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Poland Prepares for Russian Invasion

October 30, 2014

As Vladimir Putin’s Russia continues to threaten Ukraine, having stolen Crimea in the spring and exerted de facto Kremlin control over much of the Donbas this summer, war worries are mounting on NATO’s eastern frontier. New reports of Russian troop movements on the Ukrainian border this week are not reassuring to those Atlantic Alliance members who suffered Soviet occupation for decades, and still live in Moscow’s neighborhood.

Neither are Russian air force incursions into Western airspace calming nerves with their reborn Cold War antics: yesterday, NATO fighters intercepted no less than nineteen Russian combat aircraft, including several heavy bombers. No NATO countries are more worried about Kremlin aggression than the Baltic states, with their small militaries and lack of strategic depth, which are frankly indefensible in any conventional sense without significant and timely Alliance assistance.

But Poland is the real issue when it comes to defending NATO’s exposed Eastern frontier from Russian aggression. Only Poland, which occupies the Alliance’s central front, has the military power to seriously blunt any Russian moves westward. As in 1920, when the Red Army failed to push past Warsaw, Poland is the wall that will defend Central Europe from any westward movement by Moscow’s military. To their credit, and thanks to a long history of understanding the Russian mentality better than most NATO and EU members, Warsaw last fall, when the violent theft of Crimea was still just a Kremlin dream, announced a revised national security strategy emphasizing territorial defense. Eschewing American-led overseas expeditions like those to Iraq and Afghanistan that occupied Poland’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) during the post-9/11 era, this new doctrine makes defending Poland from Eastern aggression the main job of its military. Presciently, then-Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, contradicting optimistic European and NATO presumptions of our era that conventional war in Europe was unthinkable, stated in May 2013, “I’m afraid conflict in Europe is imaginable.”

Particularly in light of the fact that both NATO and the Obama administration rejected my advice to seriously bolster Alliance defenses in the East with four heavy brigades, including the two brigades that Warsaw explicitly asked NATO — meaning, in practice, the United States — for after this year’s Russo-Ukrainian War began in earnest, the issue of Poland’s military readiness is of considerable importance to countries far beyond Poland. Instead of creating a militarily viable NATO tripwire that would deter Russian aggression, the Alliance, and Washington, DC, have opted for symbolic gestures — speeches, military visits, small exercises — that impress the Western media but not the Russians.

Simply put: Can Poland defend itself if Putin decides to move his aggression westward? Even if NATO rides to the rescue, as they would be required to under Article 5 — that is now an “if” question to many in Warsaw — will the Polish military be able to buy sufficient time for the Alliance to come to their aid? Notwithstanding that Poland (and Estonia) are the only “new NATO” members that take their Alliance obligations fully seriously, spending more than the required two percent of GDP on defense — a standard almost all longstanding NATO members can’t manage to meet — there are serious doubts about the ability of Poland’s armed forces to defend against a major Russian move to the West.

There is good news. When it comes to resisting what I term Special War — that shadowy amalgam of espionage, terrorism, and subversion at which the Kremlin excels — Warsaw, with its long acquaintance with sneaky Russian games, is probably better equipped than any almost NATO country to deter and defeat Putin’s secret offensive. The recent arrests of two Polish agents of Russian military intelligence (GRU), one of them a Polish military officer assigned to the MoD, sent a clear message to Moscow that Special War will be countered with aggressive counterintelligence.

When it comes to conventional defense, however, the news from Poland appears less rosy. Despite the fact that no one questions the basic competence of the Polish armed forces, nor the impressiveness of their current defense acquisition program, there is a matter of size. The recent MoD announcement that it is moving thousands of troops closer to the country’s borders with Belarus and Ukraine, where any threat would emerge, is encouraging but not sufficient (thanks to the Cold War, when Poland’s Communist military was directed westward, most of its major military bases are closer to Germany than the East). Since the abandonment of conscription five years ago, a cumbersome process that caused readiness problems for some time, Warsaw’s armed forces come to only 120,000 active duty troops, with less than 48,000 in the ground forces (i.e. the army). That number is insufficient to man the army’s structure of three divisions with thirteen maneuver brigades (ten of them armored or mechanized).

