There is a festive air in the Powidz market. Several stores on Dorszewskiego and Warszawska streets, under construction, translate the price of their products into dollars and calculate new profits. Very few in this Polish town speak English, but St. Nicholas Church is willing to give up worship space if the American soldiers bring their own chaplain. All are facilities for the V Corps of the US Army, which last week was established in this small town.
The Government of Poland has fought with all its diplomatic strength to obtain this presence which, by all accounts, it is reassuring for the people of your country. Poland considers the United States its main partner and friend, even ahead of the European Union, to which it belongs but which it often disowns, while for the United States this movement represents an important reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank in times of war.
“The Western world feels safe when our armed forces cooperate,” said Deputy Prime Minister, head of the Ministry of National Defense Mariusz Blaszczak, during the opening ceremony of the facilities of the US Army Garrison Poland (USAG-P), “is an important event both in the history of Poland and in the history of Polish-American relations.” The base has been named Camp Kosciuszko. “We very much appreciate the fact that American troops are permanently in our country. We appreciate this especially in the situation that Europe was in, when Russia invaded the Ukraine, when Russia is trying to rebuild her empire. It is very important that the West, the world, come together so that we can feel safe.”
This establishment of troops, according to the United States Army, has been raised “in order to meet the requirements of the US Army in Europe and Africa, improve command and control capabilities and manage the sites of advanced operations within the Republic of Poland”, which already has some 10,000 American soldiers on its territory and also several air units, including six F-22 Raptor aircraft that are part of the NATO air shield.
This is “one of the lasting improvements in the Department of Defense’s posture in Europe, based on assessments from the 2021 Global Posture Review and consultations with NATO allies,” according to Tommy. R. Mize, director of the Facilities Management Command in Europe. It is commanded by the commanding general of V Corps, Lieutenant General John Kolasheski. “The US-Polish relationship serves as an example of deepening ties across the Alliance,” Kolasheski says.
Colonel Jorge Fonseca, commander of the USAG in Poland, stressed during the inauguration that “we must recognize that we are not only building a military installation, but that we are also becoming an enduring member of the vibrant and proud communities of the 11 sub-sites of our garrison». USAG Poland supports three forward operating locations in Poland: FOS Poznan, FOS Powidz, and FOS Zagan, and provides direct base operations support to approximately 4,000 rotary forces and 2,500 reinforcement or exercise personnel.
“The US-Polish relationship serves as an example of deepening ties in NATO,” according to Commander Kolasheski
While European attempts to make the first coordinated arms purchases collide with bureaucratic obstacles And while the cracks in the Franco-German axis weaken the EU, Poland is significantly reorienting itself, in terms of Defense, towards a transatlantic axis outside Brussels. The invasion of Ukraine has precipitated a partnership that Warsaw already wanted, because it does not see Europe as up to the task.
Coinciding with the inauguration in Powidz, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, gave a speech last week on the future of Europe at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, along the lines of those previously delivered by other European leaders such as Scholz or Macron , in which he has proclaimed a “Europe of homelands” and has expressed his open distrust of Paris and Berlin, in a legislative context in which, in his opinion, European powers have reached their limits.
“Today I would like to emphasize the role of nation-state sovereignty in preserving the freedom of nations“, said Morawieck, thus rejecting the French idea of ”strategic autonomy” or a militarily strong Europe that does not need help in case of attack, stressing that “without American participation, Ukraine would no longer exist and the Kremlin would have gone for its next victim.
At the Ruprecht-Karls University, he also claimed the growing geostrategic importance of Central and Eastern Europe, which Brussels seems to ignore. It should be noted that Morawiecki expressed a relatively general malaise in Eastern Europe with respect to the hitherto dominant positions of Germany and France within the EU, which have also seen their reputation damaged since the start of the invasion of Ukraine for having shown unable to articulate effective military aid to Kiev.
The Polish prime minister has expressed his distrust in Paris and Berlin and backed a “Europe of homelands”
The permanent presence of US troops on its territory reinforces not only the eastern flank of NATO, but in some way also this renewed vision of the continent. Poland believes that the war in Ukraine will divert the future European association from the path of progressive integration that it had taken.
“The struggle of Ukrainians for the right of national self-determination is another heroic manifestation of the defense of the nation state and freedom,” insists Morawieczki, “Europe is witnessing crimes committed in the name of an anti-national ideology, this is what motivates to Putin: the desire to eliminate all differences, annihilate all national identities and merge them into a great Russian empire.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism