President Andrzej Duda of Poland has proposed for an American military base in his country, even suggesting it to be named ‘Fort Trump’.
The proposal will be extremely appealing to President Trump and it appears Poland is taking advantage of President Trump’s vanity.
Poland is a country located in Central Europe, with a population of 38 million people. During the Cold War, Poland was established as a Communist satellite state under the influence of the Soviet Union. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, Poland re-established itself as a democratic republic.
Poland is a developed market and regional power. It has the eighth largest and one of the most dynamic economies in the European Union, simultaneously achieving a very high rank on the Human Development Index. Additionally, the Polish Stock Exchange in Warsaw is the largest and most important in Central Europe. Poland is a developed and democratic country, which maintains a high-income economy along with very high standards of living, life quality, safety, education and economic freedom
The Polish leader discussed that proposal with President Trump at the White House on Tuesday, trying to get traction for an idea his government has been pushing for months to deter any possible Russian aggression. The Polish government has even been willing to pay — to the tune of $2 billion.
Mr. Duda is not the first European leader to seek to curry favour with Mr. Trump by appealing to his sense of self — or by injecting an element of flattery into the geopolitics of the day.
Mr. Duda’s comments in Washington seem to have brought little praise at home, where critics criticized him on Wednesday for what they depicted as weak behaviour.
“President Duda decided to take advantage of Trump’s vanity and came out with this Fort Trump,” Barbara Zdrojewska, a Polish senator, said on Twitter. “Had he done it in a private conversation, jokingly, it would have been a crafty move, but blurting it out during a news conference in front of half of the world was pathetic. He humiliated himself, us and Trump.”
Tomasz Siemoniak, a former defence minister who is now a senior member of the biggest opposition party, Civic Platform, also used Twitter to criticize the Polish leader: “What an embarrassment in front of the entire world! Even leaders of banana republics had more respect for themselves and their countries than President Duda does.”
While NATO has agreed to deploy troops in Poland, including some from the United States, the idea of a permanent American base in what was once a part of the Warsaw Pact alliance also seemed certain to annoy President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian leader has long criticised at Western encroachment in lands that Moscow viewed as part of its geopolitical backyard. These include places such as Crimea, Georgia, Ukraine and the Baltic States.
It was not clear whether Mr. Trump had agreed to set up a base, and it appeared that he and the Polish leader had not finalized a price. Mr. Trump said Mr. Duda “offered us much more than $2 billion to do this, and so we’re looking at it.”
Like other former Soviet satellites, Poland has been deeply mistrustful of Russian intentions — both military and economic. Many in the region fear that Mr. Putin seeks to rebuild Moscow’s influence in areas that would shield Russia’s borders.
Mr. Duda said, for instance, that Russia’s energy policies constituted “a threat of Russian energy domination” across Europe. Russia had also been militarizing “in a systematic way,” he said.
Poland currently hosts a rotating international contingent of around 7,000 troops, most of them from the United States.
Only a few months ago, the US refused to commit more troops to Poland. US officials maintained a cautious response to the idea of setting up a permanent base in Poland. At the same time, American forces were reported to be flying surveillance drones from a base in north-western Poland. The new permanent base in Poland could be an attempt to deter Russia’s rising influence in Europe. However, it is more likely that it coincides with a more aggressive NATO presence in Eastern Europe in the aftermath of the Crimean annexation.
Our assessment is that it is likely that the US will open a permanent base in Poland to bolster its presence in Eastern Europe. Although, it is highly unlikely that a new military base will be named after a sitting US President. We believe that Poland is reacting to Moscow’s increasing clout in Europe, especially after Germany agreed to the Nord-Stream 2 extension. We also feel that the US will accept Poland’s request for more military personnel.