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Trump moves troops to Poland to counter Putin

The Trump administration says they are sending an additional 1,000 U.S. troops to Poland. Trump indicated the troops might come from the drawdown of 10,000 U.S. troops from Germany, but hasn’t made any firm decisions yet.

The administration has long favored pulling troops out of developed countries like Germany in favor of moving troops into Eastern European countries more likely to be threatened by Russia. The troop movements also represent a shift away from European and Middle Eastern security, towards Asian security, which doesn’t require extensive troops commitments.

“We’ve never been closer to Poland than we are right now,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

“This is Duda’s third visit to Washington since Trump took office and the first visit by a head of state to the White House since the coronavirus pandemic shut things down. The U.S. and Polish delegations and members of the media were tested before the two leaders met in the Oval Office,” reports the MilitaryTimes.

“We’re going to be reducing our forces in Germany. Some will be coming home, and some will be going to other places. But Poland would be one of those other places, other places in Europe,” Trump said. Poland will be paying the U.S. to cover the costs of the redeployment.

Critics have said that Trump is withdrawing too many troops from Germany, and that redeployment to Poland is a net loss.

“To put one or two thousand more troops in Poland says we care about the Eastern flank, but when you stack that up to the overall disappearance of, say, 8,000 troops in Europe, it’s a net loss,” said Charles Kupchan, a national security adviser to Barack Obama.

Trump has hit at NATO, and Germany, in particular, for failing to live up to its financial commitment to spend 2 percent of its GDP on military spending.

“They’re delinquent, too, with respect to their dues, the money they’re supposed to be paying for defense,” Trump said. “So the United States is defending a lot of countries. They’re delinquent on what they’re supposed to be paying. And I never feel too good about that.”

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has been quiet about the troops’ movements to Poland. Normally, U.S. troop commitments to Eastern Europe would draw Kremlin condemnation, especially to Russia’s historical nemesis, Poland.

“Apparently, one should proceed from the understanding that if Warsaw wishes to intentionally position itself in the capacity of a frontline state by accommodating foreign forces on a permanent basis, it is apparently aware of all related costs, including those that concern its own security,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told the state controlled Tass news agency rather mildly.

Putin has been in trouble recently for an article he penned that blamed Poland, in part, for Word War II.

Russia, in fact, invaded and partitioned Poland in cooperation with Hitler to kick off the war in September, 1939.     

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