Listen to a podcast episode hosted by VELINA, where she has a conversation with Dr. Jacek Bartosiak - CEO and founder of Strategy Future and a well-known political strategist. They discuss geopolitics, with a focus on the recent mutiny in Moscow, the role of Wagner in Belarus, and Poland's decisive actions to counter Russia's influence in the region.
Discover the complex dynamics of power and influence as they interpret the mutiny as a possible indication of the decline of the Russian Empire. Learn about Poland's strategic actions to counteract Russia's power in the European peninsula and the far-reaching effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union on Poland's geopolitical landscape.
The conversation discusses the concerns related to the escalating situation in Ukraine, the control measures implemented by the US, and the enigmatic figure of Prygozhin, whose intentions could have a significant impact on Russia's future.
The text explores the complexities of NATO's stance on Ukraine's membership, the polarization among member states due to recent developments in Ukraine, and the NATO summit. Despite the challenging situation, Poland's strong commitment to supporting Ukraine remains unchanged.
The discussion also analyzes the possibility of a world war that can scale up, the evolution of the battlefield due to precision weaponry, and the importance of information dominance. Learn about Poland's preparations to become the most powerful ground force in Europe during a time of rapid change.
Understand the geopolitical factors that lead countries to depend on the United States for military support and investment, and the strategic negotiations underway to respond to Russian aggression.
The discussion critically analyzes Western Europe's approach, the importance of control in the international system, and the potential economic consequences for Germany and France due to Russian activities.
Lastly, consider the potential for a military alliance between Poland and Ukraine, the involvement of Belarus in the ongoing Ukraine war, and the complex dynamics of China's role in the conflict.
Prepare to understand geopolitics, the nuclear weapons role in global power competition, and upcoming hot topics in 2024. Remember to follow VELINA and Dr. Jacek Bartosiak on Twitter and participate in their social media posts for more educational discussions.
Welcome to VELINA's Talk. It's great to be back after a short summer break. And I have no better guest than Dr. Jacek Bartosiak, who is CEO and founder of Strategy Future and true political strategist, author of many, many books. The most recent one, which I bought in Warsaw, is dedicated to Poland, the best place in the world where East meets West. And as you can guess, we are going to talk a lot about geopolitics, Eastern Europe, the Polish perspective, and obviously also the most recent developments following the mutiny of Gorky in Moscow. And this podcast episode is possible thanks to the support of Bharat Varta podcast producer. This is one of India's leading podcast producers on politics and society. Welcome.
It's great to have you back. Hi, it's great that you invited me over to your show. I really appreciate all the time and really appreciate the time spent with you discussing geopolitics. Thank you, Pauline. So let's start with your assessment on the most recent developments following the so-called mutiny. Some are convinced that this whole thing has weakened Putin and his power grab in the Kremlin. But then again, we saw that meanwhile, Wagner has expanded its scope of activities, being positioned in Belarus. What is your assessment on the mutiny and the role of Wagner in Belarus? And how is Poland actually taking action on this most recent developments? Okay, thanks for those questions.
I think that this event, whether we call it a mutiny or an attempted coup, And it is still, of course, to be decided. There will be books about it. We don't know yet all the details, what really was happening within the power structure of the Russian Federation, who plotted against who and so on. But still, there are a few observations that we can make. And I'll try to deliver while speaking to you the perspective here in Warsaw.
As a front state, NATO Eastern Flank, the eternal competitor to Russia's empire, because that's how we perceive this war, another stage of great struggle of the domination of the intermarium, which is the region between the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea who is in charge of events occurring here, is influenced on the European peninsula. And this is the way that Russia projects its power and influence into the European peninsula. So that was the main objective of putting it in war. Poland of course wants to contain this desire, wants to deny Russia this right. So having said that, I want to say two things about this, three things about this mutiny.
First of all, in Poland we felt the tremors of the potentially dying empire, which, you know, of course with the exception of the collapse of the Soviet Union, but this was something completely different, that was the external Soviet empire. basically not the core Russian state that was collapsing and since for the first time since the the First World War and the collapse of the Russian army in the First World War we felt the first signs that things might be happening and moving into that direction and that's always a symbol of hope and desire in Poland as we want to see Russia weak. removed from the European system of power and, you know, actually collapsing. We wouldn't have anything against it, so to speak.
