by WorldTribune Staff, September 19, 2018
President Donald Trump on Sept. 18 said he is considering a request for a permanent U.S. military presence in Poland.
Trump, who said he shares the NATO ally’s concerns about Russian aggression, told reporters that “We’re looking at it very seriously, I know Poland likes the idea very much, and it’s something that we are considering, yes.”
Poland has offered to put more than $2 billion into the project.
Polish President Andrzej Duda offered to name a permanent U.S. base in Poland “Fort Trump.”
Trump said he agreed with Duda that Moscow had “acted aggressively” in the region.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the U.S. military was studying options with Poland.
“It’s not just about a base. It’s about training ranges, it’s about maintenance facilities at the base, all these kinds of things. There’s a host of details we’ve got to study alongside the Poles,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.
Poland joined NATO in 1999 along with Hungary and the Czech Republic, and since then other former communist states, including Baltic republics bordering Russia, have joined despite Moscow’s strong opposition.
Moscow expressed concern in May over reports about Poland’s request, saying NATO’s expansion toward Russia’s borders undermined stability in Europe, Reuters reported.
Trump and Duda also discussed Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which they said could make Europe overly reliant on Moscow for energy and expose it to the risks of what Duda called “political blackmail” with shipments.
In a joint statement released on Sept. 18, Trump and Duda said they will continue coordinating efforts “to counter energy projects that threaten our mutual security, such as Nord Stream 2.”
Trump said the United States was not looking to sanction companies that participated in the project with Russia. “We just think it’s very unfortunate for the people of Germany that Germany is paying billions and billions of dollars a year for their energy to Russia.”