Ambassador Mark Brzezinski’s Interview with TOK FM

1 March 2023

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: Good morning, sir.

Ambassador Brzezinski: Good morning, Tomasz. Thank you so much for having me at TOK FM. I’m so honored to be here.

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: It’s a big pleasure for us. Mr. Ambassador, let’s go back first to President Biden’s visit to Poland and Ukraine last week, The American president put a lot of effort into it … especially in visiting Kyiv. It was both historical and impressive. But my question is, is President Biden fully satisfied with the results.

Ambassador Brzezinski: President Biden loved his trip to Ukraine. And he loved his trip to Poland. And he did that because I think he wanted to accomplish several things. First of all, he wanted to show the world that there should be no doubt about his commitment to stand with the Ukrainian people to the very end. Second, in Poland, well let me just quote the president. He said this is a critical, critical, critical relationship. And I think that we should take that on board. Poland, has geo-strategically found itself in a very important position. And its people through a rapid social mobilization, have responded in the most incredible and impressive and giving way to the Ukrainian refugees. Which is why, and this is goes to the third thing he wanted to do. He said, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, to the Polish people, because the Polish people have done so much. And they’ve sown genuine “goscinosc.” So at least with regard to his trip to Poland, President Biden wanted to show that President Biden “dba o Polskę; dba o was, i dba o wasze bezpieczeństwo.”

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: I’m asking about that because maybe you’ve heard that some Poles are not fully satisfied. They think President Biden said, a little too little. It’s probably a small group of Poles, but still, what will be your message for those who are disappointed?

Ambassador Brzezinski: Well, people with principle can disagree. So I respect everyone’s view. Let me just take that as a starting point. What I feel the President wanted to convey is that this relationship is on track. This relationship is on track, despite the fact that we find ourselves next to a warzone. Despite the fact that we find ourselves unable to say, “What will Putin do next?” And I think it provided tremendous reassurance, as well as commitment that that this relationship is critically important, and that Poland will be safe and secure,

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: Which is very important in those times. Right.

Ambassador Brzezinski: But, obviously, I’m open to hearing any different perspective, and take onboard any advice and any guidance and any different opinions. People with principle will disagree in life

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: Mr. Ambassador: During his visit, President Biden repeatedly spoke about supporting Ukraine, what will be the next step or next steps of the United States?

Ambassador Brzezinski: You know, the way the United States tactically has supported Ukraine has changed as the needs for the Ukrainian people to defend themselves have changed. Tactically, when the war began to (help Ukrainians) defend themselves, the US provided javelins. And then when Ukrainian cities were being bombarded, we provided HIMARS. And now the focus is tanks. The important point is that no one wants anything except peace from this conflict, and it is absolutely in Putin’s hands to end this war. No one is benefiting from this. And it’s creating tragedy after tragedy. So I don’t want to get into tactics beyond what I’ve said, but I do feel that the political imperative, logically, rationally, must be to end this war. There is no benefit for any side on this. And it’s just created a mass tragedy.

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: Mr. Ambassador, you spoke about javelins and tanks, but President Zelenskyy asked today again for, quote, “breaking the taboo on aircraft deliveries.”

Ambassador Brzezinski: I don’t want to get into tactics. And I defer to the Department of Defense in terms of anything more. But I do feel that our commitment to support the people of Ukraine will be enduring. Hopefully, it will end soon, but we will be with them for as long as it takes. But everyone hopes and prays for peace.

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: A few days ago, the German defense minister said that Washington is in talks with Berlin and Warsaw to hold joint military maneuvers in Poland later this year, can you confirm?

Ambassador Brzezinski: Any discussion about any exercises should be with the with the US Department of Defense in Washington. So I will simply say this, generally speaking, Poland has good territory to conduct exercises, and I’ve managed to visit a number of Polish bases in the course of the year plus that I’ve been here. I’ve been so impressed by the conditions, by the discipline of the Polish soldiers, and the the utility of Poland’s bases for exercise in a modern sense. It’s not just a field or a forest, there’s a lot of different infrastructure that goes into exercises. So generally speaking, Polish bases are suited for exercises. With whomever the exercises have value. With regard to the relationship between Poland and Germany, there’s already great cooperation between Poles and Germans, as it pertains to …

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: You spoke with the German ambassador to Poland.