So everybody was watching with great attention every single minute what was going on, on the way from Rostov on the Don. towards Moscow. That's number one. That's one thing that the public, global audience, the English-speaking audience should take into account when listening to the guy from the Intermarium. The second thing which was very evident was the escalation control that apparently was imposed by the Americans on the Ukrainians. Americans apparently were afraid and concerned that the situation is going out of hand. and nobody knows what's going to happen with this Prygozhin move.
Who Prygozhin actually is, what he is, for example, attitude towards China, towards nuclear weapons, towards the United States and so on, would be if he were sort of a power structure after mutiny succeeded, or if there is any civil war erupting in Russia. And as you know, but you know, the United States has been trying. successfully to contain, to control escalation right since the hostilities started in Ukraine. So they try to control the escalations. so that Russia doesn't escalate into a nuclear war with NATO or the United States, or the war is not expanded towards the NATO territory. And this event, I think, sent a scare to Washington decision makers.
And reportedly, the DC circles were calling upon the Ukrainians not to do anything that could look like a cooperation with Pigozhin or benefiting from this moment. You know, the Russian troops were watching and probably they didn't have a quite high quality morale at the time of this happening. And the Ukrainian counter offensive started. So it seemed that the Ukrainians could have inflict casualties, losses or even broken the front, technically speaking. Nothing like that happened. And there were reports from the US press that the DC administration was heavily leaning upon the Zelensky's people not to do anything that would put Russia in trouble.
And the third thing is that the, you know, outcome of this all occurrence of this all mutiny is, you know, the relocation of elements of Wagner Group and Pigosin into the territory of Belarus, which is 200 kilometers from the place when I'm speaking to you now. And that's a game changer.
You know, the English speaking audience globally should know that it is Belarus that's the pivot in the intermedium and that the shortest way from Moscow to Warsaw from Warsaw to Moscow it's even more important than Ukraine in terms of buffering in terms of buffer zone and Poland will not sit idle to this so, you know The Wagner group all those guys who are not formally members of the Russian Federation Army You that creates this privilege of deniability in case the Russians wanted to inflict some sort of hybrid action against Poland, some sort of hostilities, but without breaching the threshold of Article 5 of this general war, they could always deny it's the Russians, this sort of thing that, as you remember, Yasser Arafat was doing when he was relocated to Lebanon and was stirring up waves in Northern Israel.
creating havoc, chaos and so on, at the same time of course also undermining the Leibniz government. So what we fear is some sort of a grey zone, some sort of a chaos and operational base from which, you know, hybrid kind of attacks or other activities like that could be initiated against Poland without ability to be defined as sort of an article 5 breach and so on. Poland will have to respond, Poland will have to adjust its military strategy, its force deployment, training and presence in the east of Warsaw and probably you will see that happening in the coming days and months. Kaldes is connecting also to the current developments regarding the Ukraine's counter-offensive.
Now we are expecting the most active phase of the counter-offensive. There are some, let's say, very controversial assessments and also articles, meanwhile, in the Western media pointing to success, pointing to lack of success. I don't want to go into this, but I would like to hear what is the Polish. . . perception right now and obviously we have to say for our audience there has been also a kind of polarization ahead and during the NATO summit in terms of expectations when it comes to the invitation to NATO for Ukraine. Right? And Poland was in the lead.
Obviously, when it comes to the group of NATO members that are convinced that Ukraine should be part of NATO and should be a member of NATO even now during the war, whereas the other bloc that obviously is led by the United States, and you explained perfectly what the calculus of the United States is. And here we see a very clear, I would say, controversy in this situation. ultimate goal of helping Ukraine not just to sustain the next and the next and the next attacks, but actually helping Ukraine to win the war in a comprehensive manner by gaining the territorial integrity from 1991.
