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26 May, 2010 23:17

US stations patriot missiles, soldiers in Poland

The United States has opted to station more than 100 American soldiers and a battery of US Patriot missiles in Poland approximately 60 kilometers from the Russian border.

Poland has said the Morag base location was selected because it met certain infrastructure needs.

This is a big problem, because this is mainly a symbolic act and you don’t put things like that right on the border with Russia,” said Ivan Eland, a senior fellow at the Independent Institute.

Eland said the move is likely designed to reassure Poland of US support after the Obama administration backtracked on a missile defense structure the Bush White House had planned for Poland and the Czech Republic. 

It is mainly symbolism, it’s only one battery of Patriots,” said Eland.

Russia has no reason to be concerned, as the development is not threading. It represents NATO’s will to push forward and is mainly political in nature.

We [US and Russia] are experiencing improved relations. We just had an agreement on Iranian sanctions, the US will pull some sanctions they had on Russian companies,” said Eland.

Eland believes that Russia-Poland relations, which had been improving recently, are likely to be hindered by this development, due to Poland’s unwillingness to relocate the missiles to another base further from the border.