The White House is pressing the Pentagon to accelerate negotiations with Poland. The agreement is expected to be ready on Sept. 1.
If no incidents occur, such as the ones with the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance, and unless there are any extraordinary events in the world, President Trump should come to Warsaw to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the World War II. Naturally, provided that the agreement on strengthening military forces is agreed on by that time — American sources tell Rzeczpospolita.*
For Donald Trump there is no better way to frame the announcement of the decision on the new role of the American armed forces by the Vistula than in ceremonies with already confirmed participation of the President of Germany and probably also several dozen other leaders of EU, NATO and Eastern Partnership countries. This would be a clear signal that, although in the past Poland could not count on European allies, today it shall not be disappointed in the U.S. The message for the global public is even clearer if we keep in mind that Vladimir Putin was not invited to the Warsaw events.
Donald Tusk Criticized the U.S.
Trump remembers the enthusiastic welcome during his visit to Warsaw in July 2017. A similar scenario just a few months before the start of the presidential campaign in the U.S. could motivate support for the Republican candidate from not only the electorate, consisting of the members of American “Polonia,”** but more broadly, all voters for whom America’s position in the world is of importance.
Such a major international event however, two months before the elections to Polish Parliament, would also increase the chances of the Law and Justice party to remain in power.
Until the end of last year, when James Mattis served as the Secretary of Defense, the Pentagon was acting more as a deterrent on negotiations with Poland because it was afraid of military escalation with Russia. This has changed since Patrick Shanahan took over the defense department. Nevertheless, Polish negotiators maintain close ties with national security adviser John Bolton, who has a direct bearing on Trump. The Pentagon, the largest employer in the world, has very heavy-going structures and, for technical reasons, the negotiations could be prolonged beyond the parliamentary elections in Poland this fall, maybe even beyond the presidential elections in the U.S. in the fall of next year. And this is something the White House does not want to permit. The American leader clearly intends not only to draw advantages from Fort Trump’s success, but would also prefer to conclude negotiations with the current Polish government. Americans did not respond well to Donald Tusk’s criticism of the Middle East Conference in Warsaw, which was organized at the request of the U.S., and Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher officially pointed this out on Twitter. This raised doubts over the Potomac river as to whether or not Germany would be a more prominent partner for the current Polish opposition than America. In emergency situations, Mosbacher has direct telephone contact with Trump.
The signal that the U.S. president would gladly receive Andrzej Duda in the White House in June coincided with the official announcement of Donald Trump’s participation in the 75th anniversary of the landing in Normandy. However, while participation in the liberation of France is an integral part of the American historical narrative, participation in the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of war would be a real tribute towards Poland. After the meeting of presidents Andrzej Duda and Frank-Walter Steinmeier at 4:40 a.m. in Wieluń on the anniversary of the brutal bombing of the city by the Luftwaffe, the meeting of the leaders of the western world would take place in Warsaw at noon, probably at Piłsudski Square.
The American military forces already have a fairly precise vision of what it would look like to strengthen the U.S. forces in our country. It is not only the size of the troops that is at stake, but also the way in which they are stationed. In mid-March, during his speech in the House of Representatives, General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Commander-in-Chief of American forces in Europe, admitted: “When it comes to troops that facilitate landing, the command staff and other personnel, a more permanent base is needed because of the nature of the relations we have built (with Poland) and the mission they share (American soldiers on the Vistula).”***
Contrary to the name Fort Trump, this is not about building a single super-base. We are talking rather about strengthening the forces scattered all over the country up to about 6,000 soldiers, most of them after Germany, Italy and Great Britain. At the same time, it is being considered to replace the presence of a significant part of these units from a rotational to a permanent one. This applies in particular to the armored brigade in and around Żagań, which would be reinforced with significant elements of support and transfer of additional troops from the West.
The Americans could also permanently take over the coordination of the NATO battalion in Orzysz near the border with Russia and expand it to the size of a brigade. In Poznań, there are plans to establish the division’s command, and in Powidz, NATO wants to build weapon warehouses for the next brigade. Among other military investments, the Americans also intend to deploy rocket troops, among others, to protect the base in Redzikowo, which is a part of the anti-missile shield directed against long-range missiles. All this makes up the format of the division, according to diplomatic sources.
Five Percent of U.S. Oil Exports
Trump’s visit is facilitated by well-developed business relationships. Admittedly, last year, with a turnover of $US13 billion, Americans recorded a trade deficit with Poland amounting to $US2.6 billion, but there has been a surge in imports of energy resources by our country. Already 5% of the American coal and oil exports goes to Poland.
After the first meeting of the Polish-American energy dialogue in Houston in March , there was a significant acceleration of cooperation, not only with regard to the import of liquefied gas, but also with respect to plans to build nuclear power plants. Last week, a delegation of the Polish-American Business Council headed by Eric Stewart came to Warsaw, representing companies that have invested $US15 billion in Poland, the highest number in history. During a possible meeting with Trump in June, Duda would like to raise the issue of the Three Seas Initiative Fund, in which leading American corporations want to invest. It is especially about the development of energy transmission infrastructure.
Economic cooperation is also supported by large contracts for the purchase of American weapons: the government in particular is negotiating the purchase of several dozen ultra-modern F-35 fighters.
* Editor’s note: Rzeczpospolita is a Polish national daily newspaper.
**Editor’s note: Polonia refers to the Polish-American communities created by Polish peasant immigrants to preserve Polish identity and customs.
***Editor’s note: Although accurately translated, this quote could not be verified.