Mexico may not pay for a border wall, but Poland has offered to pay to build a permanent military base for the U.S. In a joint press conference following a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda, President Donald Trump said Poland had offered over $2 billion towards the costs.
Duda said, “I invite you to post more American military troops in Poland,” and offered to name the base “Fort Trump.” Duda didn’t confirm the amount Trump stated.
The U.S. maintains about 3,000 troops in Poland on a rotating basis. Poland would like a larger and permanent presence. Trump said Russia has “acted aggressively” across the region, and that the U.S. will consider the base.
At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said a permanent Polish base was being studied, but no decision had yet been made due to the extent of the logistics required.
Neither the presidents nor Mattis mentioned whether a permanent base would inflame relations with Russia, which would bolster that country’s contentions that NATO and the U.S. have offensive plans to constrain Russia. NATO denies any hostility.
The meeting between the two presidents covered defense, energy, and commercial relationships. Trump said the American alliance with Poland has “never been stronger.”
The leaders also discussed a new Russian natural-gas pipeline to deliver fuel to Germany, which both said would leave Europe too reliant on Russian demands. Duda said Russia could use supplies for “political blackmail,” while Trump suggested it was “very unfortunate” that Germany would would be sending “billions and billions of dollars a year” to Russia to pay for fuel.
Russia opposed Poland’s entry into NATO years ago, and has pursued tacit invasions, as in the Crimea region of Ukraine; reclaiming former portions of the Soviet Union within the Russian Federation, as with Chechnya; and support of strongmen in teetering democracies bordering and nearby countries, such as Turkey and Hungary.