Full transcript of the Atlantic Council’s Third Annual Bronislaw Geremek Lecture, delivered by former President Aleksander Kwasniewski and former National Security Advisor General Jim Jones.
The 2013 Annual Bronislaw Geremek Lecture
Welcome and Moderator:
President and Chief Executive Officer,
Atlantic Council of the United States
H.E. Aleksander Kwasniewski,
Former President of Poland;
General James M. Jones Jr., USMC (Ret.),
Chair, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security
The Madison Hotel,
1177 15th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
Time: 5:30 p.m. EST
Date: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Federal News Service
FREDERICK KEMPE: Welcome to you all. Welcome, President Kwasniewski, General Jones, Ambassador Schnepf, members of the diplomatic corps, members of the Atlantic Council Board – we have quite a few this evening – members of the Atlantic Council, ladies and gentlemen – and by saying that, I don’t mean the other people I listed weren’t ladies and gentlemen.
I’m Fred Kempe; I’m president of the Atlantic Council. And it’s my great pleasure to welcome you to one of our – my favorite things that we do in the entire year, the third annual Bronislaw Geremek lecture. And it’s not only my favorite event because of the subject matter of it, democracy and freedom, but because I was quite close to Professor Geremek, and he was, in many ways, a mentor to me when I was a young journalist at the Wall Street Journal trying to understand what was going on in Poland and Central and Eastern Europe during the time of Solidarity.
This is a very good evening to talk about the issues Professor Geremek cared about most. As he put it to me often, the job of freedom is never done. Yesterday marked the 80th anniversary of the German Reichstag fire, February 27th, 1933, an arson’s blaze that ignited one of history’s ugliest stories of democracy gone bad and the global consequences. Adolf Hitler exploited the fire, which Nazis claimed was set by a blind, handicapped Dutch Communist bricklayer, to transform Germany into a militarized dictatorship. That set in the motion the Third Reich, World War II, the Holocaust, 60 million deaths, 2.5 percent of the world population at that time. And of course, the Cold War followed, which kept millions of Europeans and all of Poland under Soviet oppression.
History doesn’t repeat itself, as Mark Twain has famously said, but does rhyme. As Carl Gershman, head of the National Endowment for Democracy, told me this week, perhaps the most powerful parallel between 1933 and 2013 is political and economic weakness of the West and our self-absorption and tendency toward isolationism while dangers grow around the world.
Now, as then, democracy’s most prominent representatives in U.S. and Europe are in political disarray and economic distress. At such times, Western elites tend to turn inward, disengaging from global responsibility and underestimating the potential ripples from democratic setbacks in faraway places.
Freedom House, in its annual report on political rights and civil liberties, said 2012 marked the seventh consecutive year in which countries with declines in civil rights and political liberties outnumbered those with improvements. Events in the Middle East have dramatized two competing trends: demands for change pushed forward by popular democratic movements; and authoritarian response that combines intransigence and strategic adaptability. These are the battle lines of the present.
In 2009, we launched this lecture series in partnership with the government of Poland and the Embassy of Poland to honor an extraordinary man and his life of commitment to freedom of democracy and to monitor the current state of freedom and democracy in Europe, the United States and the world. We also see this as intricately connected with our Freedom awards each year at the Vrotslav Global Forum, which we organize in cooperation with Polish partners, including the foreign ministry, the Polish Institute for International Affairs. This year, it will be June 13th and 14th, and we’ve always worked together with the – with the U.S. Embassy in Poland. And I’m very happy to see the outgoing ambassador, Lee Feinstein, here. And we’ll be working with your successors, Ambassador Steve Mull. He and Ambassador Schnepf will be the honorary co-chairs of the awards just as, Lee, you were honorary co-chair in previous years. Thank you so much, Lee, for everything you did for the Vrotslav Global Forum and for Poland and U.S. relations.
As many of you know, Bronislaw Geremek was a great leader of the Solidarity movement, a former Polish minister of foreign affairs, an architect and founding father of a modern and democratic Poland and Europe. He was also a friend and mentor to some of us in this room. I’ll tell you just one brief story about him.
I had many conversations with him in his attic in Old Town during the Solidarity period, during martial law when he wasn’t in prison, and also Warsaw, Vilnius, Brussels, elsewhere. I remember meeting him in Vilnius in 2000, May 2000, when the Vilnius 10 was being created, and he was trying to expand this group into Vilnius 11. He wanted Ukraine to be part of this. He was visionary then and – as he was throughout his life. He knew the historic moment needed to be seized. He was ahead of his time. Sadly, it didn’t happen then.
I told him that his Old Town apartment, where he lived during the Solidarity days, should have a historic plaque for all that was achieved there. He was touched, and he immediately called his wife and handed me the phone. Only after – and I had to tell her what I had to – I had just said. Only after the call did he explain that he still lived in that small apartment, and he was deploying me to resist his wife’s pressure to move to more comfortable quarters. (Laughter.) That captures his modesty, his humor and his sense of strategic moment. (Laughter.)
We’re very honored to work with the Polish Embassy on this project. Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf is a great supporter of this initiative, a great friend of democracy in Poland – he’s played his own role in these historic events. And we’re delighted to have him with us tonight. I’d also like to thank our friends at the Polish Embassy, and particularly Monica Liperzova (sp) who we’ve been working with very, very closely throughout this whole process to make this event a memorable one. So thank you very much for all that.
The Geremek lecture has been delivered by distinguished figures who share Professor Geremek’s principles: Madeleine Albright, Radek Sikorski, John McCain. We’ve really established this at a good level, and we’re holding it there tonight.
I’m delighted that President Aleksander Kwasniewski, having just flown from Kiev, landed at 2 p.m. earlier today – I was about to give him a can of Red Bull (laughter) – and was in Astana before that. But thank you so much for braving delays in air flights and missed flights in Frankfurt to be with us this evening. And then General Jim Jones, both great friends of the Atlantic Council.
Whether through his – and I’ll introduce them later before their – before their comments and then we’ll get to Q&A – whether through his years of service to Solidarity and to Lech Walesa as a crucial adviser or by the signing of the agreement in 1999 that brought Poland into NATO, or by working toward Poland’s EU membership, Professor Geremek used every stage of his life to first fight for and then develop a free and democratic Poland, and then a freer and more democratic full Europe, whole and free.
Europe is no longer at war, but flames are burning as the struggle for freedom continues in other parts of the world – streets of Damascus, mountains of Afghanistan, deserts of Mali – under the shadow of a North Korean dictator. In each of those places, we are constantly reminded that democracy and freedom are both sacred and fragile, and there are fewer, more important bilateral relationships than the U.S.-Polish relationship in this struggle. It’s for that reason we established this lecture series and our Freedom Awards.
So ladies and gentlemen, with that, it’s my pleasure to invite to the stage Ambassador Schnepf, who serves his country with such great distinction. It’s a testament to how Poland sees the U.S. relationship that it has sent someone of such great experience, incredible qualifications and such a creative, creative diplomat. He’s been ambassador to Spain, Uruguay, Paraguay, Costa Rica when he served six other countries from Costa Rica. Ambassador Schnepf. (Applause.)
AMBASSADOR RYSZARD SCHNEPF: Mr. President, General, distinguished guests and friends, dear friend, as you could notice, we – Fred and I – we are wearing tonight the same colors without previous consultation. Just a case. But this is a pure sign for excellent cooperation between Atlantic Council and Polish Embassy and the personal friendship. And thank you very much, Fred, for your kind and very special words that I don’t deserve.
Thank you to all of you for joining us this evening for an extraordinary event as we pay tribute to one of the – of my personal heroes, Professor Bronislaw Geremek. I remember Professor Geremek very well as I reflect on time I spent at the Institute of History in Warsaw as a young scholar. He was strolling down the corridors, usually absent-minded, with his pipe and beard, very characteristic man. At the time, it was easy to assume that he was contemplating about medieval France, probably. Not one of us, or only a few of us, imagined that he – that instead, he was drawing plans for the future of Poland and the future of a democratic Europe. He dedicated his life to establish and fight for a democratic Poland, a democratic Europe and a democratic world. His legacy will remain incomplete and unfulfilled as long as these goals and aspirations are not achieved.
It is fitting, therefore, that the Atlantic Council provides yet another opportunity to address democracy promotion, an issue that was so close to Professor Geremek’s heart. So allow me to thank – to say thanks to you, Atlantic Council. I thank you, Fred, for all your work you’ve done that guided us here.
As we look across the world, democracy remains as valid and relevant as it was over 20 years ago during Poland’s and Eastern Europe’s struggle to rid itself of the communist yoke. Now it is the people of North Africa, the Middle East as well as Eastern Europe who remind us every day that a struggle for democracy is not yet complete nor guaranteed.
