On May 12, 2020, the Polish government released its “National Security Strategy”, a Document that had been submitted to the Presidency of the Republic by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
It makes an in-depth analysis of all Defence and Strategy areas which, in the past, were defined as comprehensive and “global”. It deals with economy, technological defence system, “hybrid” and conventional warfare, Poland’s relationship with its NATO, UN, OSCE and other allies, as well as cybersecurity and the security strategy of Poland’s financial, business and commercial networks in a world which – as the Document itself maintains -is globalised, but is showing “fault lines” and differentiations which will be increasingly relevant in the future.
Nothing to do with Italy’s Defence “White Books”, which seem to be – or probably are – drafted by a “temporary research fellow” of some minor peripheral university.
In other words, in this document Poland defines and analysesits specific and complex “national interest”, at unusual levels of depth for a European country that left the “Warsaw Pact” not so long ago.
It is not enough to invoke the national interest, you must also know it in detail.
The first aspect, together with the loyalty to the Visegrad Group and the “Three SeasInitiative” (also known as Trimarium, as we can Latinise it) is the close relationship with the United States.
To make it clearer, despite the simplistic name, Trimariumis the alliance of as many as twelve countries, ranging from Slovenia, Croatia, the members of the above stated enlarged Visegrad group (Poland first of all, which coincidentally was the promoter of the agreement, as well as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Romania and Bulgaria).
Quite simply, Trimarium was created to physically and politically separate Germany from the Russian Federation.
The idea underlying the Trimarium system, which started for the creation and development of infrastructure, is to remain – rather hypocritically, as can also be seen in the current declarations of the Czech Republic – only within the modestly infrastructural sphere, without geopolitical implications. However, who can believe the story?
Therefore, the idea underlying Trimarium replicates – in different contexts – the idea of Marshal Pilsudski in 1920, who thought that a belt of countries should be created to physically and militarily separate Russia from Germany, which is always porro unum et necessarium of any Russian strategy westwards, be it Soviet Union or a country in diguise.
On the other hand, there is the now stable U.S. idea, dating back to Kissinger and Brzezinsky, the Secretary of State of Polish descent, who theorized the inevitable separation between the Eurasian Landmass and the European peninsula, so as to avoid triggering a Third World War. If the United States does not separate Russia from the Eurasian peninsula, there will be little room for manoeuvre in contemporary geopolitics for the United States. This holds particularly true.
In Marshal Pilsudski’s mind, Trimarium was an inevitable separation between two “quarrelsome” countries.
Moreover, the Trimarium countries have not even particularly bothered the EU, but have only resorted to the usual “enhanced cooperation” procedures, without causing too much trouble in a system like the EU’s, which is focused only on the economy – without even being successful – and, as always happens in these cases, fails precisely where it concentrates its greatest efforts.
Some Trimarium members have also signed bilateral and autonomous agreements with Ukraine for the defence of its territory, but this still happens above all with Poland, which trains many Ukrainian forces, supports its secret services and also directly manages Ukrainian strategic positions.
Furthermore, millions of Ukrainians immigrate to Poland. This creates special and stable political and economic relations.
With pensions, reunited families, schools attended by Ukrainian children and trade that are now such as to counterbalance the economic cycle – almost exclusively energy-based – between Russia and Ukraine.
Apart from its covert operations in Ukraine and in the rest of the world, Poland anyway wants to further pursue the policy of “open doors” for Ukraine into NATO. It supports the arrival of Ukrainian armed forces within NATO by the end of 2020 – as stated, however, but not verified yet.
The problem is that Trimarium is a project for containing the Russian Federation, which has been expanding for centuries towards Europe and the Mediterranean “warm seas” but also, Germany and hence directly the EU, especially in terms of infrastructure.
However, after the very special relationship with the United States, which went as far as to want to name a U.S. military position in Poland Camp Trump, as requested in 2019 to the U.S. Presidential Administration.
The United States, at first, and then the EU. Poland does not compromise on this. It is not negotiable – and with good reason.
Camp Trump, however, will not materialize, but in the meantime 1,000 U.S. soldiers, rotating with Germany, will be stationed in Poland to organize the autonomous networks of drones against the post-Soviet area.
Poland, however, has offered to the United States a future Fort Trump for 4,500 soldiers, paying alone 2 million U.S. dollars approximately.
The “Bucharest Nine” (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary) and other possible and future groupings ad rationem, however, partially separated from Trimarium since, according to official documents, there was no mention of security.
Trimarium, always in Polish strategic hands, is worth 105 million people and a joint GDP of 2.8 trillion euros.
