Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
POLAND - NATO REPORT
Euro-Atlantic Association, Warsaw, Poland
Translated by Edward Rothert,
Introduction by Dr. Jacob W. Kipp
Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The FMSO has received permission from the Center for International Relations in Warsaw to make available to its readers Poland-NATO Report (Warsaw: Institute for Public Affairs, 1995). This recent publication, which appeared in Polish and English , was sponsored by the Stefan Batory Foundation and the Euro-Atlantic Association in Warsaw. The report provides a comprehensive examination of the Polish Republic's relations with NATO since the end of the Cold War in the context of the aims of Polish security policy and the emerging problems of European security. The authors, a most impressive group of former senior officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Defense, include: two former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrzej Olechowski (1993-1995) and Krzysztof Skubiszewski (1989-1993); one Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Andrzej Ananicz (1992-1994); one former Minister of National Defense, Janusz Onyszkiewicz (1992-1993); one Under Secretary of State for National Defense, Przemyslaw Grudzinski (1992-1993); and the former director of the Department of Studies and Planning of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Henryk Szlajfer (1993-1994) .
The report contains an extended examination of "the obstacles and difficulties encountered in Poland's drive to membership in the North Atlantic Alliance." It treats Poland's relations with its three eastern neighbors: the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Lithuania. The authors see the conflict with Russia over NATO expansion as one based on two divergent views of Europe. For Poland NATO must become an inclusive alliance protecting the democratic states and open societies of the continent. Russian geopolitical concerns make a compromise "difficult but feasible." The report looks to a new Polish-Russian dialogue, "opening up new channels of political contacts with its political, economic, military and intellectual elites." While grounded in the geo-strategic realities of the new Europe, the report emphasizes the need for internal and external policies that will make Poland an effective partner with the West: ". . . if it is a democratic state with a market economy, and effective civilian control of the military." The report sees 1996 as a turning point for internal Polish efforts to prepare the country for future membership in NATO and the European Union. In conclusion, the authors call for "an immense internal effort" to synchronize economic development with political and institutional stability.
Appearing in the wake of the recent Polish presidential elections and carrying the endorsement of a wide range of leading political and foreign policy specialists, Poland-NATO Report deserves serious reading by those interested in European security and the process of NATO expansion.
This report aims at identifying the obstacles and difficulties encountered in Poland's drive to membership in the North Atlantic Alliance. It also formulates proposals which could help to resolve the present impasse in the process, a consequence, essentially, of NATO policy.
From the government of Tadeusz Mazowiecki (1989) onwards, all the succeeding administrations in sovereign Poland have consistently pursued a European and Euro-Atlantic policy. Their aim has been to lock Poland into the West and its institutions. The present government has also affirmed its commitment to the same foreign and security policy.
Post-1989, Polish policy has combined appropriate goals and principles with a good grasp of geopolitics, a balance that brought about two historic turning-points: in Polish-German relations and in regional politics. At present, Central Europe is stable and the foreign policies of the region's nations are coherent and predictable.
In its policies towards its neighbours in the East, Poland has striven to overcome mistrust and grievances. Primarily, this concerns Ukraine, Russia, and, for different historical reasons, Lithuania.
In the case of Ukraine, despite a number of lingering problems, there has been unquestionable success on both sides. In the case of Russia, Polish policy has not been actuated by fears of that country. Rather the obstacles in Polish-Russian relations are derived chiefly from the difficulties presented to Russia by the appearance at its borders of a genuinely independent Poland. Yesterday's Soviet and today's Russian elites have either been unwilling or have found it very hard to grasp the implications of this fact; as a result they have so far failed to formulate a constructive policy towards Central Europe. This legacy will require time, patience and good will on both sides to resolve. Such an approach should find practical shape in a search for areas of cooperation with our powerful neighbour. The object of such an ordering of relations should be finally to overcome the legacy of Yalta.
Due to a policy which combines efforts to bridge the old gulfs dividing Poland and its neighbours with reorientation Westwards, there has been an acceleration of the process whose goal is Poland's admission to NATO and the European Union. Of course, the actions of a medium-sized nation, no matter how logical and consistent, are no automatic guarantee of success. The integration process is laborious and its pace is too halting to say that it has passed the critical point. Nor can some spectacular breakthrough be expected in the immediate future. In these circumstances, it is imperative that we look for ways of increasing the effectiveness of our policy. While the aims and principles remain the same, they must be followed through with greater determination, hard-headed pragmatism, development of new instruments and utilization of all of the assets of Poland's geostrategic position.
Poland is not today in danger. It has many partners who have assured us of support for our national security. Since a policy of testing their resolve is pointless, we should look for a security formula which will insure us against the risk of finding ourselves politically and militarily stranded in the event of a future crisis. Integration with the Euro-Atlantic area is the way to avoid the negative test of our own resources, the solidarity of other states, and European security.
It is not only our interests which are at stake here. We have common interests. Poland is today of importance to NATO and will remain so. Blocking the way to Poland's movement towards the Alliance and abandonment of our Atlantic-oriented course would have grave consequences for European security. These would be much more serious than if, hypothetically, the same course were called into question in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia or Bulgaria. In the 20th century Poland has been and continues to be pivotal to Central-European security and pan-European stability. This factor is both a potential source of strength and a measure of the difficulties which we, and our prospective allies as well, are encountering. The geostrategic argument will, however, carry due weight only if our internal and external policies are strong enough to counter any tendencies towards self-isolation in the region or attempts to isolate us by others. Hence the need to devote particular attention to relations with our neighbours, especially Germany, Ukraine and the Czech Republic.
The geostrategic factor (and advantages) should not, however, be overemphasized. Geostrategic arguments no longer play a role per se. Poland can count on integration with the West only if it is a democratic state with a market economy and effective civilian control of the military. In the process of European and Transatlantic integration "values" (ie. democracy) and "interests" (ie. security) form an interlocking whole.
