Will Russia attack Ukraine?
Responsible politics comes down to being prepared for any situation. I would say this: there are those in NATO who envision the consequences for Russia after a possible attack on Ukraine. Sanctions and similar instruments. There are also those who take the position that not only should you know in advance what the consequences will be, but it is also good to prevent it. For example, by strengthening NATO’s eastern flank militarily, by providing support to Ukraine in various ways. Of course, both approaches are implemented, but the discussion boils down to what should be more. There is naturally room for dialogue, but there is also the question of when dialogue should be priority and when what is called deterrence and defense. [odstraszanie i obrona – przyp. „GP”]. When is such a dialogue more constructive? When it is backed up by a determination to deter and defend, or when it is not embedded in this context? So while we are unable to answer the question you have asked, we should ask a better one: what can be done to prevent this from happening? By the way, since we are talking about dialogue, we must remember one more, very important thing. Dialogue cannot be equated with negotiation. You do not sit down at the negotiating table when one side forces it to threaten its neighbors.
When in June 2021 the United States gave up sanctions on the consortium building Nord Stream 2, you said sharply that “American allies did not find time to consult the region of the world most vulnerable to the consequences of this decision.” In the last week, you spoke three times with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Has the attitude of the American administration changed during this time? US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan used the argument that Nord Stream 2 could be a “lever” in the hands of the West, because Russia could be threatened with its shutdown in the event of undesirable actions. This is probably a perspective that is far from the Polish way of looking at these matters?
It really is. I always say that despite many significant differences between the political parties, in recent years we have not had a government with us whose attitude towards the Nord Stream 2 project would be approving. It will not change for sure. As for the American side, its perspective is a derivative of many factors, one of which is certainly the extremely strong position of Germany. These depend to a very significant extent on gas supplies from Russia. This, moreover, is the effect of Russia’s long-term strategic policy, which dates back even to the 1970s. Russia was already aware then that this could make Germany economically dependent on itself. Now it shows perfectly well. This is overlapped by the geopolitical assumptions of the present American administration, which differs from the previous one in that it decided to leave European matters to the Europeans to a greater extent. So mostly to the Germans. During the election campaign, we heard many such slogans about the need to rebuild relations with Europe. This is also heard at the meetings of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, where the slogan “America is Back” often appears [„Ameryka wróciła” – przyp. „GP”]. In practice, this means leaning in Europe on Germany. Anyway, this is not something that appeared with this administration. It came with Clinton, previously the US had the so-called “Special relationship” with Great Britain, and he began the process of strengthening relations with Germany.
What does the implementation of Nord Stream 2 mean for Europe?
I always try to pay attention to the fact that Nord Stream 2 does not only export gas, but also exports Russian business culture. This can be seen in the business ties of influential people in the German political elite, the same is in Austria, perhaps to a lesser extent in France. But you can see a lot of addiction here.
The Minister speaks about the differences in perspective. But has the last six months not shown that it was the Polish perspective that turned out to be a more accurate diagnosis when it comes to Russia’s behavior?
Well, you could say, “The neighbors know how to sit.” We in Poland know and understand Russia better than our partners, allies and friends in the West. Even from a historical perspective, it is difficult to say that we, here in Poland, have ever been wrong about Russia.
The entire interview in the newest issue of Gazeta Polska.
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Source: Gazeta Polska