The Visegrad Four (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) already have a higher GDP than France.
The current Polish market, however, is larger than that of the entire Russian Federation.
If we focus only on economic matters – as the EU is used to do – the strategic and geoeconomic problem of Trimarium is already huge, and we must particularly thank the cunning leaders of its Member States for having avoided the noise resulting from an explicit and clearly anti-Russian or, possibly indirectly, extra- or anti-German strategic agreement.
Obviously all this creates a strategic – or at least geopolitical – entity alien to the EU policy line.
Hence a more stable and stronger alliance than the one currently maintained by the most important European countries precisely with the United States. This is currently Poland’s “North Star”.
The other pillar is the close cooperation between Poland and Central European countries, ranging from the above-mentioned “Bucharest Nine” to the “Weimar Triangle”, consisting of Poland, Germany and France, which was created in 1991 and is characterized by a meeting held every year between their three Heads of State.
So far the “Triangle” has been a disappointment for Poland.
In 2003, France and Germany failed to make Poland oppose the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It was their interest, not Poland’s.
The Triangle also failed in 2005, when the E.U. and Russia agreed to build the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which bypassed Poland. The same happened also during the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, when the Polish and French Presidents competed to be the first to arrive in Tbilisi.
The real and definitive break in the Triangle occurred when the then Polish President, Lech Kaczynsky, cancelled a Triangle Summit because he had been offended by a cartoon about him published in a German newspaper.
In this strategic Document – reading between the lines, but also very clearly – Poland wants to directly strengthen the sovereignty of Moldova, Georgia and obviously Ukraine, but – again between the lines-also of Nagorno-Karabakh.
As explicitly said in the Document, the Russian Federation is always the main danger for Poland, while it is also noted that Russia increases – beyond the normal level of presence and deployment – both conventional troops and above all the structures, organizations and networks operating according to the rules of hybrid warfare conceived probably by General Gerasimov, as well as by the long and wise chain of Russian experts in this particular all-pervasive modelof war – “without limits”, like the parallel Chinese systems – but, above all, “without final time”.
For NATO, on the other hand, enemy hybrid operations can be countered only from the individual country affected – a sort of suspension of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty – but collective reactions against hybrid threats are only within the classical projects of collective defence.
In 2018 – hence too late – the Atlantic Alliance created counter hybrid support teams providing selective support to the Allies, upon request, to “prepare” them against hybrid threats.
For NATO, the hybrid threats are all within “psychological warfare” and propaganda. If only it were so.
Exactly what has nothing to do with the operations envisaged by the Gerasimov Doctrine (that, in fact, started at the beginning in the mind of Yevgeny Primakov, a KGB operative like Putin but, above all, a great expert on the Middle East). In any case, the current Russian doctrine of hybrid warfare makes use of some basic principles:
a) the search for a multipolar world – also with multiple and simultaneous clash – with the “gathering”, under Russia’s umbrella, of many intermediate powers capable of stopping the U.S. unipolar temptations;
b) Russia must integrate all the post-Soviet area under its power and manage the new integration in its old Warsaw Pact area and probably even in other countries. Serbia, for example, but also Albania, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, probably even parts of Southern Italy and obviously coastal Libya and part of Sinai. All is still in mente dei, but it is an option.
(c) Hence Russia’s fierce opposition to any attempt to expand/stabilise NATO. This is the real issue that the Polish strategists now have in mind.
According to Polish analysts and decision-makers, Russia mainly operates through the area of Kaliningrad-Koenigsberg, the old city of Immanuel Kant, and above all with the Russian Anti-Access/Denial Area systems – a defensive system developed precisely by the United States, which uses different kinds of defensive layers to protect the land, air and sea dimensions of Defence, so as to block the advance of enemy troops in any case.
As in the hybrid warfare typical of the post-Soviet tradition, this does not rule out the use of proxies, terrorists, paramilitary groups and even criminal organizations.
However, this is not written in NATO texts. Puritanism can be tricky and plays tricks.
A strategy that the United States had built as early as 2001, with China as its main target.
The Polish Document also speaks -at length – of the cyber threats and the now extraordinary strength of the Russian soft power throughout the Eastern system which – as seen above – Poland wants to hegemonize, alone or with marginal allies, with a renewed “Pilsudski’s doctrine”.
This will also lead to major problems for a brainless and empty global European strategy.
