Romney Would Be Foolish to Advocate NATO Expansion
George Weigel gives Romney some bad advice:
Thus the Romney campaign would win big points here (and blunt the nervousness Poles feel about a Republican candidate they barely know) if, during his forthcoming trip to Poland, he firmly stressed his future administration’s commitment to the security of Poland, to the flourishing of an independent and democratic Ukraine, and to further NATO expansion if various post-Soviet states want in.
Since the U.S. commitment to Poland’s security hasn’t really been in doubt, it is difficult to see why Romney’s reaffirmation of America’s obvious treaty obligations to Poland would have much of an impact. One point of disagreement between the U.S. and Poland in recent years was the inclusion of the Baltic allies as part of a contingency plan for defending Poland:
The Poles expressed their reservations. Poland’s deputy defense minister told a senior American diplomat in Warsaw that his government would prefer a plan that only involved Poland. The piggyback solution for the Baltic states shouldn’t be allowed to delay completion of “Eagle Guardian,” he said.
The Guardian reported on U.S. proposals to bolster Polish defenses in 2010:
In parallel negotiations with Warsaw the US has also offered to beef up Polish security against Russia by deploying special naval forces to the Baltic ports of Gdansk and Gdynia, putting squadrons of F-16 fighter aircraft in Poland and rotating C-130 Hercules transport planes into Poland from US bases in Germany, according to the diplomatic cables, almost always classified secret.
This would be the same administration that has supposedly been “betraying” Poland because it cancelled an irrelevant and unpopular missile defense installation. The point here is that there has been no “betrayal,” and it is a tedious misrepresentation of the last three years of U.S. policy to suggest that there has been.
I would be surprised if most Poles were particularly concerned about Ukrainian democracy, and Ukraine’s independence is not in jeopardy. Further eastward NATO expansion might or might not be well-received in Poland, but it would be a horrible mistake that compounds all of Romney’s other errors. So far, support for continued eastward NATO expansion is one policy error that Romney has not yet made. Ukraine has ruled out membership in the alliance, and Georgia is not going to be allowed to join under present conditions. There are no other plausible ex-Soviet candidates, so the idea of continued expansion should be shelved indefinitely. Pledging to support eastward NATO expansion would simply confirm that Romney is reverting entirely to all of the worst ideas of the Bush era rather than just most of them.