“Our interests are less important to the United States and this is a very dangerous development. It is clearly visible that the development plans of Central and Eastern Europe are decided by Germany with the Americans and, more and more, by the Russians through their new generation war ,” says Dr. Jacek Bartosiak, geopolitics expert, founder of the Strategy & Future think tank in an interview with the DoRzeczy.pl portal.
Do Joe Biden’s words about Nord Stream 2 prove that we are dealing with a change in the American strategy towards our region?
Dr. Jacek Bartosiak: The answer to this question comes from understanding what game the Americans are currently playing. Namely, they are trying to maintain a dominant role on the international scene. Everything else, including the interests of Central and Eastern Europe, is only an instrument in achieving this goal. At the same time, Americans have a problem because the Germans don’t want to listen to them, let alone the Russians. The US is trying to balance its own interests and those of others in order to get out of this situation in the best possible way. On the issue of Nord Stream, they decided that in the face of serious Chinese challenges, limited own resources, and the internal crisis, they had to come to an agreement with Germany. Of course, this is all relative, but if they could have done it differently, they would have.
In this situation, for Americans, relations with Germany are much more important than relations with Central and Eastern Europe. They need Germany so that China does not connect Eurasia from the Pacific to the Atlantic. The goal of the US game is that Europe should not remain neutral in the fight against China. The Germans play this out masterfully, like a beautiful maiden with a dowry, revealing her charms. On the one hand, they reached an agreement with China on the CAI agreement, and on the other hand, they received a green light from the US regarding Nord Stream 2. This situation will continue.
Where are Polish interests in all this? It looks like we’re not at the table again in this whole puzzle.
Our interests are less important to the United States, and this is a very dangerous process. It is clearly visible that the development plans of Central and Eastern Europe are decided by the Germans with the Americans, and more and more by the Russians through their new generation war. We have to stop this lame dance as soon as possible, which will be difficult.
You highlighted the role of Germany and the USA, and what is Russia’s role in this balance of power?
The Russians, of course, do not have many advantages aside from the next-generation war and their armed forces. With their show of force in Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic states and Syria, they are an adverse shareholder to this arrangement, which in Moscow they would like to call the balance of power in Europe. They demand their place at the table and will clearly be given it. The Americans will talk to the Russians over our heads. I also expect the Americans to discipline Poland soon, along the lines of human rights and democracy. In this way, the projection of strength is also taking place.
Will the USA apply its so-called soft power when it comes to Poland? How should the Polish authorities react to this situation?
I think that the leadership of the Polish state is aware of all this, although they will probably still rationalize it while it settles in their minds. It’s the result of their being used to convincing themselves that the failures are temporary. Instead, they should give this subject deep thought. The current move towards Turkey is very good, but the Americans will now discipline us, and I would advise the Polish authorities to get ready for it.
I also wonder how the Americans intend to win with China and seek allies in Asia using this tactic. It is difficult to imagine that, for example, Vietnam or Thailand are democratic countries; the situation in Indonesia is also a big question mark, not to mention other countries such as the Philippines. We have to hold up against such actions and develop the ability to balance power in our region. American interests are American, German are German, and Polish interests are Polish. We can clearly see that history hasn’t stopped and that, unfortunately, the struggle for hegemony is a very complex game. Unfortunately, we have not sung our common song in sync for the good of humanity. We are entering a period of great powers’ rivalry, and this is where self-interest calculations enter the picture.
Americans have their interests on the Baltic-Black Sea Bridge. Will they be put aside in the emerging system of forces?
The Americans, unfortunately, do not have big and serious interests in this region. We would like there to be a genuine Three Seas Initiative, real energy cooperation on a high level, and the North-South connecting infrastructure. This was the intention of the policy pursued by the Polish authorities, which focused on the USA as the guarantor of security. However, we must ask ourselves to what extent these plans have been implemented. The Americans will, of course, assure us that they guarantee security, but we must constantly check on this. This lesson has yet to be learned, although, of course, it will be difficult to talk to the US about it in this manner. American hegemony was beneficial for Poland, but regardless of our country, the United States is weakening. We would like it to be otherwise, but most of all we have to think about our own interests, at least by modernizing the Polish Armed Forces. It may happen that at some point the Americans will leave. That is why it is so important to agree within our leadership on key issues.
How does the current situation in Belarus fit into the whole puzzle? Has the West’s reaction been correct?
In my opinion, the reaction of the West has not been adequate. There is a new generation war going on against the West, which means also against us. It is debatable whether Art. 5 of the NATO Treaty on collective defense can be relied on. I see a big question mark here. This mechanism definitely does not work, however, in the gray area – outside of the major points specified therein. Each country must devise a defense against such attacks. It is no different in the situation of Poland. It all concerns the issues just beneath the threshold of armed conflicts. This is a modern method of confrontation, and unfortunately the interests of NATO members are too divergent to threaten Russia with war in such a small matter. This is Moscow’s masterful strategy of slowly revealing the allocation of risk. Therefore, we should have our own defense strategy, consisting of, inter alia, selective proactive activities. For this, however, we need our own strategic culture, which we still have not developed in a mature manner.