Forsvarsstudier no. 4/2001
Title: Asset or Burden? Poland as NATO's new eastern frontier
Author: Kåre Dahl Martinsen
The quest for NATO membership led to a reorientation of Polish security and defence policies. Attempts were made to engage the neighbouring states to the East in a constructive partnership while at the same time expanding links with NATO. Efforts were undertaken to upgrade Polish defence to meet NATO requirements.
After membership was obtained in 1999, Poland has attempted to use the geopolitical position as a focal point both for the surrounding countries and for NATO’s policy towards the Baltic republics and the Ukraine. These attempts have, as shown in this study, not been an unmitigated success. Also the plans for defence upgrading have been singled out for criticism at home and abroad. Lack of realism and conservatism both in the defence sector and at the political level has hampered modernisation. Finally, Poland’s strong pro-American leanings are discussed in order to assess the implications for NATO cohesion and Polish participation in the emerging BU foreign and security policy structures.
Kåre Dahl Martinsen is a political scientist from the Institute of Soviet and East European Studies, University of Glasgow (1988). In 2000, he obtained his doctorate from the University of Roskilde, Denmark, on the thesis “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, the State and Corporate Governance in the Czech Republic 1989-I994”. He has been a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies since 1999.