Poland's foreign and security policy must be of a long-term nature. One of the basic objectives is to prepare the country for membership of NATO and participation in its political and military structures. Too much time has, however, been wasted on the internal political front, especially in the past two years. Here 1996 has to be made a turning-point. There must be no more procrastination over the decision to invest in a programne of politico-military integration with Euro-Atlantic structures. There is an obligation by the decision-making centres responsible for this area of policy to support the broad internal consensus on this issue. These are all problems which call for the long view: deciding to join NATO is a strategic decision.
No alternative to integration with NATO and the European Union exists. We cannot, however, rule out the possibility of NATO weakening or even, in the extreme case, falling apart--contrary to the interests of Europe, the United States and Poland. Nor can we rule out that as a result of vacillation and disagreement among the Alliance's members and misconception of the geostrategic situation and role of Russia in Europe, Poland will not be invited to join NATO in the years to come. There will then arise an urgent need to formulate in detail a policy to make the most of the existing bilateral relations. The strategic objective will remain the same--integration with the West--as will the basic thrust of our organizational efforts including the restructuring and modernization of the armed forces.
It must, however, be stressed that a NATO capable of weathering the present crisis is a NATO which includes Poland and other Central European nations. To preserve the Alliance in its present shape is a recipe for defeat. Such a traditional NATO will not perform its role in a Europe which is uniting and its services to democracy and security in Europe will be at best inadequate. The Study on NATO Enlargement circulated to Poland and the other interested states on 28 September 1996 does not take this possibility into consideration.
Poland's independence can be effectively safeguarded only within a coalition framework. Hence the basic task of Polish policy is to prevent marginalization or isolation of the country in either the European and North Atlantic dimension, or in regional relations.
Coalition-building entails constructing a system of security which no one will want (or be able) to destroy. The basic precondition of a coalition structure's efficiency and survival is observance of the principles of consensus and coherence of action. Fulfilment of these principles limits the chances of a non-coalition power to exploit the internal strains which can arise in any coalition. An effective coalition is, therefore, a system with high "entry" and "exit" costs and an advanced degree of integration and specialization of roles. Hence the importance of Poland's full participation in all of NATO's political and military structures after being invited to join the Alliance.
The immediate goal is to focus the efforts of Poland and the other candidates with realistic chances of NATO membership on establishment of the conditions for NATO enlargement. In the months ahead, and especially in 1996, immense exertions will be needed on our part to prevent any slowing of the pace of action advancing the realization of our objectives. We cannot take it for granted that the admission of Poland is a foregone conclusion. On the contrary: the Study on NATO Enlargement offers no details on this subject. It barely addresses the "why" and "how" questions--and without, for that matter, answering them in full; the questions "who" and "when" remain up in the air.
At the Alliance's Brussels summit in January 1994 and in the statements of President Clinton in Prague immediately afterwards and during his visit in Poland in July 1994 there was reference to "how" (but not "whether") NATO will expand. This was a result jointly achieved by the American administration, NATO and the leaders of the region's four nations. What is cause for concern, however, is that in the months that followed these statements, in which a practical approach to enlargement was implicit, the question on "when and how" was "semantically" interpreted as meaning "why and how". Some prominent American and European politicians consider that it is "why" which is in effect the "most important question". The debate over Poland's integration with NATO might thereby be set back almost to its starting point in autumn 1993. Consequently, the necessary political and diplomatic steps to push forward the process must be taken in time for the upcoming summit in December 1995.
As well as the strategic and political aspect, solidifying the NATO enlargement scenario also has a practical (and operational) dimension: without a timetable it is very hard to plan the process of politico-military integration and undertake the basic adaptation measures. This factor should not, however, be overemphasized. Even at the present stage of cooperation with NATO and individual member states adaptation can (and must) go forward, as it furthers protection of our interests, advances the prospect of Poland's entry into the Alliance and enhances our armed forces interoperability with the NATO integrated command and the armies of the member states.
The problem of Poland's entry into NATO needs to be seen and tackled in the broader context of European security and the American presence in Europe. This context comprises at least four basic problems, not to say challenges:
Behind these challenges lies an objective process of differentiation of the old Eurasian strategic space. However, on the evidence of the discussion about NATO enlargement and European security problems it appears that the West is reluctant to part with the image of a single East and a closed "Western club."
The question of the differentiation of the old East and the account to be taken of this process in discussion of security form the most serious challenge to Europe's strategy. Differentiation is one of the basic results of the changes launched in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 90 and deepened by the break-up of the Soviet Union at the turn of 1991 92 and the unification of Germany. However, "differentiation" should not be equated with, and classified as, creation of "new divisions" in the sense of arbitrary segregation of states into "good" and "bad," "welcome" and "unwanted." On the other hand, there can be no doubt that the result of this objective process will be mounting differences in perceptions of international problems and disparities in definitions of the national interests of the states which until 1989 functioned as parts of the relatively homogeneous Soviet bloc. Also inevitable is a region-specific diversification of security bearings. The Tashkent agreement is possibly a beginning of the formation of a new alliance. Its origins lie in a period when NATO enlargement was not yet a topic of discussion at high level. Its underlying causes should be sought in the general geostrategic and internal situation of Russia after the break-up of the USSR, not in "threats" to expand the Alliance. The same applies to the reestablishing of a common air defence system over a large part of former Soviet territory.
A consequence of the above approach was (and is) a kind of freezing of the 1989 90 processes. It has not, however, been an absolute freeze. The effects of grassroots and regional forces has been to undermine the bipolarity of the pre-1989 period , whatever strategists in the West and the ex-USSR have intended. Let us indicate only the following responses to the challenges of 1989 92:
A glance at the relationship between the challenges and the responses to them reveals disproportion and internal imbalance. Poland and Europe still live in the shadow of the Cold War and prolongation of this state of affairs will result in predictions of a "Cold Peace" coming true.
