Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Poland wants “one British soldier”

Note: This appeared as an op-ed in the Valley City Times-Record

Poland and the U.S. just signed a deal to base 10 interceptor missiles in Poland, designed to defend against attacks by medium-range nuclear missiles from “rogue nations,” meaning Iran.

Signing for the U.S., Condoleeza Rice said, "I believe that the administrations of the future will recognize both the threat that we face and the substantial commitment that our allies have now taken for missile defense."

The missiles will operate in conjunction with radar facilities in the Czech Republic.

Poland was wavering on the issue of whether to enter into the agreement, but resolve hardened after the Russian invasion of Georgia.

Russia reacted by openly threatening to target Poland for nuclear strikes.

By now some people are wondering, what the heck is going on?

Why is Russia concerned about a measly 10 missiles, whose effectiveness is uncertain at best, and which could be overwhelmed by Russian missile superiority anyway?

And why is Poland willing to put itself at such terrible risk, and for what?

The short answer is, Russia wants its sphere of influence respected, and Poland doesn't want to be in Russia's sphere of influence.

(The long answer goes back a few hundred years. Perhaps another time.)

Poland doesn't want the missiles per se, Poland wants “one British soldier.”

There is a story that in the days before the outbreak of the First World War, a very pro-French British officer visited with the French General Staff.

At one point, the officer asked the French generals what help they needed from Britain in the event of a war with Germany.

A French general replied, “One British soldier – and we will make sure he is killed.”

Poland is now part of NATO, but they've seen what that is worth a number of times since joining. For example when no NATO country backed Britain up when their sailors and marines were captured by Iran. Not with economic sanctions, not even with pro forma diplomatic protests.

Poland wants the commitment of American troops in harm's way. The same harm Polish soldiers and civilians have always lived with.

But the Polish government is exposing its people to the threat of nuclear annihilation!

Poland was always under the threat of nuclear annihilation, throughout the Cold War.

Col. Ryszard Kuklinski of the Polish General Staff, passed information to the CIA for ten years before being extracted with his family, because he found out the Soviet plans for the invasion of Western Europe included writing Poland off if the war went nuclear.

And any Pole, Czech, Hungarian, etc would naturally assume they'd spearhead the invasion, with Soviet soldiers behind them to remind them which side they were on.

After resettling in America, Kuklinski's two sons were killed in highly
suspicious accidents. Whatever they call it these days, the KGB still has a long arm.

Remember Putin's previous profession, before he took the job of power-behind-the-throne?

About three years ago, the Polish government released the Soviet battle plans for the invasion, in violation of agreements signed by the Warsaw Pact members when it was officially dissolved. The documents make it plain that for the Soviets, the invasion was a when, not an if. The Russians are furious, the Poles could care less.

Did you read about this in the U.S. or European media?

Thought not, neither did I. I read it in the Polish press.

So do you wonder the Poles, and other East Europeans, want concrete guarantees, not bluster and promises of friendship? They want that “one British soldier.”


  • At 11:34 PM, Blogger Metatron said…

    Steve, you mentioned these Soviet invasion plans that Poland revealed several times before. Could you please give me a link to them, as my Google-Fu seems to have failed me.

  • At 10:06 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…




    Now look at this from The Guardian

  • At 10:10 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    Excuse me, that didn't want to post.

    It seems OK now if you cut-and-paste.

    I couldn't find the original English-language articles from the websites of the Polish press, my wife will try and look up the originals when she has time.

    Note the first three: some seem to soft-peddle the Soviet plans a bit. The Polish accounts had it that these were definite plans and not mere contingencies.

    Now note the very Left-wing Guardian account that interprets this as a contingency against NATO aggression!

  • At 10:11 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    I might mention that I found these by googling:

    "Warsaw Pact" plans Poland


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