Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What Bush gave Kaczynski


President Lech Kaczynski came out of his meeting with George Bush at the White House, Monday, sounding much more certain that the anti-missile system is coming to northern Poland.

“It’s a forgone conclusion,” Kaczynski said standing next to a grinning Bush. Only the details, technical details, need to be cleared up.

A few weeks ago it emerged from anguished Polish spokesmen that the talks were not going as well as expected. There were sticking points. But now things seem to have moved forward considerably. So what changed during the pow-wow in the Oval Office?

Kaczynski has apparently been learning some English. Or so we are told. But what’s in his specially produced US visit phrase book, apart from “Hi”, and “I’ll have the cheese burger, just like my buddy George, please.”?

Maybe the phrase book – a slim volume - was filled with a couple of other phrases.

“Visa waver program, please” …and …”More money for the defense budget…..”…..and, “When can we get the hell out of Afghanistan and Iraq, please?”….

But it looks like it is possible that Bush has offered something different. Something more concrete.

Former PiS defense minister Radek Sikorski was on Polish Radio this morning when he said:

“It’s obvious that [the US] has offered them [PiS] something. I think they have given them Patriot Missiles.”

Patriot missiles? They are a tracking missile for anti-ballistic defense. Most varieties of the patriot appear to have a range of 70 kilometers.

They were used in the Gulf wars against Saddam's Skud missiles, and South Korea has them as protection against any missiles whistling over the border from North Korea.

So they are perfect, from Poland's perspective, for hitting missiles coming from a source near one’s own border.

Perfect for fending off any missiles coming from….maybe Russia?

So while the whole anti-missile system is said by Washington and Warsaw to be against ‘rogue’ states, a Poland armed with patriots would feel a little securer against threats from Moscow.

It’s just a theory.

The name ‘Patriot’, by the way, is an acronym for Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept Of Target.

There is also another bacronym: Protection Against Threats, Real, Imagined, Or Theorized.

More?
Poll: 55 percent of Poles oppose hosting U.S. missile defense base

23 comments:

Damien Moran said...

Kaczynski ya bleeding swine, ya stole me words. About 5 weeks ago I used the exact same phrase when debating the issue with my girlfriend, so happy that my analysis is up to scratch. Boeing are surely licking their lips, the Warsaw Voice reported that they would probably attain a €400-600 million contract from the U.S. gvt. to go about the dirty work.

The Czechs are getting hungrier for a referendum on the issue, but on the Polish side, that is according to my source in SLD, it is likely that if the 1/2 million signatures were collected from the public for a referendum on the issue the demand amongst parliamentarians would fall short by about 10/15 deputies.

So is Slupsk rubbing it's hands in anticipation for a piece of the U.S. on its backyard? Are one of these technicalities the sacred calf of extra-territoriality?

guest01 said...

The USA doesn't need to give to Poland anything to put its missiles here. The logic of relationship between them is the same as between a pimp and a hooker. The hooker is more than happy to be f***d by the pimp (and even pay to him) to get the protection from the rough naighbour, who from time to time gets drunk, beats and violates the hooker. The rest, including media angle, polls, referendums, bulls***t people write on internet forums on the topic, etc. is rethorics and pretty decoration of the ugly truth.

It will develop as it should: the USA proceeds with the System in Czech and Poland, Russia reinforces its millitary presence in the region (after freezing european disarment agreement) to protect its short and medium range missiles with nuclear warheads (it will install in Kaliningrad and perhaps Belarus).

At the end, Poland wins (a big kiss of the USA butt), Europe looses (in security), Russia and the USA will keep status quo. What I do not understand - why the USA are pushing for it? After all, putting the rockets in Poland will give Russians the moral right to put theirs in Cuba (for example). So, why to escolate?

jannowak57 said...

All former empires, especially the big ones like France and Britain, have gone through the same difficult psychological processes. Now it Russia’s turn, the final emotional phase of the grieving process for a loss is acceptance. Russia has refused to accept Polish sovereignty and through its antics became the author of Poland’s decision to accept the US missile system. With the presence of American military assets in Poland acceptance is no longer an option.