So what is your assessment on the current developments and how these current developments will result in, let's say, more visible outcome this year? Both very good questions and tough, tough, tough questions to answer. Let me start by saying that the Vilnius Summit was rather a fiasco, of course, from the perspective of interest of Poland. Poland has been a strong supporter of Ukraine since the start of the war, of course. We have delivered a lot of weaponry and other support. and we want Ukraine to win. And we would like, of course, the Ukrainians to win with the help of the United States and as a big patron so that the Russians contain themselves and not escalate to the nuclear world war.
That would be the best option. And of course, it's not realistic because of the escalation control. Still, we wanted the clear path to Ukraine to join NATO and it was not delivered on Vilnius. Politically, it means that Putin is winning the war, but he's not. Because this is exactly why the war has started. It started because Ukrainians wanted to join the West. So by war itself- Sorry to interrupt you, but it's very important for the audience also, I think to say that it also started because Ukraine wasn't part of NATO. Exactly. And now it's evident that this war, ensured that Ukraine is not invited to NATO.
So politically, who is winning? Who remembers that Peter the Great lost the first battle at Narva in the Great Northern War in the 18th century while he won, after several years later, and became a great power. So this is the way Russians are thinking, that this is just the beginning of a scalable world war. That's the first campaign. of this great war that is starting, including technology. You have been discussing that in your podcasts since I remember, between US and China. And this is just a sideshow, there's sort of a repositioning of Russia in this great struggle. who is in charge of global affairs. And that will include technology, trade, capital movements, currency, goods, energy, and also kinetic exchanges, proxy wars, other competitions.
So if you look at this from this helicopter view, then you see that the Vilnius was not a success. That's number one. Number two was there were good things at Vilnius Summit, like. agreeing to cooperate on contingency planning in case of war with Russia, which is a good sign. And also some sort of promises that the ammo production in Europe will be increased, which was in shortage.
Also the bed sort of observation from the Vilnius summit was that despite a lot of talk about deterrence by denial there are no forces in the NATO eastern flank there are no forces available for deterrence by denial but rather by punishment which means that should Russia try to initiate any war against the Baltic states still there are not sufficient forces to defend every inch of the territory and that's been always a problem for Poland that's always we can discuss why later but I don't want to spend all the time on that, we're discussing with you, not so interesting for the international audience. But this complicates our planning, military planning like hell.
If it's not a strategy of denial, but strategy that there's the punishment on behalf of NATO. But coming back to assessing the chances in war, that's also a difficult to say. At Strategy&Future, we think that the evolution of the battlefield in general, between the peer competitors, between peer players, is because of the precision weaponry regime and information dominance as a pivotal, as a center of gravity in contemporary warfare, as opposed to mass concentration, as it had been for the last 200 years, is creating conditions where offensive action, if their information dominance is not severe or removed from one of the parties, so information access, like UAVs, drones, situational awareness, is killing an offensive maneuver.
because of the minefields, because of the artillery, long range artillery, because all those capabilities to kill your mass tanks before they really have an impact on the frontline. So if two parties know what's going on behind the lines, and can identify the concentration of mass and can, you know, impact it, there is a slight chance for success in that. It's like the First World War in Finland, Finland's, of course, run a different dimension. Maneuver has to be restored somehow. It's going to be a tough call for the Ukrainians, even with the Western tanks and so on. Of course, if the Russian troops morale is deteriorated to the level that they simply stop fighting, then it's a different story.
But it has always been like that throughout the history. You know, the soldiers don't want to fight because their morale is broken for many, many reasons. Then of course, you don't need to have to restore offensive maneuver. You know, you just move. As it also happened at the end of the 1918, the Soviet Union, towards the end of the war when the German army simply sort of, not disappeared, but you know, didn't put up fierce resistance, so to speak. And short of that, I think that towards the end of this year, the Western European partners will grow tired of help to Ukraine. This is what we fear in Warsaw, and the ammo stocks will run out. and the Ukrainians will be compelled to do some true surprise.
