‘Surprise move’: U.S. stunned by Poland’s fighter jet offer

“The Polish government stunned Washington on Tuesday by announcing it was ready to transfer its 28 MiG-29 fighter planes to the U.S., with the understanding that they would be handed over to Ukrainian pilots fighting off the Russian invasion.

The move, which came with a request that the U.S. supply Poland with used jets with “corresponding capabilities,” came after a week of back-and-forth negotiations between Washington and Warsaw over transferring the jets to Ukraine, which needs replacement jets to fight off the Russians.

After vociferous denials by Warsaw that it was even considering donating MiGs to Ukraine, the offer arrived completely unexpected.

A senior administration official told POLITICO that the U.S. intelligence community and the Defense Department have been opposed to the transfer of the Polish planes to Ukraine, due to the complications in getting them over the border and into the hands of Ukrainian pilots. The Polish government also didn’t consult with their U.S. counterparts before making the announcement.

A statement by Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby reflected that deep concern late Tuesday, saying “we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one,” and it is “simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it.”

Kirby signaled the logistics were problematic: refitting the aircraft to allow non-NATO Ukrainian pilots to fly them, along with “the prospect of fighter jets … departing from a U.S./NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance,” he said.”

Fear and loathing (of Donald Trump) in the EU

“Of all the innumerable “horrors,” the diplomat said the worst aspect of Trump is the chaos he brings to the world arena: “The lack of being able to plan, the lack of being able to extrapolate from a normal set of facts and arguments what might be a course of action that the United States might take.

“Even if you don’t like it, it’s useful to have an idea of where they are going,” the diplomat said.

Radosław Sikorski, a former Polish defense minister and longtime foreign minister, called Trump’s first term “an extraordinary saga of bluster and incompetence.”

Now a member of the European Parliament and leader of its delegation for U.S. relations, Sikorski said he expected a second Trump term would feature more of the same, including when it comes to the president’s preference for courting authoritarian leaders over traditional, liberal democratic allies.”