The central idea developed in the Polish Document is – or rather would be – an excellent idea also for Italy: coordination of national security with all the other already existing public or private security systems, which would in any case be a mechanism linked to the Council of Ministers and with the direct involvement of the Speakers of the Chamber of Deputies (Sejm) and the Senate.
The Polish Document makes an excellent analysis of the general procedures of transformation between the economy and the social organisation of peace and war, with sure and, above all, quick and invisible mechanisms. This transformation, however, should be as quick and painless as possible. These are procedures we should also study in Italy.
Excellent food for thought, but we can rest assured that nothing will be done about it in Italy.
Either we drink from the sources of River Lethe – which in Greek mythology was the river of oblivion, forgetfulness and concealment – or we believe that, in a strategic context like the present one, a “white knight” will always come to save us, perhaps without asking us anything in return. Quos Deus lose vult, dementat.
With specific reference to the Polish Armed Forces, the Document talks about soon reaching 2.25% of GDP for military spending.
Training to a “multi-domain” scenario is being prepared also for the Polish troops, unlike the Italian ones. In this scenario the denial of a use domain for the civil or military opponent has, however, ripple effects on other domains.
Just think about the possible integration – as adverse action – of e-commerce with phone systems, GPS, road navigation or commercial aviation.
Hence the definition of future war as a whole of government approach, while the multi-domain strategy (MDO) is the series of operations triggered against a flexible opponent with many options at the same time.
The MDO actions are always synchronized between the various levels and they always create strategic dilemmas for the opponent. They operate simultaneously in different domains and are often not directly related to each other.
We are already well beyond the old network-centric warfare and, therefore, the Document we are talking about will lead Poland to build an integrated satellite system, a network of air vehicles capable of operating within a network and with simultaneous operations, as well as an additional anti-aircraft and anti-tank missile network, especially long-range. All of them will obviously be interconnected.
Poland will also have its own Cyber Defence Force, integrated into the above-mentioned network and into the Intelligence Services.
Which are the internal threats for Poland? As the document shows, first and foremost immigration. Poland weighs also the strategic effects of this phenomenon, not only those concerning the patronizing and charitable attitude of jet setters and socialites.
The issue had already been highlighted, in the same terms, in the 2014 Document.
There is also the protection of Polish identity and national heritage.
In the future Poland will benefit from as much as 63 billion euros, under the Von der Leyen Plan totalling 750 billion euros. In any case, the careful management of public budget and accounts in Poland currently makes it a safe and stable ally for the EU, in clear competition with Italy, Greece, Spain and France, in the near future.
Europe tells Biden “no way” to Cold War with China
Amidst the first big transatlantic tensions for the Biden Administration, a new poll shows that the majority of Europeans see a new Cold War happening between the United States and China, but they don’t see themselves as a part of it.
Overwhelmingly, 62% of Europeans believe that the US is engaged in a new Cold War against China, a new poll just released by the European Council on Foreign Relations found. Just yesterday US President Joe Biden claimed before the UN General Assembly that there is no such thing and the US is not engaging in a new Cold War. So, Europeans see Biden’s bluff and call him on it.
The study was released on Wednesday by Mark Leonard and Ivan Krastev at the European Council on Foreign Relations and found that Europeans don’t see themselves as direct participants in the US-China Cold War. This viewpoint is most pronounced in Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Portugal and Italy, according to the study. The prevailing view, in each of the 12 surveyed EU member states, is one of irrelevance – with respondents in Hungary (91%), Bulgaria (80%), Portugal (79%), and Austria (78%) saying that their country is not in a conflict with Beijing.
Only 15% of Europeans believe that the EU is engaged in a Cold War against China. The percentage is so low that one wonders if there should even be such a question. It is not only not a priority, it is not even a question on the agenda for Europeans. Even at the highest point of EU “hawkishness”, only 33% of Swedes hold the view that their country is currently in a Cold War with China. Leonard and Krastev warn that if Washington and Brussels are preparing for an all-in generational struggle against China, this runs against the grain of opinion in Europe, and leaders in Washington and Brussels will quickly discover that they “do not have a societal consensus behind them”.
“The European public thinks there is a new cold war – but they don’t want to have anything to do with it. Our polling reveals that a “cold war” framing risks alienating European voters”, Mark Leonard said.
The EU doesn’t have the backing of its citizens to follow the US in its new Cold War pursuit. But unlike the views of the authors of the study, my view is that this is not a transatlantic rift that we actually have to be trying to fix. Biden’s China policy won’t be Europe’s China policy, and that’s that, despite US efforts to persuade Europe to follow, as I’ve argued months ago for the Brussels Report and in Modern Diplomacy.