The struggle to obtain the freedoms demands our attention and full support. Where better to address this problem than here in the United States, where the full, modern democracy was born? It is here, after all, that President Lincoln underlined that democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.
So I am especially pleased that joining us today are two champions of the democracy who have committed themselves to helping those who continue to yearn for it: President Kwasniewski, who joined fellow Ukrainians during the Independence Square in Kiev celebration, January 2005, marking the end of the Orange Revolution, and General James Jones, who, alongside President Obama, forged this concept of democracy across the globe.
Therefore it is my great honor to address all of you this evening not only as a Polish ambassador but more importantly, as a person who witnessed the historical change in our part of the world and wishes best to those who still are awaiting better times to come. The future of Ukraine, Poland’s neighboring country, is attracting our attention for obvious reasons. We have encouraged our Ukrainian friends to show their commitment to building a deep and sustainable democracy. I’m hopeful that over the next month, Ukrainian authorities will do everything they can to secure Ukraine’s place in Europe and will use this historic opportunity to make a leap in EU-Ukraine relations.
Let me conclude by stating that Central and Eastern Europe should remain a key element of an ambitious political EU-U.S. partnership. Bringing to an end the economic and political transformation of Ukraine should remain high on this agenda. EU is a natural leader, but the U.S. has an important role to play as well as and – as well and should not neglect this responsibility. Its leadership and engagement in this part of the world is always welcomed and needed.
Thank you very much for your attention. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: Thank you, Ambassador, and thank you so much for your friendship and partnership in this and other initiatives.
Let me use this opportunity also, Mr. Ambassador, given your Latin American background, to announce here – and this is the first time we’ve done this publicly – that we looked at a map, and we noticed that the Atlantic also wash ups (sic) on Latin America’s shores. And so we have decided to expand the Atlantic Council to Latin America.
And so I want to use this opportunity to acknowledge the presence of Adrienne Arsht, member of the Atlantic Council board, philanthropist, banker, businesswoman extraordinaire, who is the founder of this newest initiative, the Adrienne Arsht Center of – for Latin America – the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. We worked a lot on how we were going to do it. That’s the way it is: the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. I want to – I hope you’ll stand and let us all thank you for your vision and generosity. (Applause.)
And it’s fitting that we talk about that tonight, because the center is going to focus on building a strong partnership based on values among Latin America, United States and Europe as equal partners working together on common – issues of common concern. So thank you for your leadership, your friendship and your – once – when Adrienne starts a project, before you know it, the entire city and half of the planet is involved in it, so it’s really been a great experience.
It’s now my great pleasure to introduce our speakers tonight, President Kwasniewski and General Jones, and we’re delighted people of such stature have agreed to deliver tonight’s lecture. President Kwasniewski is a founding member of the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council, which was created in 2007. General Jones, who previously served as the council’s chairman before he joined President Obama’s team as national security adviser, returned to the council as the chairman of our Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security.
We like having practitioners at the Atlantic Council in senior positions. These are practitioners. Thank you, gentlemen, for your leadership and everything you do for the council.
President Kwasniewski is one of the most prominent political figures in Poland and, I would say, in the last years of European history. He played an active role in the negotiation of the landmark Polish Round Table Agreement and co-authored and signed into law the Polish constitution in 1997. While at the Wall Street Journal, I did an interview, actually one of the first interviews with President Kwasniewski after he became president – was elected president, and I said – we had a wide-ranging, excellent interview, and I said, well, what do you want to achieve while you’re in office? And he said, oh, I think I’ll bring Poland into NATO and into the European Union. And as I was scribbling that down, I remember thinking in my head, yeah, sure. (Laughter.)
But like so much of what President Kwasniewski puts his mind to, he did it and thus wrote important pages of European history. He now serves as chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation and president of the Foundation Amicus Europae, an organization that promote inter-European as well as trans-Atlantic cooperation. He’s also the co-chair, importantly tonight, along with former European Parliament President Pat Cox, of the European Union’s effort to monitor the legal proceedings against former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Welcome, Mr. President, and thank you for coming from the other side of the ocean. Before you take the stage, let me introduce General Jones so you can go one right after the other.
General Jones has held a range of offices at the highest levels of military command in U.S. government. For 40 years, he served the United States Marine Corps in military operations around the world, along with commanding posts in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a tour of duty as supreme allied commander Europe and of commander, U.S. European Command.
After retiring from the military in 2007, General Jones finally got a really important job. He became chairman of the Atlantic Council Board and was named special envoy for the Middle East security by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. President Obama appointed him as his first national security adviser, an office he held through 2010.
General Jones now serves as chairman of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, and he’s one of our nation’s most important advocates on the need for an effective and coordinated energy policy, and he’ll talk about some of that tonight.
So it’s our pleasure to welcome General Jones back to the Atlantic Council. We look forward to hearing his thoughts on the opportunities and challenges Europe faces as it seeks to meet its goals of energy security, competitiveness and sustainable development.
President Kwasniewski and General Jones will first deliver brief remarks, and then the question-and-answer – question will follow. Mr. President, the floor is yours. (Applause.)
ALEKSANDER KWASNIEWSKI: Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, excellencies, it’s a pleasure to be in Washington again. I see a lot of my good friends here in this room, and I’m very grateful for you that you are with me. And it’s honor for me, also, to be invited for this, I can say, traditional Atlantic Council Bronislaw Geremek lecture.
Bronislaw Geremek was one of the most important person in the history of our country in the last some decades. I met him first time personally during round-table talks, ’89. And I remember very well his extraordinary role which he played, being one of the two most important advisers of Lech Walesa of Solidarity side in round-table talks; the second one was Tadeusz Mazowiecki. And discussion with Bronislaw Geremek was from very beginning not only interesting, not only very exciting; it was like a(n) intellectual adventure. It was with – full of information, of knowledge but also sense of humor and very special responsibility, political responsibility.
And when I remember Geremek, that for me, he was from the very beginning, from our first meeting in Warsaw, not only very strong Polish patriot; he was really maybe the strongest European patriot. He was a man who believes very much in European values, in European ideas, in idea of European integration. And today, when we discuss the future of Europe, of our political project of integration, it’s necessary to understand the – Bronislaw Geremek and his efforts and his contribution to these successes which we achieved as European community.
Geremek was very special person in Poland. And I fully agree with Madeleine Albright, who described once that Geremek, I quote, is a Polish national treasure. Really, he was national treasure, and his heritage is still so important for all Polish democrats, the people with European thinking, with European ambitions and the people who believe that the best future of all of us is connected with European integration.
Dear friends, this introduction should be very brief, and I like such situation. It’s – the first request of Fred was, let’s say something about Europe, Ukraine, Russia. And finally, I know that it – everything should be very brief. But I’m prepared for such situation because as a politician, I participated in many such debates, in interviews. Especially during the campaign, it was quite typical that’s – a debate after one hour is close to the end. And finally, the journalist, the moderator of this discussion ask, well, Mr. Kwasniewski, now you have 20 second; tell us something about our relationship with Russia. (Laughter.) I think that is really good idea to speak in 20 seconds about our relations with Russia. But I will try to say very brief about three or maybe four elements of – which we can continue in our Q-and-A part of the meeting.
The first – I have a – some important news for you. After everything what happened last months and weeks and days in European Union, I have a message from Europe I just came some hours before to Washington: Dear friends, European Union will survive. And this is very important because it shows that USA, you have a strong (partner ?) in Europe, and I’m sure that after this crisis, which is quite complicated and painful, European Union not only will exist but will be even in some elements stronger, more integrated and deeper integrated.
Of course, this opinion can be a little bit strange if you see the result of Italian election last days. But I’m sure that even in Italy, in this very difficult landscape after the election, it’s possible to find solution which will support this better future of European Union and not to complicate the situation inside our community.
In my opinion, two elements are after the crisis – because the crisis is still the problem number one, but I think the methods which we are using in European Union are correct, and we made visible progress. Of course, we are still afraid about the future of our economy, of slowdown of economy in many European countries. But in longer term, when we speak not about crisis now but we want to see the vision of our situation after the crisis, I see two elements as the most important, and they look better and better.
The chance for EU is connected very much with deeper integration. It means stronger European institutions, more common policies, not less. And generally speaking, that sounds good, is a good slogan: We need more Europe and not less Europe; we need more integration, not less. And I think everything what happened last month as a – to some extent as a result of crisis, that is right – they are right steps and the right way: fiscal pact, more integration in the banking system, a lot of open doors for new members of eurozone, including such country as Poland, for example, and strengthening of some European institutions.