Until Europe can demonstrate that it has the will and resources to be a credible sole provider of collective security, Poland will by necessity tie it’s security needs to the US.

The Polish people have rejected any notion of a Russian sphere of influence encompassing Poland. The Russia of today is the successor state to the former Soviet Union, thereby making it liable for compensation for the Soviet genocide against the Polish people and a fifty-year period of totalitarian government.

If Russia feels that Poland will accept a limited independence as a nation, then it’s made a wild miscalculation.

Europe’s fear of Russia coupled with its need for Russian oil make it a shaky ally for Poland. Thus far Europe has met the Russian challenge with overt fear and weakness.

The reality of the threat to the Russians from 10 interceptor missiles is it poses no treat whatsoever but it has represented a Russian loss of face and a public display of their weakness thus potentially emboldening other former captive nations to assert their independence.

This action will remove any Russian misunderstanding as to the location of the western world’s eastern border.

Anonymous said...

The comment "Perfect for fending off any missiles coming from...maybe Russia?" shows a definite ignorance of what the Patriot system is designed for.

In this day and age, a responsible person would do a little research on the internet before writing about something.

That is called fact checking. But you as a journalist are probably not used to doing any fact checking in your real life so why even consider it on a blog. It is enough to misrepresent whatever you can to press your biased viewpoint and play the role of useful idiot to your best ability.

beatroot said...

So go on then. Enlighten us instead of just ranting, OK?

guest01 said...

"jannowak57 said...
All former empires, especially the big ones like France and Britain, have gone through the same difficult psychological processes. Now it Russia’s turn, the final emotional phase of the grieving process for a loss is acceptance. Russia has refused to accept Polish sovereignty and through its antics became the author of Poland’s decision to accept the US missile system. With the presence of American military assets in Poland acceptance is no longer an option."

- You are just repeating the official Warsaw POV but in more "poetic" way, nothing new here. If you were capble of critical thinking, you would see the obvious - for Russia it does not matter were the System is located - in Poland or in, say, Finland. Whats important for them is the change in their own security balance against the USA.

"...Until Europe can demonstrate that it has the will and resources to be a credible sole provider of collective security, Poland will by necessity tie it’s security needs to the US. "

- You have a good point here. Just tell me, why did Poland join the EU, if you did not have the intention to be part of the creative force that builds it up, including the collective european security system? Or shorter: what is Poland doing in the EU?

"If Russia feels that Poland will accept a limited independence as a nation, then it’s made a wild miscalculation."

- What a bulls**t! How old are you? My bet would be from a generation of PRL-loosers, the same as Poland's political leadership? Who needs limitations of Polish independence except of Polish own polititians? Time to wake up - what is important for Russia in regard to Poland is the same as in regard to EU - the political stability (as a guarantee that they will buy more and more expensive gas an oil) and openess for Russian investment.

"Europe’s fear of Russia coupled with its need for Russian oil make it a shaky ally for Poland."

- Isn't Poland a part of the Europe that you mention here? Or is it only when it is convenient or profitable?

"The reality of the threat to the Russians from 10 interceptor missiles is it poses no treat whatsoever..."

- Again, according to who? The problem with mass media in Poland is that only one voice is heard - this is the official one: "...According to OUR independent experts...blah-blah-blah." At the same time, if you read Russian reports (for example, one is hre: http://lenta.ru/articles/2006/10/04/mildef/), the situation looks quite different.

opamp said...

With the presence of American military assets

No sane strategist would place a valuable asset near the enemy's territory. So this installation will be expendable.

The fallacy of Polish politicians is a naive belief that U.S. would risk a war with another nuclear superpower over its assets in Poland. It would not, it has too much to loose.

jannowak57 said...

To clarify what the Patriot missile system is:

Patriot is a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather air defence system to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft. The range of the missile is 70km and maximum altitude is greater than 24km. In service with Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.

