Future of Europe Forum

Conference by Związek Pracodawców i Przedsiębiorców, Heritage Foundation, Warszaw, March 19, 2024

Future of Transatlantic Relations

Prof. Andrzej Nowak

Text not authorized.

For two and a half century Poland, meaning this combination of contemporary states: Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and Poland, means Polish _ Lithuanian Commonwealth, all those territories, or most of them, were taken under Russian control, under Russian occupation since the beginning of the XIX century. So, there is a long tradition of knowing the effects of Russian imperialism, and a long tradition of effectively suffering of this imperialism. And this is something that makes Putin as very historically oriented continuator of the rule of Catherin the 2nd, and Ivan the Terrible, and Stalin. Only in the respect of realizing the imperial interest Moscow, in which Moscow is the centre of kind of geopolitical construction, Putin is using very dramatic manipulation of this history to persuade his partners and enemies, especially the West, for future collaboration.

Firsts, he wants to persuade his western audiences, like Tucker Carlson, that Russia never realised any imperialistic policies. Russia only realised, as it is stated in the official diplomatic doctrine of Russia inherited from diplomatic arsenal of byzantine imperium, only the tree elements of external politics. Russia only liberates around different nations from different troubles, than – retrieving unjustly lost territories from zones of influences, and finally restoring justice, or taking revenge. There is injustice in the world and Russia restores justice through her activities on the international arena.

Poland, with this memory of many hundreds of thousand people being killed, jailed, sent to Siberia, both from Poland, from Byelorussia, from Lithuania, as a result of Russian imperialism, is an evident example of blatant lie of such a perspective in which Russia is only the benevolent force, or understandable force. And that’s why Putin so obsessively revers to Poland. But if we look at the goal of this manipulation, we can probably distinguish five scenarios or five contexts in which Putin, or Russian imperial elites, present their role, Russia’s role, vis-à-vis Western partners.

Five scenarios

The first one, which connects somehow easy to the interview given to Tucker Carlson, is to present Russia as a last refuge of conservative Christian values, as opposed to the rotten West of these extravagancies of liberal idiocies of the XXI century. That, is haw Putin presents it. I do not intend to develop on full species for such a portrait of Russia. But what is important is not only to show the false picture of Russia as a conservative force in herself. What is important is to present this narrative in context of four other narratives which are presented parallelly at the same time to different audiences.

The second scenario, or narrative, presenting Russian’s designs, is to present Russia as a benevolent force liberating the West, or liberal leftist forces, from the spectre of fascism and nationalism that steps from Poland, from Ukraine as the essence of fascism or nationalism danger that undermines the bright future of Western, progressive visions of the XXI century. Sometimes those people, who listen to the visions of Putin, or Russian, as a last hopeful conservative voice in the world, do not take notice of this parallel scenario, which is addressed to America and Western left, where Russia is presenting herself as a true continuator of the Soviet Union, the force which eliminated the danger of Nazism, but now Nazism has nothing to do with Germany, nor with Italy – here fascism. The only source of this danger is concentrated in East – Central European countries.

The third interesting scenario that is developed parallelly is addressed predominately to the so-called American evangelists, such as prof. John Mearcheimer, and the people like him, not only in America, but also in other countries. Yet, America is here the target county of this narrative. It presents Russia as the last chance for realistic politics to restore order. The last chance to stop chaos, which is created by petty nationalities, different small figures on the chessboard of the world politics that spoil the constant work of the great powers to restore order. Such nationalist ambitions as Ukraine’s to be independent, is counter with such a suggestion that you, Americans cannot afford that you install our own zones interest, let say in Mexico. The world is divided into zones of influences and Eastern Europe belongs to Russia’s zone.

People like Mearscheimer somehow do not see the other scenario, which I numerate here as forth one, in which very similar concept is presented but not to American viewers, but to German, to French important elements of the economic and political leadership in these countries, to so – called old Europe, or Western Europe, the old imperials of Europe. It was interesting to observe for example the first moment when Putin presented all those scenarios at the same time – on the May 6th 2005, at the 60th anniversary of the victorious end on the Word War 2. Putin at that time gave three parallel interviews to French TV, to German two TVs, and to American TV. And those interviews were completely different versions of the role of Russia.

For America it was more or less like that – going back to Yalta, to the summit of great powers, with Russia and America playing the main role on the world map. We can restore order; we should stop these dangers tendencies. He pointed to Baltic countries as sources of instability in Eastern Europe. We should eliminate those small nations from our path to restore order. We Russians, we Americans. In the interview given to the German TVs he said something very interesting – he stated that the real path to restore order is to restore collaboration between Russia and Germany against Americans. It was in the same day when he gave the interview to CBS. Only thanks to this collaboration we can restore justice. America is imperial power which dominates the world, and takes justice form the world. This is the enemy. This appeals to German’ s leftists who, like the rest of the left in the worlds, hate America as the essence of imperialism. And it also appealed to the deep routed German feelings, who were beaten twice in the XX century by American due to Americans presence in Europe. What was really outrageous in this particular interview was short commentary given by Putin to Baltic states. He stated simply during this interview that there were Russians and German which gave independence to those small countries in 1919. That was the moment when Bolsheviks Russia signed with Wilhemina’s Germany separatists’ peace, in which Bolshevik’s Russia resigned from territories of contemporary Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and Germany accepted pseudo independence of these countries. But the next sentence of Putin alluded Ribbentrop-Molotow Pact when 20 years later, stated Putin, we took back independence from these small countries – we gave them independence, so it is our bide to take it back. And, he said in 2005 to German audience, suggesting not a reversal to Ribbentrop – Molotow Pact, but the reversal what he stressed on many occasions, means reversal to Bismack- Korczakow times. He stated – these were the golden times in Europe when there was nothing in Europe between Russia and Germany in Europe.

