PAC Calls For U.S. Leadership At NATO Summit

By on August 29, 2014

As the NATO Alliance meets September 4th and 5th in Wales, the Polish American Congress (PAC) strongly urges that Obama Administration take the lead in refocusing the summit in this time of great danger in Central and Eastern Europe on its core mission of securing peace through defense and deterrence.

It has now been confirmed that at least 1,000 Russian troops and many more mercenaries from Moscow are operating inside Ukraine, an escalation of Russian President Putin’s military involvement that Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski rightly calls “an aggression.” Poland’s view is clearly on target, as Mr. Sikorski has underlined that “We do not need strong words here, but actions, best if actions of the whole international community.”

With less than 1,000 days left to his time in office, the PAC stands with long-time foreign policy analyst and writer Anne Applebaum when she wrote that President Obama’s best hope for a foreign-policy “legacy” is reinventing NATO, restoring its structure to reflect the today’s challenges to its core mission.

“Deterrence worked in the past, and it can work in the future,” Applebaum noted, adding that–whatever way domestic politics plays in the future, as President Mr. Obama has the power to “relaunch” the Western Alliance as the United States continues to hold “all the cards” in NATO.

While it is true that all member nations are faced with budgetary constraints, defense and deterrence are never free and, Russia has spent 4.5 percent of its GDP over the past decade to expand and modernize its armed forces. In response, Poland has not only agreed to accept the increased cost for a NATO presence in the homeland, but has recognized how, due to the threat, that other Alliance members need to contribute themselves with troops on the ground.

Even though, unlike Ukraine, Poland does not have a Russian-speaking minority, that has not meant that senior parliamentarians in Moscow have restrained from repeatedly predicting that Poland could be easily wiped off the face of the map, while Russian military exercises feature Central Europe’s most vibrant democracy as the enemy. Only strong, deftly-designed deterrence can stare down Russian aggression–and U.S. leadership in NATO needs to deflect siren calls for appeasement.

Responding to a challenge some observers say is reminiscent of the Berlin Airlift, the first battle of the first Cold War and, at the time, the largest humanitarian campaign the world had ever seen, the Polish American Congress strongly supports the Polish government’s request that the European Commission help keep Russia from blocking shipment of vital foodstuffs through Russian territory.

We also ask that the Obama Administration coordinate efforts both with Warsaw and with the EU to ensure such shipments reach other countries, such as Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and the Caucasian countries. Russia’s banning of most fruit and vegetable imports last month from Poland, and the extension of the embargo to the rest of the EU this month, has grim consequences under Putin that are spreading like ebola .

Only a revitalized NATO can effectively quarantine the Russian virus and protect Poland and the values and interests we share in this increasingly dangerous world.

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