On June 4th, the Presidential Palace in Warsaw held a meeting with Professor Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former U.S. National Security Advisor. The discussion was moderated by Michal Baranowski, GMF Warsaw Director, and was part of the series on ‘Ideas of the New Century’ – President Komorowski’s initiative aimed at future generation of leaders and ideological communities.
When asked about the role of the West in the twenty-first century, prof. Brzezinski began by explaining how much the World has changed since he was President Carter’s security adviser. At the time, global security environment was shaped by the possibility of nuclear conflict between two opposing ideologies. He said that twentieth century was probably the last, in which states competed militarily for global hegemony, but notwithstanding present-day slim chances of nuclear warfare, the World is to a larger extent more chaotic, due to “political awakening” of societies in the developing countries.
Prof. Brzezinski argued that China is the U.S. rival, but not an ideological enemy, as was in the case of USSR. China and the U.S. will continue to compete on many fields, but armed conflict between the two is unlikely, as both have already established a degree of interrelation.
Europe, prof. Brzezinski argued, needs to be more transparent when it comes to its strategic vision. It must not limit itself to economy or trade, but have a long-term political strategy. It must also do a better job in Europeanization of its citizens so they do not only perceive it in terms of economic gains, but more in terms of common identity. Poland, as one of the strongest EU members and advocates should maintain good relations with its neighbours (especially Germany and the Nordic-Baltic countries) and play an active role in the wider region.
Prof. Brzezinski has also stressed the importance of a stronger transatlantic relationship. He praised President Obama’s transatlantic trade initiative by saying it is both, strategic and economic in nature. Finally, he argued that it is essential for the future of Europe and the United States to work together to preserve a democratic, rule-based system and to keep a global balance with an economically and militarily expanding Asia.