, and its wish might finally turn into reality. The base may also be named “Fort Trump.”
Trump himself suggested that he was open to the idea of installing a base in Poland, as long as Warsaw “is willing to make a very major contribution to the United States.”
“Poland is willing to make a very major contribution to the United States to come in and have a presence in Poland, and certainly it’s something we’ll discuss,” Trump said during the conference.
The offer to name it after Trump is an attempt by Doda to make the deal more attractive for Trump. Poland wants a base to improve relations with the US, while also protect itself from allegedly increasingly aggressive Russia.
According to Vox, Doda has noticed, similarly to how China and Saudi Arabia have, that flattering Trump is a sure way to turn him into a close friend. The Polish president said that Poland would pay $2 billion for the installation, in addition to naming it after him.
For Trump, Warsaw’s willingness to pay at least a portion of the costs for basing troops in Poland could be enticing and also send a message to NATO members that he has criticized for not spending enough on defense. Poland has, at the very least, one argument to make its case: apart from the US, it’s one of the only NATO countries (along with the U.K., Estonia and Greece) where military spending accounts for 2%, or more, of national GDP.
Trump said that the US is “looking into it.” The Pentagon, however, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether or not it’s preparing for a future base in Poland.
The base would come in addition to about 700 US cavalrymen positioned near Poland’s border with the Russian military enclave of Kaliningrad, the country also is a main outpost for an Army armored brigade on rotation from the US.
Russian outlets RT and Sputnik published articles claiming that Poland is “handing over its military sovereignty to the US.” To back their claim, they appealed to the wisdom of Alexei Martynov, director of the pro-Kremlin think tank International Institute for New States. To remain “the United States’ main ally in Europe”, Martynov argued, Poland is forsaking its “military sovereignty” and surrendering it to the United States. Warsaw “is ready to give up many other things”, he continued, “and I’m not sure where this could lead the country”.
Somewhat recently, on May 30th, Poland once more asked the US to establish a permanent military base on its soil. The suggestion was part of a statement by the Polish Ministry of Defense. The also text said a permanent base will help achieve President Donald Trump’s goals in the region. Mr Trump warned last year in Warsaw that there were “dire threats to our security and to our way of life”. Mr Trump added: “We will confront them. We will win.”
The Polish proposal states: “Establishing such a force is necessary to present an unequivocal challenge and deterrence to Russia’s increasingly emboldened and dangerous posture that threatens Europe.”
Regarding the proposal, Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov declared that “when we see the gradual expansion of NATO military structures towards our borders… this of course in no way creates security and stability on the continent.”
He told the Tass news agency: “On the contrary, these expansionist steps, certainly, result in counteractions of the Russian side to balance the parity which is violated every time this way.”
Mr Peskov said that a permanent deployment of US troops in Poland is a “sovereign decision” but warned that the consequences for the “entire security on the continent” are evident.
There have been no signs of Russian aggression against any member of the EU, despite the Trump administration’s claims and Poland’s concerns.