Publicat de: octavianmanea | 05/11/2009

Speaking truth to DC: Sikorski…Radek Sikorski



„If you are asking me whether it’s better to have guarantees that are not credible rather than not to have them at all, then speaking very bluntly here I will tell you that our historical experience in Poland is that it is better not to have the guarantees. Because in 1939 we were the first to stand up to Hitler. We thought we had guarantees but they proved to be not credible, militarily speaking.  A country’s calculations are affected by guarantees and they’d better be credible”. (Bucuresti, Aprilie 2008)


Washington DC, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), 4 Noiembrie 2009

What is the reason that these insurances (the efforts that the administration has invested in trying to give assurances that the region is still important in terms of US policy and interests) are not convincing and don’t seem to be convincing to the region?

Radek Sikorski: Why can’t we be off the record! You can convince people by words and we just had a very good trip by the Vice-president and the words are convincing. But the point is that I am a former Defense Minister and what really convinces is the capabilities. We’ve just had the largest Russian military exercise at the NATO border, at our border in 20 years using 900 hundred tanks. NATO planners used to say that “God created Poland for tank warfare”. These tanks that were exercising were 250 km of flat ground from our capital city. We don’t know what kind of message Russian federation was trying to send to us, but you can imagine what we heard. What really reassured Germany during the Cold War was not article 5, which is in fact quite vague, but the presence of 300.000 American troops in Germany. Now, we have at the latest count 6 American troops outside the Embassy. If you had on the one hand 900 tanks, on the other 6 troops would you be convinced?

 You know better than I what the American people want or can afford. If the imperial overstretch has come, has finally come, then we would like to know that. If you are saying that the US can no longer afford to be the superpower that guarantees public goods to certain countries like security then I think it would be useful to be told this honestly. Because the last thing we would like is to have a guarantee that does not work when the push comes to shove. The implicit deal between us is: you give us security, we give you deference. If you can’t afford it, please tell us!

My message to you would be that we simply need to do in practice what we, as the West, pledged ourselves to do 10 years ago when our region was joining NATO. At that time Russia was being assuaged by a NATO statement that NATO has no plans to put any substantial forces in the region. And substantial forces were defined as two heavy divisions. But nobody imagined at the time that no forces would be put in whatsoever. This is the job that still needs to be done. If you can still afford it, we need some strategic reassurance. 

PS: Oare cand va avea si Romania un diplomat de un astfel de calibru?



  1. He’s absolutely right.. Russia has shown in recent times, how much she wants to regain its former Soviet sphere of influence. Moreover, at the same time uses all available methods – economic blackmail (gas), military threatening (Kaliningrad Region and Georgia), and using speccial intelligence operations.

  2. Sikorski este om politic nu diplomat.

  3. Frumos articol. Mie insa imi e dor de acest blog. Mai postati va rog!

  4. […] polonezi comparând două intervenţii publice ale ministrului de externe, Radek Sikorski din 2009, respectiv […]

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