A New NATO Heavyweight?

WARSAW—Before Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine this February, Vladimir Putin demanded that NATO troops withdraw from Poland and the Baltic states. This extortion attempt has gone as well as the broader invasion: NATO states responded by rushing troops and equipment eastward while making major military spending commitments.

“We understand our geostrategic location,” Gen. Rajmund Andrzejczak, chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, said at the Warsaw Security Forum this week. “We have no time and no space. We are frontline.”

Poland, a country of 38 million, shares borders with Russia and the Russian vassal Belarus, along with Ukraine. The former Soviet satellite state, which joined NATO in 1999, serves as a staging area for Western support to Kyiv. Poland also houses some 2 million Ukrainian refugees.

Polish officials, along with their Baltic neighbors, have long argued that Russia’s imperial ambitions extend far beyond Ukraine. For years many Western European leaders dismissed such warnings as alarmist. The invasion changed everything. 

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Comments (45)
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  • Korea builds tanks?

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    1. Yeah, pretty decent ones actually. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K2_Black_Panther

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  • Very nice article Charlotte. I for one welcome this role for Poland. They are students of history and realize that living next door to Russia means that it's only a matter of time before they come calling. Poland will be ready. With the training that they have received along with advanced weaponry, they are an extremely capable force. I believe that they could, with Ukraine's help, kick Russia out of Ukraine completely. Of course, no one (save Ukraine) wants a NATO member to have boots on the ground in any kinetic activity. At least not yet. Cook off a nuke Vlad, and all bets are off.

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  • Great article! I look forward to more on this topic!

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  • Great article and analysis.

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  • Thanks Charlotte

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  • Hmm. By 2030 could center of gravity shift from Germany, France and Italy to Poland, Finland, Baltics and Sweden. Finland and Sweden already have huge armies and Sweden a highly developed arms mfg capacity. USA of course must stay in and provide most financial and material support.

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  • Terrific article. Concise, informative, and expands the lens on a consequential world event. Thank you, Charlotte.

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  • If America got into a serious war who would you rather have at our side, France and Germany or Poland and Ukraine?

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    1. All of the above and dozens of others.

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    2. Depends on the nature of the conflict. For ground pounding, Ukraine and Poland, for force projection, France and Germany, with their carrier and nuclear submarine fleet, and Air Force.

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      1. A better question is, "Who would be at our side?"

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  • Unfortunately, Poland is also turning increasingly authoritarian. https://fee.org/articles/poland-semi-authoritarian-slide-is-a-wake-up-call-for-europe/

    Of course there's no contradiction between being nationalistic and being semi fascist. Poland before WW2 was a quasi dictatorship which even swallowed a chunk of Czechoslovakia after the Munich Accords. (They've apologized... for the time being. https://www.expatica.com/be/general/poland-says-role-in-czechoslovakias-annexation-a-sin-74925/)

    Nor is there a necessary contradiction between opposing dictatorships and supporting one, viz. our alliance with the Soviet Union against Hitler.

    Somebody once said that "nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests."

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    1. What does Poland's authoritarianism have to do with the article?

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    2. Re the quote at the end of your post, it is from Lord Palmerston, two-time prime minister of the U.K.

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