The security policy of the principal states of the West is a policy of reactivity. At the same time the American and Western European publics do not in the main see a connection between national interest and furthering the expansion of NATO and the Western European Union. The prospect of enlargement of these institutions is not perceived as a natural process. For their part, political elites shrink from taking fundamental decisions and balk at the effort of persuading voters of the necessity of bearing the costs involved in integration. It cannot be overlooked, however, that among both elites and the public at large (especially in America and Germany) moods are undergoing change, albeit very slowly, which in terms of our objectives is a positive development. There is growing awareness that in the longer run NATO cannot survive if it limits itself to traditional tasks and its historically defined area of responsibility.
What is chiefly responsible for the paralysis of Western policy towards Central Europe is disagreement over the role and place of Russia in world and European politics. Confronting Central Europe's interests with the policy of Russia's elites, the West has tended to side with the latter. One way out of this awkward situation is the policy of the Western leaders who link assent to admission of some Central European states with creation of a system of special partnership with Russia. Such parallelism aims not only at allaying Russia's fears but above all at showing it the way to integration with world leadership. But in Russia, acceptance of a Western strategy of this kind--in its Russian aspect--is treated as a concession to the West. Our attitude to this policy depends on its effects, on whether it slows down or shelves NATO enlargement.
The West's failure to decide on a policy towards Russia inclines many politicians in America and Western Europe to construct ad hoc scenarios whose effectiveness is questionable. One such scenario--which also offers ammunition to the opponents of NATO enlargement--is the assumption that there will always be time to bring Poland and other states into NATO if a critical moment arises in Russian policy towards the outside world. This is a short-sighted approach with dangerous implications and reminiscent of escalation strategy. Poland, it postulates, would receive a number of non-treaty-based assurances from Western states and NATO. However, the eagerness with which such declarations are made might raise doubts as to their actual worth. Polish security policy cannot rely on verbal assurances. The example of Yugoslavia hardly inspires confindence in the effectiveness of such "security guarantees" for nations outside the integrated system of the West's defensive alliance.
Another approach, aimed at eliminating the problem of NATO enlargement, hinges on a question frequently put to us by Western European states: Why don't we limit our efforts to entry into the European Union? After all, all the members of this grouping enjoy the blessings of security and stability.
Poland does not dispute that on entering the European Union its national existence and security will in substantial measure be assured. The President, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister have repeatedly said as much. The dominance of the economic factor notwithstanding, Poland has always considered the European Union (and, earlier, the Community) to be an institution with a primarily a political agenda. The EU stabilizes its members' place in Europe, offers them security, including economic and social aspects, does not encroach on national identity, protects and enhances civilizational standards, and is a bulwark against the return of the totalitarian system. For the states with resources of the order of Poland's the European union is the proper framework for future development. By itself Poland cannot, any more than the majority of the small and medium-sized members of the Union, meet the numerous challenges of the 21st century.
Membership of the Union is our destiny if we want unity of the continent and do not wish to find ourselves fatally isolated. As of late 1989, Polish foreign policy made bonding Poland with the Community its priority. This was not only because in the first stage of independence the idea of joining NATO would have met with a flat refusal. It would also have complicated matters for our then and future policy towards the West. Membership of the Union was and is for us a precious political value in itself. Efforts to join the "Fifteen Club" are not an expedient for solving the problems that we encounter on our road to NATO. The truth is that, though our plans began with the Community, today we treat joining the Union and joining NATO as parallel objectives. Consequently, we do not consider membership of one organization to be contingent on membership of the other. Nor is there a reason to think there is some kind of time sequence. Membership of one organization complements membership of the other, but each is independent.
Nevertheless, from the security perspective it has to be observed that at present neither the European Union nor the Western European Union deriving from the Brussels Treaty (1948) are pillars of European security. The only such pillar is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. As an effective alliance, as the defence arm of the European Union, the WEU is only a thing of the future. In contrast to NATO, it does not have the means to act. What is more, the European identity in the fields of foreign and security policy does not exist either as a political strategy or a politico-military modus operandi. The war in the former Yugoslavia has shown that clearly, and the Combined Joint Task Forces are still on the planning board.
We fully appreciate the great significance of the decision of the Copenhagen summit (1993) to open the Union to the east. But for our thinking about the future there is also, as there must be, a message in the slow pace of the preparations for opening the doors of the Union in addition to its concentration on its own internal problems. We know that entry into the Union would facilitate admission to NATO, though the present status of EU thinking on its institutional development and enlargement places a question mark on such an approach.
Overalll, EU policy (though not necessarily the policy of individual members) leaves Poland in the position of having to square the circle. There are no dates, no hard-and-fast decisions. These tendencies should not, however, be interpreted negatively. The process of integration with the EU is making headway, though its pace makes accentuation of a linkage with Poland's membership of NATO not a sign of realism but continuation of the policy of putting off decisions on both matters.
The United States has not defined its policy towards the strategic triangle of Europe Russia China. There have been a deterioration of relations with China and a weakening of involvement in Western Europe. Also visible is the absence of consensus on America's role in international institutions and the nature and extent of partnership with Russia. Recent statements by Senator Sam Nunn, Paul H. Nietze, General John Galvin and other politicians critical of plans to expand NATO have further obscured the picture. At the same time, a part of the elites is convinced that the days of NATO, meaning Eurocentrism, are gone for good and that integration of Central Europe is, therefore, a matter for Europe to decide with the EU having the final say. Practice has not confirmed these assumptions. The clear lesson of the war in Bosnia is that America's will, initiative and leadership continue to be a a basic factor in European security.
Despite concentration on internal affairs, it is in fact the Clinton administration which is setting the pace in the NATO enlargement process. Support for this process is also coming from many Republican politicians and some Democrats. A matter of exceptional importance is that official US policy includes a publicly declared commitment to complete integration of the Central European nations with the West. No change in this official position seems likely in the near term. The imminence of a presidential election should strengthen support for our position, and the NATO enlargement issues will probably feature in the platforms of the contenders in next year's White House race.
