WARSAW – On March 19, 2015, The German Marshall Fund of the United States and the European Council on Foreign Relations hosted an expert seminar “Transatlantic Strategy Toward Russia.” The workshop gathered eminent guests from both sides of the Atlantic, including researchers and representatives of the Polish, German, and U.S. governments.
During four sessions, the panelists were invited to give their perspective on questions such as Russian strategy, the European security order and the future of the transatlantic strategy in the context of the Ukraine crisis. The concluding dinner featured Dr. Konrad Pawlik, undersecretary of state for Eastern policy at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who summarized the Polish view on the ongoing crisis.
The Ukraine crisis has been a significant setback to the West's philosophy toward Russia that had been dominant throughout the 1990s, and in light of this, the experts agreed that there is an urgent need to foster a common transatlantic strategy toward the Russian Federation. Today, Russian leadership proposes an alternative view on global politics, rejecting the Western principles. In order to counter it, the West needs to stay unified and strengthen its political and military cooperation within the existing structures such as NATO and the EU. However, the West must also address its own ideological shortcomings in order to gain more credibility in the standoff with Russia.
In their concluding remarks, the panelists reiterated that the United States and EU should work closely together to implement a common strategy toward Russia. The Western stance should be a “smart containment,” combining economic and military pressure without ceasing cooperation with Russia on other topics such as Syria or Iran.