And also what is – what is good for us, the second element, is open doors for new partners in our continent. Maybe for sure, you know the last statement Chancellor Merkel concerning Turkey. I think that is very important signal that Germany is ready to change on politics towards Turkey and to open some chances, first of all, to speed up the negotiations with Turkey, which are quite – they have a long history, but secondly, to find some concept of deeper and closer integration of Turkey with European Union.
And the second important element of this idea of open doors for our partners is last Ukrainian and European summit, which took place in Brussels, 25th of February. I think joint statement, which was signed by president of Ukraine and Barroso and Van Rompuy is evidence that Europe is extremely interested to see to the end of this year Ukraine as a(n) associated country with EU. And despite all troubles, despite all the problems which I will – I will – about – I will speak a little bit later. So generally speaking, Europe is prepared for active eastern partnership policy to accept Ukraine as a – as a(n) associated member and, of course, to discuss all the problems which is necessary with our partners how to reach – how to achieve these goals.
The second short information is the partner – and the element which we have to see as a very important factor of the situation in the region is the policy of Russia. And of course, if we discuss the policy of President Putin, it’s easy to say that the main goal of Russian politics today is to establish Euro-Asian union and to have in this Eurasian union, which will be organized on the base of a custom union existing now – a custom union of three countries: Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia – on the base of custom union, to have Euro-Asian union, including Ukraine. Everything what is going now in – is a really very strong pressure from Russian side and Ukraine, especially in economy. That is still the problem of the highest in euro prices for gas. This is a problem of a lot of – (harder ?) for Ukrainian export to Russia last month. That is a lot of elements of so-called soft methods, but also hard methods. We have in Ukraine today very strong and well-paid propaganda, well-financed propaganda in favor of a custom union, which is organized by some organizations very much connected with Russia.
And – but it’s something worth thinking about, the future of our region is necessary to know. For Russian Federation, Ukraine is extremely valuable partner and goal of the future, and without Ukraine, Eurasian Union will see differently, will be not so strong, not so – not so influential. If the main goal of today’s authority of Russia is reconstruction, re-establishment of superpower, Ukraine for such politics is absolutely needed, and is a – it’s not a tactical question; it’s an absolutely strategic issue.
And then last – not last, but third element of my introduction, Ukraine. Of course, you know, Fred mentioned that since May I am co-chairman, or we are two with former president of European Parliament, Mr. Cox from Ireland – we are special envoys to Ukraine. We visited this country 13 or 14 times. We met 12 times with the president, with prime minister. We met Yulia Tymoshenko in her prison in the hospital, because she is in the hospital in Kharkiv. Ten times, we met representatives of the government, of the opposition. And of course, we have picture of the country and the situation very deep, and of course, I will not tell you in details what is going in this – in this country.
But I’m afraid sometimes discussing the problem of Ukraine. Of course, my knowledge is much deeper as my partners in Europe or in the United States, but sometimes I have impression that in our part of the world, we are – still we are thinking about Ukraine with a lot of stereotypes, too many stereotypes. And it’s necessary to understand what is good, what is bad, what we have negative there, and what we have positive, because it’s important to say such things.
The first, Ukraine after 20 years of independence is really sovereign independent country, what is a great success of this nation. Many people in the world never believed that Ukraine can be so sovereign country with so deep, so developed own identity. And that is something what is really the strong argument in the hands of Ukrainians speaking about own ambitions and own perspectives.
Second, of course, last – this association agreement, which is very complicated document, with a lot of chapters with a lot of articles, et cetera, is prepared. It means that last years, this so-called homework, we – candidates to European Union – we hated this description very much, because when we were – as Poland – we were fighting for European Union, this description “homework,” you have to do your homework, I heard so many times that I feel like a child. I hate this word, but it’s necessary to do this homework. And Ukraine did it. Ukraine did it because association agreement was initialed March last year, 2012, and is prepared to be signed in Vilnius, 2013. We can – we can – we have the evidence of progress in many elements of reforms which are so important in economy, in trade, in legal system, et cetera. We have – we have nice evidence of potential of Ukraine. It was organized by Poland and Ukraine in June last year, 2012, European championship in soccer. It was – it was really a success, and showed Ukraine as a – as a quite well-organized and friendly country.
Saying all these positive things, which is necessary to see and is necessary to respect, I have to say that we see a lot of negative elements and problems which is necessary to overcome if this association agreement we want to sign November this year. The first, of course, is still very low quality of the legal structure in this country, especially judiciary. Of course, all reforms which happened last years, they changed this system, but still if – I want to – I can be quite honest in this room – still, if we speak about Ukrainian courts, Ukrainian prosecutors, Ukrainian quality of law, is – this system is much closer to Soviet style, not to European style. And I know that this opinion sounds quite tough, but it’s true, and especially we both, with Cox, after many hours, which we spent in courts and speaking with prosecutors, absolutely, we are sure that – (inaudible) – today may be the most difficult but the most needed reform in Ukraine.
The next weakness, terrible weakness of this country is corruption. This corruption is really the problem for business, for entrepreneurs, for image of the country and needs strong fight from all sides of the political landscape.
The next weakness is of course the fight between main political groups in this country, which started in the mid of second term of Kuchma, it means 2002, and this continued last 10 years. So such, let’s say, civil war, frozen civil war, is quite dramatic, and it doesn’t give the chance to find bipartisan approach, bipartisan politics, especially in the main – for to reach the main goals of Ukraine, like European Union.
And the point which is of course one of the most spectacular and difficult are the cases of so-called selective justice. It means the leaders of the opposition, like Madam Tymoshenko, former prime minister, or former minister of interior, Mr. Lutsenko, were sentenced, and of course, it’s absolutely impossible to say that we watched only pure judiciary and with full evidence. This political intention is quite obvious in these two cases.
And today to find a solution for this case is not easy, because we have three levels of the problem. One is a legal one, because it’s necessary to find some legal solution to the people which are sentenced and they are in the prison. The second is political one, because we are speaking about relations between governing forces and opposition. And third one is psychology, which is, especially in the relations between Madam Tymoshenko and President Yanukovych and opposite, and vice versa, quite difficult element.
I will not speak more about these cases because I understand that you will have questions, and then I have a chance to say something more, but we tried to find the solution. And in my opinion, the summit said very clearly to our Ukrainian partners that May this year is a time to do something, because in May, before November’s meeting in Vilnius, we will have some kind of review of problems of Ukraine. And until this date, we should find some solution in these two difficult and judicial questions, in cases of Tymoshenko and Lutsenko.
So Ukraine, from one side, really achieved progress, changes, and my opinion, is really extremely interesting partner for European Union for the future. And still, we have a lot of troubles and obstacles, which is necessary to resolve as soon as possible.
And last point, of course, concerns United States and the Ukraine. I think that would be good if here in Washington we will – you will understand that that is really time for strategic decision. That is not time that we can wait, we can look that something will happen or not. And that is a real struggle, and that is a struggle which – about the future of Ukraine, where Ukraine will be, the part of Western zone, Euro-Atlantic zone, or the part of a Euro-Asian union or some kind of structure. And this is absolutely – this time we have no more possibilities to postpone or to wait for some development of the situation. Now is time of decisions.
What is great: that still the majority of Ukrainians are absolutely in favor of this pro-European politics, pro-European choice. The last results of public opinion polls are speaking about 55, 56 percent in favor of Western orientation; 30-something to the East. That is – that is the real capital which we have, and I think because of our visa politics about our scholarships, we should speak more and not only as a typical element of our politics, but as a special instrument which will encourage Ukrainians much more to be active on this European direction.
I know that General Jones will speak much more about energy and economy, et cetera. That’s only one short thing. Today in this economical situation of Ukraine, extremely important is the mission of IMF and IMF decisions. And this is much more serious as natural question of IMF contacts with some countries, because today the alternative for Ukrainians is very dramatic. The first one is IMF and some support from IMF, agreement with IMF, and then possibility to develop own economy, or if not, that is a question of custom union, and to go to custom union, especially because the prices of gas and the real possibility to decrease the gas prices. And we speak about billions of dollars. We don’t speak about a small amount of money; we speak about really the future and some kind of “to be or not to be” for Ukraine in next month.
So I think today, from both sides, European Union and America, we should have some positive, good message for Ukrainians, if they will go forward or overcome some problems, which I mentioned very briefly earlier. European Union should say, well, we are prepared to sign association agreement November this year and now it’s time for this homework. And IMF, with support of the United States, should say, OK, we are ready to go back to Kiev to discuss all details of a new agreement with IMF giving some financial support for you if you will fulfill necessary conditions and necessary – you will take necessary reforms.