In March this year, Gallup released a poll that showed that 45% of Americans see China as the greatest US enemy. The poll did not frame the question as Cold War but it can be argued that Joe Biden has some mandate derived from the opinion of American people. That is not the case for Europe at all, to the extent that most of us don’t see “China as an enemy” even as a relevant question.
The US’s China pursuit is already giving horrible for the US results in Europe, as French President Macron withdrew the French Ambassador to the US. The US made a deal already in June, as a part of the trilateral partnership with the UK and Australia, and stabbed France in the back months ago to Macron’s last-minute surprise last week. Max Boot at the Council on Foreign Relations argues that it is Macron that is actually arrogant to expect that commitments and deals should mean something: “Back in February, Macron rejected the idea of a U.S.-E.U. common front against China. Now he complains when America pursues its own strategy against China. What’s French for chutzpah?” What Boot does get right is that indeed, there won’t be a joint US-EU front on China, and European citizens also don’t want this, as the recent poll has made clear.
The US saying Europe should follow the US into a Cold War with China over human rights is the same thing as China saying that Europe should start a Cold War with the US over the bad US human rights record. It’s not going to happen. You have to understand that this is how ridiculous the proposition sounds to us, Europeans. Leonard and Krastev urge the EU leadership to “make the case for more assertive policies” towards China around European and national interests rather than a Cold War logic, so that they can sell a strong, united, and compelling case for the future of the Atlantic alliance to European citizens.
I am not sure that I agree, as “more assertive policies” and “cold war” is probably the same thing in the mind of most Europeans and I don’t think that the nuance helps here or matters at all. Leaders like Biden argue anyway that the US is not really pursuing a Cold War. The authors caution EU leaders against adopting a “cold war” framing. You say “framing”, I say “spin”. Should we be in engaging in spins at all to sell unnecessary conflict to EU citizens only to please the US?
“Unlike during the first cold war, [Europeans] do not see an immediate, existential threat”, Leonard clarified. European politicians can no longer rely on tensions with China to convince the electorate of the value of transatlantic relations. “Instead, they need to make the case from European interests, showing how a rebalanced alliance can empower and restore sovereignty to European citizens in a dangerous world”, Mark Leonard added. The study shows that there is a growing “disconnect” between the policy ambitions of those in Brussels and how Europeans think. EU citizens should stick to their sentiments and not be convinced to look for conflict where it doesn’t exist, or change what they see and hear with their own eyes and ears in favor of elusive things like the transatlantic partnership, which the US itself doesn’t believe in anyways. And the last thing that should be done is to scare Europeans by convincing them they live in a “dangerous world” and China is the biggest threat or concern.
What the study makes clear is that a Cold War framing against China is likely to repel more EU voters than it attracts, and if there is one thing that politicians know it is that you have to listen to the polls in what your people are telling you instead of engaging in spins. Those that don’t listen in advance get the signs eventually. At the end of the day it’s not important what Biden wants.
Germany and its Neo-imperial quest
In January 2021, eight months ago, when rumours about the possibility of appointment of Christian Schmidt as the High Representative in Bosnia occurred for the first time, I published the text under the title ‘Has Germany Lost Its NATO Compass?’. In this text I announced that Schmidt was appointed to help Dragan Čović, the leader of the Croatian HDZ party, to disrupt the constitutional structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina and create precoditions for secession of the Serb- and Croatian-held territories in Bosnia and the country’s final dissolution. I can hardly add anything new to it, except for the fact that Schmidt’s recent statements at the conference of Deutsche Atlantische Gesellschaft have fully confirmed my claims that his role in Bosnia is to act as Čović’s ally in the latter’s attempts to carve up the Bosnian Constitution.
Schmidt is a person with a heavy burden, the burden of a man who has continuously been promoting Croatian interests, for which the Croatian state decorated him with the medal of “Ante Starčević”, which, in his own words, he “proudly wears” and shares with several Croatian convicted war criminals who participated in the 1992-1995 aggression on Bosnia, whom Schmidt obviously perceives as his ideological brethren. The question is, then, why Germany appointed him as the High Representative in Bosnia?