On of course terms that are not as good as they had been before the war started. And that would again mean that Russia, long-term perspective, might be viewed as a winner. Of this opening, just an opening campaign of the great war for world. So in Poland, we do not, we are not blind. We're getting ready for another phase, for another campaigns. We're modernizing the military, expanding the military. According to our MOD, we want to feel the most powerful land force in Europe soon, and the society supports it. So things are happening like really fast in Poland. The language has changed, the attitude has changed. Since February 2022, everything has changed in Poland. And obviously, Poland has skin in the game. We've been talking about reforms.
You have written a whole book, actually, on the concept of the Polish army, which has been a big highlight in the Polish public. Poland, correct me if I'm wrong, is intending to spend 100 billion on defense. And 100 billion is a number that we need to put into a context that Germany, following the famous Zeitenwende speech by the German chancellor, right after the beginning of the war, also intending to spend. And yet, 60 months after the beginning of the war, a single cent hasn't been spent. on German defense from this propagated 100 billion. So how should we put this into the bigger context? You outlined, this is not just the regional war. This is not just about the revival of the Russian empire.
I argue also that Russia is currently our sick man of Europe, just as the Ottoman empire was in the previous century. And we know what happened, you know, with the Ottoman empire. So it's the last so-called effort. of Russia to revive the empire by positioning itself in this bigger systemic conflict. between the United States and China. But how actually are our European political elites putting this into a bigger context? I don't see this sense of urgency. I don't see this kind of perception of serious threat yet.
We are not running our, you know, ammunition production, our weapon system productions in the European defense sector, as we should in the scenario of the biggest war on the old continent after the end of the Second World War. Am I correct with this or what is your view on that? Why isn't it happening if we actually see the structural and the systemic processes ongoing and yet our political elites are in a kind of a stupor, in a frozen state in which they just don't really act courageously and let's say, you know. do the extra mile in preventing all of this from happening, in really denying Russia the long-term effect.
And final remark, war of attrition, not just frozen conflict, is certainly more in the Russian interest than in the Ukrainian interest for obvious reasons. Let me split my answer into two chapters. Let me put it that way. First, about Poland. We don't watch what Germany is doing and we don't believe that they will spend sufficiently and they will deliver. We don't believe they will feel they're the competent army. For many reasons that I will refer to in the second chapter of my, the second part of my answer. So we're doing it. We're doing it, leaning heavily on the United States and of course with the delivery of weaponry from both US and South Korea. in our own production.
You know, our global audience should be aware that the intermarium, the old commonwealth used to be an empire. So we are not a pushover in terms of mentality. We're not a peripheria as sometimes Germans think. And it's been like, you know, we haven't been so active for 200 years because of the Russians presence on the European Peninsula, but that had not been the case for half a millennium. And it's just, we are coming back. And that changes the balance of power in Europe, both vis-a-vis Russia, that we want this country to be removed from the political system, and also vis-a-vis Germany. because we don't want the Germans to run the show in Europe and the European Union.
That's why we invite the influence of the United States on the European Peninsula. That's why we want to have NATO troops. That's why we want the US troops. That's why we invite the US investment. That's why we buy US energy. And that's why we want to build an intermarium with Ukraine and Romania and the countries here. And also that's why we want the United States to be a European power. And that's why we also closely align our interests with the United States vis-a-vis China.
Although we are not a great trader with China, we don't care too much, but still we, we want the United States to preserve its global predominance and its power, global power projection up to the rim lands and heartlands of Eurasia, without the continental powers of Russia and Eurasia phasing away, you know, pushing away the United States influence. It's against our interests. So this is, all rooted in deep geopolitical reasons why we behave like that.
Of course, we can separately discuss whether our military modernization, we can afford it, whether we choose proper things, but it's a different story, right? But we want to feel the force, because we fear that the United States, which is a cornerstone offshore balancer of the regional coalition containing China, might not want to be engaged on the ground, especially if there's a contingency in the Western Pacific. You know, sea powers don't like to be directly involved, So we need to carry the burden. And it's a matter of negotiations with the United States, how much we carry, how much they carry, how we modernize, whether we're doing it on our own or not with the decision-making process. And what is the protocol of appropriate and proportionate actions.
under Article 5 if Russia starts anything against here. And the whole NATO doesn't reach a conclusion that yes, we are at war. You know what I mean, this gray zone. So we need to sort of negotiate with the Americans and I'm urging our politicians to do it as some sort of a set of things that are in advance agreed upon with the Americans, how we can proportionate react to any misbehavior by Russia and the neighborhood, okay? Without resorting to the global war with the. . . participation of the United States. So this is one thing. If you ask me why the Western Europeans behave like that, I think the answer is twofold.
