Douglas Macgregor: Poland must define its strategic interests

– Let's start with Ukraine. New narratives have emerged, based, of course, on speculation. There are apparently various camps in Ukraine. On the one hand, some point out, that Valery Zaluzhny, Chief of the General Staff, it is probably more controlled by the United States. On the other hand – Zelensky and the head of his office, Andrei Yermak is to be controlled by Great Britain. I have a question about the UK - are there any differences between London and Washington?, when it comes to the Ukrainian conflict?

– Let's say, that Kyiv is a snake pit, and the Lord asks me, which snake is the most dangerous, which is the biggest problem. I don't know. This is all speculation. It reminds me of stories in the years 1970. i 1980., when people speculated who was who in the Kremlin and who had power, and who doesn't. Honestly, they were usually wrong. In general, London and Washington are very closely linked, for better or for worse. Possible, that London is trying to overtake Washington in many areas. We often accept it, because we like to use British special forces in places, in which the use of our air power would upset public opinion in the United States. There are moments, where we rely on the British, because they have better intelligence and we trust them. As for the heart of the matter, it is very difficult to answer your question today. It's like betting in the FIFA World Cup on who is likely to score the next goal. I can't do something like that. However, I think so, that both governments are in bad shape. UK – their bond market is a disaster. Their economy is falling apart. The British military is but a shadow of this, what it was 20, 30, 40 years ago. This is laughable, what the British boast about, because they have nothing, to support myself on the military issue. Our own troops are not in the best condition, and honestly, as I have mentioned many times, the army is too small for things, which he is supposed to do. We still use the equipment, that we designed in 1970. years for operation in years 1980. i 1990. We are prepared for another World War II, and this is not that war, that we now see in eastern Ukraine. In conclusion, we should all get out of this business, stop talking about these things and try to find peace and some form of stability. No one in the United States will do this. I wouldn't expect anything from London. It makes, that I am looking at continental Europe. For that, as I think, in Paris, Berlin, Warsaw – these are the places, where people have to discuss and come up with a solution, that will bring peace, ending the conflict. They should work on agreements there. I don't know, how it would go. I suppose, that new governments are needed for this. Perhaps we will have a change of them in Berlin, we will definitely see a change in Paris. There will be more of this kind of trouble, that we have recently seen in France, this will spill over to Germany and Great Britain, probably Italy too, Sweden, Denmark and other countries.

As for Poland, There are two directions of thinking about Polish politics. Some say, that our entire political class is completely under the control of Washington. They give examples such as the publication of information in "Newsweek", that the CIA's main operations group for Ukraine is based here, in Poland; that we have 10 thousands of American soldiers etc. That we have elites, which are totally under American control. Others – I mean a few of my American friends – say so, that this is Poland, The Polish political class is trying to involve the United States in the war in Ukraine. What do you think about this?? Who drags whom?

– I suppose, that both sides involve each other to some extent. Poland was admitted to NATO as a breath of fresh air, which was supposed to help deal with the Germans, who were usually against everything, what the United States wanted to do and what military force involved. As it happens, that I am closer to Germany in this matter; I think so, that they were right. I liked Britain better, when Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister and he made it clear, that under no circumstances will they support us in Vietnam. And they wisely stayed away from this war. That's some kind of sobering good judgment, that the United States sometimes needs to hear from its allies. In turn, my feeling about Poland is this, that the Polish authorities - I certainly don't know enough about the Poles themselves - but the Polish leaders would like to be a great power. I understand that, that's great. But how to measure size? I think for example, that Germany has never been greater than then, when Otto von Bismarck was chancellor. Mainly because, that a decision was made at some stage, to stay out of wars in Europe and to put Germany in a position, that would prevent wars. When someone tried to change it, even the Tsar of Russia, Alexander II, who wanted, that the Germans would join Russia in the war against the Turks and the Balkans, Bismarck and the Emperor responded: „To absurd, we are not interested in the Balkans. "It's none of our business".