Germany, which has--in its own best interests, for that matter--been very sympathetic to Poland's arguments and aspirations, cannot, and will not try to, force the issue of Poland's admission to NATO over opposition from the United States and its chief European partners. Moderation in evaluations of German policy towards Poland and NATO enlargement is advisable. While emphasizing and appreciating the enormous progress made in Polish-German relations, we must not lose sight of the differences among German elites over expansion of NATO and the basic contours of the European security structure. It can, however, be implied that if there is a clear American leadership for expansion of NATO Germany would be inclined to support such an initiative. But on its own, no. In any case that would be ineffective. Germany's present commitment should not, however, be seen solely in terms of the enlarge ment question. Bilateral relations with that country, as with American and other European powers, can play a crucial role if that process bogs down.
Germany's position on Poland's integration with NATO will become extremely important if the German government obtains effective backing for it from France, the United Kingdom and Italy. The governments of these three countries say that they would not bar the way to Poland joining NATO--but in any case this is something for the future. The British and Italian positions are characterized by indecesivness, doubts and speculation about the attitude of Russia (and in the case of Britain also by traditional geopolitical arguments relating to continental Europe and Germany and concern over the bad state of the "special relationship" with America). France's stance, on the other hand, is a result of its specific place in NATO, unresolved dilemmas connected with the attempt to create a Mediterranean policy, the twists and turns of its American policy and indecision in Central Europe.
The failure of France to take advantage of its opportunities in Central Europe in 1989--95 is cause for regret. After an initial spell of strong and positive involvement in the region's affairs in 1989--90, French policy drifted into a dead end. The Weimar initiative ("Triangle"), which developed a momentum of its own in 1991--93 and could still live up to its promise, is not being done justice by France. Until recently it treated the security of the region as a secondary matter. Poland and the region thus became casualties of political and diplomatic battles waged by France on fronts elsewhere. France's long-term interests, however, will not be served by absence from the region. Thus, the possibility of a change in the policy of Paris towards Poland cannot be ruled out. It needs to be remembered that the change in France's attitude to the war in Bosnia had a positive influence on American policy and the whole of NATO.
All in all, from a Polish perspective the weakness of the West's security policy is a lack of the political will to face the great challenges which have arisen post-1989, not technical problems connected with implementation of agreed priorities. First and foremost, what is missing is an enlarged (strategic) definition of West's interests. It is symptomatic that NATO has not yet produced a coherent analysis of the politico-military chances and risks in post-1989 Europe. A policy of ad hoc measures and short-term advantages prevails. This is one of the basic causes of the problems with blocking out the general shape of the Alliance's transformation and its strategy. A stopgap was the New Strategic Concept in November 1991 which, while important at the time, led in effect to a freezing of the existing state of affairs. As a result what we have observed is inert conservation of NATO as an institution "in itself" and "for itself." Central Europe's steady support for NATO to some extent neutralized these negative tendencies.
Only now has work begun on a new concept which, presumably, will take account of the consequences of the disintegration of the Soviet empire. That it has started is to be welcomed. However, as far as the future of the Alliance and the security of Europe are concerned, what is extremely important is that the proposed changes in NATO's military and political concept should factor in its enlarged formula.
Any examination of the Russian priorities which have a direct bearing on the aims of Polish policy needs to take a serious look at the psychology of the process of Russian foreign-policy-making. A manifestation of this process is an internal political debate in Russia, the poles of which are fears of isolation and self-isolation. At the same time, a profound sense of Russia's geopolitical, military, economic and civilizational degradation goes hand in hand with faith in the future renaissance of the greatness of this state. The conclusions of this debate are addressed to the outside world, the states of Central Europe and the West. They seep into official government policy and play the role of an objective factor in international relations.
Practically, this psychology is reflected in a very broad consensus among Russia's elites on the subject of NATO. The Transatlantic community and NATO are treated--in geopolitical terms--as instruments standing in the way of Russia recovering its position in European politics. This is not, however, solely a question of psychology. In view of the country's present internal situation and the obvious gap between its overall economic potential and inherited oversized military capabilities, Russian elites are intent on restoring a European order around a classic balance of power, not integration. Such a European order with its emphasis on the role of the politico-military factor would automatically strengthen Russia's position vis-a-vis the United States and Germany, despite its internal problems. Hence the basic directive of Russian policy is stright forward: to block, or at least delay, the expansion of NATO until Russia is capable of having a real say in decisions affecting European security.
Russian actions concentrate on the following matters:
a. Cooperation with the West is treated not as a value (also measurable in economic and civilizational terms) but as a bargaining medium: hence refusal to cooperate is seen as an effective means of disrupting the West's strategy in Europe . Since it is obvious that Russia with its powerful nuclear arsenal (the proliferation and nuclear strategy problems) cannot be integrated against its will, the real or potential threats that it might pose are skillfully used by Russia to pave the way to reassertion of its European and global influences. Blocking expansion of NATO is the chief short- and medium-term objective.
b. The CIS and other attempts at consolidation of the ex-Soviet area in which the accent is on Russian military hegemony aim at gradual reconstruction of the geopolitical foundations of Russian might.
c. Out of concern for its vulnerable China flank Russia is seeking to cons olidate its position in the European security system, but without giving up the tac tic of alternation between cooperation and non-cooperation with America and West ern Europe. Hence, for instance, its manoeuvres to build up the OSCE are accompanied by a high-handed disregard of the Vienna CFE restrictions. There is even occasional advocacy of competition with the West (United States).
d. Policy towards Poland and Central Europe is subordinated to Russian blueprin t s for Europe's future geopolitics. The maximum plan is preservation of a belt of milit arily, politica lly and economically weak states and gradual expan sion of Russia's presence in this area until its effective power enables it to re-draw spheres of influence in this region. Thus, Poland's aspirations and security interests are treated by Russia as a threat to these long-range designs. Fears are also voiced of the possibility of Poland and other Central European countries being used as instruments by the West for gaining influence in Ukraine and other former Soviet republics. Russia's attitude to advancement of stability and well-being in Central Europe remains in these circumstances ambivalent, although there is a noteworthy absence of objections to expansion of the European Union and even the WEU. The question is, might this be due to Russia's own (negative) assessment of the chances of expansion of these institutions by the end of the century?