First of all, I strongly believe, even more now than two years ago, that Germany and France wanted to eat cake, have cake and eat cake, simply by Having an open global trading system without the need to spend money on their own military in Europe, because the United States gave this. Having access to cheap labor in the East, in Poland and elsewhere. Having access to cheap energy resources in Russia. Having a European Union as a beautiful machine to control capital flows and investment flows, and basically the productivity of their own industries. Having the Russian Federation as a buffer against China, and this deal that Europe might be from. . . Wladywostok to Lisbon sounded to many European ears as a quite convincing argument.
You know, Germans, huge market, no need for war with China, without this sort of need to align with the United States with the global concerns. Europe as a safe haven, social contract safe and so on. But those horrible intermarium countries always disturbing this peace. peaceful coexistence. And the Americans always making waves because saying about China and those things. But the problem is for Germany and France that Ukrainians won at the gates of Kiev and the history changed. The intermarium is on the rise. And that saved United States in terms of influence in Europe. United States is winning this war by, of course, proxy forces and deliver weapon delivery because it's a treaty in the Russian Federation in a fully controllable manner.
And that's a masterpiece of strategy in my opinion. Of course, it's not entirely in the interest of my dear Poland because I would like the Russians to be crushed. And now the Europeans from the continent don't have an idea. First of all, they are losing power because Poland, for example, is revolting. We don't want to have European Union that will be making deals with Russia. We don't want to buy the German weaponry because at the moment of crisis they don't want to deliver. We don't have the same vision of the future of Europe, that Russia is part of Europe. We don't want them to be part of Europe.
Macron even corrected his stance on that in Bratislava, and he speaks that he finally started to understand that reality on the ground is that Russia was losing the war, so it turned out not to be a great power. So why the heck is inviting them over to the European system? as Macron had so often proposed. What is the rationale in real politics to invite them if they can't prove their case at the battlefield? So this is, you know, these are the times of anarchic and chaotic international system with military power as the ultimate leverage. Of course, within the escalation ladder because of the existence of the nuclear weaponry.
But still you need to control the ranks of the escalation ladder, you need to have the military power, you need to have competent military strategy and leadership. And Poland wants to deliver. And Western Europeans don't. They forgot that the ultimate leverage is the ability to kill another man. And they thought that solved our Trump's hard power. Since throughout the history, it has not been the case. at the end of the day, in order for you to succeed, prosper, enrich yourself, have a personal and professional life, you know, prospering, you need to have a physical safety. That's why the Americans have the punch. And this is what saved Europe.
And we simply in Warsaw do not believe that the Western Europeans grasp that this is the moment to make a decision. I am wrong. They are so savvy and smart and they believe that China will win and then they don't want To be on the same page with the Americans.
They still want to hedge they still still want to be a separate pole of Power in the world, so they don't want to align with the United States and that's why they've been doing like that But I don't know maybe you know better than probably you know better than I do About this matter because you've been dealing with that since we started talking to each other. So You What is the Berlin I'm asking you? What is the leadership thinking in Berlin in terms of China? Because this is a final decision to be made that will put Europe into a proper perspective.
What Europe is, what Europe should be, and that would also trigger European attitude towards Russia in the long run. Well, I certainly find that there are some positive steps in terms of conceptualizing. In Berlin, we see that they have finally a security strategy, they have now also the first China strategy, but at the very same time, I think that it all stays at the level of constructivism, at the level of just conceptualizing. And as you probably remember, I turned one very famous quote by saying that every constructivist has a plan until they get punched in the face by Realpolitik. And I think that this is what Germany's experience with Realpolitik is going to be. Zero action or almost zero action.
