US President Donald J. Trump is expected to visit Poland on July 6, shortly before heading for the G-20 summit in Hamburg. This visit deserves to be closely monitored for it will reveal Trump Administration’s foreign policy agenda to a greater degree than his previous actions.
Trump’s options in Poland boil down to two alternatives: compel Poland to become a good EU citizen or, conversely, attempt to drive a wedge between it and Germany. The US does have several levers of influence to achieve the former objective, starting with public criticism of the Law and Justice (L&J) government (criticism that would have tremendous effect given Poles’ deference to the opinions of US presidents), or presenting Poland with a “bill” for US military presence. If Trump takes this approach, it would signal an improvement in the US-EU (or, more specifically, US-Germany) relations, since the EU, at the apparent behest of Merkel and Macron is moving to sanction Poland and other countries of Central Europe for refusing to participate in the refugee resettlement program which is extremely unpopular across most of Poland’s political spectrum. At this time it appears unlikely Trump will adopt this approach as there are no indicators that US-EU relations are improving in any way. Instead, the threat of peeling Poland off the EU can be useful to Washington as a means of applying pressure on the EU, so it is rather more likely Trump will seek to woo Poland while at the same time seeking to exploit Poland’s need for an extra-EU sponsor to further US economic interests.
The one carrot Trump’s visit will deliver is the sheer symbolism of it. If he does not criticize Poland’s government and instead praises Poland for being a “steadfast US ally”, it will greatly embolden L&J in its standoff with the EU and, conversely, demoralize the pro-EU liberal parties who simply are unused to the idea of opposing US presidents.
When it comes to more substantive carrots, they may include a pledge for continued US troop rotations and possibly even permanent presence in Poland, though such commitments will most likely come with a hefty price tag for the Poles in the form of demands to procure US weapons (Poland is currently on the market for, among others, air defense systems, attack helicopters, transport helicopters, all of which US firms hope to fill) and, more importantly, US liquefied natural gas (LNG).
LNG exports happen to occupy an important niche in Trump’s economic agenda, and his apparent approval for Saudi Arabia’s political assault on Qatar was at least in part motivated by the desire to drive this particular competitor out of some markets, one of which just happens to be Poland which recently completed an LNG terminal in Swinoujscie. That LNG issue will come up during Trump’s visit is also suggested by his declared willingness to attend the Three Seas Initiative summit in Poland which aims to establish a common energy infrastructure within Central and Southern Europe (the three seas being Baltic, Black Sea, and Adriatic) that would not be reliant on supplies of natural gas from Russia.
Trump’s apparent endorsement of the Three Seas Initiative is also a big symbolic boost for Poland, since its elites are covertly pursuing the idea of Intermarium, or a Polish-dominated confederation that would include the Baltic States, Ukraine, and possibly also Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and others, to serve as a “sanitary cordon” against Russia and a counterweight to the power of Germany and the EU.
The final substantive carrot Trump could offer Poland would be visa-free travel for Polish citizens, which was a “priority” for the Obama Administration but which never materialized. If Trump delivers where Obama failed, it will guarantee enthusiastic Polish-American support for Trump in 2020 elections, give L&J a tangible policy success to present before Polish voters, and represent an alternative economic migration “safety valve” that would reduce the effect of EU sanctions on Poland.
The Russia Dimension
It is rather self-evident that Poland seeks Trump’s visit and associated benefits in order to bolster its military and economic power chiefly in order to re-establish itself as the dominant power in Central Europe and ultimately reassert control over the western-most former Soviet republics that, several centuries ago, were parts of the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania. Poland’s current foreign policy is merely a return to its policies of 1920s and 1930s which similarly sought to align the country with any foreign power willing to sponsor its eastward expansion.
From the US perspective, bolstering Poland in this fashion and giving free rein to its great power ambitions could be useful by establishing a “cordon sanitaire” against Russia and, by extension, also against China, in order to interdict their economic and political connections to the EU. For example, while the EU and Russia are collaborating on the North Stream 2 and other gas projects that will ultimately eliminate Ukraine as an energy transit country, Poland is pursuing the Three Seas Initiative and other concepts that would bring in hydrocarbons from the North Sea, the Middle East, and the US.
But it is the EU that would suffer the most in the event of the “maximum agenda” outlined above being implemented because, in addition to separating EU from its main overland trading partners in the form of China and Russia, it would directly undermine EU’s institutions and political cohesion. Rather ironically, the increase of US influence in Central Europe would be a tremendous blow specifically to Germany which has staked its own economic future on the dominance of the same region, up to and including the support of the Maidan coup in Ukraine.