Because the hostility to plans for NATO enlargement has a broad internal consensus behind it, we can expect, regardless of reshuffles in the power apparatus, a continuation of Russian policy in the following directions:
a. Exploitation of relations with NATO and its special status for the purpose of gaining an effective say in the evolution of the Alliance;
b. Perpetual playing on fears of an "uncooperative Russia" to block any basic changes in the structure and territorial scope of NATO;
c. Attempts to move from a purely negative and passive policy towards Central European nations to a more active policy trading on the way of thinking of parts of the political and economic elites in Central Europe;
d. Development of pan-European concepts of security which are in essence based on a reformed and (in view of the unification of Germany) territorially restricted version of the Yalta system; such plans are in effect an overture to a ne w Concert of Europe--with Germany against the United States or with the United States against Germany;
e. After, if possible, marginalization of Central Europe by checking enlargement of NATO, attempts to weaken the cohesion of the EU and WEU (such tendencies are visible already).
It would, however, be wrong to demonize Russian objections to expansion of NATO. The limited material and political resources at its disposal prevent it from creating an alternative to the Atlantic concept of the enlarged Europe of the future. Self-isolation is also a source of serious internal dilemmas, especially as far as Russia's near-term development prospects are concerned. The maximum plans that threaten us are therefore certain to be modified, which will open up new opportunities of advancing Polish interests.
It is also essential to keep a sense of proportion in evaluating the actions of governments which take decisions (NATO member-states) and governments doing everything in their power to influence decisions (Russia). The reactions in the West to the sequence of events connected with President Yeltsin's visit in Warsaw in August 1993, and especially to the Russian veto in late September 1993, should not be forgotten. The future of NATO and outreach to Central Europe are matters that will be decided by the West, not Moscow. Poland's principal problem, therefore, is obtaining unequivocal and firm support for NATO membership from Washington, Paris, Bonn, London and Rome. Our security, though affected by Russian behaviour, ultimately depends on the security policies of the United States, NATO and the EU nations (chiefly Germany and France).
The Russian factor will indeed loom as a threat if stalling by the West over a positive solution to Polish security problems and reinforcement of stability in the region continues. This will result in these problems being resolved with an Eastward orientation, helped by internal groups with a stake in such a course of events. The other end of this process would be a violent surge of anti-Russian moods in Poland and other parts of the region involving a spontaneous backlash against Russia preventing entrenchement of the security of sovereign Poland. In short, instead of contributing to stabilization in Central and Eastern Europe, a decision to block any near-term enlargement of NATO might lead to a growth of tensions and uncertainty.
The political and military stability in Poland's immediate neighbourhood is essentially a result of those nations' own efforts. That fact enjoins taking a critical view of the argument for expanding NATO in order to prevent a repeat of "the Balkan scenario". It is an argument which is both fallacious and too weak a premise for expanding NATO. In the case of Poland's immediate environment and bilateral relations with its neighbours this argument has no factual basis. Thus expansion of NATO on these grounds would not be a form of prevention, but only perpetuation of an already existing state of affairs. On the other hand, the conflicts to which Poland has been a party in the 20th century have been primarily "great conflicts" directly involving Germany, Russia and other European powers. All other arguments aside, the point of expanding NATO is to rule out for good the possibility of projecting such "great conflicts" to Central Europe. The "Balkan scenario" is here quite irrelevant.
The lack of basic decisions by the West is having an adverse influence on the internal situations of the Central European countries. At a critical stage in the development of democratic political and economic institutions the role of external impulses and support is hard to overestimate. The weakness of such impulses and their ambiguity could be detrimental, and in some cases a threat, to democracy and the market. This is particularly important at a time when power in Poland and in its immediate vicinity has been won by political forces hailing from the communist parties of old (the exception is the Czech Republic). This phenomenon has been accompanied by a tendency to differentiation of these ruling post-communist elites. Bulgaria's post-communists have already embarked on a basic realignment of its foreign and security policy; in Poland and Hungary they do not at present question the programmes formulated by the former democratic opposition and the first non-communist governments, though their position is not wholly consistent. Internal efforts and external support is essential to the maintenance of this course in Poland which is now supported by three-quarters of the people.
The Central and Eastern European nations, our closest neighbours included, are not of a piece in their attitudes to joining NATO. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, the other Baltic states, and Romania aspire to membership of the alliance. Belarus and Ukraine have declared no such wish, though note must be taken of the marked differences in the motives of their governments and in their views on enlargement of NATO to include Poland and other countries. Bulgaria's position, the president to the contrary, is one of growing scepticism over accession to NATO and the present and future role of the Alliance in Europe.
Differentiation in the aspirations of individual states taken in conjunction with the strategic determinants will undoubtedly be reflected in the course of giving more detailed shape to plans to open out NATO. The key issues are policy towards Poland, the Baltic nations and Hungary and the question of a separate approach to the interests of Ukraine.
This is highly sensitive ground and it is not in our interest to point directly or indirectly to countries which are "competing" with us or whose inclusion in the first group of entrants would not be advisable. It is obvious, however, that NATO will not be capable of "assimilating" all the candidates at once. Moreover, an important part in the decision-making process will also be played by such considerations as stability of democratic institutions, "ethnic peace" in a given country and its relations with its neighbours, direct access to NATO's present area of operations (although this is only implicitly stated), transport network, contribution to the Alliance's defence capabilities, etc. From this point of view Poland's admission to the Alliance will be a watershed: it is contributing the most to the stability of the region and playing a basic role in plans for linking the security of Central Europe with the security of the West and creating a new NATO political dynamics. Nor without significance, too, are Poland's considerable capacities in the field of crisis-management and peace-keeping activities.
We must, however, be prepared to take preventive political and diplomatic measures to avert any growth of animosities in the region in the context of NATO enlargement. This will be one of the most complicated, but also one of the most important tasks facing Poland.
