On Friday, the “Regional Threats, Global Shifts” conference concluded in Warsaw The event was organised by TVP World, Central and Eastern Europe’s premier English-language news channel.
The conference was opened by a special guest: Sergej Sumlenny, a scholar on Eastern European affairs and TVP World’s frequent guest expert.
1. Ukraine: Hybrid Warfare and the Aftermath of Feb. 24 in Europe
Maurice Glasman, an English political theorist, concurred with the event’s special guest, Mr Sumlenny, that the ongoing war has shown that France and Germany are no longer the leading powers in Europe, and added that the EU burdened by excessive bureaucracy is incapable of acting fast in such scenarios, calling the organisation a “failed marriage”.
“New Europe is forming in front of our eyes, based on countries that are willing to fight,” he said in reference to the U.K.s deepening ties with Poland and Ukraine. He added that “The leadership of Europe lies right here in Central and Eastern Europe.”
Christian Borys, a Canadian entrepreneur, former journalist and filmmaker, and currently the head of the Saint Javelin project, said that “this war has shown there is a massive amount of regular citizens making a tremendous impact. […] “Hundreds of millions of people have cast their vote to be on the side of good,” Mr Borys underlined.
David Engels, Chair for Roman History at the University of Brussels, pointed out that without Western assistance to Ukraine, the war would have been over shortly after it started. He assessed nevertheless, that “there is still a lot of progress to be made when it comes to Western Europe” as people there do not really know much about this war, considering Ukraine a peripheral country, an attitude he termed “ignorance of reality”.
Bohdan Nahaylo, Chief Editor of “Kyiv Post”, like the other guests stressed that Ukrainians cannot handle the fight by themselves. “They are fighting heroically, but fortunately have strong support from Poland and the West.” He also pointed to the immense cost needed for rebuilding Ukraine and integrating it into Europe. But he estimated that before this happens, great costs and much suffering will yet have to be borne before Russia is defeated.
“Putin wanted less NATO, now it is expanding,” Grigor Julukhidze, a researcher of Central and Eastern Europe, said on the global political system being reshaped. According to Mr Julukhidze’s assessment, the only war the aggressor is winning is the information war inside its borders.
2. The Authoritarian Threat and Asian Maritime Tensions
Piotr Kłodkowski, Professor at the Research Group of Comparative Studies of Civilisations at the Jagiellonian University, said that Europe, unlike the United States, does not perceive China to be a direct threat, pointing out that some countries, like Germany, seek to develop and tighten their ties with Beijing.
“In CEE, we are afraid after [hearing] the joint statement of Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin before the Olympic Games that China supports Russia in its plans to rebuild the Russian empire,” he assessed. Referring to Beijing’s international policy, the expert said that “Both [China and Russia] are interested in eliminating America from Asia.”
Raigirdas Boruta, an Associate Expert at the Eastern Europe Studies Centre, commented on the uneasy Chinese-Lithuanian relations. “Until now, we still do not have any diplomat in China,” he said, emphasising that China’s reaction to Lithuania tightening its bonds with Taiwan was “inadequate and excessive.”
Yet at the same time, he noted, over the last years, there has been a growing concern among Lithuanian governments regarding Chinese investments in their country, which were focused primarily on the country’s critical infrastructure.
Matt Schrader, Advisor on Chinese affairs at the International Republican Institute, explained that “there is a consensus between Republicans and Democrats on the Chinese threat.” As he moreover clarified, both parties agree that the threat exists, but there is a disagreement on the necessary steps that need to be taken in the matter.
Referring to China’s ability to acquire new partners, the expert explained that, as he sees it, Beijing “does not necessarily seek alliances but ‘friends’ – people supporting Chinese objectives, who are to be rewarded for their loyalty.”
source: TVP WORLD