Blue-Sky Tokenism for Poland

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Here’s a story that has come under the radar (no pun intended) of most of the international press, but at least we have it here in Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza:

“In Łask, the Americans have NOT landed,” it reads.

Well – yes they have, yet they also have not. Łask is a Polish village just to the West of the city of Łódż, whose only claim to fame is that it has an airbase. There, the American and Polish air forces recently staged a joint ceremony – you can click through if you’d like to see the photo – marking the arrival of 16 American F-16 fighter-bombers and associated personnel, flight and ground (among which, strangely, only 10 pilots). This is noteworthy because, as the article notes, it is the first permanent stationing of US armed forces on Polish soil.

It’s a big deal, among other reasons because it’s a sign of the American commitment to Poland’s defence within NATO. (Against whom? Against parties to the East, of course.) This is not so much because of the equipment itself – the F-16 is a good, if ageing, plane, but 10 of them (only 10 pilots, remember) is not many should a general war break out – but instead due to the very presence of such American personnel within Poland, and thus within the line-of-fire should Poland be attacked. It’s likely then that these would come to harm, thus increasing the pressure on the US president to actually fulfill America’s promises under NATO to intervene. (more…)

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