The basic task in internal politics is to reorganize and normalize the system of defining and implementing Polish foreign policy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should recover the function of chief coordinating body. It is also necessary to establish an institution that will make for effective formulation of foreign policy strategy within the executive branch (including the presidency). The unity of foreign policy, disrupted today by "politico-economic barons", must be unconditionally restored.
1996 ought to be turning-point in the sphere of civil-military relations and assertion of full democratic control over the armed forces. Democratic states cannot tolerate autonomous general staffs or generals. Moreover, civil control of the military may not be a sufficient condition of Poland's admission to the Alliance, but its absence offers an excellent pretext for blocking it. Basic progress in this field depends both on legal arrangements (Constitution, legislation, defence ministry statutes) and on strengthening of the democratic political system. Prolongation of the present situation jeopardizes our security interests. An effective system of control should comprise the following key elements:
In view of the evolution of the political situation steps are needed to prevent transformation of "civilian control" into non-democratic "partisan" control directed from a single centre and with throwbacks to the pre-1989 model. The structure and operating mechanisms of the institutions in charge of national security, including the composition of the leadership of the defence ministry and other departments responsible for internal and external security and the appropriate parliamentary committees should further the construction of political consensus and inter-party cooperation.
National budgets in 1996 2000 should aim at initiating an upward trend in defence expenditures with the emphasis on modernization of military technology and interoperability with NATO forces. However, to expect a major breakthrough in this area would be unreasonable. Meanwhile, what is needed are innovative ideas--on such matters, for instance, as leasing of equipment and industrial cooperation, especially in air forces. The conceptual basis for a gradual process of upgrading of certain fields at the expense of traditional branches of the services and remodelling the Warsaw Pact-inherited structure of the armed forces must come from a White Paper on defence setting out a long-range plan for modernization of the military. Also essential is a substantial increase in appropriations for programmes connected with the Partnership for Peace and integration with NATO. This should be effected under a special budget item jointly implemented by the defence and foreign ministries. Poland must maintain and strengthen its position as the effective pacesetter in practical cooperation with NATO.
The foreign and defence ministries and other appropriate departments should draw up a government programme for intensive training of civilian security and defence experts. The defence ministry (and within its framework the general staff) must prepare a plan and practical programmes for the formation of mixed civilian and military task forces in fields hitherto reserved for service personnel. Facilities should also be provided by civilian higher-education institutions, such as Warsaw University or the Warsaw School of Economics, for officers to attend post-graduate courses. The proposed projects would also facilitate the training of civilian and military personnel capable of working within NATO's international bureaucracy.
We propose the preparation by the foreign and defence ministries--on the authority of the president and the government--of a White Paper on security which updates and considerably amplifies the 1992 National Defence Committee document. Such a presentation of a unitary national defence policy inclusive of its external and integration aspects would by being given the status of law advance political consensus in the sphere of national security. The foreign and defence ministries should include independent experts among the drafters of this document.
In our strategic plans membership of the European Union and NATO form the two aspects of a fully integrated model. It is not advisable, therefore, to be too dismissive of the West's propositions on this matter. It would also be wrong to let ourselves be persuaded that some kind of trade-off between NATO membership and deferred entry into the EU is possible. On the other hand, it is obvious that to try to finalize both processes concurrently (a single timetable) would lead to the anchoring of Poland in a solid security system being greatly delayed.
Neither before nor during the Intergovernmental Conference in 1996 will the question of Poland's EU membership be examined in any kind of detail. It is being suggested by EU authorities that Poland and the other candidates should prepare themselves for discussion of membership in 1997 and beyond. For its part, the NATO calendar is very tight. We must not lose sight of the salient fact, which is that basic discussion has already begun and that it is in our interest to see that 1996 is not a year of standstill. Consequently, the emphasis needs to be put on differentiating the respective calendars for entry into NATO and the European Union. Poland's aim is to complete the complex procedure of joining the North Atlantic Alliance in 1999, its 50th anniversary.
In our NATO policy we should harness the whole range of bilateral and multilateral instruments of political action--for instance, try to make firm the possibility of conducting political consultations on a 16+1 basis. We should also emphatically insist on fulfilment of NATO's own declarations concerning transparency in its relations with Russia. For Poland, too, it would be unacceptable if the debate on NATO enlargement were to revert to a phase of debate within the Alliance on the motives for the West to expand (the "why" question). What interests Poland at present is a substantive discussion with NATO of the criteria, mechanisms and dates of access to the Alliance. A point should be made in our diplomacy of stressing the inadmissibility of modifying positions on enlargement of NATO according to where they are formulated. In other words, we expect consistency in the message communicated to Poland regardless of whether the relevant statements are made in Moscow, Brussels or Warsaw. At the same time we cannot fail to see that political elites in the United States and Germany have been much more forthcoming than their own bureaucracies (including at NATO Headquarters) which are still unsympathetic to proposals to enlarge the Alliance.
Poland does not for the moment have to declare adherence to one fixed model of membership in NATO. It is obvious that its final shape will be a resultant of Poland's security interests and the interests of the whole Alliance. But one thing is certain: Poland wants to be a fully empowered and fully contributing member which plans to make all its operational forces available to NATO; it also intends to participate in its committees and the NATO integrated command. Given that, the question of the kinds of action and their sequence, intensity and timing should be decided in a flexible manner which takes account of our own capacities and the broader international context. One of the key elements here will be Russian reactions. Rapid movement towards the integral model of membership of NATO might be forced on us by its actions (for instance, further militarization of the Kaliningrad enclave, deployment of Russian forces and nuclear weapons in Belarus and on submarines in the Baltic Sea or other aggressive moves). What is also important is to see that Poland's full-blown participation in NATO is the effective (though delayed) ending of the 1990 Two-plus-Four negotiations and the special formula of the NATO presence in the former East Germany.