Ambassador Brzezinski: I did. I consult with Thomas regularly. He’s a good friend of mine. He used to be in Washington, DC, actually, as a diplomat, and I first met him there. So we know each other for a long time. Good Polish-German relations is absolutely an American interest. We see this relationship as natural as the sunrise and already in the security sense, there’s good cooperation in Szczecin, in Bydgoszcz, through just kind of presence that we have there. It’s the kind of relationship that I could see flourish naturally, because you share a huge border. There’s already tremendously big cross border freight with Germany, and a lot of commercial advancement that is dual, meaning as Poles and Germans invest together, they mutually advance each other. And I could see that as necessary, occurring as it pertains to security. But I can tell you that Polish German relations is something that we hope to see, grow and flourish. Because it’s as natural as the sunrise.

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: We hope for that also. Mr. Ambassador, as you probably know, this is an economic show. So let’s talk about business.

Ambassador Brzezinski: Okay, let’s talk about business. I am from the private sector Tomasz. I don’t know if you know that.

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: I am aware of that. So my question is: many experts says that the next winter in Europe and in Poland, will be a much bigger challenge than the current one. So as you probably know, we don’t any longer use in Poland, Russian gas, oil and coal. What would be the offer of the United States in that manner?

Ambassador Brzezinski: Well, one of the things I’m incredibly proud about and that was a focus of President Biden’s visit here last week was the nuclear deal with Westinghouse. We’re so proud that Poland has chosen Westinghouse technology. That’s the best technology in the world when it comes to this. There’s a power plant in the state of Georgia, in the United States, that is just about to open that is state of the art. And it’s the kind of powerplant AP 1000 that I think will be advanced here in Poland, through the alignment between Polish authorities and Westinghouse with regard to these first three reactors. It’s such an important way to modernize the Polish economy, because Poland’s future generation needs secure, sustainable, reliable, responsible energy, and now it’s going to have it. I think that was a great decision on the part of the Polish people, and we’re doing everything we can to advance it. I will say one thing that I’m super proud of as an ambassador, is we have managed to arrange for the US Department of Energy to open up a center in Poland. So this is a US agency based in Washington DC, they’re going to open up a center in Poland, on nuclear energy, and on clean energy to mesh together more closely, scientists and collateral industry people when it comes to nuclear power and clean energy, so that we can mesh together Polish expertise, and our national labs. The US government has 18 national labs, like Los Alamos and others. And there’s a national lab in Idaho, focused on nuclear technology. This will be such an important opportunity for Polish people to assimilate into the nuclear industry. Poland has such great science. It has such great technology. This is the land of Nicholas Copernicus; we’re celebrating his 550th birthday this year. It’s a big, big deal. That just tells you the depth of Polish understanding in engineering, technology sciences. I’m so glad we’re going to see that in Poland, that there will be opportunities for Polish engineers to more closely assimilate with great universities in the United States, as it pertains to science.

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: Speaking of the joint construction of the nuclear power plant, can we say right now, when we are going to sign like the final deal about that? Because everything what we see right now, it’s like, we are preparing to do this.

Ambassador Brzezinski: Yes, but you know, a nuclear power plant is a major infrastructure event. And so there are many different components to its construction, and then the deployment of the technology. And so, frankly, the most important point is underway, which is the selection of the technology …

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: … and being prepared …

Ambassador Brzezinski: … and being prepared and preparing the landscape for it, and preparing the understanding of the receiving country, in this case, Poland for it. So, it is a big deal that Poland has committed to Westinghouse, and we see this. This is why it was a focus of the President’s visit last week as a centrally important keel in the American Polish relationship, because energy security is national security. As many troops and tanks and warplanes, Poland can have, if its people cannot turn on the lights or keep the heat on – it’s vulnerable. And now it can with this in the offing, and I’m thrilled by that. I’m deeply committed to this relationship. “Kocham Polska.” I want to see Poland safe and secure, and this energy security piece is absolutely critical to it. It’s as critical as tanks and warplanes, and that type of thing.

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: One last quick question: Aren’t you worried that now the Inflation Reduction Act is going to (hurt) those relationships across Atlantic between the United States and European Union?

Ambassador Brzezinski: Well, I think to the contrary, the Inflation Reduction Act advances jointness when it comes to things like clean energy. This is the context that we were just talking about, but more broadly, clean energy is the future. We’re living in a world that’s increasingly populated and needs to live in environmentally sound and energy-wise, sustainable ways. To come together around this shared set of goals as it pertains to clean energy is so important. We’re doing that and I think the Inflation Reduction Act will facilitate that even more.

Tomasz Setta, TOK FM: Mr. Ambassador, thank you for your time.