Revelation: Russian War Games in September Simulated Nuclear and Conventional Attacks on Poland

… that would be right around the time President Obama announced that his administration would abandon plans for an American missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.
In August, 2008, Poland had reached an agreement with the Bush administration to host components of a missile defense shield, an arrangement that had “deeply angered” Russia. Reacting to the news, a Russian general stated that

“Poland is making itself a target. This is 100 percent” certain, Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted General Anatoly Nogovitsyn as saying.
“It becomes a target for attack. …”

Oops, he lied. A year later, President Obama cancelled the missile defense shield, which should have restored Poland’s innocence. But it now appears that Poland is still very much a target for Russia.
The Telegraph (UK) reports today that the Polish weekly magazine Wprost (linked in conformance with blogotory style for the convenience of our Polish speaking readers) obtained documents pertaining to the Russian war games which targeted one of our allies.

The manoeuvres are thought to have been held in September and involved about 13,000 Russian and Belarusian troops.
Poland, which has strained relations with both countries, was cast as the “potential aggressor”.
The documents state the exercises, code-named “West”, were officially classified as “defensive” but many of the operations appeared to have an offensive nature.
The Russian air force practised using weapons from its nuclear arsenal, while in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which neighbours Poland, Red Army forces stormed a “Polish” beach and attacked a gas pipeline.
The operation also involved the simulated suppression of an uprising by a national minority in Belarus – the country has a significant Polish population which has a strained relationship with authoritarian government of Belarus.

Rumors about President Obama reconsidering plans for the missile shield had surfaced as early as March, 2009. Yet Russia proceeded with war games – clearly offensive and not defensive in nature – that can only be viewed as an explicit threat to a sovereign nation. Did they do so despite the missile shield or because it would soon be gone?
Whatever the exact order of events in September – war games followed shortly by President Obama’s announcement or vice versa – this is a nasty development that simultaneously deals a blow to Poland’s sense of national security and cannot but cast doubt on the foreign policy judgment of our own President.

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14 years ago

Not to worry, the USA Navy took care of any ideas of simulated nuclear and conventional attacks on Poland.
The USA Navy’s USS Ramage fired a loaded machine gun into the Polish port city of Gdynia.

14 years ago

As far as I understand, ‘war games’ are not as uncommon or as malicious as we believe. With almost half of our federal tax dollars invested in the military, and crime at 40 year lows, they make for good news stories and little else. Remember that we routinely carry out ‘war games’ against virtually everyone, including our current friends, our enemies, and our own populace. I wonder if some economist can chime in and tell me if war games are more likely between uneasy friends or sworn enemies… I think we’d be surprised.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
14 years ago

It is true that “War Games” do not necessarily indicate likely aggression. For instance we have regularly war gamed Mexico as it is the likely invasion point for the U.S.
Still the “politics” of War Games are not lost on anyone. I doubt that Poland was war gamed just because it was “their turn”. War games can involve large movements of troops, this can disguise “massing of troops on the border”.

14 years ago

“An explicit threat to a sovereign nation”?!
Since when does that matter! The phony outrage over here (again, apologies to the libertarians) is hilarious.

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