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    American soldiers attend a official welcome ceremony for the US troops in Zagan, Poland, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017

    Poland as 'Bargaining Chip' in Row Between US, Russia?

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    Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz hopes that the arrival of US troops in his country will put an end to “Russia’s domination” in Europe. Russia sees this as a security threat. Sputnik Poland asked Marcin Domagała, chairman of the European Center of Geopolitical Studies, about the consequences of its conflict of interests.

    Marcin Domagała said that even though the deployment of a single US brigade of less than 1,000 troops in Poland is meant to symbolize a US military presence in the country rather than present a formidable military force for Russia to worry about, the move could set off what he described as a “spiral of tensions” where each step taken by one side is inevitably reciprocated by the other.

    “This, in turn, sets off a new spiral of the arms race and I’m afraid this is exactly what is happening now,” he said in an interview with Sputnik Poland."

    “Poland’s policy of the past decades has been openly anti-Russian and now we are going to see foreign, mainly American, troops stationed in the country. I don’t know just how Russia is going to respond to this, I only hope it will not overreact,” he noted.

    He also mentioned the possible deployment of nuclear weapons in Poland in response to an alleged “Russian aggression.”

    “I hope this will never happen, that we will be able to avoid any dangerous escalation of tensions. The problem is, however, that Warsaw views Russia as a potential threat, based on all kinds of historical allusions to what happened during and after WWII,” he continued.

    “However, the problems the world is facing today are absolutely different. This escalation of tensions is setting off conflicts no one needs, worst of all in Central Europe, taking our attention away from the real the world is facing today.”

    Antoni Macierewicz added that the US has always been the first to benefit from rising tensions, especially in Central Europe.

    “If the Western countries, which are using Poland as a pawn in this game, keep playing this game, they will soon have to pay for this,” he observed.

    “Unfortunately, most of these decisions are taken outside Poland and the ones taken here are all about ratcheting up unfounded phobias, nothing more.” 

    In an interview with Poland’s TVN24, the former Polish ambassador to the United States Ryszard Schnepf said that even though Poland could avoid paying a price for Washington’s improved relations with Moscow, it could still be treated as “a bargaining chip” in relations between the two.

    “Unfortunately, this is exactly how Poland is often treated. Our politicians are too idealistic and very easy to provoke. Hence the constant tensions we have in Central Europe, even though we could have normal, reasonable and mutually-beneficial relations with many countries, above all with Russia,” Marcin Domagała said.

    Almost 1,000 US soldiers and the first shipment of the equipment for an American tank brigade arrived in Poland earlier this week.

    The incoming tank brigade comprises some 4,000 service personnel, 87 tanks, 18 self-propelled Paladin howitzers, 144 Bradley fighting vehicles and hundreds of Humvees in the biggest deployment of US armored vehicles to Europe since the end of the Cold War.

    The equipment was transported to Poland by rail, from where it will be distributed across the Baltic States, Bulgaria and Romania.

    The extra military presence is part of the Atlantic Resolve operation launched by the US military in April 2014, in the aftermath of the Maidan coup in Ukraine.

    In July, NATO held a summit in Warsaw, where defense ministers finalized arrangements to deploy multinational NATO battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, totaling around 4,000 troops.

    The summit also confirmed the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems and radars to Romania and Poland and confirmed that the United States would deploy 1,000 troops in Poland.

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    Related:

    US Tank Brigade to Arrive in Poland on Thursday
    About 1,000 US Soldiers, Equipment Arrive for Deployment in Poland
    Tags:
    "bargaining chip", anti-Russian policy, escalation, deployment, US troops, Marcin Domagała, Antoni Macierewicz, Poland
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