This according to some press reports this is the weapons system Poland would receive in exchange for hosting the American missile system and probably what Poland asked for. In the final analysis the quantity supplied will determine whether the deal was worth it.

jannowak57 said...

opamp said “The fallacy of Polish politicians is a naive belief that U.S. would risk a war”

The whole problems rests with Poland not having iron clad security guarantees but rather sitting in a security no-mans land which is the worst possible condition for European security as it ignores the historical reality of Poland’s geographic position.

I don’t believe that Polish politicians belief they have iron clad security guarantee from the Americans but something is better then nothing. Nothing historical invites aggression. The very minimum benefit is access to modern weaponry.

I expect someone will say but you’re a member of Nato, if you read the agreement and corresponding treaties you will find that Holland, Denmark and Germany do not have the same agreement.

beatroot said...

But Russia is certainly in the thinking of the Polish defense strategy. I don�t they toss and turn in bed about Iran. North Korea. There is a new �Cold war� thinking around at the moment � and not just in Poland: read anything by Edward Lucas at the moment.

But I think this is a big mistake. There are no competing ideologies like there were pre 1989. What we have is a country, fattened by oil and trying to push its weight around. But the oil is powerful because they can sell it. To sell it you need someone to buy it from you. The only �Cold War� that could develop is by two different trading blocs � not ideological or political blocs.

That is a very different world from how it was 20 years ago. And that�s good. Britain is the biggest foreign investor in Russia at the moment and that will put a limit on any future escalation of the current diplomatic expulsions. Things have changed and the cold war is no more. So let�s not re-hash this attitude, because it just doesn�t fit anymore�

opamp said...

The whole problems rests with Poland not having iron clad security guarantees

Oh please. Poland had "iron clad" security guarantees in 1939. We all know how it turned out. Guarantees are never worth the paper they are printed on.

The only viable way for Poland in a long term is to take the Israeli approach -- build a fortress armed with everything from guns to nuclear weapons. Sadly, all our post-1989 governments seem bent on dismantling our defense industry.

That is a very different world from how it was 20 years ago.

And there is a good chance that world will be a different place in 20 years. And this installation can easily become more of a liability than an asset.

jannowak57 said...

Opamp said “the only viable way for Poland in a long term is to take the Israeli approach”

I fully agree with you that that would be an optimum solution but still staying in Nato. Sadly we don’t have the political class with the courage and vision to execute such a concept. I will admit what’s being done now is the second best solution and just stalks up as better than doing nothing at all.

Harry said...

opamp: Poland did not have iron-clad security guarantees in 1939. The military dictator who ran Poland in 1939 only negotiated treaties which covered Polish independence, not Polish security or territory.


Your idea of Poland following Israel is hugely amusing. Can you perhaps explain where Poland gets the money for such a fortress? Israel gets its arms for free. Poland would have to pay for hers.

jannnowak57 said...

harry said... “Can you perhaps explain where Poland gets the money for such a fortress? Israel gets its arms for free”

As much as I hate to admit it your right, the concept is a non-starter. The military expenditures necessary would be impossible based on the size of Poland’s economy. Just to see how impossible it would be some statistics, Israel spends $ 1,429.00 per capita on defence versus Poland, which spends $ 90.77. The US sends Israel approximately 3 billion annually in aid such as military aid, loan guarantees and economic aide, which amounts to covering better than 30% of their military expenditures. In terms of spending as a component of the economy:

Israel .76 per 10.00 of GDP
Poland .15 per 10.00 of GDP
France .23 per 10.00 of GDP
Denmark .10 per 10.00 of GDP

Military spending in Poland has clearly been restrained to avoid damage to a growing economy and on paper the Polish military looks respectable but that ‘s were it ends. The reality is that its equipment is in a lot of cases old Soviet designs produced 40 years ago and of little utility in this day and age. With no immediate hope of a remedy to this problem the strategy if we can call it that seems to be to hang on to Uncle Sams coat tails for all it worth and hope for the best.

opamp said...

The military dictator who ran Poland in 1939

Whoa?!

The military dictator died in 1935. In 1939 the show was already being run by a band of idiots, who disobeyed his will (ally with Germany against the Soviets).

