During a press conference with his Polish counterpart on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said that Washington is “seriously considering” Warsaw’s request for a new military base.
The Polish President Andrzej Duda raised the prospect of a military base suggesting the name “Fort Trump,” the German news agency DW reports.
The call for a US proposal has been pursued by a number of Polish governments, including Poland’s former foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski. The idea that US troops on the ground are the most effective deterrent against the spectre of a Russian invasion.
Defence analysts point out that “serious consideration” entails the Congress asking the Defense Department to review the proposal. At the moment, there appears to be little appetite in the Congress for increased military commitment in Europe.
Moreover, the bilateral nature of this negotiation poses the question of how it will be received by NATO member states. Besides the limiting 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, which specifies that there will be no permanent positioning in former Warsaw Pact states, there is also a question of investment.
Washington has already invested in NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic region, deploying additional troops in Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. A US base would require additional resources without NATO member state contributions.
Another approach would be the shift of US capability in Germany or Italy to Poland, but this does not appear politically or logistically attractive.
Notwithstanding practical consideration, President Duda returned to Warsaw on Wednesday claiming his mission in Washington was “very successful,” Polish Radio reports.
At the very least, Warsaw claims, the two countries agreed to “explore” the deepening of their defence ties. According to a statement by the Polish Ministry of Defense issued on Tuesday, September 19, a final decision on permanent US presence in Poland will be made next year.
At the same time, the two sides reiterated their commitment to stepping up energy security cooperation.
Warsaw has been a long-time critic of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Germany and Russia, which circumvents the Baltic States via an offshore pipeline. Instead, Poland favours energy imports from the United States.
In their common declaration signed during the bilateral meeting, President Trump and President Duda committed to coordinate “efforts to counter energy projects that threaten our mutual security, such as Nord Stream 2.”