US overt support of a de-facto “Polexit in Place” would also encourage other countries to similarly defy Brussels, Berlin, and Paris and render the EU essentially toothless–which also appears to be part of Trump’s agenda. Rather than continuing negotiating TTIP in which the US had to confront the aggregate power of the EU, Trump is showing a preference for bilateral dealings with individual countries which give US a considerable advantage due to its superior power. That is the dark side of Trump’s America First message: the cannibalization of America’s own allies.
Follow the Money
Given all of the above, the single most important indicator of US intentions in this region will be the extent of the US willingness to subsidize Poland on the scale of billions of dollars a year. The biggest obstacle facing the “maximum agenda” is Poland’s financial inability to be a major buyer of US LNG or weapons, especially in the face of reduced EU financing. If the Trump Administration proves willing to provide Poland with weapons and LNG for free or at heavily subsidized prices, it will be an indicator it is entering a very serious geopolitical game aimed at isolating Russia and breaking up the EU. If these subsidies fail to materialize, the visit will amount to nothing beyond Trump’s attempt to milk Poland for what it’s worth, in return for an image boost to the ruling party.
The US has nothing to offer Poland or any other country. The only thing the US exports is chaos and weapons that do not live up to expectations.
They will make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Too bad but you are right
That’s the thing when you’re dealing with the mafia…
Did Poland learn nought? She only had her independence from 1919-1939 and now she wants to go down the same road. Again????
How is Poland and most of Central/Eastern Europe that will follow Poland…..”going down the same road”? What is wrong with these countries wanting to be independent from EU/German domination or Russian domination?
No doubt Russia wants them to be as independent as they wish, just, ironic that they are so stupid with how they deal with their independence?
Russia, Prussia and the Austria-Hungarian Empire – found Poland rolled over with ease. Then she had 20 years independence and tried to play games with the Soviet Union and Germany and where did they get her? Still, she keeps Germany sweet, but, not as much as the USA and the Russian Federation, sit back and laugh, so glad to be freed from the shackles of their Easter European neighbours, who hold a masterclass in bering professional victims, yet, expect loyalty in return.
This approach is purely inspired by George Friedman , founder of Stratfor. He is a neocon badass but his speeches give you a very good insight about US-foreign politics. He admits openly that the US are imperialistic and that they rule by “divide et impera”.
As throughout its history, Poland will make the worst possible decision and end up the loser. Their decision-making process is first and foremost: as long as its against Russia, it’s good for us, which in the end, is also worse for Poland. These people never learn from their past mistakes just like the US. Their anti-Russia rhetoric is absolutely mind-boggling.
?????? Poland is not against Russia. Poland and many of her Central/East European allies simply want to be free of EU/German domination or Russian domination. And Russia shouldn’t worry about Poland. Russia should worry about the HUGE Muslim population in Russia that is GROWING and GROWING. There are over 20 MILLION MUSLIMS in Russia. Two million Muslims are in MOSCOW. Russian forces are going to forever have their hands filled with keeping their HUGE Muslim population in line.
Who is against whom??? Who introduced embargo on Polish food? Who invaded Georgia, Crimea, Ukraine?
Alexandra, you are 100% correct in your observation based on the past history of Poland and of course our American history of screw ups and today’s continued stupidity as well. Leaders of Poland and their future is secure by the promises our Zionist shills have made for their quick departure from Poland for better pastures in the USA if the tide turns against them. So for the sake of their personal future, they will dance to our American music and keep doing it till the whole hell breaks loose. What would be great is to have a vigilante type of a group to hunt these criminals down no matter where they find their safe and luxurious hideouts. Just like the way Israeli and their collaborators in crimes did and still do! As the Jewish proverb says “never forgive and never forget”!
The good news is that if the US attempts to use Poland to isolate Russia, and break up the EU it will fail, and end up broken, and isolated in turn.
Hi Ivan, Why it shall fail?
I’m not Ivan, I’m Bob. I’d be proud to be Russian, but we don’t have a choice about where we’re born. It shall fail because the US is a perverse, bankrupt, dying empire while Russia is a strong part of a stronger entity: The SCO, and BRICS. You Poles need to get over your hatred of Russia, do what’s good for Poland, and get on the winning side ………….while still you can.
Read history. Bankrupt empires lasted for centuries and sometimes also bited. US is still very vigorous. Nazi Germany were almost defeated, but still able to destroy Warsaw. Russia is weak. SCO or BRICS are non existant. Russia is weak puppet of China. Poland and Russia have opposite interests. Russia could learn from Poland how to reinvigorate the economy.