Finally, dear friends, I’m sure that if Bronislaw Geremek would be here in Washington together with us, his position and his thinking about the future of Ukraine would be absolutely the same. I had the chance to meet him very often, and I’m absolutely sure that in his understanding of Europe, of the future of Europe, Ukraine is one of the strategic partners and especially because we have a strong will and wish of Ukrainians, especially young Ukrainians, young generation of this – of this nation to be with us, to participate in our community. That is a task for all of us, to support Ukrainians and Ukrainian ambitions, of course expecting that the homework will be done.
Thank you. (Applause.)
GENERAL JAMES L. JONES JR.: Mr. President, thank you very much for your remarks. I have no doubt that the 55 percent who – of Ukrainians who want to lean towards the West are inspired by the Polish examples and the example of a vibrant Poland that we all admire today that first took its steps in that direction under your leadership.
And Ambassador Schnepf, thank you very much for your leadership as well and your participation.
Fred, thank you for having me and asking me to make a few remarks.
Although raised in Europe, I – and being a 40-year Marine, most – a lot of my time was spent in Asia. This is what the Marine Corps does to a general who speaks fluent French. You send him to Asia to practice his French. (Laughter.) And – but fortunately, in 2003, I was able to – fortunate enough, and shocked, to be able to return to Europe and serve in NATO for four years and get to appreciate all that Poland has become and all that it will become, to work very closely with the Polish army and to appreciate their steadfastness and sacrifice alongside the United States in combat areas.
So, dear friends, fellow Atlanticists, I’m really honored to be here as we gather this evening in the spirit of Bronislaw Geremek, who was a courageous dissenter, a visionary leader and an enduring inspiration to lovers of freedom, human dignity and justice worldwide.
And of course we honor him tonight for his tireless advocacy for another idea we care deeply about, the idea of Europe – whole, democratic and free.
His vision of a peaceful and prosperous Europe bound by shared ideals and common identity inspires the Atlantic Council’s work each day and every day. And these are the goals that must guide our steps in these challenging times, when Eastern Europe is building on the hard-won gains of freedom and the European strives to regain his financial and economic footing.
Meeting these challenges is a future-defining work. If Europe and the United States are not economically strong and politically cohesive, the trans-Atlantic alliance simply can’t perform its essential role in a world where our solidarity, our leadership and our unmatched capability to build peace and prosperity is needed more than ever.
Last spring the leaders of the North Atlantic Alliance met in Chicago to reaffirm their commitment to the trans-Atlantic partnership and to create and devise new strategies to achieve our collective security in these dangerous but nonetheless opportunity-filled times.
So today I would like to touch on what I believe are three core elements of such a strategy. They may surprise you a little. I’m not going to talk about NATO transformation. I’m not going to talk about the interoperability of our militaries or defense budgets. As important as these issues are, we can save those discussions for another day.
Rather, in the spirit of the man we honor tonight, Bronislaw Geremek, I think it’s important we address ourselves to more fundamental and strategic requirements: U.S. and European economic revival, trans-Atlantic energy security and modernizing allied global engagement to meet the demands of a very new and very complex era.
Let me start with economic revival. There’s a growing awareness among NATO partners that we simply can’t meet the spectrum of security challenges confronting us today without strong and resurgent economies. We welcome it, because prosperity and security are indivisible.
What’s clear is if we are to defeat radicalism, terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and the roll call of dangers to our way of life, we must join forces to turn the tables on a set of more fundamental common threats: joblessness, uncompetitiveness, unsustainable entitlement spending and the ticking time bomb of oversized sovereign debt.
Overcoming these foes must be the central objectives of renewed, more holistic U.S.-European alliance if we are to remain relevant and response for the needs of the 21st century.
In the same way that NATO’s members must cooperate militarily to counter shared security threats, our economies must be more cohesive to share – to seize shared opportunities. Only by doing this can the trans-Atlantic community sustain its influence in a rapidly changing global environment.
The lesson we learned in war, hot and cold, applied to building peace: We are much stronger together than we are apart. We hear a lot about austerity and belt-tightening – necessary tools, to be sure. But none of the impediments just cited can be vanquished without unleashing the most powerful weapon in our arsenal, and that’s economic growth, expansion that must be driven by our vibrant private sectors and fueled by wise public policy.
We can be encouraged that policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic are waking up to the reality that generating faster, stronger economic growth is the mainstream – mainspring of collective prosperity and security. What really counts, though, is action. So as we design grand – as we design grand security strategy, I believe that its cornerstone must be making growth the overriding objective of trans-Atlantic policy, not just in words but in actual deeds.
Last fall I had the pleasure of coauthoring an editorial with Mr. Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, pushing for a sweeping trans-Atlantic economic and trade pact towards that end. The U.S.-European economic relationship is already the largest in the world. U.S. firms have invested over $2 trillion in Europe since NATO was established, while European firms have put 1.6 trillion (dollars) into the U.S. economy. We represent nearly half of the global GDP, and we conduct some 40 percent of the global trade.
So we can build on this powerful foundation and scale to loftier heights, with even greater economic integration and collaboration. We can significantly enhance the global competitiveness of our companies large and small by reducing costs through the elimination of tariffs and regulatory barriers, by freeing services trade, by minimizing unnecessary regulatory differences, by facilitating investments and by broadening procurement opportunities.
On the heels of President Obama’s endorsement of such an initiative in the State of the Union address, now is a time to think big, and now is a time to do much more. We don’t need another amorphous concept with overambitious labels that can mean anything to everyone, nor do we need to embark on another tedious years-long trek of study reports, summits and negotiations about the negotiations.
Business and government leaders across the Atlantic already know what’s in their interest and what is not. We already know which issues will be easy and which ones will be hard. So let’s get to it.
We also know that we can’t afford to delay. Let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and let’s get it done, because the stakes could not be higher. If the trans-Atlantic alliance is not at the fore, then who in the world will lead the fostering global trade for mutual prosperity? Who will lead the way in helping to lift millions out of poverty not by the caliber or our arms but by the power of free and efficient markets and healthy economic competition?
With regard to energy security – and if not the United States and Europe, who will lead on what could well be the catalyst for economic transformation? I’m talking about energy security. As I survey the economic and security landscape, I’m not sure we face an issue with greater influence on international security today than energy. Indeed, throughout history, war and peace, poverty and prosperity, have been inextricably connected to energy, the enormous power it confers on those who have it and the vulnerability it spells for those who do not.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I would urge you to take a look at “Global Trends 2030,” produced by the National Intelligence Council and the Atlantic Council. The report identifies the main drivers of global security over the next 17 years. It is as much a report on energy, natural resources and economics as it is on bad actors and their weapons and their tactics. Quite simply, energy will remain the flywheel of the international economic system and will continue to define the global security landscape.
Just a few years ago, the debate – the energy debate in Washington and in capitals throughout Europe centered on dire predictions of peak oil, continued import dependence and resource scarcity. Thanks to very recent innovations, we’re now able to unlock vast reservoirs of shale energy not only in the United States but in Europe to help power our economies and enable new levels of energy and security. Nothing, save improving quality of our human capital, could do more to promote U.S. and European global competitiveness, create jobs and generate the tax revenue than harnessing our energy abundance.
And when I say abundance, I don’t just mean shale oil and gas, but also renewable energy, coal and conservation and, no doubt, coming soon, some astounding new energy solutions spawned by our entrepreneurs, for whom nothing seems impossible.
Plainly and simply, the trans-Atlantic community must have the energy it needs to grow and prosper. Energy dependence, vulnerability and scarcity must become the language of the past, not of the future. Together, we can show how the world – we can show the world how to harness energy abundance, responsibility and sustainability to power and economic renaissance across the alliance and the world.
With regard to global engagement, all the energy in the world, however, will do us little good in forging a better future unless the trans-Atlantic community modernizes the way we engage with the rest of the world, and in particularly (sic) with developing countries.
Today we seem to be struggling with the fact that national security and the definition of national security is a far deeper and broader concept than it was during the last half of the 20th century. In a bipolar world in which most of us grew up, security was measured by military might. But by the power of our faith, our sacrifice and our determination, we prevailed in the Cold War. We proved the concept of freedom and democracy, and the world hasn’t stopped changing since.
Anachronistically, many of today’s challenges and events are measured against the backdrop of the last century. Too often our policy approaches remain mired in the past as well. Global stability is no longer defined solely by the ability of nations to deploy and defeat but rather by our capacity to engage and endow, to meet human needs, to sustain economic growth and turn promise and opportunity into jobs and higher quality of life.
