Polish government signals interest in hosting US nuclear weapons
7 December 2015
The Polish government may request that NATO nuclear weapons be stationed on Polish soil, Defense Minister Tomasz Szatkowski told the media on Saturday.
“Theoretically, nuclear weapons could be located in Poland,” Szatkowski said, according to the Warsaw Business Journal.
On the following day, the Polish Defense Ministry posted a statement downplaying Szatkowski’s comments, claiming that “there is presently no work underway concerning the accession of our country to the NATO Nuclear Sharing program.”
It may be the case that for the time being, the Polish government is not actively working to deploy US nuclear weapons on its soil. Nonetheless, given that the initial remarks were delivered on national television and were stated in clear language by Poland’s top defense official, there is significant interest in acquiring the weapons within the Polish state.
Poland would receive the weapons as part of NATO’s so-called “nuclear sharing” program, according to numerous reports. This would necessarily involve American weapons, which are the only nuclear weapons available through the program, which has previously placed nuclear weapons in Germany, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, and Belgium.
According to National Defense Journal editor Igor Korotchenko, preparations to acquire the weapons are already far advanced, and nuclear weapons could be placed under the direct control of the Polish military. “The Americans would hand the nuclear weapons over to the Polish military command, which could eventually use them as part of joint military action,” Korotchenko told Sputnik News.
Whatever the precise reasons behind the partial retraction of Szatkowski’s remarks, there is no doubt that powerful factions within NATO are pushing for new deployments of US nuclear and non-nuclear missiles in Europe. Recent papers by US and European strategists have argued that NATO needs to build up greater nuclear weapons capacity in Central and Eastern Europe. The US is already preparing to establish a new missile base in Redzikowo, Poland, as part of a broader US-Polish military pact signed in 2008.
Warsaw has pushed aggressively for greater US and NATO deployments on its territory, as part of a militarization drive that is openly targeted against Russia. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said in August that Poland “does not want to be the buffer zone.”
“We want to be the real eastern flank of the alliance. If Poland and other central European countries constitute the real flank of NATO, then it seems natural to that bases should be placed in those countries,” he said.
Poland’s political establishment has lurched even further rightward during the latest round of elections. Faced with domestic social tensions that are reaching boiling point, the government is desperately seeking to maintain its grip on power through a combination of domestic repression and military escalation.
The prospect that US nuclear missiles may soon be placed directly along Russia’s eastern frontier is only one symptom of the immense geopolitical tensions wracking Europe. The continent is being transformed into a vast military camp and staging area, as the US and European powers prepare for new wars over the re-division of the Eurasian landmass.
The role of the Polish government is only one example of the dangers raised by the reliance of the Western powers on far-right governments and militias in their drive against Moscow.
Recent weeks have seen major provocations against Russia by the US-installed Ukrainian regime. Kiev-backed militias sabotaged Crimea’s entire power infrastructure in November, bombing a pair of key transmission pylons, in an attack that left nearly two million Crimeans without electricity.
The ultimate responsibility of Washington for the incident was underscored when gunmen from the Right Sector militia, an openly pro-Nazi group that spearheaded the February 2014 US-orchestrated coup d’état, immediately rushed to the scene of the sabotage to prevent any repairs. Far from removing the militants, the US-backed regime responded by threatening to permanently block sales of electricity to Crimea and escalate its economic warfare measures against Russia.
This weekend, as the Polish elite was publicizing its interest in the terrible US weaponry, the Kiev regime announced that it is preparing a decree to ban all forms of commerce with Crimea. The blockade against Crimea, which joined the Russian federation through a popular referendum following the 2014 coup, amounts to an expansion of the economic sanctions imposed on Russian by the imperialist powers.
The possibility that a general war could be sparked by the US-NATO right-wing satellite states in Eastern Europe is not a matter of speculation. During a September 2014 visit to Estonia, US President Barack Obama vowed that the US will maintain forces poised to intervene in defense of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia in the event of an outbreak of fighting along the Russian border.
Obama made clear that the NATO alliance aims to expand its membership to include all three Baltic states, committing the entire alliance to go to war on behalf of any one of these tiny states.
On December 1, the US Defense Department announced that it will begin pre-positioning some 12,000 pieces of military equipment, including artillery, tanks, and armored infantry vehicles, to all three Baltic states, as well as Bulgaria, Poland and Romania.
With the accession of Montenegro to NATO this week, the alliance has signaled the launch of another front in its anti-Russian campaign, this time in the Balkans.
Contribute to the fight for socialism in 2020
2019 has been a year of mass social upheaval. We need you to help the WSWS and ICFI make 2020 the year of international socialist revival. We must expand our work and our influence in the international working class. If you agree, donate today. Thank you.