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Action, reaction
Posted by: McQ on Friday, August 15, 2008

Well, one of the first bits of fall-out from the Russian invasion of Georgia has Poland inking a deal with the US to move defensive missile systems into that country:
Poland and the United States struck a deal Thursday that will strengthen military ties and put an American missile interceptor base in Poland, a plan that has infuriated Moscow and sparked fears in Europe of a new arms race.

"We have crossed the Rubicon," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said, referring to U.S. consent to Poland's demands after more than 18 months of negotiations.
Note that it is a bilateral agreement. Also included in that agreement is this statement:
He said the deal also includes a "mutual commitment" between the two nations to come to each other's assistance "in case of trouble."

That clause appeared to be a direct reference to Russia, which has threatened to aim its nuclear-armed missiles at Poland _ a former Soviet satellite _ if it hosts the U.S. site.
You'd better believe it is a direct reference to Russia. Poland has "been there and done that" with Russia before. Unlike Georgia though, US forces are positioned to be able to come to the assistance of Poland if necessary (and if the Rumsfeldian repositioning of forward deployed forces is ever acted upon, we could see US forces eventually stationed in Poland).

Poland has no allusions about Russia being a peaceful or trustworthy regional neighbor. And after finally gaining their freedom with the collapse of the USSR, they're not about to play games with it by pretending Russia won't gobble them up if an opportunity presented itself (like Georgia).

Given the action in Georgia by Russia, Poland's reaction was to demand more security guarantees from the US before it would sign the deal. As for NATO?
Talking about the "mutual commitment" part of the agreement, Tusk said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would be too slow in coming to Poland's defense if threatened and that the bloc would take "days, weeks to start that machinery."

"Poland and the Poles do not want to be in alliances in which assistance comes at some point later _ it is no good when assistance comes to dead people. Poland wants to be in alliances where assistance comes in the very first hours of _ knock on wood _ any possible conflict," Tusk said.
So this partially answers MichaelW's question about whether the dissolution of NATO would mean Europe would have to pay for more of its defense. That seemingly would only happen if the US pulled out of bilateral defense agreements like this one with Poland, and with a resurgent Russia, that seems unlikely.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Yes, and the Russians immediately responded by threatening Poland with nuclear attack if they allow the ABM deployment.

If I was Warsaw, I’d start boning up on my Russian. I don’t think Bush will throw the Poles under the bus, and I really don’t think McVain would, either (unless it would get him a fawning interview on "Meet the Press"). But The Annointed One? The rest of the Euros? How do you say, "When does the next plane leave for Munich?" in Polish?
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
This seems to be one of those body checks I wrote about last night.
Yes, and the Russians immediately responded by threatening Poland with nuclear attack if they allow the ABM deployment.
No. They threatened the Poles with nuclear targeting, which is not quite the same thing.
Written By: Dale Franks
The Poles have already been there once before when it comes to alliances where your allies show up after you’re gone and the fight to free you takes 5 years and results in you becoming a satellite of one of original allies allies.

Is it any wonder they aren’t going to count on NATO. I sure as hell wouldn’t &
1939 probably isn’t that far back in their memory.

There were only two possible results with the Eastern Bloc countries as a result of Georgia - resignation that the Russians would eventually be back, or determination that it would never happen again.
I’m not at all surprised the Poles have chosen the later.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The question posed yesterday was "would you trade Tilibisi for New York"

Well, it looks as if the question has been answered "no, but we’ll trade for Poland if necessary"

Written By: shark
URL: http://
I remember some old adage about winning battles and losing wars. I’m starting to wonder if that doesn’t apply here.

I also wonder if Russia really wants to start Cold War II. They ain’t what they used to be, and, well, we are. I think it may have been a strategic misjudgement of America and Americans by Russia and Putin, although probably not [currently] a tactical one. And if the judge us by the Euro-cowards they see regularly, and our Euro-coward wannabe media, and therefore Democratic party in its current form, then they have sorely misjudged us, and our nature.

We Americans need an enemy. We need someone to fight and push back against. We need competition - it’s as much a part of our American DNA as pickups, and baseball, and apple pie. Instead of reading our newspapers and watching our television, watch our action movies and watch our sporting events. We’ll compete and contest anything and everything Heck, we make a competition of watermelon seed spitting and cow chip throwing!

And do they really wanna throw their military against ours? Almost twenty years and two wars later we’re the best in the world. I know they think they know us: we’re soft, we can’t fight a long tough war, we can’t take casualties, and so on. But if they haven’t noticed that’s actually a pretty darn small minority of people. They needed to go to an anti-war rally - I’d bet there were more pro-American ralliers than the anti-American anti-war protesters. The Russian problem is that these anti-American anti-war rally types also work in the media (did I mention the media votes 90% Democrat?), and thus are anti-war themselves. So if that’s how they understand our country, then they’re viewing most of us through the wrong looking glass.
Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
... it is no good when assistance comes to dead people.
That about says it all.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://

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