U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski sign a "Declaration on Strategic Cooperation" in Warsaw August 20, 2008. The agreement establishes U.S. basing of anti-missile defenses on Polish soil.
The agreement (full text here) establishes a framework for direct defense cooperation between the U.S. and Poland in addition to Poland's participation in the NATO alliance. Poland had been dragging it's feet in the negotiations which were stalled until the Russians invaded Georgia earlier this month.
In describing why Poland would move closer in it's defense relationship with the U.S. Polish analyst Marek Ostrowsk said: "Traditionally and historically, we think America is more reliable than Europe...In 1918, we regained independence thanks to the U.S. When World War II began in 1939, we were let down by our allies, Britain and France. But the U.S. has never failed us."
Before signing the pact, Poland's President Lech Kaczynski in a televised address to the Polish people declared, "No one will ever again tell Poland what to do and what not to do." A clear reference to Russia's domination of the country starting in 1939 when Stalin and Hitler agreed to divide the country. Poland only regained full independence in 1989.
A major component of the new defense agreement is the installation of ten missile interceptors to be based on Polish soil and manned by U.S. personnel. The interceptors are designed to counteract missile threats from Iran or other rogue states but such a small number would not counter the Russian arsenal which possesses hundreds of missiles.
Nevertheless, the Russians have upped their war on words directed at Poland insisting that basing purely defensive systems on Polish soil would cause Russia to target Poland. "If Poland allows elements of the U.S. missile shield to be placed in its territory it will expose itself to a strike ... and that's a hundred percent sure," threatened deputy head of Russia's General Staff Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed Russia's saber rattling, saying the threats "border on the bizarre."Democrats Go Wobbly on Polish Missile Defense
"When you threaten Poland, you perhaps forget that it is not 1988," Rice said, according to The Associated Press. "It's 2008 and the United States has a ... firm treaty guarantee to defend Poland's territory as if it was the territory of the United States. So it's probably not wise to throw these threats around."
But in addition to the threats, Russia may be making a more concrete move. Norway's defense ministry claims Russia has told it that it plans to cut all military ties with NATO, The Associated Press reports.
At the very same moment when our European partners and NATO allies are signaling full speed ahead on closer cooperation with the U.S. Democrats in Congress are signaling the opposite. Democrats have long opposed defense against ballistic missiles ever since President Reagan introduced the concept in 1983.
Despite the fact that the technologies involved in missile defense have been recently proven to work, Democrats, including Barack Obama, still want to cut spending for the program. They would replace Reagan's proven strategy of "Peace through strength" with "peace pretty please" at the exact same time the world is being threatened once again by Russia.
Related News: Russians Squash UN Resolution on Georgia. Occupation Continues
No surprise here, but the U.N. Security Council Resolution demanding Russia's withdrawal from Georgia and respect for the small nation's territorial integrity was blocked by Russia. Meanwhile, the occupation of Georgia continues as Russian troops appear to be digging in, not preparing to withdraw despite the agreements Russia has signed.