Thursday, November 1, 2007

Poland Creates Secret Missile Defense Office

Polish Minister of Defense, Aleksander Szczygło © Rzeczpospolita

I have not seen this message anywhere else, so here comes again the full-text from the NTI Newswire:

Poland’s Defense Ministry is not releasing any details regarding the operations or staffing of a missile defense office created last week, the Poland Business Newswire reported (see GSN, Oct. 4).

The document establishing the office was dated Oct. 22, but Polish defense officials have revealed little about its classified activities, the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported yesterday.

The office’s establishment does not reflect a decision by Poland to allow a U.S. missile interceptor base to be built on its territory, said Deputy Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, Poland’s top negotiator with the United States. However, the office could streamline communications between Polish and U.S. officials as well as Polish defense strategists and Foreign Ministry lawyers, he added.

Piotr Pacholski, who has overseen missile defense issues at the ministry, was named to head the new office. It is expected to coordinate the deployment of U.S. missile defenses if Warsaw signs off on the installation, according to Rzeczpospolita (Poland Business Newswire, Oct. 30).

The Polish-speaking readers can find the Rzeczpospolita article here.

It seems as if someone wanted to create a fait accompli – maybe even before leaving office. There is no sense in creating a Missile Defense Office if you do not want to have a certain
missile defense capabilities. While it can be expected that a Polish government led by Donald Tusk will still accept to host the U.S. interceptor base - much to the annoyance of Moscow - it is likely to push for a harder bargain from the Americans. With a Missile Defense Office already established, it will be more difficult to take this tougher stand, this means that the final deal will contain a larger Kaczyński-era component.

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