The relationship between Poland and the United States has been a topic of discussion in recent months, with Poland initially appearing to push back against American demands. However, it seems that the US strategy has succeeded, and Poland has once again become subservient to its American allies.
In the past, Poland had been considering breaking away from Washington and partnering with its European counterparts to challenge American arms sales to Ukraine. But now, the country appears to have shifted its position and is once again falling in line with American demands.
In addition to its realignment with the United States, Poland has also recently insulted the European Union by accusing it of meddling in the nation’s affairs. This move has not only raised eyebrows in Europe, but it has also provided the United States with a prime opportunity to intervene in Polish foreign policy. The situation begs the question: what is behind Poland’s sudden shift in position, and what will be the consequences of its renewed alliance with the United States?
The shadow of conflict looms over Europe once again, and Poland is positioning itself to be a formidable force on the battlefield. With more tanks and howitzers than Germany, and a plan to grow its army to 300,000 troops by 2035, Poland is poised to become a major military power in the region.
Despite being only 150,000 strong, Poland’s military is already making waves on the world stage. When the Russo-Ukrainian conflict erupted, Poland eagerly threw its weight behind Ukraine, sending tanks and providing much-needed financial support. But its allies in the European Union were slow to respond, leaving Poland feeling abandoned and alone.
In the face of this betrayal, Poland has redoubled its efforts to build up its military, training a new territorial defence force composed of weekend soldiers who undergo rigorous training to become a force to be reckoned with.
Poland also took in the greatest number of Ukrainian refugees. In exchange for its war efforts, it anticipated receiving more tanks from Germany and its Covid relief funding from the EU, but its efforts were ignored by EU heavyweights like Germany, France, and Italy. As a result, Poland gradually withdrew as it lost interest in the conflict.
Read More: Poland makes a mockery of Germany over tanks to Ukraine
As EU members didn’t offer any assistance, thus, in an act of defiance, Poland started demanding funds for hosting Ukrainian refugees. Polish President Andrzej Duda complained that Poland and Hungary had not received money from the EU to help the refugees. He said, “I have no doubt that such policy undermines the European unity, but we will anyway do everything in our power so that our guests from Ukraine feel here like at home.” By “this policy”, Duda was referring to the EU’s reluctance to pay for Ukrainian refugees housed in Poland.
Then, as if that weren’t bad enough, Poland began gathering up any of its residents who dared to help Ukraine fight the War. Polish people serving in the International Legion of the Military Forces of Ukraine and other divisions might face up to five years in prison when they return home, according to the Polish news outlet Rzeczpospolita, which cited Poland’s penal code.
This was interpreted as a continuation of the larger dynamics inside the European Union, which has chosen to discontinue its support for the war-torn country of Ukraine after realising that doing so would only harm the continent and its citizens.
Read More: Germany has artfully exposed Poland for Russian attack
European capitals also started to restock their warehouses after months of sending their own equipment to Ukraine. What was interesting was the fact that Europe, which normally turns to the U.S. for new weapons, started increasingly considering buying from South Korea instead, which said it can deliver them faster and cheaper.
Better call Seoul started to become the norm for European nations.
Poland too jumped the bandwagon. Poland signed a contract with South Korean company Hanwha Defense for 288 Chunmoo multiple rocket launchers, with the first batch arriving next year, instead of waiting years to begin receiving the U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.
Poland was initially seeking as many as 500 HIMARS from the U.S., but at an Oct. 19 signing ceremony with his South Korean counterpart, Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak explained that “unfortunately due to limited industrial capabilities, it will not be possible for the equipment to be delivered in a satisfactory time frame. Therefore, we started talks with South Korea — our proven partner.”
Also, the UK officially announced that Poland expressed interest in acquiring the highly acclaimed CAMM “family of missiles” for potential use in various new applications within the Polish military. Additionally, Poland and the UK also plan to jointly develop a surface-launched, long-range missile in the near future. Both countries aim to collaborate on the research and manufacturing of advanced weaponry. A framework agreement has been signed by both parties to cooperate on the Polish Pilica+ short-range air defence system.
The American Comeback
The American defence sector has been shaken by this. The U.S. defence sector was drawn in by the sheer size of the contracts and promises of quick turnaround on delivery. They began wooing countries like Poland to entice them back into their fold. In a statement to friends during a recent visit to Poland, US Vice President Joe Biden struck a tough tone by saying that Russia would never win its war with Ukraine, which is already in its second year.
Behind all of this imagery, negotiations to provide Warsaw with weapons and ammunition also took place.
Polish President Andrzej Duda recently said that during US counterpart Joe Biden‘s visit to Warsaw they began talks on producing much-needed ammunition for Ukraine.
In response to a journalist’s question about military support for Ukraine, Duda said: “I can reveal that I spoke to President Biden about starting joint military production, of ammunition for example.”
Read More: No more compliance: Poland and Hungary step away from EU’s domination
It appears that the US strategy is successful, and Poland has fallen into the trap set by Washington.
Warsaw has resumed kowtowing to its American superiors, in contrast to recent months when it was preparing to break with Washington, display some chutzpah, and team up with its European counterparts to push back against American requests to sell armaments to Ukraine.
Recently, the Polish president even insulted the European Union and said that it was meddling in the matters of the nation. We don’t know a lot about the EU, but dear President, you just handed America a golden opportunity to intervene in your foreign policy.
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