The changes in foreign policy conducted by the current US administration are starting to shape a new landscape in many areas of the world, and the same goes for Europe. Although it is no longer the critical region which decides about the global order, it still posses an essential place on the geopolitical map. The rising tensions between the US and various European countries can lead to significant decrees in the level of US influence which in turn can lead to weakening the leverages that America has in global politics.
Leaving Europe and shifting to the Pacific has made a vacuum which was filled by the European Union (EU) and especially Germany, closely followed by France. Recent tensions can only strengthen this tendency. Furthermore, the creation of European armed forces and signs of an entirely new, deeper union which might be formed by the core states of the current EU also complicate the whole picture.
Although the US will retain a very close ally in the region, namely Great Britain, it might not be enough to have the needed level of influence on European matters as the UK will eventually leave the EU and as an island, it was always a bit aside of the European issues. One of the most critical questions regarding Britain is what will be the faith of London’s City. Will, it retains its influence on the European financial markets or will the Brexit brake City’s neck? The City is at the core of Britain’s influence capabilities as the rest of the economy is not in its highest form.
US leaving Europe and Britain leaving EU creates a vacuum that can also to some extent be filled by Russia which can be observed right now. Though there is much talk about unity in the EU, when it comes to critical aspects of the national economy and industry, particular interests are always present and decisive. One of the leading examples is the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which will serve Germany. After deciding to close its nuclear power plants and cutting the levels of the emission generated by coal powered power plants, it lacks the needed energy that could power up the massive, still growing and always power hungry industry. The green energy will not be able to provide enough power and pushing the electrification of various aspects of life will further increase the energy consumption. Here comes Russia with its vast amounts of cheap and more environment friendly gas pumped to Europe and willing to raise the transfers as it not only allows a steady stream of cash into the crippled Russian budget but more over tightens the relations with the customers and allows for decades of bonds. This pipeline is against the interest of Poland and partly other European states as it was the same with the first pipe, but as mentioned above the national interest of Germany was crucial.
These are the big things, but it comes down to even dull, and silly from global politics perspective ones. Recently we could observe a sea battle in which over 40 fishing vessels were engaged in a dispute between French and British fisherman over the law to fish St James shells near Normandy. This is what happens during one of the most extended economic booms in the world and imagine what will happen when the future crisis comes. Rest assured that it will come as history and economy like to repeat themselves. A global crisis will lead to further disputes between today’s allays which in turn will open new opportunists for Russian penetration of various countries.
If the US would like to retain a strong foothold in Europe now is the right time for action and pushing forward with strengthening a country which can become a crucial ally and leverage in the region. Poland has all of the needed aspects of a bolt that can secure US interests in Europe working in tandem with the UK. With a 38 million population, it is large enough, and its location allows for a broad influence in the surrounding countries. It’s not a swing state, like for instance, Hungary, which maneuvers between various options. Through the recent years, it has proven to be a faithful ally sending its troops to Iraq and Afghanistan which stood back to back with US soldiers.
Poland could quickly become a counterweight to further domination of Germany and the core EU states and also lock Russia which is trying to make as many economic bonds with European partners as possible. Thanks to the Kaliningrad region Russia holds an A2/AD bubble threatening the Baltic states which are NATO members. Furthermore, there are signs which might lead to a even deeper union between Russia and Belarus which is already strong. In turn it could further weaken the defense capabilities of NATO. If all of this would come int fruition having a reliable partner and ally would allow the US to retain some influence in Europe while focusing on the Pacific region. One can assume that Warsaw will be more than happy to further strengthen its bonds with the US as in most aspects the interest of both countries is aligned. Looking back a strong Germany was always a threat to Poland, and the same goes for Russia which many times threatened Polish sovereignty. As history shows, deals between those two countries could lead to some catastrophic problems for Poland and also Europe as a whole. The right level of balancing could be very beneficial not only for the US and Poland but in turn for many more countries in the region as due to the slowly closing peace window now is the right time for some decisive moves which could benefit the US politics in the next decade and later on.