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Why do Americans need an air force base in Poland?

Matthew Spears, the first US air force specialist, has arrived in Poland. He is going to work at a military air base near Lodz. According to the Polish TVN24 channel, his colleagues are due to arrive there before the end of this month. There will probably be almost two hundred specialists: pilots, aircraft mechanics, and service staff.

We turned to Viktor Litovkin, editor-in-chief of the Moscow Military Review weekly, for his take: "How did you interpret this news? Is there something sensational about it?"

"There is no sensation at all, of course," Viktor Litovkin said. "That is nothing new that the Americans and their airplanes will be located on the Polish soil. That is nothing new that their aviation base will function in Poland. Of course, from Russia's point of view, it is an unfriendly move, because the F-16 fighters are able to carry nuclear bombs, which are now stored at nine American depots in six countries, including Belgium, Italy and Norway. According to the data of the Stockholm Institute of Peace Problems, the US has about 150 - 200 of such bombs at its disposal in Europe. The Americans have repeatedly stated that they were considering these nuclear bombs to be a tactical weapon, but, in our opinion, they are of strategic purpose. It is important for Russia that the American F-16 fighters, launched from the territory of Poland or Lithuania, where they are deployed on a permanent basis, will need just 15-20 minutes to reach, say, Smolensk, or only 25 minutes to reach Moscow. I repeat, in relation to Russia it is an unfriendly move, which may cause retaliatory steps.

A question arises: Why does the US need a military air base in Poland? The Americans claim that their anti-missile defense system is allegedly needed in order to fight against international terrorism. However, it is not yet clear: Why are their bases located in such a close vicinity to Russian borders? Alas, this question is still open.

At the moment Russia is waiting for definite explanations both from Washington and from Warsaw. Then we will think about the measures aimed at ensuring our security," Viktor Litovkin, editor of the Moscow based Military Review weekly, said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

[Source: By Irina Chayko, The Voice of Russia, Moscow, 17Oct12]

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