Leading Up to the Summit
Freedom is not given once and for all.
It needs to be continually fought for.
St. John Paul the Great
History can be unpredictable. This was confirmed by the events of recent years. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Free World breathed a collective sigh of relief. To many Europeans living in the former Soviet-dominated sphere of influence, it seemed at the time that the days of the Cold War are gone forever. Today, we have Europe with open borders. Freedom has become a part of the everyday life of nations that not so long ago, were subjugated. But at the same time, Europe is a continent that must cope with new threats.
Europe in the last few years has become the scene of events that are consistently destroying the sense of security to both the citizens of the European Union countries, as well as the distant countries belonging to the North Atlantic Alliance. The Russian annexation of Crimea, Russia's aggressive actions against Ukraine, an increase in the terrorist threat, the war in Syria and the related immigration crisis have all contributed to the opening up of a new chapter in NATO's history. Russia wants to tear down European governance and with its military force, impose the change of sovereign borders. Its armed intervention in Syria led de facto to an increase in the number of illegal immigrants in Europe. That is why the Member States belonging to NATO are faced with the need to revise existing policies. They need to take concrete steps to enhance their defense capabilities in their eastern and southern flanks.
The NATO Summit in Warsaw will take decisions concerning a new dislocation of the armed forces appointed to deter the enemy and defend the eastern flank. Political decisions concerning forward presence were taken in Brussels in February this year. Operational decisions are increasingly taking on bold shapes and are presently being realized.
It is already known, that the United States has decided to send an armored brigade to strengthen the eastern flank. We hope that NATO decisions will enhance our security as well. The allied Member States must face up to the dangers of unique geographic locations and internal situation. NATO members may have different priorities, but the security of Europe and all of NATO is a matter of greatest importance.
From here came the idea of the "Pre-Summit" forum. I urge all of my colleagues, the Ministers of Defense or their representatives, to speak out on the above issues. I am counting on the fact that their statements posted on the website of our Defence Ministry will have an invigorating effect on the ongoing deliberations during the Summit.
Very truly yours,
Poland’s Minister of National Defence