Artur Brzeskot: It is time to buy U.S. Patriot air defense missile system

The U.S.-Poland relation remains the cornerstone of Central Europe security. And with the new defense guidelines that Washington and Warsaw singed in 2016, the alliance has never been stronger and more capable of contributing to security around the region. The Pentagon is operationalizing the military part of the strategy on lethal weapons sales to Poland which will help our country’s armed forces get the equipment it needs.

During President Donald Turmp’s first state visit to Warsaw, the White House confirmed status quo Poland. That time the Polish Ministry Defense and the United States signed a memorandum on the delivery of U.S. Patriot missile systems. The designation does not mean a change of balance of power (as some observers see it), but only to facilitate defense trade and technology sharing with the country on a level that the United States reserves for its closest friends and allies. As a result on November 17 of last year the government of American decided to sell an advanced missile defense system Patriot to Poland – at the earliest possible date.

On that occasion we found out the price $ 10,5 billion. Although the first phase of negotiation has not yet ended it is difficult to hide Polish confusion. Some experts say the price is unacceptable. Actual value is much more than financial means at the Polish Ministry Defense’s budget plans in 2018. May be it is more than Polish state’s capabilities. In my opinion Poland’s ambitious aims are in a simply imitation of Great Britain and France’s strategies during the 1950s and 60s. It is very important that we are discerning this need, however, this question is open: will we be able to conform our actions to the patterns?

We have known for ages that research-intensive and modern weaponry have raised the barriers that states must jump over if they are to become members of the great powers club. For this reason unable to spend on anywhere near American, Russian or Chinese level for research, development, or production, small and middle powers who try to compete find themselves constantly falling behind. They are usually in the second ranking powers’ position of imitating the more advanced weaponry of their wealthier allies as well rivals. In sum this problem will not be resolved even If we abandon short of the extreme electronic, the cost and compilation of conventional warfare exclude middle states from developing the full range of weapons for land, air, and sea warfare.

Great Britain wished to bypass this problem by building a nuclear force, but Britain became more dependent on the United States. France did not want to lose independence so it decided to go ahead with its own nuclear program. France may have done so believing that missile-firing submarines were the world’s first permanently invulnerable force, that for them military obsolescence had ended. For the sake of argument that the French had the right given the small numbers of submarines France has planned, however, only one or two will be at sea at any given time. In the face of technological advance it makes their detection and destruction increasingly easy.

What am I getting? There are here two aspects. First, we have to agree that by the purchase of U.S. Patriot missile system Poland constrains its own independent. By virtue of it that the American are likely to refuse us an access to the top-secret technology so we will find in this situation just as the British during the Cold War – without strategic independence. Second, I think about the scale of the technological employment. Eight batteries of U.S. Patriot missile system will certain not sufficient for the complete defense. In a case of limited or unlimited aims war those systems will play a supporting role. In the same way like French submarines and missiles would not play much more the meaning in the face of war between NATO and Warsaw Pact. It is very important to note that both the British and the French despite unbearable difficulties they have taken some efforts in order to imitate the best military system in the world – the United States. Poland is in the same conditions nowadays.

Our country has no a principal influence on the objective facts of structural causes and military effects in Europe, such as Great Britain and France have not had since 1945. No third great power could lie between the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia (e.g. European Community, European Union, Germany, Three Seas Initiative … etc.). So, by these external conditions is only one of possible choices it is ever closer relation with the United States, alternatives are a buffer state or Russia’s domination. For this reason Poland should not drag out the purchase of U.S. Patriot missile system. Furthermore, international politics is not only a realm of socialization, but also as a competitive realm. The latter domain depends on construction solid deterrence and defense by copying of the best players. Otherwise, Poland will be doomed to strategic autarky and as a last resort to military deviancy.

We may look at the map of Europe our country is not outside the immediate arena of competition like America and Great Britain in XIX century – reversely Poland is in the middle of the area. Thus, it means simply that we have to conform to accepted and successful practices to rise to the top and to increase our chances for survival. The purchase of U.S. Patriot missile system does not give us guarantee to achieve this destination, but it gives us only warrant to the best pattern –  organization, procedures, technologies and arms.

In sum, these behaviors are returned by all history. Bismarck’s victories over Austria in 1866 and over France in 1870 have considerably exposed it and quickly led the major continental powers and some Asian states (e.g. Japan) to imitate the Prussian military staff system. Adolph Hitler’s victories in the early years World War II with blitzkrieg strategy were pattern for Israel in wars in the Middle East. After all America’s doctrine RMA Revolution Military Affairs (dance like butterfly sting like a bee) has taken much from German strategists.

We should remember about it, that is nothing new that contending states imitate the military innovations contrived by the country of greatest capability and ingenuity. Poland should go the same road, because it may give an opportunity to achieve the most important aim – national security. The purchase of U.S. Patriot missile system is a next step in order to copy the greatest military pattern in the world.

Photo: Raytheon


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Polish version: Czas kupić amerykański system obrony powietrznej Patriot