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U.S.-Polish Relations

The United States established diplomatic relations with the newly formed Polish Republic in April 1919. After Gomulka came to power in 1956, relations with the United States began to improve. However, during the 1960s, reversion to a policy of full and unquestioning support for Soviet foreign policy objectives and the government's official expression of anti-Semitic sentiment caused those relations to stagnate. U.S.-Polish relations improved significantly after Gierek succeeded Gomulka and expressed his interest in improving relations with the United States. A consular agreement was signed in 1972.

In 1974 Gierek was the first Polish leader to visit the United States. This action, among others, demonstrated that both sides wished to facilitate better relations.

The birth of Solidarity in 1980 raised the hope that progress would be made in Poland's external relations as well as in its domestic development. During this time, the United States provided $765 million in agricultural assistance. Human rights and individual freedom issues, however, were not improved upon, and the U.S. revoked Poland's most-favored-nation (MFN) status in response to the Polish Government's decision to ban Solidarity. MFN status was reinstated in 1987, and diplomatic relations were upgraded.

The United States and Poland have enjoyed warm bilateral relations since 1989. Every post-1989 Polish government has been a strong supporter of continued American military and economic presence in Europe. In addition to supporting international counterterrorism efforts, and NATO's ISAF mission in Afghanistan, Poland cooperates closely with the United States on such issues as democratization, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, regional cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe, and UN reform.

Poland became a U.S. close ally in Europe through its support in the international intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. Poland's membership in NATO has already brought opportunities for U.S. companies in terms of upgrades and adjustment. Recently, a long delayed tender for a fighter aircraft for the Polish army was awarded to Lockheed Martin and is expected to bring tremendous opportunities for U.S. companies in terms of direct and indirect offsets. Opportunities for American firms exist mainly in investment, technology transfer, and co-production work.

The United States and Poland adopted the Declaration on Strategic Co-operation, which provides among others, permanent deployment of Patriot missile battery. This Declaration accompanied the agreement on potential deployment of elements of the missile defence system in the territory of Poland. We are interested in elevating the dialogue with our American ally to the strategic level. Poland advocates that the US remains a 'European power'.

As declared by Prime Minister Donald Tusk during his Parliamentary statement, the Polish Army left Iraq with a sense of a well-fulfilled task, without harm to relations with Iraq or the United States. Owing to experience gained in Iraq, the level of military training increased, army modernisation was accelerated, and the soldiers who participated in the mission became the elite of our contemporary army. Released resources and funds allow us to strengthen our role in the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Poland cares about the best possible relations with the United States. It is with satisfaction that Poland greeted the opening of a new chapter in the American foreign strategy. Poland hopes that the United States quickly reinstate their position as the wise and democratic leader which Europe needs. Poland actively participated in preparation of the proposal of co-operation presented by the European Union to the new American administration. Poland expressed interest in the new areas of co-operation for international institutions, fostered by the 'multilateral moment' in the policy of President Barack Obama.

In bilateral relations, Poland will reinforce co-operation on security and aim towards deepening the strategic dialogue. Poland is interested in expanding the infrastructure of military and political relations and fulfilment of specific goals of upgrading armed forces, the air forces, and the fulfilment of economic goals.

Poland welcomed the prospect of leading the block of states that U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld labeled New Europe. Differences in the Trans-Atlantic alliance over Iraq were a divisive force in the EU, but the Poles provided several thousand troops as asign of solidarity with America. While the number of troops was not all that large, the political cover that Poland's support provided the administration of George W. Bush was significant.

Receptivity to American products is high due to an affinity toward the United States. American suppliers have an excellent reputation for high quality products, reliability, and technical assistance. However, technological advantage is not the only factor determining success in the market. American companies should focus on educating end-users and other players in the defense sector. A successful exporter should support its agent/representative at trade shows, seminars, and conferences.

The United States and Poland agreed to establish a ballistic missile interceptor site in Poland. The Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement was signed in Warsaw, 20 August 2008, by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. Also taking part in the signing ceremony was Poland's President Lech Kaczynski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk. The ballistic missile interceptor site would provide a defensive capability to protect Europe and the United States against longer-range ballistic missiles launched from the Middle East, and will be linked to other U.S. missile defense facilities in Europe and the United States. Beginning in 2009 the U.S. was to deploy a Patriot air and missile defense battery in Poland.

