US could reduce military co-operation with Poland

Leszek Szymański/PAP

The United States could limit military co-operation with Poland owing to concerns over the state of the rule of law, a leading Polish newspaper has reported.

According to diplomatic sources in Washington, cited by Rzeczpospolita, the US administration has for several months "been holding a closed-door debate as to whether the USA should resort to the most effective instrument at its disposal in the face of the 'erosion of democracy': linking military cooperation to the rule of law."

The paper said that US concerns over the state of the rule of law in Poland were fuelled by a Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruling on October 7 which asserted the primacy of the Polish Constitution over EU law.

It added that next to media freedom, the independence of the judiciary was at the "heart of America's identity."

The paper also said that when Heather A. Conley, the head of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an organisation devoted to securing democracy from authoritarian interference, announced in Congress last week that perhaps the US should consider changing troop deployment levels in the Polish region, none of the three Democratic senators who were present objected to her proposal.

If the US decides to take action, Rzeczpospolita said, it would not, at least initially, reduce the number of troops stationed, on a rotational basis, in Poland. It would rather suspend the implementation of any further expansion of the US presence agreed upon by the Trump administration.

In addition, due to business interests, "the Americans are also not thinking about suspending contracts concerning the supply of weapons for Poland, including 250 Abrams tanks," wrote Rzeczpospolita.

But the paper also points out that US charge d'affaires Bix Aliu, in an interview with Polska The Times, another Polish newspaper, said in mid-October, that there would be no reduction in the number of troops.