A solution to this manpower shortfall was supposed to be found in the establishment of the National Reserve Forces (NSR), with 20,000 fully trained part-time volunteers who would flesh out the order of battle in a crisis. Yet the NSR, which was announced by the MoD five years ago with much fanfare, has had considerable teething problems, with shortages of recruits and inadequate training budgets. Recent reports indicate both morale and readiness are low among NSR soldiers, who feel poorly treated by the regular military, while none dispute that the force has only recruited and trained 10,000 troops, half the target figure.

Quality can compensate for deficient quantity to an extent, and Poland’s recent acquisition of more late-model Leopard II tanks from Germany, adding to the 124 it already has, means they will be able to replace most of their Soviet-model legacy armor, and meet any Russian incursion on an equal footing in terms of quality, if not quantity. By approximately 2020, the air force will have wholly replaced its Soviet-era helicopters, buying 150 modern airframes, while the MoD plans to purchase thirty-two late-model attack helicopters by 2022, which would pose a significant threat to Russian armor.

More interesting still are plans taking shape to give Warsaw asymmetric deep-strike capabilities to resist Russian aggression. The navy and the army intend to acquire long-range missiles to counter superior Russian numbers, but the cornerstone of the deterrence concept called “Polish Fangs” by Warsaw is the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), to be carried by the air force’s F-16 fleet (the wing of forty-eight F-16’s is the backbone of Polish airpower). Combined with drones and Poland’s excellent special operations forces, which are among the best in NATO, Warsaw believes that the American-made JASSM on the American-made F-16 will give them an important qualitative advantage over the Russians, including the ability to precisely hit targets up to 370 kilometers behind enemy lines.

Yet even the most optimistic forecasts predict that “Polish Fangs” will not be fully operational for three more years — five seems a more realistic estimate — so there is the pressing matter of deterring Putin’s rising aggression right now. To provide additional deterrence, Warsaw is taking the remarkable step of creating home guard forces to harass the Russians in the event of occupation, a condition that Poles are only too familiar with. Unlike Ukraine, Poland plans to be prepared should Putin opt for war.

Ever since Moscow’s aggression against Kyiv became overt in the spring, the Polish MoD began quietly standing up volunteer forces to bolster the armed forces, should the Russians come again. Word of this became public this week with a story in the Polish edition of Newsweek that details what’s been going on behind the scenes. Building on shooting clubs that exist all over the country, possessing several hundred thousand members, the MoD has been supporting the establishment of paramilitary units that would bolster the army if needed. Their intent would be to counter Russian irregulars, GRU’s “little green men” that caused such havoc in Crimea a few months ago.

How many volunteers have already been enrolled is unclear, though it’s evident that the number far exceeds the 10,000 belonging to the NSR. In late September, and explicitly invoking the legendary Home Army (Armia Krajowa — AK) that resisted Nazi occupation in the Second World War, the first volunteer unit was sworn in at Świdnik, near the eastern border, with modest public fanfare, despite the fact that the MoD considers the existence of this new shadow army to be officially classified.

Advocates of the reborn Home Army speak of finding 100,000 volunteers soon, but that seems a rather long-term goal. While this project has attracted the support of some Polish right-wingers — the sort who tend to join rifle clubs — its MoD manager is Major General Bogusław Pacek, the director of the National Defense Academy, a veteran of Poland’s Cold War Communist military not known for dirigiste views. Pacek’s quiet enthusiasm for a new Home Army has been noted and it can be expected that before long “AK 2.0” may constitute more than a nuisance to any invader.

This begs that question why Poland, a leading member of the Atlantic Alliance, thinks it needs to worry about an actual Russian invasion. In the first place, the Poles have been invaded and occupied by Moscow too many times over the centuries, including twice during the last one, to think this is just a fantasy. Putin’s harsh and threatening language gets more attention in Warsaw than just about anywhere else.

The Poles also understand that Article 5 only works as a deterrent if everyone understands that NATO will actually go to war to defend a member under threat. Here, again, recent history gives room for doubt. All of Europe was happy to sit back and watch Poland fight off the Red Army in 1920, alone, while Kremlin sympathizers in Western Europe blocked desperately needed arms shipments headed to Warsaw. More germanely, the joint Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939 brought none of the Allied help that Poland was obligated to receive under treaty. Although both Britain and France were supposed to come to Poland’s direct military aid, they were content to declare war on Germany and essentially do nothing, letting Hitler and Stalin dismember Poland completely. Warsaw’s war plans assumed they needed to buy time — perhaps six weeks — until the British and French arrived. That promised rescue force never came, and every Pole today knows it.

