All about ‘freedom gas’? Washington ‘plays Polish card against Germans’ moving US troops east
Polish National Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told reporters that an additional 1,000 US soldiers will be stationed at six sites across the country, with the exact locations yet to be finalized. His statement came after Donald Trump hosted Polish President Andrzej Duda at the White House last week. Warsaw had placed an order to buy 32 brand new F-35 fighter jets, and promised to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Washington, dubbed 'Freedom Gas' by US officials.Also on rt.com ‘Molecules of freedom’?! US Energy Department rebrands LNG as ‘freedom gas’
During talks with Duda, Trump said that he will be "taking out" some US troops from Germany, while castigating Berlin. "Germany is not living up to what they are supposed to be doing with respect to NATO, and Poland is," he said. The president has frequently blasted the German government for not paying its "fair share" into NATO's defense budget, as well as its gas dealings with Moscow. Berlin has rebuffed both allegations.
The US has retained a significant military presence in Germany since the Cold War era, with around 33,000 servicemen stationed there permanently, according to official figures.
Trump himself, however, provided an even bigger figure, claiming that the US has 52,000 troops on German soil. Regardless of an exact number, redeployment of a 1,000-strong force from the country seems to be not that significant to affect the massive US military presence.
“It’s likely that Germany won’t pay attention [to it]. We should not expect any loud statements from Berlin on this matter,” military analyst Mikhail Khodarenok told RT.
Trump is "putting pressure on Germany" by announcing his intention to relocate a portion of the US soldiers stationed there to Poland, former US diplomat Jim Jatras told RT. "The Poles have agreed to buy the expensive US natural gas."
Trump is pressing the Germans to do the same, and threatens sanctions against [the Russian gas pipeline] Nord Stream 2. He wants to play the Polish card against the Germans.
Poland already accommodates around 7,000 foreign troops, including a US armored brigade combat team, a US-led NATO battalion, and a US missile defense site under construction. On top of that, the country regularly hosts large military drills. Just last week, the nation kicked off 'Dragon 19,' an exercise involving around 18,000 soldiers and 2,500 pieces of military hardware.
"Moscow must be increasingly alarmed by this steady escalation of permanent US military capability nears its borders," said Bruce Gagnon, coordinator with the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.
There can be no question that the US controls the 'tip of the spear' and that Poland is being used as a sacrificial lamb as Washington pursues domination of the Baltics and ultimately Russia as well.
The extra troops from Washington will "strengthen NATO's eastern flank, as well as Poland's, by deterring a possible aggressor," the country's defense chief stated. Jim Jatras, however, argues that boosting the US Army's presence in Poland amounts to "yet more building-up" of its military might "around Russia's perimeter."
Moscow, meanwhile, blasted Washington for aiming to send even more troops eastward. Such plans are "a push for more military tensions in Europe… carried out under contrived pretexts," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said, adding that the move will add to the risks of destabilization on the continent.
The deployment of such a small force into Poland is unlikely to somehow affect the already tense situation between Russia and NATO, Khodarenok argues.
“A thousand American troops certainly would not lead to an escalation of the military and strategic situation. Yet, such intentions can be perceived as a completely hostile move aimed at Russia,” he stated.
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