Military proposal circumvents NATO
For a man who built a billion-dollar brand around the use of his name on everything from steaks to casinos and high-rises before coming to the White House, President Trump is now looking at a potential military deal with Poland he will find hard to refuse.
The Polish government’s request for a permanent U.S. base in their country — a facility they would call “Fort Trump” and have vowed to pay some $2 billion toward — is the latest example of how some Eastern European countries are rushing to cozy up to Mr. Trump while relationships deteriorate between the American president and traditional European powers such as France and Germany.
Regional analysts say Poland’s political leadership sees Mr. Trump as an ally on issues such as national sovereignty and migration, and wants to use that ideological alignment to permanently cement its relationship with the U.S. in the security realm.
But the offer of “Fort Trump” does come with significant policy strings. Its bilateral nature would represent a fundamental change in the U.S. military’s traditionally broader approach toward European defense.
There also are sensitive geopolitical implications. The base would surely deepen tensions between Washington and Moscow because Warsaw is making no secret of its desire to use it for ironclad protection against potential Russian military aggression.
The deal on the table would be a direct U.S.-Polish agreement that wouldn’t necessarily go through formal NATO channels. Regional analysts say that prospect could put the U.S. directly on the hook for longterm costs and responsibilities of defending Poland.
That factor may not sit well with Mr. Trump, who has consistently urged NATO member states — Poland has been once since 1999 — to shoulder more of the financial burden for their own security.
“Accepting the Polish offer without doing it through NATO would mean more direct U.S. resources for European defense without any matching investment by other NATO allies. This is counter to Trump’s priority to make NATO allies less dependent on U.S. military assistance,” Jorge Benitez, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council, recently told the German-based news organization Deutsche Welle.
“Building a U.S. base in Poland would be a step in the opposite direction,” said Mr. Benitez. “It would make the U.S. unilaterally more responsible for security near NATO’s borders with Russia.”