Hence NATO assurances are met with a certain skepticism in Warsaw, including — perhaps especially — in defense circles. Then there is the touchy issue of President Obama. The Polish Right was never enamored of him, noting with disgust how Obama in 2009 cancelled a US/NATO missile defense system in the country, termed “betrayal” by Poland’s president, while making the announcement on September 17, the seventieth anniversary of Stalin’s invasion, added insult to injury. More than a few Polish right-wingers have doubted the staying power of Obama, particularly given his youthful dislike of President Reagan, a revered figure to many Poles for his major role in ending the Cold War and regaining Poland’s freedom.

Obama’s talky dithering on foreign and defense issues and his rough dealings with America’s friends have led to Polish worries spreading well beyond the country’s right wing. I deal regularly with Polish defense and intelligence officials, and over the last few years their doubts about Washington, DC’s courage and wisdom have mounted steadily. Poles understand that without American leadership there is no NATO in any military sense. Since the onset of Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, those fears have multiplied and there are now many in Warsaw who wonder if Obama would really honor Article 5 in a crisis.

Yesterday I spoke with a top Polish MoD official, a man of sober and strongly pro-American views whom I’ve known for years. Referring to this week’s needless White House crisis with Israel, another American ally who has doubts about the current administration, he noted, “I didn’t need the Beltway media to tell me who the real chickenshit is.” “They really have no idea what they are doing,” he opined about Obama and his national security staff, “and we know it. You have no idea how many promises we’ve been given, even by the President himself, but there’s never any follow-up, it’s all talk. He thinks he’s on Oprah.” When I asked if he thought America would come to Poland’s aid in a crisis, he said laconically, “I’d flip a coin.”

In a similar vein, a senior Polish intelligence official, another veteran of long collaboration with Washington, DC, expressed his skepticism to me. “Is it 1939 again? I don’t know,” he explained, “but I think Obama isn’t even a Chamberlain,” citing the British prime minister who left Poland in the lurch at the beginning of World War Two. Given such doubts, combined with Putin’s obvious desire to break the Atlantic Alliance, Poland will prepare to resist the Russians alone, while hoping and praying it does not have to.

69 Comments
  1. Ihor Molodecky permalink

    It’s really sad that it has come to this. An American president just sitting out the last two years of his presidency during a time when strong leadership is required. You’re right, Poland understands that in today’s world, promises and treaties mean nothing. It would bring joy to Putin’s life if he could show the world just how lacking in value Article 5 really is. Putin just keeps on pushing through with his plan to neutralize NATO and sow dissention in the EU. We may even see a Mistral class ship off Odessa by the end of the year. At the end of the day… Russia’s economy just will not be up to Putin’s visions of grandeur. A large scale conventional war is not sustainable. The country is basically a large rundown gas station with a bunch of nuclear weapons out back.
    Which brings us to the nightmare scenario. Putin has brought out the nuclear option a number of times. Means that he is thinking about it. Question is…will he really use a nuke to show just how serious he is?

  2. “Isn’t even a Chamberlain.” So true, because even Neville eventually woke up.

    • Talk about insults. That has to be the high water mark of condescending comments. We all know how feckless Chamberlain was, so Obama has to really be looked down upon if he doesn’t even measure up to histories most popular appeaser. I am absolutely embarrassed to have to claim Obama as our president.

  3. I find that many individuals seeming worship of Putin’s military aggression to be mildly amusing. Russia’s prestige and economy have been sorely wounded by Obama’s cautious response. Western sanctions and falling oil prices are on the verge of devastating the Russian economy. Putin is an opportunist. Nothing more. His military is weaker than many suspect. If asymmetric warfare did not succeed in Eastern Ukraine Putin’s options were very limited. Thus we see today Ukraine shifting Westward towards NATO without protest from Moscow.

    Despite what many may propose, Putin is a sane individual. If North Korea has not chosen the nuclear option, Russia never ever will. More monsters under the bed for fearful paranoid internet posters to wail about.

    • “Russia’s prestige and economy have been sorely wounded by Obama’s cautious response. Western sanctions and falling oil prices are on the verge of devastating the Russian economy.”