The proposed deployment of a U.S. missile defense site on the territory of Poland and the Czech Republic became central to the security debate in Poland and the region. Concerns have been voiced that the site could lead to confrontation with Russia, or make Poland and Central Europe a target for rogue states and terrorist attacks. United States is assuring Poland and its European allies that the anti-missile defense shield offers advanced security features that stretch beyond the recipient countries and offer protection that the whole continent can benefit from. An installation comprised of radar in the Czech Republic and missile interceptors in Poland does not have the geographic and technical capacity to pose any threat to Russia. The ultimate goal of the project is to deter a potential nuclear threat coming from the Middle East.

The overall cost of the Czech and Polish facilities was estimated by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to be approximately 3-3.5 billion USD, of which 700-900 USD million in contracts is planned to go to local firms. The interceptor installations in Poland are estimated to cost about 2.5 billion USD, while the rest of the funds would be used for the related radar facility in the Czech Republic. However, additional infrastructure has not been included in the total costs yet. The construction of the sites is expected to start in 2008 and the initial capabilities will be available by 2011. Full operational capability is expected by 2013. The future of the project remains dependent on the final phase of negotiations with the Polish and Czech governments.

In October 2009, Poland was the first country to commit, in principle, to host a land-based missile defense base on its territory. Poland was also first to conclude negotiations and sign a basing agreement in July 2010. President Barack Obama announced plans to pursue a new approach to missile defense in Europe – one that provides more comprehensive protection for NATO Allies and forces, against the growing threat of ballistic missiles. The Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement of 2008 and its Amending Protocol of 2010 on deployment of the land-based SM-3 system within Poland entered into force, effective September 15, 2011. According to the joint statement, the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense system will be deployed by 2018 at the Redzikowo Base.

Cooler Polish heads have began to prevail since the President's 17 September 2009 announcement on European Missile Defense. Media no longer speculate about an "Obama-Medvedev Pact" to improve U.S.-Russian relations over Poland's head. While some still doubted the US decision was truly made on the basis of revised assessments of the Iranian threat, media and policy makers began to evaluate the new system on its merits and potential to increase Polish security.

Poles long aspired to building a special relationship with the US, on par with what we have with the UK, but they believed the US had not always shown the same enthusiasm. To an extent, many Poles still viewed the US as a protective, post-Cold War "big brother." While the US may see Poland as a country that has "graduated" and is ready to stand up on its own, many Poles were still reluctant to take this step.

Poland used to be the most pro-American country in the world. The drop in Polish public approval of US policies - from 62 to 38 percent in one year is particularly striking. By 2007 the predominant attitude was one of opposition to US leadership in the world. Contrary to the received wisdom about "New Europe" being fundamentally different from "Old Europe," a more accurate formulation is that the United States lost the high moral ground in every European country.

Excerpts from the alleged exchange between FM Radoslaw Sikorski and Jacek Rostowski, an MP and former finance minister, were published 22 June 2014. According to Wprost, Sikorski was skeptical about the reliance of Poland, one of the staunchest allies of Washington in Eastern Europe, on American protection. “The Polish-American alliance is not worth anything. It’s even damaging, because it creates a false sense of security in Poland,” Sikorski allegedly said. “Complete bullshit,” the tape purportedly records Sikorski as saying. “We will get a conflict with both Russians and Germans, and we’re going to think that everything is great, because we gave the Americans a blowjob. Suckers. Total suckers.” Sikorski further blamed the nature of relations between Warsaw and Washington on the Polish mentality. “The problem in Poland is that we have a very shallow pride and low self-esteem,” he allegedly said, decrying such a mindset as “Murzynskosc”, a racially-charged derogative term that could be translated as “thinking like a negro.”

The Polish defense ministry sent a request to the US in May 2018 to place a permanent military base in the Eastern European country, saying Warsaw would be willing to pay up to $2 billion for protection. The proposal was reportedly made in circumvention of the Polish foreign ministry and the president. Moscow, which reacts negatively to any build-up of NATO infrastructure in Eastern Europe, warned there will be consequences.

On 18 September 2018, Donald Trump said at a meeting with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda that the United States was considering the establishment of a base in Poland. According to the US President, his Polish counterpart had offered to give more than $2 billion toward the cost of the facility, also suggesting that it might be called Fort Trump.



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Page last modified: 19-03-2019 09:46:08 ZULU