Jeffrey LewisMissile Defense Quid Pro Quo

Apparently, Poland gets a PAC-3 battery and US personnel as a tripwire, er defensive measure in exchange for hosting the European midcourse interceptor site:

A senior Pentagon official described an unusual part of this quid pro quo: an American Patriot battery would be moved from Germany to Poland, where it would be operated by a crew of about 100 American military personnel members. The expenses would be shared by both nations. American troops would join the Polish military, at least temporarily, at the front lines — facing east toward Russia.

Russia has long opposed the deal, saying the United States was violating post-cold-war agreements not to base its troops in former Soviet bloc states and devising a Trojan Horse system designed to counter Russia’s nuclear arsenal, not an attack by Iran or another adversary.

I still think Congress should cut the funding for the European site. I don’t mind moving NATO’s air defense east, particularly as long as the Russian armed forces are sitting in NATO aspirants. (Can we man it with contractors?)

But my question is this, why does Poland need PAC-3 when you have Tomasz Majewski?

Update: Representative Ellen Tauscher put out a press release that captures my reaction exactly:

Ellen O. Tauscher
10TH District – California

Tauscher on Proposed U.S – Poland Missile Defense Pact

Washington DC – In response to news that The U.S. and Poland reached a deal on Thursday to place an American missile defense base on Polish territory, Rep. Ellen Tauscher, Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement.

“Russian military aggression against any of our allies justly causes great concern, and should be seen as a threat to stability in the region. But we must be careful not to confuse our response to this provocation with our efforts to establish a cooperative U.S. – NATO missile defense architecture.

The missile defense interceptors that would be located in Poland are not designed to protect against Russian missile threats, but a long-range threat from Iran that has not yet emerged. The U.S. has properly characterized Russia’s belligerent rhetoric about the proposed deployment – which would create no discernable threat to Russian capabilities —- as misguided. Any linking now of the proposed interceptors with recent Russian actions will only undermine months and months of U.S. assurances that there is no relationship.

I am also concerned that the agreement announced yesterday appears to give Poland a security relationship over and above what Poland currently enjoys as a member of NATO with the existing Article Five responsibilities among all members. The U.S. commitment to our NATO allies via Article Five is as serious a commitment as our nation makes. We need to be sure the proposed agreement with Poland does not imply that there is something better than our Article Five commitment; devaluing our commitments to other NATO allies.”

I take our commitment to NATO Article Five very seriously, and I am concerned that expediting this agreement, if it is understood as a reaction to Russian actions – could serve to ratify suspicions about our and NATO’s commitment to Article Five.”

By the way, did you know the OED lists four spellings for “discernible”?


  1. Frank Ch. Eigler (History)

    Easy. Tomasz Majewski may make an excellent human anti-missile cannonball, once accelerated to mach 3. But, sadly, there is only one of him.

  2. FSB

    Tomasz Majewski will be as effective against missiles as any BMD.

    See earlier comments on why BMD does not work

    Especially, in this context

  3. Stephen (History)

    Hasn’t the link between interceptors in Poland and Russian capabilities already been made by John McCain, who says on his campaign website that effective missile defenses are needed to “to hedge against potential threats from possible strategic competitors like Russia and China” ?

  4. Major Lemon (History)

    For obvious historical reasons Poland always touches a raw nerve even in the least paranoid Russian circles. Why cause unnecessary problems with Moscow? Everyone knows the Iranian threat will come not via missiles but via WMD proliferation through terrorist networks.

  5. Hope is Not A Foreign Policy (History)

    Should Washington hedge against potential threats from states like Russia and China?

  6. FSB

    let us “hope” that one way of hedging will be via the state dept. i.e. diplomacy. The military “hedging” brings about self-fulfilling prophecies of disaster.

    The US military budget is more than six times larger than the Russian or Chinese budgets.

    It is more than the combined spending of the next twenty five nations spending the most on their military

    (It has only gotten worse since that 2004 CRS report)

    The military is not a foreign policy.

    google “The founding fathers”, then watch this

  7. FSB