Following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine, the U.S. began a process of returning military forces to Europe and pressing its NATO allies to increase their defense expenditures and armed forces. West Germany was once the centerpiece of NATO’s anti-Soviet defense and host to hundreds of thousands of U.S. and Allied forces. Today that role is increasingly assumed by Poland, one of the most stalwart members of the alliance. It is one of only six countries to meet NATO’s goal of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, has welcomed U.S. forces returning to Europe, and has undertaken a serious and sustained program of military modernization. I have written about the growing importance of Poland to the U.S. and NATO here.
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