What is interesting is that present government is committing the exact same error that was commited in 1938-39. Allying now with the US against both Russia and the EU has as much sense as alliance with France and England against both Germany and Russia had in 1939 -- that is none.

Israel gets its arms for free. Poland would have to pay for hers.

Domestic production is much cheaper than buying overpriced 40-year-old American crap (which system I am referring to is left as an exercise to he reader). What's more, Poland has almost all of the needed resources.

Anonymous said...

jannnowak57

the western countries spend much more $$$ per capita on defence ,but a big part of it are wages for the soldiers and all the social "crap".

Nothing is Free said...

Why would Russia invade Poland?

Harry said...

opamp, I know precisely when the marshal died. I was talking about the colonel.


BTW: yes it is cheaper to produce arms than it is to pay for them (unless you're producing pieces of shit like the Wolverine 'armoured personel carrier' which can be penetrated with an AK-47 round because then the clear up costs lots, remind me where the Wolverine is made can you?) But there is still a cost and let's face it: Poland has far more important things to spend money on than weapons. Things are exactly as they were in 1939: it doesn't matter who you ally with or what weapons you buy, if either of the neighbours wants to invade, Poland is fucked. So why not pay nurses a living wage and forget about dreams of military might?

jannowak57 said...

opamp said... “Domestic production is much cheaper”

If US designed military equipment were made under licence in large enough quantities that would be the biggest bang for the dollar.

Anonymous said... “the western countries spend much more $$$ per capita on defence, but a big part of it are wages for the soldiers and all the social "crap".”

Yes but as the Polish army moves to the 60% or more professional requirement, these cost will escalate proportionally with what’s happening in society.

Nothing is Free said..” Why would Russia invade Poland?”

Considering the number of times they did it, I’d say habit. Joking aside if Russian society had continued to move in the direction of a functioning democracy as it had started under Yeltsin I would say there was no chance of conflict with Russia. But it didn’t and a belligerent and undemocratic nation has emerged seeking the restoration of past imperial glories. The risk of actual invasion is slim but the use of intimidation and scare tactics is more likely the scenario to expect.

Harry said... “forget about dreams of military might”

The do nothing option is the best guarantee of trouble, if the cost of aggression becomes zero, it’s most likely to occur. Dedicating reasonable resources to national defence is prudent and correct. Unilateral disarmament would not get much of a constituency in Poland.

roman said...

harry,

"if either of the neighbours wants to invade, Poland is fucked."
I could almost understand how Russia could conceivably entertain an invasion... but who else? Germany? You cannot be serious.
Furthermore, what an amazing defeatist attitude. Please come to the USA and join Harry Reid and Dick Durban in a joint raising of hands and handkerchief waving.
1939 has zero similarity to current events but you make it sound that it is still relevant.
Care to elaborate how it is relevant?

opamp said...

@jannovak:

If US designed military equipment were made under licence in large enough quantities that would be the biggest bang for the dollar.

Yeah, because the U.S. is going to license any advanced stuff. Sure. And the biggest bang for the dollar is with the domestically developed systems, even for the simple reason that the money does not flow abroad. It's all really a matter of policy: we should be funding domestic development instead of buying overpriced crap.

@harry:

Regarding Wolverine, can you give me the designation of said APC? I am not familiar with this name (nor is Google).

if either of the neighbours wants to invade, Poland is fucked.

Yes, it's a known fact. Except that the present geopolitical situation practically guarantees us security: EU/Russia conflict is unlikely, because both sides need each other. The problem is however that this will not last forever (my guess is that we have about 20 to 30 years), so we have to be prepared for the next round of the match, so to speak. Or, we will be again caught unprepared as it happened in 1939.

In this context, both paying the nurses is and alliance with the US are extremely short-sighted.

(Side note: the root of the problem with nurses and doctors is that we have produced too many of them under the communism. They were expected to come in handy during WW3).

beatroot said...

No Opamp - the root cause that Poland spends only 6 percent of GDP on health care - that's three percent lower than EU average.

Nothing is Free said...

jannowak57 said...
The risk of actual invasion is slim but...


Of course Russia will not attack Poland. That's because the US will attack invade Russia first.