President Andrzej Duda with President Donald Trump in the White House.
The conventional wisdom in Washington, D.C., is that President Trump can be a narcissistic maniac with the ego the size of north America. This conventional wisdom could possibly have something connected to Poland’s pitch for America to create a permanent military base in Poland and call it “Fort Trump.” Yet building such a fort, named after the president, has to be betrayal with the voters in Middle America who put Trump inside White House. These voters want the global chess game to absolve and for the president to focus on America First.
The “Fort Trump” story hit good news after Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda, visited the White House weeks earlier. In an effort to nudge Trump toward building the permanent base, Duda didn’t merely offer to name the proposed base Fort Trump, but also offered to pay no less than $2 billion toward the project.
Building a permanent base in Poland hasn’t been a new idea. In legislation passed recording, Congress asked the Department of Defense to analyze the matter, and the Pentagon is in the process of do that.
And even though President Trump has complained about sponsoring wealthy countries’ defense, Poland’s offer of $2 billion has him considering Duda’s offer.
“The Polish president offered us a lot more than $2 billion to get this done, and thus we’re investigating it.
“We’re looking at it from the standpoint of military protection for both countries, in addition to cost. This is an expression you don’t hear very often, and also you haven’t heard all too often over the last 25 years,” Trump said.
Poland’s rationale is straightforward: Poland wants a perpetual U.S. presence being a greater deterrent to Russia, although a rotational Army battalion and other U.S. forces, numbering about 4,000 in whole, happen to be based there. According to Reuters, “Poland has repeatedly requested a lasting U.S. military presence on its soil. The United States currently rotates troops through Poland temporarily, but permanently stationing forces there would be expensive as a result of costs that will include housing for families, schools and hospitals.”
In other words, this kind of base could be costly, much more than the $2 billion contribution offered by the Polish government. That’s just part of the reasons why a permanent base in Poland is a bad idea for America.
Even though Poland is really a strong ally, Poland isn’t perfect. A permanent base offers a special level of protection for any country, possibly at some level ties us compared to that country’s policies and rhetoric.
Poland’s Law and Justice Party has moved against that country’s judiciary, and commonly directs inflammatory rhetoric toward Russia, the most famous example could be the accusation that Russia crashed an aircraft carrying Law and Justice Party officials. Right or wrong, Poland also offers tense relations with the remainder of Europe at this time.
That’s why former U.S. Army commander of Europe, retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, has argued that building a lasting base in Poland would needlessly divide other NATO allies. Plus, America already has a permanent station of troops in Germany, where 35,000 U.S. troops are stationed.
A permanent base in Poland is also a geopolitical game-changer. It would move NATO forces even nearer to Moscow’s doorstep. Some repeat the base is strategically crucial that you project force against Russia, but this assumes Russia isn’t rational and won’t react in their own interest.
Imagine what America would do if Russia or China were placing their respective military on our doorstep.
That’s why building a lasting military base in Poland may not deter Russia. Rather, it would likely make Russia more nationalist, embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin and strengthen Putin’s handle of the Russia people, Russia’s lackluster economic health can be ignored, while Putin will be viewed as the defender of Russia up against the aggression from the West. Russia may even lash outside in ways we can’t imagine or counter.
We know this because it has happened before.
Although it’s disputed by NATO, documents show that Mikhail Gorbachev, while he allowed the Soviet Union to crumble without bloodshed, was promised that NATO wouldn’t expand beyond Eastern Germany. Of course, in 1999, Poland, Hungary as well as the Czech Republic all joined NATO. Since that time, other former Soviet states, including several Baltic nations bordering Russia, have joined NATO.
Putin’s actions with the recent years shouldn’t be excused, but in many ways he’s reacting rationally as to the he sees as American encroachment into Russia’s near-abroad, which Russia has guarded carefully some time before the Soviet Union came and went.
In the U.S., flyover country understands this. Why spend on a perpetual presence in Poland and risk inciting nuclear-armed Russia when America has numerous other activities to worry about? America shouldn’t go soft on Russia. But aside through the expensive and also the issues with Poland’s government, a perpetual base in Poland would only embolden the darker elements in Russian politics.
Fort Trump will be the opposite of a deterrent, and would thus make both Poland and America less safe. President Trump is expected to reject the idea of creating a permanent military base in Poland.