Poland’s Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak has said that his government is optimistic about the conclusion of ongoing negotiations that would see the establishment of a permanent US military base in Poland which the government in Warsaw has said would be called “Fort Trump.”
“Negotiations with our American partners are continuing, the atmosphere of these negotiations is good… I’m optimistic,” Błaszczak told Radio Poland.
Poland hosts US troops on a rotating basis but wants a permanent base to keep them as a check on Russian deployments of military personnel inside Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.
The Polish government said it is both willing and has the means to spend $2 billion to house US forces in Poland. In bilateral talks with the Polish President Andrzej Duda this past September, US President Donald J. Trump said that “If they’re willing to do that, it’s something we will certainly talk about.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has been non-committal about the final outcome of the talks but has said that the Pentagon is working with Poland on potential plans for a permanent presence of US troops in the country.
Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 Warsaw has argued that a US base is a legitimate deterrent to futher aggressive moves by the Kremlin. The US has 33,000 troops stationed in Germany and is expected to add an additional1,500 by 2020.
The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, along with Poland, have urged the NATO alliance to do more militarily to deter Russia and to reassure its easternmost members. The deployment of a “tripwire force” of four multinational battalions dubbed Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) to the three Baltic states and Poland might not be enough to deter deliberate Russian escalation.
However, other members of the Alliance have suggested that Moscow is not an immediate military threat and want NATO to focus on increasing the resilience of the alliance against Russian asymmetrical operations.
The war in Ukraine has proven that Russia has developed a highly sophisticated coercive strategy that combines traditional, conventional, and nuclear military capabilities with asymmetric operations that include cyber attacks, propaganda, and disinformation.