With a fresh outbreak of fighting underway in the Ukraine and the possibility of escalation increasing once again, I feel that this is an opportune time to talk about Poland. The Western media has spent over a year dissecting the conflict in the Ukraine, the dangers of a resurgent Russia and the US response to Vladimir Putin’s challenges. However, there has been very little talk about Poland and more specifically, the task of defending Poland if Russian designs should ever stretch that far west. The prospect of defending Poland is unquestionably being discussed in detail at the Pentagon, Brussels, and the Ministry of Defense in Warsaw. Unfortunately, the subject has not come up very often in military journals and foreign policy publications. Very little, if any information about how a potential war in Poland could play out is available for public consumption.
With all of this in mind, the DIRT project for June is going to be centered on the defense of Poland.
Poland is the nexus of Russia’s future designs on Eastern Europe. Since the annexation of Crimea, Poland has taken steps to strengthen its defenses, forge concrete assurances from its allies and prepare its population in the event of a Russian attack. The mood of the entire nation has changed since March, 2014. Civilians, politicians and military professionals alike recognize that there is a potential threat building to the east.
As history shows us, Poland is no stranger to war. The ground on which the nation-state is set upon has been contested many times. Even when the territory did not belong to the Poles, it was fought over. The land has been fertilized with the blood of soldiers from a score of armies over the centuries. In the 20th Century, Poland’s defeat at the hands of the Third Reich and Soviet Union in 1939 underscores the victory its armed forces achieved over the Soviet Union in the Polish-Soviet War in 1921. The Eastern Front ebbed and flowed across Poland in World War II.
Over the next three weeks, I will publish the series in 3-4 parts. In them, a host of political, military and economic factors will be discussed and a picture of what a possible defensive plan for Poland might resemble. Part One will be published on Saturday, 13 June.