President Donald Trump, while hosting his Polish counterpart, President Andrzej Duda at the White House this week, signed an agreement to send 1,000 additional U.S. troops to Poland.
“It moves us to another era,” an overjoyed Duda boomed. The Poles have nicknamed a rumored new military base “Fort Trump.” Since 2017, the U.S. has kept a steady rotation of about 4,000 troops in the former communist nation. The new soldiers to be deployed won’t necessarily be combat troops but rather “enabling forces” with tasks such as manning drones and logistic support, a U.S. official said.
President Trump hinted that personnel might be shifted from other NATO bases in Europe to Poland, specifically mentioning Germany.
“As you know, we have 52,000 troops in Germany, and Germany is not living up to what they’re supposed to be doing with respect to NATO, and Poland is,” said Mr. Trump.
Trump has constantly requested NATO members contribute more to their military budget – to no avail.
Poland is among seven NATO allies that have met the target military spending equal to 2% of gross domestic product. Germany was at an abysmal 1.23% in 2018, according to a NATO report. The U.S. was at 3.39% GDP, leading all NATO countries. President Trump has been vocal about this disproportionate spending.
“I applaud President Duda’s efforts to strengthen and modernize Poland’s defenses,” Mr. Trump said.
This reflects the fact that many East European nations view the U.S. as the only power that can shield their country from Russian influence, which has long dominated the region for generations.
The two NATO nations made other agreements as well, including one for cooperation in developing Poland’s civilian nuclear program and a deal regarding natural gas.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted, “I welcome today’s announcement that the United States will increase its military presence in Poland. This shows the strong commitment of the US to European security and the strength of the transatlantic bond.”