      Yes I’m sure the mere thought of the average Russian’s living standard deteriorating must be breaking Putin’s heart.

    • Blackshoe permalink

      “Despite what many may propose, Putin is a sane individual”
      You sure about that? And even if he is…so was Galtieri. So were the Imperial Japanese (who attacked Pearl Harbor KNOWING that 9 times out of 10, they were going to lose to the US Navy). Both groups (inarguably “sane”) still made irrational decisions because of the pressures on them.

      Also, don’t count the Norks out yet…they’ve only had nukes for less than 10 years. Give them time to use their nukes. The Gotterdammerung is still coming for them.

  4. Anna permalink

    Poland’s viable strategy might be to take a page from the swiss. The blowfish.
    Except without the geography to blow up they would have to just stress the we “will make it a nightmare for you to be here” part

  5. Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
    Poland has had sad experience of Russian aggression several times over the centuries, and now again they’re worried — with justification. But it’s not just Putin who worries them: red through to the end for absolutely brutal comments from Polish officials about Obama and his administration.

    • CZZ permalink

      “…Brutal comment on Obama administration”
      Well, no offense, you’re out of touch with reality Phineas.
      The “world power” scumbags mainly England, Germany and France don’t give a crap what will happen to any eastern European country. They never did as history shows.

      They only hope(d) as England and France hope(d) that the shit will not spill over to them from Poland, Czechoslowacja, Hungary, Litwa, Estonia, Latwia and Romania to them when Hitler hit on these lands from the west, and Stalin hit from the east.

      Actually France and England were very comfortable with that scenario. They believed in Hitler and Stalin, as the NATO and EU today want to believe in Obama and his jackasses at the WH.

      As long as in this case, Putin will no hit directly on France, Germany and England the whole NATO and EU scam will prove my point here. French, British and Germans today may not even go as far as France and England went to “declare war” on Germany to fulfill their contractual duty when Hitler and Stalin invaded Poland in 1939 when Putin will hit these countries.

      Hitler was not even a German citizen and he ruled Germany and led them into the WWII. Obama follows exactly the same path. Obama is not US citizen and he is ruling and leading Americans today. What a co-incident?!

      There is a reason why I consider England the biggest political prostitute in human history.

      Phineas, perhaps you are a life time member of the Disney World society.

      • Only one thing worse than your geography and that is your grasp of history.

        There is no such country as England, it is a part of the United Kingdom along with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is like me calling the US, Alaska after their biggest state.

        France and Germany were not at the Yalta Conference when post war Europe was largely decided, it was the US, United Kingdom and USSR. Churchill was well aware of Stalin’s designs for Eastern Europe, so I would suggest you read a history on this conference and who, sold out, who and then reconsider what you have written.

      • Germany was not at Yalta BECAUSE THEY WERE DEFEATED. On what planet would Germans have been invited to Yalta? France was not there because they lost in 1940. Facts are tricky things.

      • We were still at war with Germany when the Yalta Conference was held from 4th-11th February 1945, with the unconditional surrender of Germany several months away. The first post-war conference between the tripartite powers was held in Potsdam, occupied-Germany, from the 17th July to 2nd August 1945.

      • Thanks for the History 101 facts.

  6. Ian permalink

    Very insightful piece. Would love to read your analysis of the current state and strategic posture of the German Bundeswehr, by the way. (I’m sure you’re aware of the recent parliamentary report that deemed large parts of German airforce basically out of service…)
    Great Blog!!

  7. davidbfpo permalink

    John,

    It is important to clarify that none of the recent Russian Air Force flights have actually entered anyone else’s national airspace. Your wording was: ‘Neither are Russian air force incursions into Western airspace’.

    These Russian flights remain in international airspace, presumably heading towards or near national airspace. What they do is enter a usually known NATO Air Defence Idenitification Zone (ADIZ), so triggering a response and are watched before they depart.

    The media prefers to use such words as ‘scrambled to intercept’ and ‘escorted away’.

    What a sad world that Poland is now considering the imaginable, Russian coercion.

    • ADIZ all the way, thanks

    • milprof permalink

      It is worth noting, though, that in the recent incident — the flights from the Baltic down to Portugal and back — those Russian bombers were not just in an ADIZ, they were in airspace heavily trafficked by civilian aircraft, where normally, everyone there is talking to ATC and operating on a flight plan. Not only were the Russian planes not on a flight plan, and not talking, they had no transponders turned on, so basically they were invisible to the civilian air traffic system (including TCAS on the civilian jets).

