The Economist (10 January 2019)
Poles like being reminded of the time they came to America’s defence. Meeting his counterpart in November, James Mattis, America’s now-departed defence secretary, waxed lyrical about General Tadeusz Kosciuszko, who built a string of vital forts during America’s revolutionary war. Poland’s government hopes America will return the favour with some fort-building of its own.
Having been repeatedly carved up by bigger powers, Poland is keen to cement alliances. It rushed to join NATO in 1999, and in 2016 welcomed the headquarters of NATO’s “enhanced forward presence” scheme, which stationed 4,600 combat-ready troops in eastern Europe. Yet neither this, nor the several thousand American soldiers who rotate through Poland annually, nor the NATO missile defence system America is building on the country’s Baltic Sea coast have settled Polish nerves.
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