All of this, the risking concept, which is very much a German concept, as we know, because the president of the commission is a German, and it is really about the risk. actually saving what is left to be saved in terms of access to Chinese markets and chip manufacturing because the whole pyramid on which the German economic model has been built is crashing down and that is cheap energy, cheap security umbrella from the Americans, cheap energy from the Russians and cheap manufacturing and access to the Chinese market.
So if they lose all three components because they have to do more in terms of defense, and you explained very well why, there is not going to be any access to cheap energy commodities from Russia, if at all. And if they lose the third component, practically the whole success of the German economic model is going to be lost. gone and they have not the demographic, the strategic, and if you like, even the stamina. to come up with a new concept and to adapt to the new reality.
In the French case, I think that what struggles me most is that, and you also perfectly explained the current situation, is that in fact the French geopolitical interests are at stake, specifically in the direct vicinity of France, where there are a lot of geopolitical interests that are now being hurt by the expansion of Wagner's activities. And that means. . . by extension Russian state interests. So the very fact that France is being kicked out from the Sahel region is very, very bad news. In fact, no reconciliation should be on the agenda of Macron. I mean, what you explained to it. putting Russia on the security map.
But in fact, the only strategy should be how to recreate security architecture in Europe, despite Russia's existence and despite Russia's presence on the map. Because you cannot erase the neighbor, but you can have obviously other strategies, how to coexist. And the only one is being militarily equipped and capable to actually make Russia. know that it's not a good idea to attack. or it's not going to be a good idea to attack in the future. So these are my two cents on the matter. But I have a final question to you, a very politically incorrect one.
and feel free of course to comment on what I just said, but my question to you is, there's not going to be an ordinary path for Euro-Atlantic integration for Ukraine. We know that. So do you think that we may see something very unorthodox in terms of solution, how to integrate Ukraine in the fastest possible way? Something like a political union between Poland and Ukraine? And similar to the historical parallel from the 90s of the reunification to say, now that we are a political confederation whatsoever, Ukraine automatically becomes a member of the European Union and NATO, because all other paths to European and to NATO integration are absolute. So in short and middle term. are absolutely unrealistic.
Yeah, very interesting concept, how to outwit the Westerners in this way. I don't believe that this would be happening that way because of the hesitance of the United States. You know, if the United States were in favor of that and push for that, then Poles might have sufficient stamina maybe to push it through. Without it, it's gonna be difficult, but it's still interesting. But let me put it this way. In a broader perspective, longer term, it is true that our Ukrainian brethren are fighting and we formed the Commonwealth. But remember that we formed it also with the Belarusians and the Baltic states. The fate of Belarus will be decided on the fields in Ukraine, depending on the outcome of war.
Actually, I don't believe that Ukrainians will give up on controlling the situation in terms of who is in charge of Belarus. I think that's a good thing. I think that's a good thing. The peril emanating from the north is too gross for the Ukrainians to accept that there are Russian forces in Belarus and it has to be settled. And because there is war, I'm afraid it will be settled by arms. And Poland has to be ready. Ukrainians are training the Belarusian opposition army. Once Prigozhin's mutiny started, there was this appeal to the Belarusian citizenry to get ready when the hour is upon you. by the Belarusian Free Army.
This will be also a very sensitive moment for Poland and Polish military. In Poland, there are two parties, geopolitical parties. One party, which is an old Commonwealth, zealots of independence and independence. sovereignty. They would like to see, they've been supporting Ukraine like crazy, they want Ukraine to be part of NATO and EU, and they would be even inclined to help them even more, and even send troops to the Dnieper River. If the Russians didn't have nuclear weaponry, I think the Polish soldiers, volunteers, would be there, like, you know, in numbers. And those people might be pushing for some sort of, like, the President of the Republic is in favor of that. They would like to see some sort of a trade union, you know, something. There are voices about it.
