NATO works on a pay as you play formula. Meaning, if a country deploys with NATO, the country pays all its expenses. And that is a real problem for Eastern European countries such as Poland that bend over backwards to please the United States and want to be out front in any American led war. Poland has over 2000 troops in Afghanistan and they have been putting up quite a fight. But Poland cannot afford its ISAF commitment any more. <Read full story in Siffy News>
Poland’s participation in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan is so expensive, about USD 1 billion a year (10% of Poland’s defense budget) that it is hampering efforts to modernize the country’s armed forces, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said Wednesday, on his first visit to NATO headquarters.
Poland has also had it with out-of-area operations such as the NATO mission in Afghanistan. President Komorowski wans NATO to focus on defending its members, not playing at being world cop. Though he did not say it, that means watching the Russians who still scare the Eastern Europeans more than any Taliban in Kandahar. The problem is, playing world cop is what the Western members of NATO want to do.
Is there a meeting ground? I don’t think so. NATO has a lot of soul searching to do before that fateful November meeting in Lisbon. The moment of truth is around the corner.