Yes, our armed forces will remain a central pillar of our national security portfolio. But they must become part of a more sophisticated tool kit. More than ever, our government, our firms and our NGOs must work together in harmony. Modernity demands a contemporary whole-of-government, whole-of-society and, indeed, whole-of-alliance global engagement strategy, one that synchronizes economic development, security and rule of law, the three pillars of peace and prosperity, to nurture the developing societies and build markets – in other words, through the proactive work of preventing instability rather than having to respond to it reactively, thereby costing more lives and far more of our national treasures.
In the long run, this is the weapon that will cause the lasting defeat of radical fundamentalism. But it must be employed in a proactive and energetic campaign, using new tools relevant to modern circumstances.
A big part of the approach must involve commercial diplomacy, in which the private sector, businesses and NGOs, lead the way. The fact is the private sector is better poised today than many governments to make significant contributions to our national presence abroad.
So here’s the good news for the future. Despite the so-called rise of pure competitors, only the trans-Atlantic community has the capability to accomplish this new type of global engagement. We have the strongest governments, we have the best companies, and we have the most capable NGOs. The integration of our capabilities towards common proactive goals, where the trans-Atlantic community leads by deed and example, will keep our relevance unchallenged for many, many years to come.
Seems to me that this – in this exciting new era of human development, entrepreneurs, investors and innovators are as fundamental to geopolitical stability as our politicians, generals and diplomats. Trade agreements are as instrumental to world order as defense pacts, and public and private sector collaboration is the key to solving social ills that nurture insurgencies and instability.
My friends and fellow Atlanticists, in the last century trans-Atlantic community saved mankind by working and sacrificing together. And it’s now time to write a new chapter. Doing so requires a new vision bolstered by the reality that security and prosperity in a borderless, trade-based global economy are inseparably linked. It requires military and economic cohesion through a stronger NATO and an economic partnership for prosperity. It requires commitment to growth by unleashing private enterprise on both sides of the Atlantic through policies that promote trade, investment, innovation and job creation. And it requires energy security.
And it also requires a revolution in our approach to modern global engagement, one that is far greater than assuring our military ability to defeat adversaries, but about improving lives and winning hearts, minds and nurturing markets.
We have to lead. We have to grow. We have to work together. And we’ve done it before, and we can do it again. With a new commitment to trans-Atlantic solidarity, I have abiding faith that our collective security and prosperity will be won for the new – for a new generation.
So again, thank you for being here and for all you do to achieve that victory and to help build the kind of future envisioned by Bronislaw Geremek. Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: Thank you very much for those two very important opening statements.
And General Jones, your – a lot of your words are – have really become the battle cry for the Atlantic Council, and now is the time to write a new chapter, putting together prosperity and security. Thank you so much for that – those – that important lecture.
I’m going to start with just one or two questions here, and then I want to go right to the audience. Let me start on Russia. Freedom House is wringing its hands about how things have turned in Russia since Vladimir Putin returned. I’d like to maybe go first to President Kwasniewski, and then General Jones. There’s been a reset policy. You were part of that, General Jones, as national security adviser. There’s now a Magnitsky law. There – Russia has come into the WTO. We need Russia for the distribution network to Afghanistan, for Iran, et cetera, et cetera. How do you manage this complex relationship, both from the standpoint of Poland, President Kwasniewski, and from Europe, but also from the standpoint of how Europe and the U.S. together manage this relationship so we head things in the right direction with Russia?
MR. KWASNIEWSKI: Well, the first – it will be interesting to – this opinion of General Jones, how successful was this reset policy –
MR. KEMPE: That’s my second question. (Laughter.)
MR. KWASNIEWSKI: Yeah, from my point of view, this reset was not very successful, and – because the offer was gorgeous. The offer – well, let’s start a new chapter – and it happened in the beginning of President Obama, a time – it was Munich Conference – and president – Vice President Biden. Biden’s statement – but after that, I think we didn’t see many good examples of close cooperation between Russia and United States, especially in such difficult places of the world, like North Africa area or Iran or Syria. But this is much more a question to Americans.
From our Polish point of view, I think the future of Russia is really interesting and important. We are very much in favor to have the best contacts between European Union and Russia. We need Russia. Russia is our neighbor. Russia is a part of our space. We need Russian gas. We need Russian oil. We have money; Russia needs our money. You know, it – everything looks good. You know, it should be business as usual.
But it is not. And the problem is, I think, that the Russia still tries to define or redefine old role. And we have two temptations. The one is that Russia, part of Western community or Euro-Atlantic community, accepting the rules of the game, accepting the same values, and the second, which, today, in my opinion, is more active in Russian politics, is to be again superpower, and even for many or for some people on the top of Russia, this is not only superpower; it should be empire again. And of course, if we speak about Russia as a superpower, this is a different story. And if we speak about such vision of Russian empire, that is totally different story, and of course, we have maybe only some historical resentments, but this resentments are existing. This is something what’s – creates our sensitivity and understanding.
Russia today has some questions which they should answer. The first is modernization. Putin speaks very often about modernization, but I understand that modernization, in his mouth, means first of all modernization of the economy. And in my opinion, Russia needs two types of modernization: of course, modernization of the economy, because if they want to be superpower, that is impossible to have economy based on gas, oil and raw materials and that’s it. They need really very deep modernization of almost everything. But the second element of this modernization is even more important. This is a modernization of the state, is modernization of the society. This is a question of creation of civil society, of rule of law, the change of legal system.
And in my opinion, Russia and the leadership of Russia is not very much interested about this second or even more important element of modernization. My knowledge from Central and Eastern Europe is very simple: If you want to modernize our countries, it is necessary to modernize these two spheres, economy and society and all the civil elements also. Without modernization and without creation of civil society, we have no chances for deep and real modernization of the economy. What Russia will decide next years – this is – this is a good question, and I’m not very much sure that it will be really understanding of this very wide, very deep modernization which this country needs.
MR. KEMPE: Thank you.
General Jones, do you agree with President Kwasniewski that the reset policy hasn’t turned out all that well? What is your point of view?
GEN. JONES: Yes, I do. I think that, actually, it was a fascinating study of – on the one hand, of how countries get along together, but on the other hand, of how leaders of countries get along and how the relationship between two leaders at the top really can affect the – in a very dramatic way, the rate of progress that is done throughout the – all the other relationships and the interactions between sovereign governments.
The relationship between President Obama and President Medvedev, which resulted, actually, in the START treaty, had as its origins a coalescing of views on the threats posed by Iran, in which, at their very first meeting, the two presidents sat opposite each other with their respective delegations in London, and when it came to Iran, President Medvedev made an astounding statement in saying that – you know, on Iran, that he thought that perhaps the American view was a little bit more correct than what they had thought. You could hear a pin drop in the room when that statement was made.
But it formed the basis of a very personal relationship that resulted two years later in the START treaty. There’s a lot more to it, but I was struck by how time and time again, when we were stuck on a START treaty issue, that the two presidents would pick up a telephone and talk to each other for an hour, from the White House to the Kremlin, and worked to resolve the sticking point.
At the same time, we were treated obviously to some exposure to the prime minster and now the president, President Putin, who has a completely different view of history since 1945 than most of us in this room. And it is obviously what he believes, but when you listen to it, it’s shocking. And so is – there’s no surprise to me that the reset now has – is a little bit more difficult. And it can be traced, really, to very – two very different views of the world. But fundamentally, I think the president and I and others here in this room agree that just as the president mentioned that, you know, where is Ukraine going to go, it’s very important that Russia be inside the Euro-Atlantic arc in the long run, not outside looking in. But it will be better for Russia, for sure, and it will be better for everybody else as well.
So yes, I think the reset started off, you know, for the first two years resulting in the START treaty very successfully, and now we’re into some rockier times. But hopefully, you know, things will smooth out and we’ll continue to make progress.
MR. KEMPE: Let’s talk about energy just briefly. You didn’t talk as much about shale gas as I thought you might, General Jones, and tight oil. And some people are calling this a geopolitical game-changer. The story of energy, particularly oil, has been not the most enlightened countries in the world seem to have had some pretty deep resources. That could shift a bit with this – with the new technology bringing shale gas oil. People even talking about the possibility of U.S. LNG deliveries to Europe.
So first General Jones but then President Kwasniewski, do you see the changes in energy right now possibly shifting balances in Europe, also influencing Russia?
GEN. JONES: Oh, absolutely. I think this is a game-changer of enormous proportions. I mean, this is almost historical in terms of the potential. And even though we really haven’t firmly grasped it yet, you can already see behaviors changing in the world as a result of the balance of power where energy is concerned. And for Europe and the United States and our traditional alliance, this is a – this is a potentially very, very good news story.