Zewanski, when he visits Poland, he even tries to speak Polish about this. There is this vibe. There is this vibe. And as a strategy in future, we are also in favor of seizing this moment and removing Russia from the intermarium and trying to create a completely new situation here. This is true. And in this way, Ukraine is effectively a NATO member because in the balance of power, it pins down the Russian forces. And if NATO does not adjust to reality on the ground, it will be obsolete. And there will be coalition of the willing or hub and spoke system. United States is a hub with Poles, Ukrainians, UK doing the job, okay? So NATO will be an empty shell.
So either NATO will adjust to the reality on the ground, the Ukrainian fighting in favor of NATO and on behalf of NATO or not, and then we will have a coalition of the willing. And then one might expect, especially the contingency in the Western Pacific are stringent, that the war will move towards some sort of the Polish Ukraine military alliance that will contain Russia and we can deliver that. and Sweden and Finland and Baltic States and Poland and Ukraine, we can easily contain Russia, easily. And then it will be not only about containing, it will be also about making sure that Belarus is moving towards the proper direction.
It will be very Promethean in terms that we'll start talking about other peripheral ethnic groups of the Russian Federation moving away. And you know, Ukrainians are at war and they're openly talking about it. And imagine this such a conversation in the Berlin TV station. And Verena, the audience in the West must understand that this is a reality on the ground here. I'm sitting in Warsaw and we have the Wagner Group in Bielorussia.
What if they started the raid against a town in Eastern Poland? What our military will do? Shall we act preemptively? Shall we use the precision weaponry? Or shall we use mass artillery bombardment against our own infrastructure? Will we use the military or special operation forces, the police or the border guards? Shall we consult with the Americans in advance or after we do something? What about Article 5? What about the Germans accepting that this raid is happening? even if it's against their interest to keep the things calm. Who is to be making a decision? Us in Warsaw or some NATO? You know, we need to have protocols for that.
And what is it, as I said before, in conversation with you, what is the proportionate answer that has been agreed upon with the Americans in advance to that action? This is reality that we're facing now. It's not a, theoretical thing. Whether we deter by denial, we deter by punishment or by punishment in advance or advance prompt notification of punishment. You know, there are many kinds of deterrence that we could employ here just to show. And it has to be within the framework of NATO and its sort of coherence while our interests are completely different from the German interests. So how can we make it happen? But what you are actually describing and outlining for us is. . .
that an invisible iron curtain is already being in the making on both sides. And you know, the lack of protocols, the lack of military-to-military channels of communication, so all of this needs to be created. And we've seen that there are already efforts on behalf of the United States when it comes to exactly this kind of protocols and establishment of protocols, channels of military communication with China. Because, you know, obviously, Our political elites are also in denial when it comes to the Cold War 2. 0 scenario, in which the most, let's say, significant hotspot here on the old continent is going to be along the eastern flank of NATO.
This is going to be the new centre, regional power struggle, and a very critical one from an American perspective, which is why I would like to. . . I would like you to elaborate a little bit on that as a final question. How do you see this? And will the overt support, military support coming from China for Russia, because we already know that they are supporting Russia by all means. We know for a fact that there are dual use goods being shipped, military gear whatsoever. So will an overt military aid. . .
from China to Russia, given the scenario that you also outlined, because war of attrition, the military help that is coming to Ukraine from the West, from the United States, is going to put Russia under growing pressure. Will this be the actually starting point, where we say, where we finally admit this is a proxy war between China and the United States, in which Russia and Ukraine are being supported by the two systemic rivals? And how do you put this into a context? That's another tough question and even grand question. The question that might decide the issue of world war. I think that once the war started in Ukraine, the Americans convinced the Chinese.
not to do anything that would be comparable to the Second World War land lease, but this time from China to Russia. The Chinese could really deliver the land lease program to Russia, in a scope even bigger than the United States to Soviet Russia during the Second World War. They didn't do it because Xi Jinping, I think, calculated that he doesn't want to have the open confrontation with the United States. at this point of the time. Seeing that the Russians are the Italians from the Second World War, and Hitler had to help them all the time, he started helping them, but without openly confronting US sort of a request.