      That’s legal outside the territorial limit, but it’s certainly not polite.

      Btw, would I be wrong to think the fact that the Russian flight went to Portugal is related to the fact that it was Portuguese F-16s that intercepted Russian jets at the Estonian border last week?

      Or for that matter, wrong to note that the Russians suggested that whatever was under the sea in Sweden was _Dutch_ — showing just how sympathetic they are about MH17, maybe?

      • Gus permalink

        As regards the submarine being Dutch: the reason that the Russians came up with this was that a Dutch submarine (the Bruinvis) had just finished doing exercises in the Baltic and was at the time anchored in Tallinn, Estonia.

    • milprof permalink

      Forgot to add that the Brits are jumpy enough after all the Russian activity, that they did “scramble to intercept” a Latvian cargo turboprop that entered British airspace yesterday, towards Heathrow, not responding to radio calls. Sonic booms all over SE England and the pilots formally threatening to shoot down the Antonov if it didn’t comply immediately. They did start to comply and checked out as merely asleep/drunk/stupid on the ground, not the lead ship for Red Dawn II: Spithwaddle-on-Toast.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-29823148

  8. Reblogged this on Civilisation and commented:
    Chilling observations from the horizon of Poland.

  9. Reblogged this on mrmeangenes and commented:
    Disturbingly familiar !

  10. Airwalk permalink

    As a Pole I gotta say: Thanks John. Mint! Nothing to add! 🙂

  11. Excellent blog.

    “Even if NATO rides to the rescue, as they would be required to under Article 5”.

    Most people seem to think that Article 5 offers substantial military assistance and war commitment thorough mutual protection if a NATO country is attacked, where it promises nothing of the sort. So lets look at what Article 5 offers:

    “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

    Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.”

    All Article 5 offers when when you read it for collective defence, is that a country will take the action that ‘it deems necessary’, which may or may not include armed forces and talk about the conflict and try to find a resolution through the UN. It was deliberately worded like this, particularly over US concerns, so the US would pass any suggested action through their President, the Senate and Congress before any commitments were made.

    Now, I hope that even Obama realises that NATO is finished with no response to an Article 5 request, but they may well be disappointed at what the assistance actually offered is:

    For instance, if you are a pacifist president that desperately wants to hold on to your Nobel Peace Prize, this could be interpreted as making sure Polish troops troops have the right creature comforts in the field by supplying MREs, blankets and the ultimate deterrence to Russian aggression even toilet paper, if requested! The President’s doctrine may well be similar to Obama’s over Ukraine, where by supplying no lethal aid, the country will definitely lose, but with fewer casualties and it won’t lead to any escalation and is therefore unlikely to trigger any Russian nuclear response. Summed up this doctrine is: “You are better off oppressed Russian Red than dead”. The President will then rely on the US being far enough away, so the Russian crocodiles eat them last!

    Unfortunately, NATO is a bit like a meal at an expensive option, where everybody looks, wants and takes comfort from the collective feast of ships, aircraft, tanks, troops and joint security on the menu, but when it comes to the bill, they want all of the other members to pay! Whereas, the major NATO nations should look at other NATO countries forces as possible reserves and look to creating their own forces of sufficient size and strength, to act as a decent deterrence against aggressive neighbouring countries. It is not as if Russia is more than a minor regional economy, but with nuclear weapons.

    Weak defences and weak political will, start wars where they encourage the aggressive leaders (normally dictators) to chance their hands on satisfying their megalomaniac egos on more, more, more, where however much territory they have got, they always want more.

    To me the worlds current instability is due to the current Presidents lack of political will. Potential or actual military force = military size and strength x political will. When the political will is zero, non-aligned global dictators and terrorists will act accordingly.

  12. bud valeriano permalink

    It is very probable that the West will not easily go to war with Russia, for various reasons, – but if that ever happens, and it all comes to a serious armed conflict, nuclear included, Russia WILL BE DEFEATED. But that will be only part of the equation. After that, the West will have finally learned their lesson and they will carve out at least fifty smaller, independent countries out of present day Russia. So Putin will actually leave a great legacy – he would have facilitated, involuntarily, TRUE FREEDOM of the current PEOPLES (plural) of the mother/fatherland !

