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Poland Protecting NATO's Eastern Flank

Poland Protecting NATO's Eastern Flank
Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP)

By    |   Thursday, 12 May 2016 07:05 PM

On May 3, Poland celebrated the 225th Anniversary of its Constitution, enacted on that date in 1791. This historic document is the world’s second-oldest national Constitution, following a mere two years after the U.S. Constitution. It was chartered to strengthen Poland in the face of impending Russian aggression at that time.

Today, as it faces new threats from its Russian neighbor and economic challenges throughout the EU, Poland’s government, led by the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, is delivering regional security and economic stability.

In 2015 the Polish people voted for PiS, which won the presidency overwhelmingly. For the first time in Poland’s recent history a single party received an absolute majority in free parliamentary elections. The sweeping reforms and pro-growth policies of the Law and Justice Party have energized Poland.

Under the leadership of its Minister of Defense Antoni Macierewicz, Poland now spends 2 percent of its GDP on its military, and its armed forces will be doubled during the next few years. In addition, Macierewicz has established a Polish National Guard modeled closely after that of the United States.

Macierewicz has also been a strong advocate for a greater U.S. and NATO military presence on Polish soil. At his urging, the Polish parliament enacted legislation allowing for the establishment of NATO bases in Poland.

Macierewicz has declared that “in these perilous times, with an increasingly aggressive Russia, I believe it is critical for Poland and the United States to assert our steadfast alliance to ensure that the European continent is never again the victim of aggression.”

In response, Defense Secretary Ash Carter recently indicated that NATO is likely to initiate a rotational ground force in Poland and the Baltic states.

Former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, who chaired the Helsinki Commission and has a strong interest in Central Europe, noted “under its new government Poland is a reliable partner fully committed to European security.”

“Putting this in context,” the senator continued, “one must understand that Minister Macierewicz is not only a seasoned statesman and national security expert, but also a heroic human rights activist who was one of the leaders of the anti-communist resistance in Poland. Arrested and incarcerated as a political prisoner over 20 times, Minister Macierewicz knows what it means to sacrifice for his country.”

“This explains why the Polish people trust him and have elected him six times to represent them in parliament, and why as Poland’s Minister of Defense Minister Macierewicz has helped defend NATO’s Eastern flank, and in so doing protected peace in all of Europe,” D’Amato concluded.

Edmund Janniger is a representative for global strategic communication for the Polish Ministry of National Defense.

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On May 3, Poland celebrated the 225th Anniversary of its Constitution, enacted on that date in 1791.
poland, russia, macierewicz, ash carter
Thursday, 12 May 2016 07:05 PM
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