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The British Set the Agenda for Biden’s Visit to Poland

Feb. 20, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—After his Monday visit to Kiev, President Joe Biden traveled to Poland by train for a two-day visit and discussion with President Andrzej Duda. In Ukraine, President Zelenskyy told the press that he had “discussed” the issue of long-range weapons with Biden. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced that Ukraine would be getting fighter jets soon, and that it’s only a matter of when. And Sen. Lindsey Graham stated that Biden’s current trip could be the most decisive moment of his Presidency, and he urged that two actions be taken: Start training Ukrainians to fly F-16s; and declare Russia a state sponsor of terror, since that is how Vice President Kamala Harris had described Russia in her address to the Munich Security Conference.

But it was the London Financial Times that presented the broader British policy in an interview with Polish President Duda on the eve of Biden’s visit.

“Poland’s head of state has called on NATO powers to give postwar security guarantees to Ukraine,” the FT wrote, which should consist of a series of bilateral security treaties with the U.S., U.K., and France, which would be the de facto equivalent of joining NATO. “While Ukraine was aware it cannot join NATO now,” the FT explained, “Kiev was expecting a ‘partnership’ with ‘some kind of security guarantees,’ Duda said.... Duda also urged Biden to reaffirm ‘in very strong terms’ during his Warsaw visit that the U.S. stands unreservedly behind NATO’s Article 5, the collective defense clause treating any attack on a member state as an attack against all. The security guarantees Ukraine has sought would be structured differently, effectively binding leading NATO powers such as the U.S., U.K. and France into providing military assistance in the event of a future attack on Ukraine.”

The FT explained that not everyone in Europe is happy with being dragged further into war with Russia. They are proposing instead what is quaintly referred to as the “porcupine” approach, which the FT says is also Biden’s preferred option at this point. “Some other NATO nations also remain wary of binding promises for fear of being dragged into a war with Russia, and instead argue for the strengthening of Ukraine’s military to ensure it can defend itself.

“ ‘There is a pretty robust debate going on about security guarantees, but I really don’t think President Biden will want to put this forward now,’ said Michał Baranowski, director of the Warsaw office of the German Marshall Fund think-tank. Instead, he said, the U.S. administration is pushing ahead with ‘a porcupine strategy,’ which means ‘arm Ukrainians to the teeth so that they can deal with Russia directly.’ ”

The FT commented that “this kind of package is what former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who co-authored a formal proposal for Ukraine’s postwar security with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak, has described such guarantees as similar to what Israel enjoys from the U.S.”

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