Poland's decline of German air defense system reflects deeper rift

China Military Online
Chen Zhuo
2022-12-01 16:05:55

By Teng Jianqun

Germany’s Patriot-2 air defense missile system (Source: The Paper.cn)

Following the Poland missile incident, Germany was ready to provide Poland with the Patriot air defense system, but the Polish defense minister later said they had requested Germany to deploy the system in Ukraine.

The two countries have been constantly at odds recently. The German government refused to provide the Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank to Poland, while Poland has repeatedly accused Germany of not aiding Ukraine militarily faster; Poland claimed a gigantic war compensation from Germany, while Germany threatened to re-delimit their boundary. Poland’s latest decline of Germany’s Patriot air defense system and suggestion for it to be deployed in Ukraine further reflected the deepened bilateral rift.

In response to Poland’s suggestion, German defense minister said the Patriot is part of NATO’s overall air defense system, and deploying it outside NATO’s territory would require discussions with other members. As the US is working to keep the conflict in Europe from further escalation, NATO and Germany won’t hurriedly deploy the Patriot to Ukraine.

Besides, deploying Patriot to Ukraine would mean that German engineers, technicians and soldiers would have to go there too, which would increase the possibility of a military conflict between Russia and Germany. Therefore, under current circumstances, NATO isn’t likely to make that move.

America’s Patriot air defense missile system (Source: huanqiu.com)

After the Russia-Ukraine conflict broke out, the US installed its Patriot missile defense system in countries including Poland, where it also sent elite troops in Poland. However, the missile attack on Poland proved that America’s deployments were more to protect its own interests, and military protection from the US cannot bring true security for Europe.

At the same time, all 27 EU members agree that it is necessary to establish troops of their own. Hoping to be the “bellwether” in Europe’s independent defense, Germany last month took lead in forming the European Sky Shield initiative – a unified air defense procurement and deployment alliance involving 14 NATO members and Finland. But Poland didn’t join this alliance, which reflected a divided attitude within the union towards creating an independent air defense anti-missile system.

Editor’s Notes: The author is a former senior colonel assigned to the PLA Navy and the secretary general of Department for American Studies and Director of Center of Arms Control and International Security, China Institute of International Studies. This article is originally published on cnr.cn, and is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn.

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