  13. Cegorach permalink

    Hi! Great as usual. Very little to add.

    First, while the national reserve forces are not in very good condition there are some reasons to be optimistic about them, including the recent influx of volunteers. Most likely due to the all-present problem of the West which is the youth unemployment. Still the situation is improving.

    Second, ‘the little green men’ strategy has much lesser impact on Poland’s security. True, it can be employed, but in more conventional sense than establishing ‘people’s republics’. There is no russian minority in Poland, from thousands of Russian speakers most is Ukrainian so rather providing a pool of anti-Russian volunteers much like in 1920 than a foothold for any crazy plans.
    Thankfully Kaliningrad Russians in Gdańsk’s IKEA or border area ‘Biedronka’ supermarkets are not enough, though some sort of provocation is possible. Maybe in the future if (hopefully not) Belarus or Lithuania is occupied local polish minority will be used for some sort of Gliwice-like incident, but that is different than the form of hybrid warfare they are using in Ukraine.
    Plus, ‘green men’ will be targeted first by special forces, including the one in the police (which is very solid force) so resources to deal with them are somehow larger than usually thought.

    Overall also it is after all about Poland which is relatively strong economy and healthy democratic state. Plus we only lost one war against Russia (1792) where it acted alone and Poland fought it as a whole entity and not a piece of it, so unless there is some outside help they can create (Germany has different ideas, Sweden is not a XVIIth century jingoistic power and other neighbours do not matter) they will not be able to win this confrontation. Warsaw will most likely burn, but to be fair there is no real obstacle to the east of the capital. Besides it can be rebuild.

    I am somehow more worried about the possibility of employing tactical nuclear weapon against a third-rate target, a smaller city such as Płock, Kalisz etc which those Kremlin morons might think can be targeted without much risk. Something like that will rise the confrontation to a completely new level.

    Just some thoughts…

    About the White House’s inability sadly I no longer have any illusions.
    And I thought that it was bad in early-mid 2000s.

  14. Alex permalink

    I don’t think Chamberlain ‘left Poland in the lurch’ in 1939 – he declared war on Germany. Maybe you’re confusing Poland with Czechoslovakia and the Munich appeasement. Also ‘dirigiste’ means believing in a strong state role in the economy – it’s nothing to do with defence/foreign policy. Confusing it with revanchiste (‘revenge-ist’)?

    • Chamberlain declared war on Germany and did basically nothing. Actually my point.

      • Alex permalink

        What was Chamberlain supposed to do? Britain had a tiny army relative to Germany – if anyone left Poland in the lurch it was the French who had an army comparable to Germany’s but preferred to stay on the defensive.

      • France certainly had the capability to do more than Britain in Sep 1939.

  15. Lekomin permalink

    Check your facts, If you could. There are around 13000 sports shooters in Poland. Schooting ranges are very rare. There are around 1,3 arms per 1000 citizens. 12 times less than in the Czech Republic, and 30 times less per 1000 citizens, than in Germany. The “Strzelec” (Shooter) organization has nothing to do with shooting, but a right-wing leaning boy scouts. The gradual liberalisation of gun ownership rights is countered by the Police, that have an anti-gun zeal, that would make Mike Bloomberg blush. The last proposed change to the gun law, as written by the Police, would ban any object able to harm a human. So it means all the cars, stones, pointy objects would be treated as weapons in the Police dreamland. No, Poland will neither base its defence on terytorialny defence, nor should it do it along those basis. Terytorial Defence with its build in lack of mobility, information superiority and firepower is a recipy for disaster against a mobile and armoured enemy.

    • Please take your questions up with Newsweek Poland, my source. I claim no expertise on Polish shooting clubs.

      • NewsWEAK Poland claimed that Smolensk was an accident – still does – and that it was a great opportunity for Polish-Russian friendship. I rest my case.

        P.S. I don’t think that your article is based on ureliable information, I think it’s very clear and informative although this one particular source is unreliable to say the least. Pozdrawiam!

  16. Steve permalink

    My understanding is that unless you’re willing to smite all the inhabitants, the problem is not so much invading a foreign country as occupying it (as Mr. Rumsfeld learned in Iraq.) What benefits would accrue to Russia from invading and occupying Poland particularly as they couldn’t even keep a third-world country like Afghanistan?