And I think that, you know, we have to – we have to be careful to do it – to take advantage of it strategically. We have to understand – and one term that I do not subscribe to that we use too freely in the United States is “energy independence,” which is a very isolationist term, in my mind, that it basically says we’ve got ours, you’re on your own. But you know, energy sufficiency, however you want to call it, is reasonable. But countries that have an abundance of energy have a responsibility to countries that do not. And so there’s global – globally strategic importance attached to how we develop our energy assets, not only – not only at home but also how we discharge our tremendous responsibilities of leadership elsewhere in the world. And I think that in the – in the fight against radical fundamentalism, as I mentioned briefly, helping the developing countries skip the pollution stage in their own energy development through sharing technologies and helping, is going to be – is fundamentally a tool fighting against radicalism that we should use.
MR. KEMPE: President Kwasniewski.
MR. KWASNIEWSKI: Well, I fully agree with general, and I’ll tell you that I was born in Poland on the coast of Baltic Sea. And in ’70s we had eruption of gas, and many people were sure that Poland will be soon the new Kuwait or the Saudi – even some people in my small city started to borrow money, you know, for this better future. And everything was finished after some months, you know, no gas and nothing. So I was very much distanced to the information about this potential huge amount of shale gas in Poland. And I was quite (distance ?) until the situation when I met some Russian specialists, and they – when discussion was about shale gas, they were very, very nervous. And then I realized that something is serious now – (laughter) – because first time. So in my opinion, really that is quite serious issue. And I fully agree with general, that can be historical one that can change the structure of everything dramatically.
And for example, Ukraine has shale gas. They signed in Davos end of January the agreement with shale company, and I think in some element –
MR. KEMPE: In Chevron.
MR. KWASNIEWSKI: In Chevron, yes. And I think that’s – and of course, the next reaction from Moscow was very simple because Gazprom, they asked Ukraine to pay additionally 7 billion U.S. dollars, because in agreement they have this – it’s priced for (older gas ?).
Q: (Off mic.)
MR. KWASNIEWSKI: (Inaudible.) Well, but that is the next evidence that that is quite serious question, and I think really is necessary to have a good politics.
In Europe, I see only one real problem with shale gas, and of course we have to examine how we can overcome this question. It’s all these ecological consequences of that, because the sensitivity of Europe in this element is very high, and of course still the answer of the specialist of shale gas, in my opinion, is not enough strong, is not enough prepared. And of course, that can stop some shale gas projects in Europe for next years, and it would be – it would be wrong, because today the shale gas and the new – and – (inaudible) – United States is really – is mitigating our partners having a lot of gas very much.
MR. KEMPE: So questions, please, and if you can say who you want to pose your question to and identify yourself as well.
Q: I’m Walter – I’m Walter Stadtler (sp). My background is foreign service, and I’m currently associated with National Defense University Foundation. As heartened as we are by new developments – and I think the technology for shale gas oil is a good example – there are threats to the situation in both the United States and in Europe as well and to the economy, and that is – particularly, I think the question of cyberthreats, which are threats not just to governments but to the private sector as well, and they can be extremely damaging. And one of the problems is that the technology is developing so fast that certainly governments, a number of governments are finding it very difficult to keep up with this. How would you propose to organize both sides of the Atlantic on this? Is there a scope for a greater cooperation between the private sector and governments as well? And I’d like to pose that question to both speakers.
MR. KEMPE: Why don’t we give it to General Jones so we can get to as many questions as we can. I see quite a few – quite a few questions, and particularly since you’re sitting in the – you’ve been sitting in the White House dealing with the cyberissue as well.
GEN. JONES: Well, I mean, this is a common threat that is going to face us all for a long time, and we’re still, in my view, at the early stages of trying to figure out how to handle that. What we need is, at least in our country, I think, and then throughout the – throughout the alliance with friends and allies, is we need to really come to grips with what is our public policy going to be, and then where does the private sector responsibility come to intersect with that public policy.
But we – we are still at the stage where we’re not quite sure how to respond to cyberattacks. And they’re going on at a – at a rate that is very concerning. Generally, we can tell where they’re coming from, but I still haven’t seen the response to those attacks that would cause another nation to cease and desist, if you will.
So this is still in the – in the – in 2009 we created a senior directorship inside the National Security Council with some expertise, and they’ve been working since then to try to help us deal with this new and ever present threat.
MR. KEMPE: Thank you very much. Angela Stent, then General Rowny after that, please.
Q: Thank you very much. Angela Stent from Georgetown University. My question is for President Kwasniewski, and it has to do with Polish-Russian relations.
Let me preface it by saying that a group of us met with Mr. Putin last year, and he expressed great concern about the environmental impact of hydraulic fracking on Polish children; you know, your water might get poisoned. Anyway.
There was something –
MR. KEMPE: Which must be the best endorsement yet of – (laughter) –
Q: Exactly. There was something of a Russian-Polish reset a couple of years ago after the tragedy of the plane crash in Smolensk. Could you say a little bit more about what happened to that? Did it achieve anything? Are Polish-Russian relations any better than they were before then?
MR. KWASNIEWSKI: Well, I think we had some short period of change or some reset in Polish-Russian relationships before Smolensk. It was – it was a visit of Putin in Westerplatte in Gdansk for a ceremonies of the beginning of World War II. It was his letter published by Gazeta Wyborcza with some very nice and interesting gestures towards Poland, and fortunately, this crash stopped or froze in this process. And I think that the problem is from both sides.
First of all, it’s necessary to say that after the crash, reaction of the people, the simple people, was great, and it was some good base for some political ideas, for some political gestures, an opportunity, in my opinion, both sides didn’t use this time because the atmosphere was very special. You know, the tragedy was absolutely unbelievable. As you noted, in the crash, close to Smolensk and were 96 victims, including the president, his wife, a lot of ministers, generals, et cetera.
And then, of course, from both sides, we observed a lot of mistakes first. On Polish side, we had a really political struggle between two camps, the camps of Mr. Tusk, Prime Minister Tusk, and the camp of the twin brother of President Kaczynski. And, of course, it created some atmosphere in which Kaczynski is very much against Russia because he’s sure that it was some kind of conspiracy. It wasn’t a normal accident; it was a conspiracy by some group. Of course, he doesn’t speak exactly who is responsible for this conspiracy, but everybody understands that two persons, Tusk and Putin – they are responsible for the tragedy. Of course, a sad situation in Poland, Tusk is a little bit – even not a little bit – is quite paralyzed to make some gestures to go a little bit in – more forward towards Russia.
On the Russian side, we have something what I don’t understand, frankly speaking, because you know, this plane, this crashed plane, is in Smolensk now – it will be two years. And absolutely, as a – as a normal man, I don’t understand why it’s necessary to keep this – pieces of the plane in Smolensk, and it creates a lot of misunderstanding, lack of confidence, et cetera.
How to find solution in this situation? Frankly speaking, I don’t know. But on this political level, it creates a lot of problems. But we have serious differences in our politics concerning different questions. The first is Ukraine.
Of course, Poland is a strong advocate of Ukrainian associations with European Union; Russia is against. Russia has different plan, different offer for Ukraine. Let’s come to Custom Union and then to Eurasian Union. It miss the real very substantial difference of the position between Poland and Russia, and it’s a real problem, and it will not give us a good chance to have something special in our relationship.
The second point is shale gas. Everything what is here discussed, that is a real question because Russians – and they use a lot of methods. For example, today Russia is really the most pro-ecological country in Europe. They are fighting for best ecology in France, in Germany, in Poland, in Ukraine, Romania, you know, this – you know, the first green leadership in the world, you know. (Laughter.)
MR. KEMPE: Including funding of ecological –
MR. KWASNIEWSKI: Yeah, yeah, and having all the problems in own country. So that is – that is the next point.
The third one, I think, is an element which is, of course, the problem for us but needs from our side, Polish side, a little bit different approach. Russia has a very tricky concept in the relationship with Europe because in fact, Russia has no one European policy; Russia has 27 plus one European policies.
What it means? They have 27 bilateral policies with all European partners. With some partners, they are privileged relationships – look Germany – with some of them, they are very unprivileged – Baltic States – and with some are nothing; it’s a – it’s a gray zone – Poland, for example.
Of course, we – now, Germany is in such privileged relationships, Italy, but not yet. Italy of Berlusconi had very privileged relationships with Russia. And this plus one means the politics towards European Union, with Brussels, is on the list on the – on the end. It is not the most important for Russians.
For us, of course, that is not good because for Poland, the best concept to develop good relationship with Russia today is European Union because if EU has good contacts with Russia, it means that Poland is one of the most important countries inside the EU, it’s in good relations with Russia also because for Russia, these EU relationships, they are on the end of the list of priorities. This is a problem.