At least to the extent that the help provided to Russia is still at the level that make the Western Europeans suspicious that United States talking about the permanent helping Russia by China might just be only a sort of an excuse used by the United States to ensure that the Western Europeans are on the same side. You know what I mean. So it's a subtle game of balance. and the Chinese are very good at it. And they've been doing. Still, the Chinese don't want to have this protocol of safety protocols in case of incidents.
And I think the reason why they don't want it is that they don't want the United States to use the brinkmanship too much. You know, United States has been the predominant force in the Western Pacific since we remember. So the global. . . public opinion has been accustomed to seeing the United States ships sailing, Americans having harsh talk, Trump saying about war, you know, sort of in a way it's a, you know, hegemon can do it. So it's within stability. I mean, this is stable because hegemon has. . . The rise of China has created the situation where the Chinese saying, are doing something contrary to the everyday's life. You can't do it.
So the Chinese look like always breaching and the Chinese are thinking that the U. S. brinkmanship is teasing them so that they respond, creating the impression on the Western public opinion that the China is an aggressive country. That's why the Chinese don't want to have the protocol, because they want the United States to fear the war, because there is no clear definition what is breaching on it. And the last thing before we end, that's why I fear the war. the coming 2024, very much ready now. Because if you have the competition as between US and China, still both parties want to win the competition within some sort of a stable framework of how the competition look like.
Like Soviets and the Americans, still they didn't start the open nuclear war because there were some rules, red lines. And here there are no, in order to contain China you need to roll back. There are no red lines, there are no protocols. Competition is also about trade technology and all other things that require rolling rollbacks. Plus, there is no stability. And on top of that, 2024 will bring two highly destabilizing events in the relationship that might change the perceptions of who is winning, who is losing. The first one is the election in Taiwan. If either of the Kuomintang or liberals will win. they can destabilize the perception both by the Chinese and the Americans.
Kuomintang, because there might be secret reunification discussions, the Americans might feel weakened by that. If the other guys are winning, the Chinese from the continent may be scared that he wants to declare a full independence. And then in the autumn, we have the US elections and the United States being a hegemonic power for a long time. The US presidential candidates. are outspoken. They tend to think as in our relationship, when someone is controlling the escalation is predominant, even in the marriage, so to speak. So quickly goes up to the highest escalation rank because it's not afraid of someone going away or someone, you know, and the Americans are used to it. why the structure of power has changed, the Chinese might not accept it.
And still this mixture of being weak and strong, empty talk will create an incredibly vicious circle of possibility of incident like Sarajevo towards the end of 2024. And this is what we fear at Strategy and Future, very much so. Okay. Cause I see no way China and the United States making any deal that will save peace. without structurally weakening and alienating their own structural interest. Maybe I'm not competent enough, but I see no way how the Chinese will give up their growth for 1. 4 billion people, right? And the United States will give up on its role in the international system and impose on trade, currency, you know, US dollar position, you name it. I don't know, Verena. It's really preoccupying.
The situation is very murky. I think we are in a scalable world war and thanks to the existence of thermonuclear weaponry, parties have a tendency to really mitigate, to really think through all actions, not to escalate. We will see. This is, I think, a good way to finish this conversation, to be continued. Obviously, our audience should also go and watch Oppenheimer, because we both, I think, are part of the. . . released the School of International Relations, which is convinced that nuclear weapons actually stabilizes the global and regional power competition and reduces the risk of direct military conflict, given the fact that they have nuclear weapons. Think of the most recent military tensions between the two countries.
India and China, where they always have casualties and injured, but still keep, of course, the, the level of escalation, the below the threshold of a direct military, practically of a nuclear war. So let's agree to continue this conversation. Sure. And I fully agree. Certainly. And unfortunately we will have plenty of hot topics to discuss in 2024. I think that the war of attrition will probably. and likely continue even until 2025. But let's just, you know, stick to the tactical level, what is happening now, because every phase can actually have anticipated second order events. Thank you very, very much for being with me for the last hour. And thank you for the open discussion for the honest assessment that you gave us, Dr. Jacek Bartoszak.
And make sure to follow us on Twitter buy his books and read his posts on Twitter and social media. Thank you, Jacek. Thank you, Bernina. That was great. Thanks. .