Risks and Trends

War is changing the perception of international politics

Takeaway 2022-10-25
During the opening panel of Risks and Trends, experts discussed who to blame for the war - Russia or Putin - and the lessons NATO must learn from the conflict.

Takaway

Grabar-Kitarović: this is not a proxy war. Risks and Trends 2022 opened with an interview with former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. In an interview with Marek Świerczyński, Grabar-Kitarović emphasised that although Vladimir Putin treats the war with Ukraine as a "proxy war" against the West, the latter should not belittle Ukraine in the same way and give in to Russian propaganda. The term "proxy war" deprives Ukraine of its identity, which is Putin's indirect goal. Ukraine can emerge from the war as free, democratic, and victorious; this will also strengthen the transatlantic community. In Grabar-Kitarović's view, the war is historic, but Western elites should do much more to convince their societies how important supporting Ukraine and its victory is for Western values and way of life.

Grabar-Kitarović and Loss: NATO must learn lessons from the war in Ukraine. The former Croatian President, who in the past also served as NATO's Deputy Secretary General, noted that Russia's current methods of warfare, including the use of cheap but effective Iranian drones and commercial drones, are forcing increased innovation within NATO. The Alliance must prepare to defend itself against adversaries using mass- albeit unsophisticated - technology. She was echoed by Rafael Loss of the European Council on Foreign Relations, who pointed out that, in view of the crimes committed by the Russians against civilians, NATO must no longer simply adopt a "defence posture", but plan for a proactive defence that prevents the risk of occupation of Alliance countries by an adversary such as Russia.

Pothier and Lasconjarias: who is responsible for the conflict in the West, Putin or Russia? Fabrice Pothier, President of Rasmussen Global, pointed out that it is not possible to claim that Russia as a whole was to blame for the war. It is necessary to point out that Vladimir Putin is responsible for it. This will make it possible to maintain a dialogue with the country's elites and its people. According to Pothier, this is why one must not agree to a pointless dialogue with Putin, simply to maintain the channels of communication. At the same time, however, says Pothier, one must not "drive the Russian President into a corner", but rather leave him room for negotiation. Guillaume Lasconjarias of the French Institute for Higher National Defence Studies pointed out that, hoping to make progress in cooperation with Moscow through dialogue with Russia, the West may have been too naïve in the initial stage of the conflict.

Hewitt and Loss: some countries are changing their stance. According to Rafael Loss, Turkey's attempts at mediation are understandable due to the country's geographical location. At the same time, however, he believes that attempts by, for instance, French President Emmanuel Macron to stop the war will not lead to an end of the conflict, but will instead intensify divisions. Michael Hewitt, President of IP3, noted that Germany has announced huge investments in defence but has not yet contracted any supplies, undermining confidence in the Zeitenwende (German for turning point) policy announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz in February. He added that the policy of "not irritating Putin" is a strategic miscalculation and weakens the West. Loss added that if Poland ended its conflict over the rule of law with EurCom, its voice concerning support for Ukraine would be better heard.

Conclusion: what will constitute a victory? The participants agreed that Ukraine's political independence and the restoration of territorial sovereignty and economic independence (Pothier) would represent a victory. This can be achieved through both warfare and diplomacy. The war is likely to end in the foreseeable future (Grabar-Kitarović). Achieving full energy independence for Europe, including by breaking the taboo surrounding nuclear energy, will also be key to reducing Russia's damaging role (Hewitt). However, the West does not need to push for a change of power in Moscow, as this is the responsibility of the Russian people (Lasconjarias). Participants in the debate also stressed the need for the European Union to gain an independent defence capability, parallel to NATO.

The partners of the Risks and Trends 2022 conference include Amazon, Deloitte, Żywiec Group, IKEA, Janssen, KGHM, Żabka Group, European Council on Foreign Relations, and Clean Air Fund.

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Piotr Łukasiewicz, PhD
Senior Analyst for Security and International Affairs
Piotr Łukasiewicz, PhD
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Kacper Wańczyk
fmr. Analyst for Eurasian Affairs
Kacper Wańczyk
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PiS gets 33.7 per cent and KO 31.9 per cent in provincial assembly elections

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The turnout in the parliamentary elections was 51.5 per cent.

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