30 June 2022
Ambassador Brzezinski: Maja, welcome here. Welcome to the Chief of Mission Residence, the CMR as we call it here in Warsaw. Happy Independence Day. This is for me a particularly special Independence Day.
Maja Wojcikowska, TVN: It’s good to be here. But it’s a very special one, because directly everything has changed, especially here in Poland. So because we have war next to our borders. So I just want to ask about this celebration here is more about celebrating or more about support? What do you mean by saying “Solidarity in Independence” today?
Ambassador Brzezinski: Sure. It’s about both celebrating and supporting. It’s about celebrating coming together: America, Poland and Europe. Because individually, we’re not as strong. And we have to have collective security to really push Putin back, to make sure he doesn’t (first) expand the war, and ultimately, to make sure he gets thrown out of Russia. And that’s why yesterday’s announcements by President Biden, using for the first time, the word “permanent”. That medal over there is the Presidential Medal of Freedom that my late father Zbigniew Brzezinski received for his service for independence and freedom in the White House as National Security Advisor. Today, Maja, he’s looking down and smiling at us because of the decision President Biden made, along with working together with President Duda to bring a permanent American Force in Poland. My father and Jan Nowak-Jezioranski fought for decades, hoped for decades, that there would be a permanent US force presence in Poland. Now there is. That’s celebration.
Maja Wojcikowska, TVN: But before it was officially announced, you had this one hour conversation with President Biden last week, and you said something to me about this conversation. But could you share one more detail with us from this conversation? What did President Biden say about Poland?
Ambassador Brzezinski: Sure, it was a one hour conversation in Washington with President Biden in the Oval Office. And I was so honored to be invited there by the president. And he wanted to talk with me about these people, the Polish people who are watching this show, because they have done something special. What the President said to me was that when he was in the National Stadium, he heard from the Ukrainian refugees. He heard from them: “We thank the people of Poland.” And the President said “What an incredibly graceful humanitarian embrace the people of Poland have done for the Ukrainian refugees. What underpins it?” is what he asked me. And what I said, is “Mr. President, for the people of Poland, this is 1939.” And that, at least now, they can stand up and fight with all the resources that they have and help someone who is being victimized. And that today, of course, is the people of Ukraine. And that’s what’s so amazing about the young people, all the people who drove to the borders, who opened up their homes and their hearts to let Ukrainian refugees in. As I said to the president, never in the future will there be a mass movement of refugees – and there will be a mass movement of refugees in the future, Maya, elsewhere in the world – never will there be a mass movement of refugees again, that does not invoke the case of Poland, where there’s a national policy to place every refugee into someone’s house and home. It’s extraordinary.
Maja Wojcikowska, TVN: There is no doubt that that’s historical, but everything is historical in this period. So I just would like to ask about the permanent deployment. This is historical; no doubt about that. But also, you are there for a couple of months … Exactly. So you are a person who is part of that. So what’s significant in that?
Ambassador Brzezinski: Five months. Well, the significance is that for the first time in history, US forces will be permanently stationed on the eastern flank of Europe, in Poland. And for centuries, Poles have fought for American freedom and Americans have fought for Polish freedom. Just think of Tadeusz Kosciuszko and General Pulaski and others and think of the 10,000 plus American soldiers, who are all on Polish bases today. Americans have sacrificed for Polish freedom and Poles have sacrificed for American freedom. Today, America and Poland share the same freedoms, but Ukraine does not. And this is where we have a call to action. This is where we come together to fight and to help the people of Ukraine. That’s the symbolism of this moment. Believe me, it won’t be unnoticed by Putin.
Maja Wojcikowska, TVN: But for you personally, how does it feel to be a part of this? to make it happen?
Ambassador Brzezinski: To me it feels personally like I have lived a life I would have never imagined, that my father is looking down and saying – as I told President Biden, I said my father was looking down at our meetings in the Oval Office, and he said, “Mark, I can’t believe that you’re there.” And I say the same thing, Maya here. “I can’t believe that you’re here.” I say that to myself, of course. I have a remarkable team at the US Embassy, who worked closely with President Duda, Prime Minister Morawiecki, Minister Blaszczak, all friends to make yesterday’s historic action occur. Make no mistake, history was made yesterday, American history and Polish history.