To French audience he suggested that only Russia and France beaten fascism standing from Central Europe. America is simply an allied force in our continent, our – meaning Russian and French continent, and only French resistance and general de Gaule, and Red Army won that mortal battle for freedom of Europe, and we should restore collaboration between old culture of France and great culture of Russia to restore power of Europe against these barbarian forces. He did not name Junkies forces; he only alluded them – primitives Junkies contrasted with cultivated Russians from Peterburg.

This is also another scenario, to fulfil my enumeration, which should be taken into consideration by those so-called realistic Americans who believe that Putin speaks only one language. No. Putin is a linguistically gifted person, he can speak five different languages at the same time.

The fifth language, which is used parallelly and probably most effectively now, is addressed neither to France, nor to Germany, and of course neither to America, is addressed to the co-called global South. Russia is the only power that throws the challenge the American domination, American colonisation, and the US is the only evil power in the world, especially seen from the global South perspective, from Latin America, but also from Latin America, from Africa. So, Russia, to a degree with help of China, could liberate the global South from American’s imperialism.

And only when you take into consideration only those five scenarios, only those five narratives, you can understand more accurately, I believe, what Putin suggests in his vision of Russian politics. An when I am saying Putin, I do not mean only one person, but the whole establishment of Russia that would not change its directions, its sectors of geopolitics, in a one day maybe after 2036 when Putin goes.

What to do with those scenarios and how Poland or Eastern Europe could be introduce or reintroduce into this perspective? I think that geopolitical vision should be reintroduce to the forum of our debate and the answer to the contemporary problem of the XXI century was already presented 105 years ago. It was a British geographer, a member of Parliament, sir Halford Mackinder who established chair of geography in London School of Economics. At the same time, he founded Western or Anglo-Saxon geopolitics. In his most fundamental work, presented to the statements who gathered in Wersal in 1919, he introduced the ideas of his the book titled “Democratic Ideas and Reality”. Mackinder wanted to link ideals, which were put to the forum of the conference by the US president Wilson, with realistic answer to the natural consequences of studying maps. And from his study of maps, he understood that whoever dominates that continent – the great continent which he called EuroAzja and Africa, would dominate the world. This is the famous equation of Mackinder. The central part of that play for the domination of Euroazja is called by him The Hartland, and the Hartland is exactly stretching from Eastern Europe to West Central Azja. So Eastern Europe is a cue region, according to Mackinder. And he stated that is not enough as Alfred Mahan, American geopolitical strategist from previous decades suggested, that for America it is enough to control Rimland, to have Korea, Japan, maybe Italy, maybe France and of course the UK. This is not enough. Because whatever continental powers of Russia, China, at that time China was not that important, but Russia and especially Germany, would take lesson from history and would try to combine their forces. They would be powerfully enough to eliminate the influence of see power, that is the US. In order to make the world save it is not enough present good ideas of freedom or independence of smaller nations but is necessary to act to the new geopolitical construction.

Three See Initiative

My last part of that short presentation is just a quotation from “Democratic Ideas and Reality” 1919. “Victorious western democracies should concentrate their efforts on reconstructing of democratic order, and not just on idealistic premises on the League of Nations. Nor on few titles on bringing Russia or Germany into the post war order based on only good will, or on their own interests. It was necessary to make these two powers greatest of imperials revenge unrealised. The conditions of stability and territorial rearrangement of East Europe is the division which should be into three, and not into two state’s systems. It is a vital necessity that should be a space of independent states between Germany and Russia. The space stretching from Finland, through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and through Poland and Czechoslovakia, as the key element of the system of the way through Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Serbo-Croat Kingdom, to Greece. He suggested that Anglo-Saxon world had to invest in this region in order to make their interest stable in the world, and to make democracy stable in the world.

Of course, after one hundred and five years we can say Germany is completely different than in 1919, but Putin still believes that there is something to which he can appeal, both in Germany, and in France. Not to a new Hitler, but to tendency to change the world and to eliminate America from the front stage of the world. And as long as this tendency exists, I think, we better be aware of it.

And the answer for these challenges, contemporary answer, was found some 7 years ago here in Warsaw, in the forum so-called “Three Seas Initiative” – Treemarium that exactly covers the territory mentioned by Mackinder more then hundred year earlier. That initiative was signed officially and backed by President Trump here in Warsaw in 2017th. Whoever will be the next President of the US I believe should be taken it further seriously as an important answer to stop tendency of Central Euro -Asiatic, Eastern- Asiatic, and European powers that did not stop dreaming about revenge.

Artykuł dodano w następujących kategoriach: Analizy.