    • Seems to work in Crimea.

      • Steve permalink

        Crimeans were 58.5% ethnic Russians, 0.015% of Poles are ethnically Russian..

      • Of course; my point is about the efficacy of gambling with aggression.

      • Adrian permalink

        Majority of the population in Crimea is Russian ethnic, that is why it works. Also wages and pensions were increased significantly (up to three fold in real terms), while in Ukraine they lived worse than now under Soviet (err Rusian) rule. The same could not apply to Poland or the Baltic states

  17. Poland and the western world will be deeply disappointed because Russia will NOT attack Poland even if they would like it very much. Playing military is in fashion today. So will be disappointed Sweden, Norway and the other big political analysts.

  18. I’m of Polish Air Force family part, with the Colonel in our family of the Polish Air Forces member under my belt. Although I don’t consider my self as any form of expert on the subject at hand.

    This is an excellent article on the subject of global security, not just Europa/NATO issue.

    As we all know, history tends to repeat it self. NATO is a group of some nations of which some are totally unreliable, i.e., England a.k.a. UK a.k.a. Great Britain or whatever is left there today after Muslims will leave after the halal lunch in London. France is in the same situation as England is, more or less. Also Turkey is a total misfit to the NATO group and even person of limited military or scout experience can see the Turkish intention of following the English/France treason/betrayal patterns.

    England and France can’t be trusted and be depended at all upon due to the historical facts that either England and France will do what they sign in agreement they will do, and in this article here this fact is also mentioned.

    The Ottoman Empire a.k.a. Turkey has only one goal, to use NATO in case of Soviet Union or Iran, and now the ISIS/L aggression on them. You can see today clearly Ottoman’s Empire position on NATO alliance in the case of Kobani and Kurdish case. Ottoman Empire, like England and France will not move its finger to fulfil the 5th Article of the NATO Alliance agreement. It will just not happen.

    Turkey must be forced immediately out from the NATO. No ifs and no doubts about it, and England and France needs to be reexamine, re-evaluated as well.

    The final problem with NATO is total political disaster in the USA. I am pointing directly to the Obama him self and the entire DNC apparatus. No one can depend on the United States anymore. Saying that, NATO is not in working order and is too weak to respond to any major Soviet Union move against any, and I mean any member of NATO alliance.

    The Polish MON officer was willing to toss the coin to see what NATO or USA would do “if,” but I wouldn’t even go that far as to reach for the coin.

  19. Charles C. permalink

    These events should be linked to the Middle East as well. Ukraine, Gazza war, and ISIS all started around the same time. It seems to me that Israel was given a green light to finish off the Palestinian problem by eliminating them. Similarly ISIS displaced millions of Christians and non-Sunnis from Mosel and other areas. Russia was paid off with Crimea which is a small price for the gains in the Middle East. Unfortunately I see more of the same coming through the pipe.

  20. Paolo Porsia permalink

    Reblogged this on Commentaria.

  21. Nice post, yet I think it’s too much alarming. I could agree more on Latvia, which is small and has a strong russian minority allowing the latest Kremlin de-stabilizing strategies.
    I understand the threat, in abstract terms, but Poland’s too big a bite for Putin’s mouth – given the military, political and economic consequencies of such an attempt – at least in short or medium terms.
    Besides, arming para-military clubs, in those same terms, will grow tensions, give space to uncontrolled players and ease the conflict they should deter.

  22. Rkka permalink

    “— Warsaw, with its long acquaintance with sneaky Russian games,”

    Absolutely! One example of Poland refusing to fall for a sneaky Russian game in was August 1939. Marshal Shaposhnikov briefed the Anglo-French military delegations to the Moscow Staff Talks on a plan for going to Poland’s aid in the event of a German attack on Poland. Incredably discounting Poland’s ability to stop a German invasion in its tracks, both the British military delegation in Moscow led by Admiral Sir Reginald Drax, and the Deputy Chiefs of Staff of the British Armed Forces (Lt-General Pownall, Rear Admiral Phillips, and Group Captain John Slessor) held that immediate Russian intervention on Poland’s side was Poland’s only chance of sustaining more than brief effective resistance to a German attack. But the Polish government smelled a Russian rat! They rejected the very idea. “With the Germans we lose our liberty. With the Russians we lose our soul!”