Germany’s policy towards Bosnia, exercised mostly through the institutions of the European Union, has continuously been based on the concept of Bosnia’s ethnic partition. The phrases that we can occassionaly hear from the EU, on inviolability of state boundaries in the Balkans, is just a rhetoric adapted to the demands by the United States to keep these boundaries intact. So far, these boundaries have remained intact mainly due to the US efforts to preserve them. However, from the notorious Lisbon Conference in February 1992 to the present day, the European Union has always officially stood behind the idea that Bosnia-Herzegovina should be partitioned along ethnic lines. At the Lisbon Conference, Lord Carrington and Jose Cutileiro, the official representatives of the then European Community, which has in the meantime been rebranded as the European Union, drew the maps with lines of ethnic partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina, along which the ethnic cleansing was committed, with 100.000 killed and 1,000.000 expelled, so as to make its territory compatible with their maps. Neither Germany nor the European Union have ever distanced themselves from the idea they promoted and imposed at the Lisbon Conference as ‘the only possible solution’ for Bosnia, despite the grave consequences that followed. Nor has this idea ever stopped being a must within their foreign policy circles, as it has recently been demonstrated by the so-called Janša Non-Paper, launched a couple of months ago, which also advocates the final partition and dissolution of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Such a plan is probably a product of the powerful right-wing circles in the European institutions, such as Schmidt’s CSU, rather than a homework of Janez Janša, the current Prime Minister of Slovenia, whose party is a part of these circles, albeit a minor one. To be sure, Germany is not the original author of the idea of Bosnia’s partition, this author is Great Britain, which launched it directly through Lord Carrington at the Lisbon Conference. Yet, Germany has never shown a will to distance itself from this idea, nor has it done the European Union. Moreover, the appointment of Schmidt, as a member of those political circles which promote ethnic partition as the only solution for multiethnic countries, testifies to the fact that Germany has decided to fully apply this idea and act as its chief promoter.
In this process, the neighbouring countries, Serbia and Croatia, with their extreme nationalist policies, can only act as the EU’s proxies, in charge for the physical implemenation of Bosnia’s pre-meditated disappearance. All the crimes that Serbia and Croatia committed on the Bosnian soil – from the military aggression, over war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide, up to the 30 year-long efforts to undermine Bosnia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – have always had a direct approval and absolute support of the leading EU countries. During the war and in its aftermath, Great Britain and France were the leaders of the initiatives to impose ethnic partition on the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and now Germany has taken up their role. In such a context, the increasing aggressiveness of Serbia and Croatia can only be interpreted as a consequence of the EU’s intention to finish with Bosnia for good, and Schmidt has arrived to Bosnia to facilitate that process. Therefore, it is high time for the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina to abandon any ilussions about the true intentions of the European Union and reject its Trojan Horse in the form of the current High Representative.
Should there be an age limit to be President?
The presidential elections in Bulgaria are nearing in November 2021 and I would like to run for President of Bulgaria, but the issue is the age limit.
To run for President in Bulgaria a candidate needs to be at least 40 years old and I am 37. I am not the first to raise the question: should there be an age limit to run for President, and generally for office, and isn’t an age limit actually age discrimination?
Under the international human rights law standard, putting an age limit is allowed in the context of political participation under the right to vote and the right to run to be elected. Human Rights Committee General Comment No.25 interpreting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that an age limit has to be based on objective and reasonable criteria, adding that it is reasonable to have a higher age requirement for certain offices. As it stands, the law says that having an age limit for president is not age discrimination, but is 40 actually a reasonable cut-off? National legislations can change. We need to lower the age limit and rethink what’s a reasonable age for President, and not do away with all age limits.
We have seen strong leaders emerge as heads of state and government who are below 40 years of age. Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of Finland, became Prime Minister at 34. Sebastrian Kurz, the Prime Minister of Austria, was elected at 31. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, assumed her position at 37. So perhaps it is time to rethink age limits for the highest offices.
The US has plenty of examples where elected Senators and Congressmen actually beat the age limit and made it despite the convention. The age limit for Senator in the US is 30 years old. Rush Holt was elected to the US Senate at 29. In South Carolina, two State Senators were elected at 24 years old and they were seated anyways. The age limit for US president is 35 years old.
In Argentina, the age cut-off is 30. In India, it is 35. In Pakistan, it is 45 years old. In Turkey, it is 40 years old. Iceland says 35 years old. In France, it is 18.
Generally, democracies set lower age limits. More conservative countries set the age limit higher in line with stereotypes rather than any real world evidence that a 45 year-old or 55 year-old person would be more effective and better suited to the job. Liberal countries tend to set lower age limits.
40 years old to be a President of Bulgaria seems to be an arbitrary line drawn. And while it is legal to have some age limits, 40 years old seems to be last century. Changing the age limit for president of Bulgaria could be a task for the next Bulgarian Parliament for which Bulgarians will also vote on the same date as they vote for President.
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