Alex Malinow, I agree with you. And Russia is not going to be “strong” for too much longer as Russia’s 20 MILLION MUSLIM population keeps GROWING! There are over 2 MILLION MUSLIMS in MOSCOW. Russian forces are going to forever have their hands filled with keeping their HUGE Muslim population line.
Russian forces are going to eventually exhaust themselves as they keep trying to hold down the Muslims who want to terrorize Russia. I believe this will eventually bankrupt Russia.
Alex, you’re delusional, and your grasp of history is pathetic. I wish you all the best, but I’m not going to waste my time with you.
Bob the Russian. Tell me how it is to be member of decaying and dying out nation? When you realise there is no future? This must be similar to what felt the native Americans. Except that you Russians have nuclear button and one minute before the end of your nation you might use it. Or better sell it to anybody who offers more money and vodka.
Poland is not looking to “isolate” Russia. Poland and many of her Central/East European allies simply want to be free of EU/German domination or Russian domination. And Russia shouldn’t worry about Poland. Russia should worry about the HUGE Muslim population in Russia that is GROWING and GROWING. There are over 20 MILLION MUSLIMS in Russia. Two million Muslims are in MOSCOW. Russian forces are going to forever have their hands filled with keeping their HUGE Muslim population in line.
I somewhat disagree in that Poland has a history of meddling, starting major wars, and longing for past glory. I think Poland is caught between the EU, and Russia, and really doesn’t know which way to turn. If NATO was not meddling in Poland then Poland could be neutral, and enjoy its position between the two great powers. Time will tell, and I hope for the best for the Polish people.
You are correct in that Russia’s currently stable 20 million Muslims are a fuse looking for a match. It’s just a matter of time before they explode. However, the situation is far more precarious in the EU because their rapidly growing Muslim population is young, unstable, and violent. I think that Russia is an ancient culture that will survive its Muslim infection while the fragmented EU will not.
ROTFL enjoying its position between major powers.
In 18th century between Austria, Prussia and Russia.
In 1812 between France and Russia. In 1914 between Central Powers and Russia and in 1939 between allied Nazi Germany and Communist Russia.
Nope. We prefer to join the side that guarantees us the security.
Sometimes it’s difficult being in the middle. Considering that, you had better be very careful which side you pick. Good luck !
I think it’s great that Trump will be meeting with the Polish president and the leaders of other Central/East European nations. They don’t want to be bullied by Germany and France to take in Muslim “refugees” who have already caused a lot of problems in Germany, France and other West European nations. And Trump respects the right of Poland and other Central/East European nations who don’t want to bow down to the will of Germany and France to take in unwanted Muslim “refugees”.
Poles are in NO MOOD to take in Muslim migrants and they support Mr. Trump’s Immigration Policy
Polish official asks EU: WHY are we even discussing Islamic Sharia Law? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0Mhhhe_kPI
Polish girl speaks out against Muslim migrants – Poles support Mr. Trump’s Immigration Policy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHZRBzf-9pc&lc=z13pjf1b0xiesdpcs22ahh1zrlr0ddycb.1492419351840263
Poland to Muslims: “Here, Jesus is our KING..so get out!’ – Poles denounce Globalist Leftist media https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk_UBglPJKU&t=37s
Ignorant propaganda and scaremongering. The eastern flank of the EU requires cooperation for the purposes of modernization (infrastructure, etc) and security (energy, military, etc). This is GOOD for the EU. If you disagree, it is YOU who is the anti-European, imperialist shill pretending to be pro-EU. You mention Nord Stream, but you don’t mention how it intentionally circumvents the countries between Germany and Russia even though such transit would be more economical. Remember how Penrose voting was opposed by Germany? Or how opposition to Russian invasion was lukewarm at best?
Funny you don’t mention how Poland has taken in a million Ukrainian refugees while no one else has taken in any. Germany has been acting in ways that benefit itself at the expense of CEE. It is not a pro-EU country but a pro-Mitteleuropa, self-serving juggernaut that sees the EU only as an opportunity for itself. That’s fine, but let’s not pretend it’s not the case. The good of CEE, and of the EU, is greatly enhanced by the TSI. Germany needs to stop trying to dominate. It needs to rid itself of its imperialistic impulses. It is acting foolishly and putting the whole EU in danger. It’s enough we have a belligerent Russia breathing down the backs of the CEE states. We don’t also need a reckless German elephant run amok in the EU pantry. Support the TSI. It is for the better.
the EU is a globalist entity.
which wants to flood Europe with Muslims,
and promotes liberal idealogies.
if you support EU you are ANTI EUROPEAN.
if you support nationalism you are European.