How we can change it? We should change the situation having stronger common European policy toward Russia. But that is not easy because we have different interests, and we have these privileged and unprivileged relationships. So that is quite a complicated picture. But I think in long term, it’s necessary to understand that, because of these two main controversies, Ukraine and Shell gas – we cannot see some problems in bilateral relations for long, if not –
MR. KEMPE: Thank you, President Kwasniewski. Before I go to General Rowny, seeing General Rowny there, it’s always an honor to have you with us, sir. It reminds me of something I was going to say at the end, but I think I’ll say here and maybe come back to at the end.
I praised these two gentlemen for practitioners – General Rowny is one of the ultimate practitioners – but I’d really like to congratulate this evening the practitioner of the hour at the Atlantic Council, and that’s our chairman – our chairman until yesterday – Senator Chuck Hagel. He has been a terrific chairman at the Atlantic Council. He’s one of the most remarkable public servants I’ve known, and the Atlantic Council’s loss is America’s gain. And so I wonder if we could all applaud and thank him for what he’s done for the Atlantic Council and our country. (Applause.)
And we all wish him the best. And General Rowny, I thought about it when I saw you because I know what a great friend you’ve been of Senator Hagel, and you’ve been a tremendous help. So thank you very much. General Rowny, your question. Sorry.
Q: Do we have a mic?
MR. KEMPE: Yeah, sorry.
Q: Ed Rowny, former arms controller. I want to first thank you all for continuing this series on Bronislaw Geremek. I first met him on August 10th, 1979, when I had the great pleasure of sitting next to him at the Wilson Center for an entire year. And six years later, in 1985, when President Reagan sent me behind the Iron Curtain, I met him, and he said – Ed, he said, thanks to you and people like Lane Kirkland, he said ruefully, I’ve spent two years in house arrest. So – (laughter) – that was my 15 minutes of fame.
Anyway, my question is – has to do with the American Polish Advisory Council. I’m the president of this council, and we try to represent 10 million Polish-Americans to see what we can do to strengthen political, economic, military ties with Poland. One of the planks of my platform is to see how APAC can help Poland develop its enormous resource of shale oil. And we have two vice presidents. Ian Brzezinski, one of the vice presidents, is specifically in charge of trying to do all they can in this regard. And my question is, in addition to trying to get the administration to pay – to give help and research and development and other ways and getting commercial people interested and R&D people to develop these resources, what advice would you have, both President Kwasniewski and General Jones, to us? What can Polish-Americans do to help develop these enormous – this enormous potential of shale oil in Poland?
MR. KEMPE: President Kwasniewski, and then General Jones.
MR. KWASNIEWSKI: First of all, we are very grateful for the Polish-Americans for your support, which help us very much, especially on our way into NATO and in many others – important situation. We appreciate very much your support, and I think the name Bronislaw Geremek is a good symbol of that, your support for Polish democratic opposition before the changes in the world.
But the question is what to do now. And in my opinion, first of all – and that is something what is much – I will use this hated description – our Polish homework is necessarily to prepare legal frame for all this decisions concerning shale gas and – in Poland. The second, of course – we expect many of American companies are active in Poland now, and we expect more such companies.
One thing what is maybe not dedicated to the Polish-Americans, but this is something what America can help us – that is this environmental question, because really, that is something what we should discuss on the very professional level, what means exploration of shale gas for environment, for all this – for the region, for the water, et cetera, et cetera, because I am afraid that lack of such very professional prepared information will have a little bit, to some extent, similar situation like we did with the crash, because three years after the crash, the absolutely unrealistic theories – we have much more as three months after the crash. Three months after the crash, it was obvious – everything all was obvious, what happened. Today we have a lot of absolutely fantastic concepts and ideas. The same, we can have with this environmental consequences of shale gas in Poland. And this – and this field, I see a lot of weaknesses, and you can help us.
And in any – in any case, we are grateful for 10 million Polish-Americans supporting us.
MR. KEMPE: General Jones, are the fears – environmental fears in Europe of shale gas recovery overdone, and may they be missing an opportunity because of that?
GEN. JONES: Well, we could all be victimized by people who profess to have – know a lot about the technology but do not. So the wildcatters of shale gas could cause some serious problems politically on both sides of the Atlantic. And so it has to be – has to be done by people who know what they’re doing. And it’s upon governments, I think, to not impede progress here but also not to allow it to just, you know, be a race that is uncontrolled in some way.
You know, we have a former American ambassador to Poland right here, and I’d like to ask – defer the general’s question to him about the – what the Polish-American community could do, if you wouldn’t mind, because I think that’s something that you worked on quite a bit.
MR. KEMPE: Ambassador Feinstein?
Q: Well, thank you, I think. And General Rowny, it’s always a great honor to be in your presence, and congratulations for establishing APAC. And it’s doing great work.
And President Kwasniewski and General Jones and Fred, congratulations on a great evening.
I think that, you know, with respect to shale gas, the – I think the American experience and sharing our experiences with Poland is the key point, because it hasn’t been perfect here – (chuckles) – and yet it’s been – it’s been transformative and revolutionary. You talked about wildcatters, General Jones, and so some of the early experience with some of the smaller producers in the early days wasn’t so good. And so we’ve learned some things.
President Obama asked John Deutch, our former energy secretary, to do a study – he’s done it in two parts – about what could be better. And sort of talking about our lessons learned, I think, as Americans and sharing what’s worked and what hasn’t, I think, is really critical – water management, air pollution is an issue, and in general, government accountability and openness.
And I think what we’ve discovered is most of these problems are addressable, but we need to – and there – and there are continuing technological improvements. And so we want to share these experiences, as much as we can, with Poland, because I think what the president said is exactly right, because you know, nothing is perfect, and when and if there’s a – some kind of an accident or a mistake, without the proper groundwork laid, it creates an opportunity for people to misunderstand things.
But I think Poland ought to, you know, take some credit. It’s – there are still issues. The law needs to be established. But Poland is the most open and pragmatic towards shale in the region. And I think other countries are looking – in the region are looking to Poland as a proving ground for what may be possible with respect to shale.
MR. KEMPE: We are – our energy and environment program has been doing a lot of this in Europe and in Poland and Romania, Bulgaria, elsewhere. Ambassador, did you want to jump in here?
Q: (Off mic.)
MR. KEMPE: Oh, sorry. Wait for the –
Q: Ambassador –
MR. KEMPE: You may want to stand up so people can see you.
Q: OK. Yes, I’m here. (Laughter.) Well, I would like to thank Lee for his words. And as far as the Polish community in the United States, the conditions – technical conditions of the shale gas in Poland – they are as they are. So we as politicians, diplomats – we cannot do much about it.
But what we can do is to spread the information among the American business about the – Poland’s friendly – business-friendly environment and the successful Polish economy, because these are general conditions that attract the American business, American companies to come over to Poland to see that to do the business, it’s a stable – with a stable situation and successful Polish economy during the crisis time in Europe. We are the only country that defended its economy during the very tough years.
And please trust me, I have spent just recently four years in Spain, and I know what the crisis means. And we are – we are really good in dealing with these problems. And it’s good if we joined our forces with your organization, General, and other Polish community associations to convince American business to come to Poland in the shale gas and to understand the importance of the shale gas not only for us, for the world stability, and simply taking from the agenda this very political issue, as is the supply of gas for many countries. Thank you so much.
MR. KEMPE: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.
Let me pass to General Jones. I have a couple of questions. We’ve got seven or eight minutes left. So let’s keep responses and questions short and we can get in as much in as we can.
GEN. JONES: I just wanted to point out that in talking about shale gas and tight oil and things like that, we should be careful that we don’t become too dependent on that at the expense of forgetting everything else. The energy spectrum is huge, and the progress going on in the energy spectrum is huge. And it would be irresponsible, I think, for any one of us – any one of our countries to sit back and say, well, we can just do oil and gas, we don’t need anything else; because generations around the road, you’re going to be faced with the exact same problem. So the potential is enormous. The technologies that are going to come on line, things that you’re going to see if we adopt a holistic approach are very important. And that goes way beyond just shale gas.
The second thing I would say is that I think one of the words that our administration probably regrets the most is the words “pivot towards Asia.” And I think they really regret that because of the unintended consequences. I mean, words matter. And people hear those words and say, well, if they’re pivoting towards Asia, that means they’re pivoting away from something, and that something could be interpreted in Africa, it could be interpreted in Europe, it can be interpreted in our own hemisphere and elsewhere.
