gen. Waldemar Skrzypczak
The world is gaining momentum and the competition between global superpowers – gains severity. It is already visible that tools and political operations will not influence the economic expansion of new global players or the accompanying arms race. The problems of the newly developing world order overshadow the authors of the order that lasted practically since the end of World War I.
New world order
President Trump foresees changes, in his new Security Strategy from December, and warns not only Americans but also all those, who hold dear the democratic ideals of the Western civilizations. Next to economic expansion, he emphasizes the threat accompanying military conflicts of big magnitude, which can be strictly connected with fights over new zones of economic, and in consequence political, influence. The US President sees hazards for his country. Yet they are not just confined to the United States. They apply to Europe, which has been living in relative peace for the last 70 years. The faith in everlasting peace has weakened our continent. Without a doubt, it is a consequence of believing in the “politics of love”, created, as one can conclude from the past decade, for the need of imperialistic politics of Putin. Which is why the West has practically disarmed itself. Consequences of which may be drastic. Sobering up, apparently, is a slow process. The European Union cannot follow the world trends, busy with itself and its internal affairs, created as an effect of Western inefficient policies, over the last two decades. Let me just mention the failed interventions in Iraq and Libya, creating an unimaginable chaos in the North Africa and the Middle East. Plus, an uncontrollable mass emigration. So far – Europe’s menace. Coming back to Trump’s new strategy, it is worth to notice the strong emphasis put on modernizing USA’s military potential. I prefer keeping peace by the means of force. This sounds very confrontational but I doubt whether it is deterring to Russia or China. One has to appreciate that this strategy places its durability in cooperation with allies, of which Americans will have fewer and fewer. A good example is Turkey under rule of Erdoğan – a country hostile toward EU and unstable in NATO. We are then witnesses to historical events which will shape the future and world to the next dozen of decades, maybe even few centuries. I hope it will not come to cataclysms such as wars.
Opportunity to act
Poland stands in front of a historical challenge. How to find our place in what is coming? How to assure a strong and stable position for Poland in the world? Economic and military safety? Strong political position? In terms of international politics we need to make use of our position in the UN Security Council. There are a few global problems, which it would be wise to involve ourselves in and gain allies in favor of normalizing the situation. Poland is well perceived in many countries. It would make sense, as a part of finding a place in the new strategy of our main ally – USA, to play an active role as an initiator of stabilizing the relation with Iran and, if it’s possible, with North Korea, on the UN forum. It isn’t hard to notice that Iran broaden its influence in the Middle East. It is supported by Russia and, lately by China, in alliance with Pakistan. It is an opportunity for the Polish diplomacy to act.
I am convinced we can do much more in relations with that region than Americans. Additionally, there is the problem of millions of refugees in the area. Poland can become an author and a leader of an international long-term program of rebuilding Syria, Iraq etc. We could set up an international shield of security over this region. This would go along well with the policy of solving the emigration problem, so much expected by everyone in Europe. The actions of US and EU are ineffective. Humanitarian help and camps for refugees are a temporary measure; without future. Plus, the key players up to now, including US and the nations of the west, are not welcomed there. It is an opportunity for Poland, for our diplomacy. Maybe even for the Visegrád Group. I am convinced that Americans would happily support such an initiative on the UN forum. As always – so far we can count on China.
Military and power industry
President Trump has radically increased budget spending on army modernization and development of new technologies, including ones with a double use: both military and civil. While the Polish arms industry, due to ineffective management, is in shambles. If we do not focus our efforts on its development, it will fall to a technological bottom. And the tax payers will lay money for an unproductive sector. So it would be worth to try and join the American army development programs, in our most desired fields. We need to catch every opportunity of military and industry cooperation. Polish universities, research and development facilities and companies within the arms sector, both state and civil, should become participants of such programs, under the auspices of the Polish government. It is in such initiative that I would see Poland’s leading role. Especially within the countries of Eastern Europe. It is also an element of building credibility as an ally.
Americans, on the other hand, should create a plan of preferential cooperation for their allies. Another issue worth of engaging is the energy safety. It is one of political priorities often listed by Trump. Europe, dependent on supplies from the East, is looking for alternatives. One might be natural gas import from the USA. Especially since Trump wishes to use its low price as a weapon in the fight for European markets. Poland has taken its first step. We have a reloading base in Swinoujscie. As few nations in the world, we have developed the technology of production cisterns used for transporting liquefied gas. Polish companies invest in the technology of devices used to reduce the pressure of gas and its distribution. It would be beneficial to convince American companies to invest in Poland in distribution systems and construction of local networks. This could a beginning of a bilateral strategy, beneficial to both sides. One that could be even broadened to other countries. It is but one of many examples of Polish involvement in USA’s security strategy. We are and should be a part of it. The question remains, can we make proper use our chance.
What about our security
A key element in our notion of security is the presence of allied forces, most importantly – American troops, on the eastern flank of NATO. Since Trump’s new strategy emphasizes the necessity of America military presence abroad, it is worth exploiting. This is, of course, a task for politics and diplomats. But it is worth considering what should be done in order to convince US Congress to increase the US military presence in Poland. An important factor, outside of military aspects, are costs. We need to recognize, what Americans would expect in term of logistics. Especially since the reduction of bureaucracy and its derivatives is strongly emphasized in US strategy. It may be an opportunity for Polish service providers. A question of several permanent bases is something worth considering. Making some effort to cover part of construction costs near military bases for the American, and in future, Polish troops – as a part of the plan to move the military out of developing city agglomerations. Our security has a collective nature. We should remain faithful to that. We have a historical opportunity to take a permanent place in the global system of security and peacekeeping. And it is not a fantasy from the category of “dreams of power”, but a realistic vision. g
© All rights reserved.
The author was a commander of Polish Land Forces
Dalsze rozpowszechnianie artykułu tylko za zgodą wydawcy tygodnika Wprost.
Regulamin i warunki licencjonowania materiałów prasowych.