Interview with Ian Brzezinski — the expert of analytical center Atlantic Council, a Deputy assistant Secretary of defense for Europe and NATO in the government of George W. Bush.
— Newsweek Polska: please Accept my condolences on the recent passing of Your father. The poles will always remember him.
— Ian Brzezinski (Ian Brzezinski): that’s what He always remembered about Poland. Our family had such a story: in 1938 when the ship on which he sailed from Gdynia, reached the shores of America, all passengers gathered at the bow to look at their new home, and his father stood at the stern and looked in the direction of Poland. This longing was connected with the great love he felt for his native country. He swore allegiance to the United States and do not violate this oath, but his love for Poland over time has only increased and has become a key feature of his personality.
— Last year, the State Department criticized the Polish government criticized for something took control of public media and paralyzed the constitutional court. Cause Washington anxiety euroscepticism, populism, nationalism and anti-democratic steps of the party “law and Justice” (PiS)?
These questions raised the previous administration, which has taken a tough stance against Poland. So in America, including in Congress, there are circles who are concerned with what you’re saying. But wait for the government’s decisions trump.
— You will attend the conference Wrocław Global Forum, which will take place during the summit “Initiative of the three seas”. Time for the West complex now Putin probes NATO intervenes in elections in the United States and Europe, and the trump can only blame the allies and to praise Russia. Can Europeans rely on him?
— Of course, some of the statements and actions of the administrations trump aims to put pressure on the allies and force them to increase their share of the costs of security. With this requirement, however, was made by the previous administration. You can argue if a new rhetoric, but the idea has not changed. European countries failed to meet expectations, so trump has the same alarm, emphasizing the frustration of the United States. On the other hand, the administration quite clearly holds the idea that Russia poses to NATO as a threat. Talking about this Secretary of state and the Minister of defense, and their statements sound more rigidly, than the statements of the representatives of the Obama administration.
But in the US, and it knows the whole world, that the President is commander in chief and makes the decisions, and from his harsh statements we heard.
Too bad that in Brussels trump has not declared its allegiance to the United States the Fifth article of the Washington Treaty (the principle of “one for all and all for one” — Newsweek Polska), however, he had done it two weeks later at a joint press conference with President of Romania. Members of the Cabinet of trump (not only Ministers, but also, for example, Vice-President at a meeting in early June, meeting at the Atlantic Council) assured that the Americans will fulfill their obligations associated with this article. The real importance is the strengthening of the American military presence in Eastern Europe. Plans for the tank brigade and the placement in Poland of aircraft battalion, remain in force. The Americans continue to dominate its international battalion NATO. The administration has also announced its intention to increase funding for the “European initiative of deterrence” for a billion dollars. So words can cause issues, but the actions remain identical, and the main idea is that Russia is a threat to the West.
— What is the significance of the visit of the President of trump in Poland?
— The administrator will be an excellent opportunity to reaffirm commitments to NATO and to strengthen military and economic ties with Poland. At the same time will be a summit “Initiative of the three seas”, which will be attended by heads of many States, so trump will be able to Express U.S. interest in their region. In turn, the rest of the guests will be able to proclaim that they are ready to bear the burden of membership in the Alliance.
— This is important, because Russia is increasing military capabilities. Putin is preparing for war?
— Russia has increased the combat power of the artillery and improved the ability of rapid deployment of large forces. Over the last ten years, Putin has implemented a modernisation plan, which was designed more than 700 billion dollars. The result is obvious. It has a modern missile defence systems, combat aircraft, warships and endured the reorganization of special operations forces. To assess progress, it is enough to compare the inept invasion of Georgia in 2008 and annexing Crimea in 2014, which was conducted professionally. Russia had no army that could confront U.S. forces, but today it certainly can play a role in a much stronger bully in the region.
— Will there be enough four American battalions and a tank brigade to stop this bully?
A battalion is a small unit, it’s 1 thousand people. 4 thousands of Americans in the Baltic States may not act as a real counterweight to the 300-strong army of Putin. They will be able to fulfill the deterrence function, but only if there will be political and military guarantees that in the event of a conflict they quickly come reinforcements. This aspect worries me, as the Alliance is still not confirmed that he prepared the operational plans. First, as I understand it, it was to take 40-thousandths of a rapid reaction force of NATO, but they are still held joint exercises, which would show that the Alliance is able to deploy substantial forces on its Eastern flank.
— How likely is that Russia will start military operation in the Baltic or in the Arctic?
— I think that deliberate attacks that fall under the definition of the Fifth article, should not be afraid. The concern is, rather, the advent of Russian militarism and provocative Putin’s tactics, which may accidentally lead to a collision or even to threaten to escalate the conflict. For example, after the Americans shot down a Syrian fighter, Putin has intensified provocative actions involving aviation in the Baltic sea area.
— How then to contain Russia?
— Need to strengthen NATO forces in the East and to react strongly to provocations, tightening political and economic sanctions.
He doesn’t do Putin and his actions in the first place to convince its own citizens that he has restored Russia to its former greatness?
— Putin seeks to achieve several objectives. Some steps, of course, relate to the internal political dynamics, but we also have strategic plans. He wants to revive in the region of something like a Russian sphere of influence, which existed until the collapse of the USSR, to take control of the entire territory of the former Soviet Union and, of course, to restore Russia’s esoteric aura of greatness, but in the first place — to discredit NATO and undermine its unity.
— In addition, he tries to undermine the European Union, supporting Euro-skeptics and populists. He will be able to break it?
In this respect, he has not yet achieved great success, although, of course, he intervenes in the electoral process and the internal politics of the US and EU, using for political purposes the economic pressure and threatening its neighbours within NATO. Russia is a serious problem.
— Why is trump in this case insists that the only cure for the problems of the United States is isolationism? The United States is ready to abandon the role of leader of the free world and the guarantor of the stability of international institutions?
I don’t think so. The U.S. not only took an active position in NATO, but decided to use force in Syria, which avoided the Obama administration.
— 50 Tomahawk missiles and downed fighter is not a strategic operation. The President’s rating now fluctuates at around 35-38%, and in order to strengthen his position he will have to fulfill the promises that he gave to his electorate, and he supports an isolationist ideas.
— In today’s world isolationism is divorced from the reality of the concept, it will not withstand a collision with reality. Just look at Europe: American activity there has increased.
— Will increase if it is in Ukraine? The US President has let the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the Oval office just to do a photo op, and the person of Lukashenko at the headquarters of the trump, by Paul Manafort (Manafort Paul), was removed from the Republican agenda item on supply of Ukrainian weapons.
— The new government is more clearly claims that it supports Kiev than it did Obama. It has tightened sanctions and said that they will act as long as Russia will not leave Ukraine.
Washington, incidentally, did not accept the annexation of the Crimea?
— I hope not, it would be a terrible mistake — we would be presented a gift for Russia for violating international law. So you have to toughen sanctions. Neither the US nor the EU has still not taken advantage of the tremendous economic influence that they possess. This economy with a GDP of $ 18 trillion, they are integrated with the rest of the world and have sufficient energy sources. Russia, with its GDP of 2 trillion dollars is, if you use the definition of Senator McCain (John McCain), the gas station, which serves essentially one customer — Europe. Despite this we still limited to sanctions against certain companies and politicians, but has not imposed an embargo, which would affect entire sectors of the economy.