Russia can be thrown back East, very far East

Poland faces an unprecedented opportunity to ensure its security for generations, writes Jacek Karnowski, the editor-in-chief of Polish conservative weekly Sieci

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Jacek Karnowski
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office on Monday, April 25, 2022, from left; U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pose for a picture during their meeting Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

We have a historical chance that may not come around again. We, the Poles, but also, all inhabitants of a region placed between Russia and Germany could live to see a moment that until recently was hard to even imagine. With a Russian defeat, we can secure a safe future for the entire generation and possibly even for the next couple of generations.

During the war, which has now been waged for over 60 days, it is easy to forget the stakes on which the battles are being fought — the one in the field, but also in diplomacy, or connected to the sanctions. The stakes are unprecedented.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pointed to this just after his Kyiv trip where he said: “We want Ukraine to be sovereign and able to defend itself, and Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kind of things that it is doing in Ukraine.”

Austin added that the goal of the U.S. is to make Russia unable to quickly recover. “We want to see Ukraine remain a sovereign country, a democratic country able to protect its sovereign territory, we want to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine.

“So, it has already lost a lot of military capability, and a lot of its troops, quite frankly. We want to see them not have the capability to very quickly reproduce that capability,” Austin added.

Moreover, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Russia has already lost when it comes to its main goal of subjugating Ukraine. “We don’t know how the rest of this war will unfold, but we do know that a sovereign, independent Ukraine will be around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin is on the scene. And our support for Ukraine going forward will continue. It will continue until we see final success.”

Today, the Americans are talking as they did about Germany and Japan in World War II, and later during the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. They want to defeat Russia and they are not hiding it. They want to rebuild the geopolitical frames which have stood since the end of World War II, with an important — but not fundamental, as we used to think — change after 1989.

We also got a guarantee that Poland is to be one of the keystones of the new order. “The two leaders [U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the Head of Polish Ministry of Defense Mariusz Błaszczak] also discussed Poland’s robust defense modernization plans, and agreed to work together to help the Polish military become one of the most capable in Europe,” informed John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, after Minister Błaszczak’s visit to the United States.

This is more than just an announcement. It goes well beyond the typical modern equipment sales offer. It is in fact a declaration of making Poland an important military power in Europe.

Of course, the Americans are acting in their own interest; they are weakening a dangerous partner of China in the game for global domination, but they are also showcasing their efficiency and technological capabilities to Beijing. However, our interest in this regard is almost identical.

The year 2022 could play a role in the history books alongside dates such as 1918, 1920, 1945, or 1989. It could mark the start of a new era, in which Europe stops living in permanent fear of the Russian bear, its influence, manipulation, intrigues, and finally the wars unleashed by the Kremlin.

We can throw Russia back far East — physically and metaphorically. It is a chance of historical proportions, and a chance that cannot be wasted.

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