From November 12-15, General Phil Breedlove, USAF (ret.), a distinguished professor of the practice in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, visited Poland for some speaking engagements sponsored by the German Marshall Fund (GMF).
On November 13, General Breedlove began his visit by presenting a keynote at the Bristol Hotel. He was introduced by the director of the German Marshall Fund in Warsaw, Michal Baranowksi. His talk was an assessment of NATO’s transformation from Wales, through Warsaw, to Brussels. He discussed the threats to the alliance and addressed what the priorities should be moving forward. General Breedlove wrapped up his talk by speaking about what Poland’s role should be within the alliance.
Following the keynote, General Breedlove participated in a panel discussion with Marek Menkiszak, the head of the Russian Department at OSW (Center for European Studies), and Malgorzata Kaźmierska, the deputy director of the Eastern Department at the MFA, on the Russian threat and transatlantic order. He spoke on how the Russian threat has evolved since the Warsaw Summit and whether it was greater in a polarized transatlantic order. General Breedlove concluded by discussing what Poland can do to enhance the country’s defense.
He later participated in a second panel on the adaptation and future of the alliance with Benendetta Berti, the head of policy planning at NATO, and Michal Polakow, DCM of the Polish Representation at NATO. General Breedlove spoke on how NATO’s policy has evolved 5 years after Crimea and what can be done better. His talk also covered how NATO can achieve full interoperability, even with the growing polarization among its member states. He concluded his talk by discussing what are Poland’s plans and the way to move forward with the country’s army modernization.
The evening of November 13, General Breedlove gave another presentation at Restaurant Strefa on Russian and US Policy in the time of turmoil with a focus on NATO. He was introduced by Michal Baranowski, who was able to give an initial assessment of the political and military transformation of the alliance. Following General Breedlove’s presentation, Baranowski moderated a discussion.
The following morning, General Breedlove participated in a public event moderated by Michal Baranowski. The purpose of this event was to have a conversation with the community and media. During this event, he covered similar topics discussed in his keynote and panels. This was a great opportunity to highlight the importance of interoperability of Poland’s forces with the US and the rest of the alliance, while also emphasizing the importance of modernizing it’s programs.
Along with the keynote, panels, and public event, General Breedlove visit included a private meeting with President Andrzej Duda, national security advisors and the deputy ministers of defense and foreign affairs.
General Breedlove covered many topics on Russia, including their combative approach to NATO and made some suggestions on a “way ahead.” The key takeaway is that there needs to be a bipartisan comprehensive engagement with Russia.