Marshall Center Alumni meet at German Embassy in Poland
The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Warsaw hosted a George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies alumni outreach networking event on Feb. 16. Participants included representatives of the U.S. and German Embassies in Warsaw and nearly 40 Polish and international alumni who discussed strengthening NATO’s Eastern flank in the defense, deterrence and support for Ukraine.
Attending alumni represented a broad spectrum of Polish government and society, including the Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security Bureau, Internal Security Agency, police, academia and private enterprise.
Welcoming the alumni to his embassy and residence, German Ambassador Dr. Thomas Bagger described the initial shock of Russia’s war against Ukraine as the impetus to relearn painful lessons from the Cold War, where the West won because diplomacy was backed up by force and a position of strength. He also described the German “Zeitenwende” as a major shift in critical policy areas, which included the reconstitution of the Bundeswehr and the diversification of German energy supplies.
U.S. Ambassador Mark Brzezinski, who hosted the previous alumni event at his residence in 2022, reflected on the conflict in Ukraine. It’s a collision, he said, between “authoritarianism and democracy.” He emphasized the West’s collective unity of purpose and President Biden’s stated commitment to Ukraine for “as long as it takes.” He hailed Poland’s leadership in welcoming millions of Ukrainian refugees as a true inspiration for the world.
The event included a panel discussion with Bagger, Brzezinski and Maj. Gen. Darius Łukowski, Deputy Head of the Polish National Security Bureau. The panel was moderated by Rear Adm. Piotr Niec, recently seconded by the Polish Armed Forces to the Marshall Center as a visiting military professor. The panel focused on four main topic areas that included the definition of victory in Ukraine, Ukrainian integration with NATO and the EU, U.S. permanent military presence in Poland, and Polish crisis management, specifically in response to the November 2022 missile strike on Polish territory.
The panel session was followed by questions from the alumni audience with discussions on Russian nuclear disarmament, preventing Russian reemergence in spheres of influence and the sustainability of long-term peace between Russia and Ukraine.
Members of the audience and the panelists continued their discussions at a reception hosted by Bagger at his residence, in the framework of the engagement and networking mission of the Marshall Center.
The George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies, founded on June 5, 1993, is a renowned international security and defense studies institute. A bilateral partnership between the U.S. and Germany, it is a lasting cooperation that promotes dialogue and understanding among the nations of North America, Europe and Eurasia. In 2023, the Marshall Center marks its 30th anniversary, re-emphasizing its commitment to carrying Marshall’s vision, an enduring legacy that continues through the security education initiatives of the Center.