25 January 2023
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax; Ambassador. Nice to see you,
Ambassador Brzezinski: Greta, welcome back to Poland. Thank you for coming.
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax: I’m happy to be here. Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity. I’ve been here before. We talked about a lot of things. So many fascinating things have happened in Poland. But, you know, the thing that struck me is that you presented your credentials to the President of Poland, Duda, two days before this war broke out.
Ambassador Brzezinski: That’s right.
Greta Van Susteren: You know, you’ve now been here a year. We’re coming up on a year. Your sort of overall view of this?
Ambassador Brzezinski: Well, the context precedes my presenting credentials on February 22, to Polish President Duda, and of course, the attack on Ukraine by Russia commenced on February 24. But months before, Greta, months before President Biden had made the courageous decision to share intelligence, our classified secret intelligence, with the Baltic states, Poland, on the frontlines of this crisis, to share with them, what are the offensive and defensive structures of the Russian military, and to share with them what the Russian political elite, including President Putin, of course, intended to do with it, with regard to Ukraine.
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax: So there was no doubt. When you when you came here on the 22nd, you fully expected …
Ambassador Brzezinski: We did, and more importantly, we were organized. We had a technical understanding of the eight border crossings in between Poland and Ukraine, about where the hospitals are, where the parking lots are, even where the veterinarians are, for when people would bring their pets from Ukraine into Poland. We were ready. This has been a monumental human wave, over 8 million Ukrainians have come into Poland, Poland has had the capacity to take into their homes, and into their apartments, the millions who wanted to stay here. That has been an important lift for this NATO ally, Poland, to have done for Western Europe and the transatlantic community.
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax: The Polish people I’ve seen have embraced the Ukrainians coming, the eight million or how many have come over.
Ambassador Brzezinski: That’s right. And you know, Greta, there are historic differences between the Poles and the Ukrainians. And the Polish people have looked beyond those historical differences and said, “refugees, you need a (roof) over your head tonight, you need food on your plate, you need your children in school. Ukrainian refugees in Poland have every legal right a Polish citizen has except the right to vote. It is an incredible act of generosity that the Poles have extended to millions of people in a short amount of time.
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax: When I was here in October – we talked in October – when I talked to Poles, there was some concern that Poland was next.
Ambassador Brzezinski: Yeah.
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax; Has that fear that Poland is next with Russia, has that lifted a little bit? Or is that still the feeling among many of the Poles?
Ambassador Brzezinski: Oh, there’s absolutely a fear that Poland could be in the crosshairs of Putin. But here’s what reduces the anxiety and the uncertainty of the Polish people: membership in NATO. The fact that there’s an article five commitment to protect every square inch of NATO territory, including Poland, I feel allows the (Poles) to extend the generosity that they’re extending now that they otherwise would not do as much if they were more worried and uncertain. Today, America and Poland share the same freedom. And we are standing, our militaries are standing shoulder to shoulder to protect the Eastern Front of NATO. It’s a historic moment.
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax: Well, you serve in a unique position. You identified NATO as being so important in this. What about Ukraine being a member of NATO?
Ambassador Brzezinski: Well, that’s ultimately up to the Ukrainian people. And we are certainly supporting Ukraine’s efforts to mesh together with all western systems. But the question of NATO membership is up to the Ukrainian people. We are supporting the Ukrainian people in their effort to toss the Russians out of Ukraine. And the Ukrainians are winning. It’s an incredible story. This time last year, if we were sitting together in this room, would you have foreseen that the Ukrainian people would win against an organized Russian army, and they are one year later. It’s an incredible story of heroism, of courage, of sacrifice of the Ukrainian people. The story’s not over and we’re prepared. We hope that it stops, that it ends tomorrow, but we’re prepared for it to be drawn out. And we are organized to protect NATO, and we’re organized to support the Ukrainian people.
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax: Why would Ukraine, with all this outreach to the United States and other countries for help, why would its citizens not want to become a member of NATO? Obviously, they’ve seen that Russia’s aggressive, but what would be the downside?
Ambassador Brzezinski: Well, I would fully understand why the Ukrainian people would want to join the preeminent security alliance of the world, especially (after) what they’ve gone through. I mean, the video coming out of Ukraine is reminiscent of World War Two. You know, this week we celebrate the liberation of Auschwitz 78 years ago. The words “never again” have to mean something. Look at the video coming out from Ukraine, the Russian occupied parts of Ukraine, the rape, the torture, the kidnapping of people, the mass shootings and so forth. This is horrific, what is happening there. There are war crimes occurring. There is genocide underway.
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax: The irony of the 78th anniversary this week of the liberation of Auschwitz, it was liberated by the by the Soviet military, right.
Ambassador Brzezinski: Yeah.
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax; And so Putin, sitting back in Moscow looking at the acknowledgement of the commemoration.
Ambassador Brzezinski: Yeah. We remember the Holocaust as the worst crime in history. And we built processes of war crimes investigations, international courts, to prevent this kind of thing from happening again and there is a full library of documentation of terrible things that have happened in Bucha and elsewhere. We will chase that down.
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax: I hate being alarmist but you’ve got Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, you’ve got Putin with nuclear weapons. Is there is there a risk that he would do the ultimate?
Ambassador Brzezinski: I certainly hope not. I know that President Biden is managing this balance in the Alliance super carefully so that you have literally the entire West, committed to a unity of purpose to stop Putin. The Russians have a lot to lose, to follow through on crazy threats. I mean, you have to ask yourself, what kind of leader threatens tactical nuclear weapons?
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax: I’ve been to the region now four times, and it’s very hard when you see people hungry and cold, without power. And you see a lot of trains leaving the country, you know, harking back to World War Two. Many American people say, “Look, this is Europe’s problem. Why are we sending money there? We’re not sending troops on the ground there. But with limited resources. what’s the remark that you make to the American people who say, “Europe should be handling this, not us, we have problems at home.”
Ambassador Brzezinski: Because the essence of this is that this is a collision between authoritarianism and democracy. And if we lose, we see a setback in Europe and the transatlantic community, in terms of the expansion of authoritarianism, the spreading of fear that, I think would affect our notions of security, the stability of our markets. And the flip side of it is, if the Ukrainian people win, and toss the Russians out, it will be the biggest endorsement of political democracy and free market economy than we will have seen in the region for years. And it will benefit those who want to see the expansion of democracy for the next 100 years.
Greta Van Susteren, Newsmax: On a personal note: What do you think your father would say knowing that you’re the Ambassador to Poland at this time in history?
Ambassador Brzezinski: Well, I know that my father would be constantly telling me to improve my Polish language skills. And so he would double the number of classes that I’m taking, but the fact is: “Polska jest bezpieczna” Poland is Safe; “Polskq jest zabezpieczona” Poland is secure. And he would value that, and he would support me in every way that he could. And he would love that one of his children came back to a country that for his career, was always his North Star. And that’s Poland.