    Okay, by that rejection of the idea of accepting Soviet military assistance the Polish government avoided none of conquest by Nazi Germany and Soviet occupation, but at least they avoided the awful trap of having the Russians as an ally in 1939!

  23. S Katarina permalink

    Obligations for the return of historical territories to neighbouring states may be imposed on Russia, Vladimir Putin’s former advisor Andrei Illarionov writes on his blog.

    “If a large military conflict is initiated against a significant part of the world, today’s Russia will likely to deal with a coalition of states which joint military, economic and demographic power exceeds Russia’s one 16- or 18-fold. The result of the confrontation is predictable. Russia will be defeated. Its economic, housing and infrastructure potential will be destroyed. Electricity, water and gas supply will be stopped on huge territories. A threat of famine and mass epidemics will appear. If the ratio of casualties in the previous world wars is preserved, the casualties from the new military conflict may reach tens of millions of people. A significant part of Russia may be occupied by troops of foreign states that will establish the occupation regime,” Andrei Illarionov thinks.

    Russia may lose its disputable territories, according to him.

    “Pytalovo district in Pskov region will go to Latvia; Kingisepp district in Leningrad region will go to Estonia; the northern part of the Karelian Isthmus, Ladoga Karelia and Pechenga will go to Finland; Smolensk and Bryansk regions will go Belarus; Voronezh and Rostov regions as well as Krasnodar Krai will go to Ukraine; significant territories of Western Siberia will go to Kazakhstan; at least 1.5mn square kilometres of Siberia and Russian Far East will go to China; the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin will go to Japan,” he writes.

    Andrei Illarionov does not rule out the possibility that gas and oil fields, the banking system and main pipelines may fall under international control.

    “When will the Russians agree to give Crimea to Ukraine? In case of a direct aggression from Russia to a significant part of the world, the country will be defeated, its potential will be destroyed completely and large territories will face a threat of famine and epidemics.

    An absolute majority of Russian citizens, who have survived the awful military conflict, will sincerely support the intention of the interim government (or will strongly demand) to immediately and unconditionally give the Crimean Peninsula to its undoubted owner, fraternal Ukraine. Resuming normal diplomatic, economic and human relations will become the priority goal of Russian society in the process of recovery after the terrible catastrophe. It is easier for Russia to return Crimea voluntary to prevent the implementation of the terrible scenario,” he concludes.

  24. CzZ permalink

    Great follow up on the topic in this blog

    The world can’t count on the USA as we can see it by now.
    I can’t recall a single year in past thirty or so years that USA was not at war with someone.
    France and England follow the USA lead and can’t be trusted or be counted on.
    This is very confusing if we will put it all together here.

    Perhaps, the UE will face off against Turkey and Soviet Union at some not that distant future.

    We need to keep in mind that neither islam or communism have any value for human life, including that of islam and communist crowds. So, the loss of human life can be only understood outside of these two boxes.

    We need to acknowledge the islam enigma. We must stop to concentrate on the religious part of the islam and totally ignore the core on the islam namely the military, economical, political, social and cultural segments of the Islamic structure.

    Now we entered very crucial times till the end of 2016 which I’d not be surprised to see some revolt in the States against Obama. I can see blood on the streets, no way around it.

  25. Andre permalink

    What is most scarry is that Poland never missed fired a inteligente report. As how it happened in WWII, England, France and now the US neglected Poland´s warning and inteligente reports.

  26. Piotr permalink

    A note from Warsaw. Throughout the history the talk related to national defense was quite hot and emotional here. Today it is perhaps different – people tend to low-key these issues. So there is relatively little in mainstream media on the military topics. But I yet have to meet a person here who would complain about military spending.

    • Most of my Polish friends are in natsec, they talk about this nonstop.

      • Piotr permalink

        “…in natsec, they talk about this nonstop…” – good. “You do your job, and depend on everybody else doing his”.

  27. Jeq permalink

    About “little green men” part – there’s no chance to do it this way in Poland. As the country’s population consists of over 95% native people and there’s basically no russian minority there would be no explaination for presence of armed unknown units in the country. Also – Polish army morale is higher than Ukrainian, no chance of anyone changing sides to aid the enemy. The “little green men” problem could be easily solved by regular police units.

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