The biggest trainings of the North-Atlantic Alliance, and now the biggest summit meeting of NATO. These definite steps of the Alliance are not liked by Russia. But Poles should not worry about it.

The International Batallion of NATO, stationing in Poland, a missile shield and the armored brigade are clear signals speaking that Warsaw is not alone. The defensive potential of Poland is beginning to get stronger. Not so much with the power of the army but its becoming international and real support of our allies. Effective military policy is not based on not only a good defence, but, first of all, on discouraging from an attack and effective deterrence.

We, Poles, since 1999 have been in NATO. The problem is that basically NATO has not been in our country, that is, presence of allied countries, armies of NATO countries on the territory of Poland was literally symbolical – emphasized the president of the Polish Republic Andrzej Duda during his pronouncement at the university in Copenhaga. – NATO cannot behave indecisively like Hamlet. Countries of the alliance cannot say: we understand but we are afraid and we do not want to provoke. Not this way! We must strengthen and make a strong decision as it is the only way to provide peace.

A protection umbrella

History of the XX century has often shown that paper alliances may be only a bit more valuable than paper on which they were written. After all, it was so in 1939 when Poland had safety guaranteed by Great Britain and France. As a result, Germany was bombarding Warsaw, and, within the alliance, the French were pacifically throwing leaflets over German cities.

Those recent years prove that safety of our region is conditioned by a real power, not paper contracts. In the context of the annexation of Kremlin and the war in Ukraine, it is necessary to remind the Memorandum of Budapest from 1994, when Kiev gave back nuclear arsenal in return for sovereignty guaranteed by America, Great Britain and Russia. Unfortunately, besides words or declarations, the USA and the British practically did nothing to defend Ukraine from aggression of Russia.

Summit meetings of NATO in Newport and in Warsaw are focused on an answer to the military policy of Russia. According to the foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski, the increase of Russian military expenditures and pursuing aggressive foreign policy, and, particularly the war in eastern Ukraine, show that Russia is going to question the previous safety policy. – Two years ago, during a summit meeting in Wales only hardly first steps were made to prepare the Alliance for a new reality, with to NATO is facing after the annexation of Kremlin by Russia and the began conflict in Donbas. We should not wait till Russia will decide again to question the European order, like it happened in the case of Georgia and Ukraine – emphasizes Waszczykowski.

Decisions about the rotary stationing of NATO in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia should be understood as a policy of scare. So, it does not concern their military potential, but something more symbolical.

Battalions which we are planning to place on the base of rotation in Baltic countries, are multi-national which is a clear signal that an attack on one member of the Alliance is an attack on the whole Alliance, which will imply a respond of the whole Alliance- says Jens Stoltenberg, the general secretary of NATO.

Particularly Poland wanted the Americans to station in our country. For now, we will have a multi-national battalion under the command of the USA, but also about 500 soldiers of the US army will be in Radzikowice where a missile shield is being built. In February 2017 in eastern military flank there will appear an American military brigade whose command will be in Poland.

I treat it as a protection umbrella from NATO which we need till we can defend ourselves – says prof. Romuald Szeremietiew from a National Defevce Academy. – This time should be used to strengthen our defensive potential, as one day the protection umbrella of NATO and the USA may be taken away.

Resistance of Germany

A show-off of the Alliance, and also a clear message sent to Russia were the biggest military trainings from the times of the Cold War – Anakonda-16. Those maneuvers tell us much more. As far as the American, the British, the Spanish were reliable, the presence of German armies was only symbolic. Numbers go without saying: 14 thousand Americans, 12 thousand Poles, 1.2 thousand British and Spanish and nearly 2 thousand soldiers from the rest of NATO countries.

The presence of our European allies was symbolical, but it is good that it was at all. We remember that armies had troubles in going across Germany. Allies did not want to irritate Władimir Władimirowicz, who, as a peace man is prone to get irritated –prof. Szeremietiew says sneeringly.

In this context it is worth reminding words of the German chief of the Foreign Ministry Frank – Walter Steinmeier who stated that NATO should not wave a sword now and give out martial cries. In his opinion, we must opt for a dialogue with Russia. No wonder that his opinion was approved of by politicians in Kremlin, and ‘The Guardian’ wrote that Steinmeier is a careful politician and would rather not dare to say such words, not having received a silent permission from the chancellor Angela Merkel.

The example of Germany shows that although NATO is a military ally, among EU countries there is a game of interests and various lobby. Berlin wants good relations with Russia more than improved safety in Poland. - Our western neighbor sent an engineering battalion for such big trainings. Certainly, I do not want to diminish the role of sappers on the contemporary field of fight, but these are not, however, military units – Mariusz Celma from the monthly ‘New Military Technology’ points out.

Berlin cannot sabotage actions of NATO completely, but is consistent in its pro-Russian policy. On the one hand it defends Russia from the North-Atlantic Treaty, but, on the other hand, it opts for abolition of economic sanctions towards Moscow. – Some German politicians have already been in Putin’s pocket for a long time. They also know very well that the president of Russia has got more than one agenda and is always willing to make a deal – said Tim Ripley, a lecturer in the Centre for Studies on Defence and Safety of the university in Lancaster, on an interview for ‘’

Geopolitical changes

Strengthening the eastern military flank of the Alliance is not the only issue of the Warsaw summit meeting, but from our point of view it is the most important one. NATO will also consider attacks in cyberspace as an actual military aggression. – We decided that we would consider cyberspace as this domain of operational actions, like air space, sea and land – says Jens Stoletnberg. – Cyberspace attack on one of membership countries will cause a reaction of the whole NATO.

Another very important issue is stabilization mission in the southern flank of the Alliance. –NATO cannot afford luxury of the choice between a respond to challenges going from the South and a respond to challenges going from the West. We must deal with the both borders at the same time – says Stoltenberg. Poles put a lot of effort into the success of the Warsaw summit meeting.

In the recent months president Andrzej Duda has made a real tour in capitals of NATO countries. Everywhere he gained a guarantee about support for strengthening the eastern flank. I hope that the summit meeting of NATO in Warsaw will make a kind of Copernicus’ breakthrough in a way of perceiving our region – prof. Krzysztof Szczerski, the presidential minister for foreign matters emphasizes. – We must go from the philosophy of giving people hope to the philosophy of guarantee and presence of NATO. Only military presence of the Alliance will make safety guarantees more confidential in our region.

Aggressive policy of Kremlin must have caused a counter-reaction of the Alliance. Experts say that the current crisis may be the last occasion for making defence potential of Poland international.

The Americans consequently are withdrawing militarily from Europe, because they do not find Russia a danger or a partner for them any longer. The gravity is moving towards China and actions on the Pacific – says Jacek Bartosiak, an expert for geopolitics and strategy of the Analysis Centre of the Jagellonian Club. In his opinion this is the end of a period of global hegemony of the USA which guaranteed Poland 25 years of relative peace.

It does not mean that the USA can afford weakening the North-Atlantic Alliance. On the one hand, NATO was thought as a system of the common defence of membership countries, and, on the other hand, this is an American system of global safety. Questioning the confidentiality of NATO guarantees towards any ally would be the end of dominance of the USA. And the Americans will not agree to it in the near future.


„Niedziela” 28/2016

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: