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Viewing cable 09WARSAW876, RETHINKING U.S. FORCE REDUCTIONS IN EUROPE: VIEW

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09WARSAW876 2009-08-28 12:12 2010-12-06 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Warsaw
VZCZCXYZ0020
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHWR #0876 2401225
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 281225Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8793
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0506
S E C R E T WARSAW 000876 

NOFORN 
SIPDIS 

DEPT FOR EUR (A/S GORDON) 
OSD FOR ASD VERSHBOW 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/2019 
TAGS: MARR MOPS NATO PINS PREL PTER PL
SUBJECT: RETHINKING U.S. FORCE REDUCTIONS IN EUROPE: VIEW 
FROM POLAND 

REF: A. USNATO 329 
B. BERLIN 935 
C. WARSAW 360 

Classified By: Ambassador Victor Ashe for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 

1. (S) SUMMARY: Embassy Warsaw believes there would be a 
strong, negative Polish reaction to major U.S. force 
reductions in Europe. From Poland,s perspective, a big 
drawdown would be seen as evidence that the U.S. is less 
committed to European security at a time of heightened 
concern over the intentions of a resurgent Russia. Polish 
officials have emphasized the need for NATO to bolster its 
military capabilities to avoid becoming a political club more 
than a military alliance. They are adamant about revising 
NATO,s Strategic Concept to restore the balance between 
external missions and territorial defense; they will strongly 
protest a reduction in the resources needed for that defense. 
The Poles tell us that it would be hard to justify continued 
sacrifices in missions like ISAF if cooperation with the 
Alliance is a one-way street, and the U.S. and other Allies 
do not take Polish security concerns into account. END 
SUMMARY. 

2. (S) The Poles believe they have an implicit 
understanding with the United States and the Alliance: they 
will take active part in missions far from their borders, 
particularly in Afghanistan, provided that the Alliance makes 
adequate provisions for the defense of Poland,s borders. 
Poland is ISAF,s seventh leading troop contributor, fighting 
without caveats in Southern Afghanistan, and Foreign Minister 
Sikorski told us recently that he is pressing Prime Minister 
Tusk to approve another troop increase, from 2,000 to 3,000 
soldiers. Some analysts have told us (Ref C) that the 
greatest threat to Polish resolve in Afghanistan would not be 
increased casualties, but a failure by the Alliance to 
address Poland,s concerns about Europe,s territorial 
defense. Poland would see U.S. troop cuts as compounding 
shortfalls in the resources and political will needed to 
defend Europe. 

3. (S) Unlike the previous Polish government, the Tusk 
government is not reflexively Russophobic, but Polish 
officials remain concerned about a resurgent Russia. The GoP 
took the lead in marshalling an EU reaction to Russia,s 
invasion of Georgia, and faulted the U.S., among others, for 
doing too little, too late. In a speech at the Atlantic 
Council last year, the Foreign Minister launched the 
&Sikorski doctrine8: the West must respond adequately the 
next time Russia tries to change Europe,s borders by force. 

4. (S) Foreign Minister Sikorski has told U.S. leaders 
emphatically that NATO risks becoming a political club more 
than a military alliance ) he believes it needs to change 
the politically correct threat assessments (particularly 
those concerning Russia), and put in place substantial 
contingency planning and exercises. During bilateral talks 
with the U.S. on Missile Defense, the Poles implied that the 
Alliance,s Article V guarantees may not be dependable, and 
pressed for bilateral U.S. security guarantees. As NATO 
launches the process of revising NATO,s Strategic Concept, 
the Poles are pushing hard to restore balance between 
out-of-area operations and territorial defense. Polish 
officials have hinted at how strong the reaction would be if 
their concerns are not addressed in the new Strategic 
Concept; the reaction would doubtless be even stronger if 
they perceived strategic guidance as undercut by U.S. force 
reductions. 

5. (S) Poland would see significant U.S. force reductions 
in Europe as the latest in a series of disappointments with 
the U.S.: in their view, the U.S. failed to deliver promised 
Iraqi contracts, to bring a loyal Ally into the Visa Waiver 
Program, and most recently, to appoint an appropriately 
high-level presidential delegation to the September 1 
commemoration in Gdansk of the 70th anniversary of the 
outbreak of World War II. Many Poles see this as part of a 
broader regional trend, a downgrading of U.S. interest in 
Central and Eastern Europe. Three Polish statesmen, Lech 
Walesa, Aleksander Kwasniewski and Adam Daniel Rotfeld, were 
among the signatories of the July letter from Central 
European leaders to President Obama. The letter warned that 
the region,s stability and Atlanticist outlook cannot be 
taken for granted in the face of allegedly waning U.S. 
engagement. 

ASHE