Without Germans on Russia's side, it was impossible for Russia to fight this war, because it was inevitable to face France, Great Britain etc., for various reasons. In other words, Poland is uniquely located in the heart of Europe, so it can do many things. He may throw himself into war, it may end in destruction. In my opinion it wouldn't be good for her. But it can use its weight to bring about a new form of stability in the region, where its importance is unfortunately small today. How to do it, this is Warsaw's concern. But I guess, that the problem is this, that, when they joined NATO, they started thinking, that NATO will do things for them, which they could not do for themselves. It was a mistake. They didn't need our protection from Russia. Poland was eminently capable of defense, just like the Finns, they demonstrated many times, that they were eminently capable of it. The problem now is not NATO, but that's what Poland wants. What Poland wants? What is Poland's long-term strategic interest?? If Poland links its long-term strategic interest with the destruction of Russia, it will be finished. He won't survive this. So what is Poland's long-term interest?? I think, that it is stability and prosperity. How to achieve it, it's your business, but I don't believe it, that this could be achieved through war. And certainly not through a war involving NATO.
As an experienced officer and military expert, Could you imagine the situation?, which, by the way, was described by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Secretary General of NATO, who is now an advisor to Zelensky, that Poland, Lithuania, perhaps other smaller Baltic countries will join the conflict militarily without NATO support. This would be a fairly limited operation, but on the territory of Ukraine. What would be the result of such an operation from a military point of view?, such a move?

– Historically, from a European point of view, I'm sure, that if we resurrected Jan Sobieski, would subscribe to this view. Poland's interests ended on the bank of the Dnieper. I say so, that for centuries Kiev was such an advanced bridgehead. After the Mongol invasion, when the Polish-Lithuanian state appeared, was a bridgehead for the West. Continuing, when you start talking about the use of military force, especially if you are heading to Ukraine, to Russia or Belarus, consider the consequences first. How far you reach, how much strength you need, how much ammunition you have at your disposal? How do you supply and maintain these troops? What kind of support do you expect, when you get there? What do you expect from Russians, what will they do? You know, that Ukraine is not part of Russia. There is no agreement with Russia on this matter. If you move to the west of Ukraine regardless of NATO, Will the Russians accept it?? Or will they continue to see you as NATO's Trojan horse?? I suspect, whether, what they say in Vilnius and Warsaw, that they will be treated as a NATO Trojan horse. And the Russians will act decisively, they will hit like this, to destroy them. So if you are convinced about it, if that's what Vilnius and Warsaw want, they want something from western Ukraine, I think so, that it's time to leave NATO. Throw all foreign troops out of Poland and send your diplomats to Moscow. Take maps with you, suggestions and start talking. I know, that five years ago, Putin after his speech in St. Petersburg, he was questioned by journalists and one of them asked: “should we return Ukraine to Russia?”. He smiled and said “see, people in western Ukraine don't want to have anything to do with us. They don't want us to rule them. We understand that". Then he said bitterly, that "they would probably be happier living with Poles".

President Putin knows the history of his own country. He knows the region, knows people, who live in it. He does not have any extraordinary goals. Zelensky is the most maximalist here. There are maximalists in Washington and London. They want something unattainable. “We will humiliate Putin. We will bleed and ruin the Russian army. We will destroy a great power," they call. It's all nonsense, to bzdety. That's right, as if someone in 1720 year, after the destruction of the Swedish army, he suggested, to sign the treaty and write it down, that "now we will throw out Peter the Great". It's just stupid. We have to stop this nonsense. Let's start living in the world of the possible. Politics is the art of possibilities. If Warsaw and Vilnius wanted to get something, why not put a full stop in the place, where they are now, and not fly to Moscow? And leave NATO! I'm sure, that if Poles and Lithuanians "divorced" from NATO and talked directly with Moscow, they would be surprised by its flexibility. But as long as you are part of NATO, no matter what you say, if you go to Ukraine, we will be drawn into a war with Russia. And that's something, what we don't want. If Washington interferes, it won't last long, because Americans won't support it. I know, that Germany will not support this, I don't see any reasons either, for the French to do it. I bet, that the British will also defend themselves against it.

I see. I will ask about the internal situation in the United States. Many of us here, is counting on your presidential elections next year. That it can be radical, strategically change the situation. There are several candidates, many from the Republican Party. For example, Donald Trump, of course, who claims, that it would end the war in 24 hours, if I am not wrong, but also Vivek Ramaswamy, who claims to have a peace plan. What do you think?: Is there any chance for a fundamental change in the American strategy after the presidential elections??

