Opinia.US SAN FRANCISCO — An article in the U.S. semi-official military newspaper Stars and Stripes suggests that the Obama administration’s plan for placing a limited number of Patriot missiles in Poland has no military significance and is being implemented largely for diplomatic reasons to appease Warsaw after President Obama scrapped President Bush’s far more ambitious anti-ballistic missile defense system.
Stars and Stripes is published by the Pentagon but maintains editorial independence. The Obama administration, eager to get Russia’s cooperation in dealing with Iran, is putting out several conflicting public relations messages. After cancelling the Bush anti-ballistic missile defense plan in an effort to appease Russia, it wants to appease Poland and other Central European nations by promoting a militarily insignificant Patriot missile placement. At the same time, the U.S. administration also wants to send a signal to Russia that the Patriot system to be placed in Poland has little military value and will not lead to a large number of U.S. soldiers being stationed in Poland.
Governments in Central Europe are concerned by President Obama’s concessions to Moscow at the expense of U.S. allies in the region and his unwillingness to criticize the Kremlin for its authoritarian policies at home and aggressive behavior toward Russia’s neighbors. There was no public protest from the Obama administration when Russia recently staged the largest military exercises near Poland’s eastern border in the last 20 years. Russian troops practiced simulated attacks on Poland. According to unconfirmed Polish media reports, use of nuclear weapons was part of the exercise.
The Poles believe that President Obama’s foreign policy goals in dealing with countries like Russia, Iran and Cuba are based on naive assumptions. They also realize that the proposed Patriot system is of little military value to them but want a larger number of U.S. soldiers to be stationed in Poland as an extra guarantee of U.S. commitment to protect its ally against Russia. That number is not expected to be large but will be greater than the contingent of six American soldiers who are currently stationed in Poland.
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Read the Stars and Stripes article by Nancy Montgomery:
Critics call Poland Patriot missile plan a symbolic gesture
Germany-based unit is likely to be sent as early as the spring
By Nancy Montgomery, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Thursday, November 26, 2009
HEIDELBERG, Germany — Soldiers from U.S. Army Europe’s Patriot missile battalion could be deploying to Poland as soon as the spring for a six-month rotation as part of the Obama administration’s new missile defense plan in Eastern Europe.
But critics say the Patriot deployment — the first to put U.S. troops in Poland — is nothing more than a symbolic, diplomatic gesture. READ MORE