In the discussion on the future of NATO a theme that is coming increasingly to the fore is the question of the inevitability of the common NATO response under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. There have been tendencies to interpret this provision which either take greater account of the regional differentiation of the NATO area or put the emphasis on "political solidarity" (as opposed to politico-military cohesion). These tendencies to some extent chime with the "variable geometry" concept of Europe within the European Union. They reflect the de facto differentiation of the security interests of the Alliance's members that has come about since, as a result of the peaceful revolutions of 1989--91, the Central Front became history. As long as these tendencies do not contravene the basic principles and purposes of Transatlantic cooperation, they can be regarded as natural. They also show how necessary it is for us to participate forthwith in discussions of the future of the Alliance (despite the non-member status) and, within the limits accessible to us, involvement in decisions concerning it. They also indicate the necessity of intensive preparations for close cooperation in Central Europe (including participation in multinational corps) in coalition with the United States, Germany, Denmark, Holland and our southern neighbours. The effective NATO of the future will probably be a "coalition of subcoalitions" under the nuclear umbrella of the United States. Let us add that France's recently forwarded interesting proposals regarding the nuclear umbrella cannot be at the moment treated as an effective substitute. The same concerns British nuclear potential.
With regard to the Partnership for Peace Poland's position is clear and needs to be emphasized: we intend to continue our participation and at a mounting level of resource commitment and will seek to intensify cooperation in the C3I, adaptation and defence planning fields. Any scepticism on our part does not concern the Partnership as a programme in its own right. This scepticism is directed towards attempts to regard PfP as a substitute for NATO enlargement.
Treatment of the Partnership as a programme in its own right and at the same time a kind of surrogate for the European security and military cooperation structure, a logical extension of the activities and philosophy of the OSCE, is not by definition a bad thing. One can also envisage a stronger interlocking of this programme with the OSCE and the creation thereby of a "link" between NATO and the OSCE. For the fact is that there are fewer potential NATO candidates than Partnership participants and that as Partnership activities widen (to include, for instance, consultations and cooperation in defence policy and planning) the number of actual candidates will become smaller still. Poland should not join the ranks of those who vehemently challenge the Partnership and undermine the beginnings of military cooperation in the OSCE area. Poland's aim is to advance beyond the Partnership's framework, not its limitation or collapse.
A regional security policy should seek to:
It is necessary to persevere with efforts to develop closer cooperation with the Czech Republic addressing these both to the government and its agencies and to parliament, parties and non-governmental organizations. We should strive for a transformation over the medium and long term of Polish-Czech relations, correct and conflict-free today, into a much more active factor and the focal point of a central European region of Western structures. A freezing of relations at the present level works against Polish and Czech interests. It is no exaggeration to say that Polish-Czech relations are the key to Central Europe becoming a significant element of European structures.
There are only weeks left in which an effort has to be made to coordinate "the voices" of Poland, the Czech Republic and other countries in the discussion of the NATO document and in the run-up to the NATO summit in December 1995. With respect to its regional partners in the Visegr d Group, Poland should plainly emphasize three basic principles. First, in matters relating to Poland's integration with NATO and other crucial security issues the idea of a lowest common denominator cannot apply. Advancement of Polish interests will not be put on hold because of the appearance of problems or constraints arising out of the internal situation or international relations of other parties. Second, the broadest possible cooperation must be developed with countries prepared to work out a common stance and taking practical steps, both internally and externally, to canvass support for this stance. Third, consultations and cooperation in the security sphere have to be completely open.
We should seek to restore Polish-Ukrainian dialogue to its former intensity and level. Poland's policy towards Ukraine should be directed towards sustaining that country's Western orientation and widening its room for manoeuvre in the international arena. Support for initiatives aimed at enhancing Ukraine's international position and strengthening its ties with the Central-European region and the West cannot, however, be unconditional, though any such initiatives should be viewed in Poland with the utmost favour (in the same way as we approached Ukraine's difficult negotiations over the elimination of its nuclear arsenal). Good relations with Ukraine are the best guarantee of finally laying to rest the risk of a repetition of the traditional (sad) history of the region and its treatment as a pawn by the great powers. Such endeavours must, however, avoid the slightest hint of anti-Russianism. A useful idea would be annual Polish-Ukrainian summits of the heads of state and government and (more frequently) foreign ministers of the two countries. In the field of military and politico-military relations it is worth weighing the chances of enhanced confidence-building measures (CSBMs) going beyond the agreed minimum international standards.
Given (in all probability) an evolutionary process of NATO enlargement, it is necessary to increase efforts to create a strong network of links with those of the region's nations which are unlikely to be in the first group of new members. Particular attention should be given to the possibilities of expanding relations with Romania. Equally great importance should be attached to expansion of Baltic cooperation. In discussing new arrangements for strengthening the identity of the region it is also worth considering the chances of cooperation between parliamentarians in the countries which have obtained the status of associate members of the North Atlantic Assembly. In short, the prospect of Poland entering NATO should not be construed as an obstacle to (or exemption from) developing ever closer cooperation in the region. A Poland solidly ensconced in the region will be a much more serious and rewarding partner for the West than an isolated Poland harping on geostrategic challenges and threats.
Policy towards Russia should at present aim at opening up new channels of political contacts with its political, economic, military and intellectual elites. Dialogue with the Russians ought not to be limited to the presidential-government level (though here, too, it is necessary to redouble efforts and, if need be, to do so publicly). Dialogue with democratic parties and influential non- and paragovernmental organizations is essential. If there is any freezing in dialogue with Russia, we must make sure that it is not Poland's fault. Lack of Polish assent to dialogue bolsters Russian propaganda playing up Polish "phobias".
A development of political, economic and cultural relations with Russia is needed. However, on a realistic view of the present state of Polish-Russian relations it has to be said that a breakthrough or marked improvement is for the moment unlikely, chiefly because of the situation in Russia itself. Moreover, it has to be clearly and explicitly indicated to the Russian leaders that a lasting and friendly ordering of Polish-Russian relations is a function of Russia's acceptance of the process of political, economic and defence integration of Europe. On the other hand, passivity on the part of Poland would be a mistake since directly or indirectly Russia plays a part in debates and decisions that affect us. Consequently, leaving aside assessment of the situation in Russia and of its leaders, it must be firmly emphasized that Poland wants to and can talk to any Russian government which respects our sovereignty and international law. With each, too, we should explore areas of cooperation without abandoning the goals which are crucial to our national security. Polish policy is not and cannot be geared to "containing" or "rolling-back" Russia.