– We have a big problem with fair elections in the United States. We have no conviction, whether we can hold truly fair and free elections. This problem must be solved. Currently, based on our constitution, which was written and designed in the years 1780., each state conducts its own elections. There are no uniform standards and requirements. It made sense in 1787 year, because when we created our country, there was virtually no federal government. All money, force, authority, everything was in the individual states. This had to be resolved somehow, for sure, but due to the civil war it did not remain. This should have been resolved before World War I, after World War II, but again it wasn't. So we have problems in this area. So I don't know exactly, what will happen next year. You mentioned Trump, there is also RFK Junior, Robert F. Kennedy Junior, whose views are essentially the same. I guess, that if any of them took power, he would try to bring the war to a quick end, but, To do this, we would first have to demonstrate our seriousness to Moscow. This would mean the immediate withdrawal of all American troops, which are east of the Oder-Neisse line. This would be a real implementation of the agreement between Mikhail Gorbachev and President George Bush, under which Soviet troops withdrew from the German Democratic Republic, Poland and other countries. So it's not just a matter of saying, "Okay, we are against this war, "This all has to end". We would probably hear from the Russians then: "we're happy, hearing this, Thank you for contacting us, "now do something". And that would be step one, withdrawal of all our troops. When it happens, would be clear to everyone in Eastern Europe, that we will not support any further acts of hostility against Russia. Then maybe there will be some changes. I don't think so, that Zelensky would survive it. Honestly, I'm surprised, that President Zelensky is still in his office. There are a lot of angry Ukrainians now; I think, that the probability of his permanent departure as a result of the actions of internal opponents is infinitely higher, than because of anything, what the Russians do. This is my personal opinion, based on my sources there. We'll see. However, you should remember, that nothing is guaranteed now. We live in a different world, The United States is on the verge of a new crisis. We have problems very similar to these, that we see now in France. This is what is happening in France, can very easily occur in the United States. This time I think so, that Americans won't tolerate this for much longer. Question: how we will deal with it, what are we supposed to do? We'll see, what will the French do.

And then we have to get back to the economy – how it is doing now? To put it brutally, things are getting worse. I don't see the situation improving with 31, 32 or the 33-trillion state debt. We have credit holidays? How do you write it down?, what are you doing? How to get out of debt? You don't go out. These things are very variable in this complex equation. Talking today about what will happen in December 2024 year is ridiculous. We can't even begin to predict what will happen by then. However, because of the war, in my opinion, It was time for Warsaw, to think carefully about the questions, which I asked. What are your long-term strategic interests? What are you trying to achieve?? Will this be achieved? Will this be achieved with NATO, or without? And can you achieve any of this without talking to Moscow? I don't think so.

This is the answer to the question, that I wanted to ask you. What would you advise the Polish authorities?, if you became an advisor for. national security here, in Warsaw. Do you think so?, that the immediate interruption of arms transit for Kiev through Poland would affect the situation in Ukraine?

– There you go, I think, that's the first thing, which would happen, if Trump or Kennedy were president, and I would be an advisor for. national security. I'm sure, that I would be instructed, to do this first. Stop arms supplies, ammunition etc. Then ask Russia for talks without preconditions. But I guess, that we would also have to tell them privately, that absolutely and without any doubt, we will support neutrality of anything, what will appear in place of the current country, which we call Ukraine. Maybe I wouldn't say it publicly, but I think so, that this would have to be assured privately. Then I guess, that they would be willing to start talking. I don't think so though, that you would like, for the United States to make decisions about population and borders in Eastern Europe. This was a problem, which we have already covered. You had the British, French and Americans. Some people thought, that the British and French will understand Eastern Europe better than we do. But they didn't understand. For them it's like Mars or Jupiter. That's why I would like to be seated at this negotiating table, if I were Polish. I wish I had something to say about this, what happened. As for Ukrainians, Ukraine's problem is this, that I don't think so, for Zelensky or anyone associated with him to join these talks. They would have to appoint someone else. Or he'll end up like Petliura, when Piłsudski made decisions, and the Ukrainians stood in the rain, waiting for an answer. Just like the King of Prussia, when the Tsar made peace with Napoleon. These are the problems, when dealing with extremists. And today we are the extremists, I have no doubts here. There is a kind of pressure to look at Russia as evil, that's it, there can be no peace with Russia. Nonsense. This is sabotaging reality. This dismisses any positive solutions. So yes, you would have to have different US leadership. You would have to have new authorities in Ukraine and - I suspect - in Poland as well. The current leadership in Poland did not care much about good relations with Moscow.


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