Sending more U.S. troops to Poland undermines European burden sharing

June 12, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC—On Wednesday, at a press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, President Trump announced he will deploy up to 2,000 U.S. troops to Poland, in addition to the more than 4,000 already there. Defense Priorities President Edward King issued the following statement in response:

“Deploying additional U.S. troops to Poland undermines prudent efforts to force Europe to do more for its own defense. An additional 2,000 troops won’t improve Poland’s security—and certainly not America’s—but are sufficient to alarm Russia, possibly provoking further security competition in eastern Europe.

“Increasing the U.S. military footprint in Poland discourages the burden sharing President Trump and prior presidents have demanded of our NATO-Europe allies. Placing U.S. forces between them and Russia absolves western Europe’s wealthy, powerful nations of responsibility for the security of their eastern neighbors and their own continent at large.

“Most European NATO members are still a long way from their commitment to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense—and most will never reach that benchmark, let alone field modern military power to contribute to the alliance. Their lack of action is telling: NATO-Europe either believes the United States is bluffing when it demands they do more for their own security, or they do not perceive a serious Russian threat. Either way, adding to the U.S. garrison in Poland does not advance America’s aims.

“Committing additional forces to Europe leaves fewer resources to address higher strategic priorities here at home and arguably in Asia.”