Straightening out relations with Russia is a great challenge for Poland, though it is also obvious that, like it or not, Polish-Russian relations are to a large extent a function of broader debates and decisions with a European and Transatlantic compass. It would, however, be wrong to try to autonomize our policy towards Russia, that is, enter into direct negotiations on matters related to the fundamental principles of our "Western policy". Such an approach does not, however, rule out the need to have an "Eastern policy" aimed at realization of short- and long-term objectives. Nor does it question the necessity of widening the scope and level of bilateral consultations and, where necessary and possible, certain joint initiatives. The point of rejecting autonomization is to counteract the risk of alternatives arising which are contrary to the fundamental bearings of Polish security policy.
It is not our aim to cultivate an image of enemies, but that does not mean the public should not be informed calmly and factually of actual trends in Russian politics. Where basic issues are concerned, Poland cannot refrain from speaking openly (which is not to say, aggressively) about chances and dangers in the east. Such an attitude, popular, for instance, among the advisers to the present government, would not only disempower and excessively self-limit our foreign policy but also send the wrong signals to the outside world and the public at home.
The margins of compromise with Russia are delineated by the readiness of some sections of Russia's political elites to understand the motivations of Polish security policy (see, for example, the Karaganov Report from May 1995). To state publicly that one of the substitutes for enlargement of NATO which Russia could accept would be unilateral Alliance guarantees to Central Europe is no trivial matter. It is an unrealistic proposal, but as a signal it is of great importance. Of course, Poland cannot "offer" Russia fulfilment of its European designs. But it is in a position to assure Russia of a pragmatic approach backed by the will to understand its neighbour's interests. Such an approach can include the following strategic initiatives:
- As Poland's aspirations to join NATO assume concrete shape we must prepare ourselves to address the question of the new role and operating principles of the OSCE. That means taking a fresh look at a basic idea of the Russian government now being put forward as an alternative to expansion (and de facto the further existence) of NATO and for that reason rejected by us. A specific decision by NATO to enlarge the Alliance will be the right moment for a meaningful and results-oriented debate on the future of the OSCE and other pan-European institutions in order to ensure a constructive Russian contribution to those activities.
- It will not be long before the role of Russia's natural resources in the European economy increases. Poland is interested in the commencement of a basic debate on the security and reliability of supplies of strategic materials on the continent as an integral part of the security and stability of Europe. Such a debate must take account of the interests of the Russian economy and the Russian state. In view of the strategic pan-European dimension of this problem it should be tackled by the OSCE (which does not rule out discussion in a smaller group of the more directly concerned nations).
- Reduction of the level of militarization of the Baltic Sea region and especially the Kaliningrad district is in the vital interest of Poland. However, from the Russian point of view Kaliningrad has a strategic and not only regional significance. Its role is also being loud-pedalled in current Russian debates on NATO enlargement, particular in terms of more or less realistic plans for "averting the threat". However, there does appear to be a possibility, if only at the level of preliminary discussions and studies, of examining ways of including the problem of the excessive militarization of Kaliningrad in a general debate on the future of the CFE and CSBMs, but without calls for complete demilitarization of the area. Accentuation of the economic role of Kaliningrad and a specific contribution to its development would be helpful.
Europe at the end of the 20th century has been confronted with the task of creating an effective security system and mechanisms. From Poland's perspective it cannot be successfully carried out without its entry into the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance. Failure in this enterprise will mean the start of a new great European battle for influences in Central Europe.
The near term will also determine the future of NATO. At this stage in European discussions Polish policy must strive even more actively for membership of the Alliance. We must fortify and perpetuate among elites in West and East alike a conviction that enlargement of NATO is inevitable. In this endeavour Poland should play the role of an ally "before the fact". Only then will it be possible to see exactly how the costs of admitting our country to the Alliance compare with the costs of leaving it excluded. Our aim must be to prove to NATO that the costs of denying Poland entry to the NATO club will be markedly bigger.
Parallel to a resolute policy on NATO enlargement, Poland should enhance its security through cooperation with the nations of the region and Western Europe. The object of these efforts is not at present to look for alternatives to membership of NATO but persevering construction of solid foundations for Poland's participation in the Alliance. Stable regional cooperation in the security sphere will undoubtedly contribute to strengthening a sense of security in the region itself and Europe at large.
The conflict of interests with Russia is not an incidental dispute but stems from differing visions of the future of Europe. A compromise here will be very difficult, but is feasible. The chief way of preventing these disagreements having harmful consequences is through action on a scale embracing Europe and the United States. It is necessary to build up agreement and compromise with Russia wherever possible and at the same time make sure of the consistent development and enlargement of European structures.
If Poland is to become a member of NATO an immense internal effort will be necessary. In a nutshell it can be described as synchronizing economic development with political and institutional maturity, which comprise the twin precondition of politico-military and economic integration. In the security sphere the key requirements are: breakthrough in the establishment of a effective system of democratic-civil control of defence, and the structural and technical modernization of the armed forces. Without progress in these two areas membership of NATO will be in doubt.
Andrzej ANANICZ - 1992--94, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; at present, Secretary of State, President's Office
Przemyslaw GRUDZINSKI - 1992--93, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of National Defence; at present, Professor at G. C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (Germany)
Andrzej OLECHOWSKI - 1993--95, Minister of Foreign Affairs; President, Supervisory Board, Bank Handlowy S. A.
Janusz ONYSZKIEWICZ - 1992--93, Minister of National Defence; at present, member of parliament and Deputy Chairman, National Defence Committee
Krzysztof SKUBISZEWSKI - 1989--93, Minister of Foreign Affairs; at present, President, Iran-United States Claims Tribunal (The Hague)
Henryk SZLAJFER - 1993--94, Director, Department of Studies and Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; at present, Professor at G. C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (Germany)