James W. Peterson
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Jacek Lubecki
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Poland’s strategic choice to adopt liberal democratic institutions both externally and internally defined the country’s defense policies in the post-communist period. This chapter describes the country’s efforts to dismantle the communist-era defense establishment and adjust its defense policies to the task of joining NATO, which was successfully accomplished by 1999. Between 1999 and 2014, following the imperatives of liberal alliance politics and of its unique strategic culture Poland played the role of “loyal” member of NATO and EU and of “security provider,” especially on multilateral overseas missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Poland’s adjustment of its defense policies, military size, structure, and doctrine to post-9/11 imperatives of the “war on terror” led to the relative neglect of its conventional and territorial defense capacities. After 2013–14 Ukrainian Crisis, Poland accelerated its conventional military build-up, backed by a robust pattern of military spending which has marked the country as an outlier among Visegrád countries.

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Defense policies of East-Central European countries after 1989

Creating stability in a time of uncertainty


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