I think it’s very important the traditional Polish-American relationship, the traditional relationships in the alliance that have military interoperability – OK, so we don’t have the World War II bases anymore, but we can be expeditionary, we can be interoperable and we can visit each other’s countries and train, and we do a lot of that. But I think it would be a catastrophic mistake, fundamentally bad for the world, really, if the trans-Atlantic alliance was somehow allowed to dissipate in terms of its importance of the rest of the world.
MR. KEMPE: Absolutely. A question there in the back. And thank you for your patience. And then Christoph von Marschall. And we’ll probably have to wrap up there, but let’s take these two questions one after – oh, I’m sorry, and then let’s do the ambassador of Ukraine. So let’s pick u these three questions and do a final round. We’ll pick up the questions one after another. Please.
Q: Thank you. I’m Elena Trager (ph), Global Litigation Leadership. My question is to Mr. President Kwasniewski. In your speech, you mentioned that more or less Ukraine has fulfilled this home assignment for the association agreement, and that the only thing left is selective justice, and that some steps are expected in May this year. I don’t quite understand how this issue can be solved, because I understand that some of the smaller politicians can be let out from prison, but Yulia Tymoshenko, it’s very unlikely that she will be free. And maybe it’s possible for her to go to Germany to undergo treatment, but only on the condition that she will promise to distance herself from any political activity. And I don’t see this happening. So what do you exactly mean by solving this issue of selective justice? Thank you.
MR. KEMPE: And hold your thought. We’ll come back for all the answers.
Christoph von Marschall, please.
Q: Christoph von Marschall from the German daily Der Tagesspiegel here in Washington D.C. I was interested in – you mentioned the pivot to Asia, and before you made the case, General Jones, why the Atlantic Partnership economically matters, 40 percent of trade, 50 percent of the global economy, even 60 percent of foreign direct investment, 70 percent of research and development. But this doesn’t seem to be very well known in the United States. When I listen to the president, he still mentions first TPP before he mentions the trans-Atlantic agreement.
So could you give us a little bit an insight why is this, or do we maybe see at this moment a revival of the importance of the Atlantic Partnership? We see people like Chuck Hagel and Mr. Kerry mention it, and they are appointed to the administration. So how do you explain these two different things? Is the Atlantic now a little bit more acknowledged than the Pacific because of the recent years it was “in” and modern to be interested in Asia; it was old-fashioned to be interested in Europe? And don’t we have the same problem, Aleksander, in Europe? Also Europe had an economic pivot to Asia over the recent years, and not so much was considering still the value of the Atlantic partnership.
MR. KEMPE: So final question or comment, the ambassador of Ukraine, and –
Q: (Off mic.)
MR. KEMPE: Well, we’re going to be –
Q: (Off mic.)
MR. KEMPE: Sorry?
Q: After that, just – (off mic).
MR. KEMPE: OK. All right. All right, let’s take these two first. President Kwasniewski, Tymoshenko; and then General Jones, if you can deal with don’t Americans get it.
MR. KWASNIEWSKI: Well, you know, I cannot say a lot of details about some possibilities concerning Yulia Tymoshenko, because still I’m – we are – we continue our mission, and I cannot show you the kitchen of our difficult work. But if I mention May, and if in the statement, the joint statement of the summit, Ukraine, we speak about May, that is, I think, the date we should discipline – make a discipline in these questions. We have to find a solution. What kind of solution? Theoretically, hypothetically, we can discuss a lot of possibilities, but we’ll see what will happen next, in next weeks.
When we speak about reforms of judiciary, of course we need decision of the Parliament, we need new bill, but we should be not naïve. Even if – and it’s necessary for Ukraine, it’s necessary absolutely to change the role of the general prosecutor because everything – the position of general prosecutor in the Ukrainian system is from the past. It’s absolutely from the soviet Union time. That is maybe the most influential person in Ukraine, sometimes more influential as the president.
But we have to understand that first of all, the reforms are absolutely needed, but secondly, if we want to have results of the reforms, we should be patient because that will not change next day. We have to change the system of education of lawyers. We have to change the mentality of people. We have to change a lot of things, which will take time.
But in my opinion, there’s this last point, more general, and that is this decision which we have – you Americans, we Europeans, we have to decide now, because what is the real alternative for Ukraine? We Europeans are (speaking so ?). Well, we cannot accept you in our community because you are not enough prepared with all these legal elements, rule of law, et cetera, et cetera. And what is alternative? Ukraine in the Customs Union. Ukraine in Eurasian Union. Of course it means that no one of our values, no one of our standards will be – will exist in this Eurasian Union. So the alternative is that we have to accept today Ukraine with changed, reformed laws, but with time to fulfill this by the real substance.
So that is long-term job. That is not to say that, OK, May or November or next year everything will change. But having you as associated partner, as associated member of European Union, we have a real chance to do it. Without that, we have no chances for nothing. And that is what we politicians in Europe and United States should understand. If we are fighting for values, we have to take you to us. If we are not interested about the values, that we can keep Ukraine in some gray zone or closer to the Eurasian Union, because good examples of legal – or judiciary from Belarus or from Russia, from Kazakhstan, are very special, diplomatically speaking. (Laughter.)
MR. KEMPE: General Jones, we’ve run out of time, but you have a question, and we have the ambassador of Ukraine, so if you can keep the answer short.
GEN. JONES: Very quickly, I mean, it’s an excellent question because, you know, we – a lot of people, when they talk about NATO and the Trans-Atlantic Partnership, kind of roll their eyes and say, OK, that’s the Cold War. And it’s up to us now to move forward collectively. The numbers don’t lie. I mean, we know – we know what it is, but we have to find a new way to articulate why that relationship is still important to work on that.
This is a century that won’t be, hopefully, defined by world wars; it will be defined by global competition. And together economically, we can do a heck of a lot more to affect how the developing part of the world, the whole continent of Africa, for example, which I predict is going to be even more important than what’s going on in Asia at some point. But the Asian attraction and the pivoting towards Asia is mainly economic. It’s not security-related. It doesn’t have the same fundamental ties that exist in the trans-Atlantic community. But we do have to change the way we think about it and we do have to work on ways to be proactive through integrating, as I suggested, not only our security elements, which is what we’ve dominant – what’s been the dominant piece, but our economic integration and our governance and rule of law abilities to help the developing world to become what it can be.
MR. KEMPE: Ambassador of Ukraine, Mr. Ambassador, thank you so much for being here. You’ve been talked about so much this evening – (laughter) – that I think you have every right to – (chuckles) – to respond.
AMBASSADOR OLEKSANDR MOTSYK: Thank you very much. I’m ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, and before that, I – four and a half years, I had been ambassador of Ukraine to Poland – (laughter) – two countries which I love like I love United States.
First of all, I would like to thank to President Kwasniewski, to General Jones and to Fred Kempe for this great event. Second, I would – I would like to express my deep gratitude to President Kwasniewski for his – and I’m not afraid of this word – historic role in history of modern Ukraine. He really did for Ukraine more than any other politician, statesman in the world. And he’s – (applause) – and he’s the best expert of Ukraine. He feels Ukraine. He understands Ukraine. He knows not only about politics but has deep knowledge of culture, of history, of traditions, of psychology of Ukraine. So Mr. President, thank you once more, and please continue your great job.
MR. KWASNIEWSKI: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. (Applause.) Mr. Ambassador, I interrupt you for a second, but that is a – one day after very, very many meetings, we visited with Pat Cox prisons, hospitals, prosecutors, and we were in the minister of foreign affairs. We bet your boss, the new minister, Mr. Kozhara. And we were absolutely exhausted, and we finally were finished. It was 10:00 or 11:00 in the night. And in front of your ministry, you have a nice place, nice square, totally empty. And Cox was so exhausted, so tired, I said, Pat, look, don’t worry; here they have so empty square that is nice place for our monuments. (Laughter.) Please remember.
AMB. MOTSYK: OK. (Laughter.) I’ll repeat the idea from this seat to Kiev. (Laughter.) OK. Thank you very much once more.
And on shale gas, for Ukraine and for Poland, shale gas is very important, maybe for Ukraine even more important. And for us, it’s something like success in this project is as important as it was Euro 2012. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. KEMPE: Well, that’s a great note to end on. Let me just say one thing. Anybody who’s interested in U.S.-Polish economic relations, other relations, contact us about the Wroclaw Global Forum June 13th, 14th. We’re adding a very important economic and business element in that this year, including a shale gas element.
The – I want to thank these two individuals not only for this evening on behalf of the – not only for this evening but for everything else you’ve done, contributing to your countries, the world and this trans-Atlantic relationship. And while doing that, I also want to give another big congratulations to our chairman, Senator Chuck Hagel, and we’re really happy that he’s going to be taking on this incredibly difficult job in such a historic moment. So thank you, gentlemen. (Applause.)