The war in Ukraine, which began in February, has changed the face of European politics and security. Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski has made some surprising suggestions, calling for greater US military presence in Poland. Poland is one of the most affected states, with millions of refugees fleeing across its border and with Russian bombs falling as close as 30 kilometers from its border. Warsaw has also played an active role in the transfer of weapons and equipment through Poland. This put Polish national security at risk and with concerns about Russia’s future moves politicians seek solutions that guarantee Poland’s safety.
The surprising suggestions and rhetoric come from Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is Deputy Prime Minister, the Chief of the National Security and Defense Committee and Head of Poland’s governing political party. In an interview with the German newspaper Welt Kaczynski not only criticised Germany’s handling of thr crisis but also called for more US support. He proposed an increase in the presence of US troops in Poland and strengthening NATO Eastern Flank by further deployments to the Baltic States as well. Kaczynski told Welt:
“Poland would welcome an increase of US troops on the ground from 100,000 to 150,000 in the future, due to the increase in Russian aggressive posturing. […] We would like to have a NATO Joint Force Command in Poland, just like in Brunssum [in the Netherlands], from which joint NATO operations would be planned.”
This, however, was not the end of Kaczynski’s proposals. He also openly noted that Poland could host US nuclear deterrence forces under the NATO nuclear sharing program, saying:
“If the Americans asked as for storing their nuclear weapons in Poland we would be open for that. […] It would significantly increase the deterrence towards Moscow. At the moment this question is not raised [by the US] but it can change very soon. The initiative would have to come from the Americans themselves.”
Proposals given by Kaczynski could be perceived as an open invitation for the US to drastically enhance its presence in Europe – and specifically Poland. It is important to note that the Deputy Prime Minister is also the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party and holds considerable influence, with many believing him, rather than Mateusz Morawiecki or Andrzej Duda, to be Poland’s most powerful politician. This fresh call for further basing of US personnel and equipment in Poland is in line with Poland’s efforts to create increasingly close ties with the US since the 2015 elections.