Ambassador Mark Brzezinski’s Interview with TVP World at Karpacz Economic Forum

6 September 2023

Don Arleth, TVP World: Well, Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much for joining us tonight on TVP World.

Ambassador Brzezinski: Don, thank you for having me. Excited to be here.

Don Arleth, TVP World: Well, here we are. You just were at the forum in Kielce – the security conference, excuse me.

Ambassador Brzezinski: The MSPO conference. Yes.

Don Arleth, TVP World: And now you’re here at the Karpacz Economic Forum.

Ambassador Brzezinski: Yes.

Don Arleth, TVP World: Can you tell me how important of an event has this become – this is the second time you’ve been here, correct?

Ambassador Brzezinski: No, this is the first time I’m here in Karpacz, and it was my first time at MSPO as well, but Don, what that tells me is that there is tremendous international business interest in Poland in 2023. And I asked you just to step back for a second, to the time of the outbreak of Russia’s attack in Ukraine, the war in Ukraine, would you have expected this level of economic stability, of economic interest, in Poland, right on the edge of a war zone that we have right now. It just shows that collective defense works, that the partnership between America and Poland continues to drive investment opportunities for deals that make sense. And I’m so glad to be here in Karpacz to celebrate that, and it was glad to be in Kielce yesterday.

Don Arleth, TVP World: Right. Now you also received a special award, Person of the Year.

Ambassador Brzezinski: Well, I must say, I feel that the entire U.S. Embassy in Poland team received the award of Person of the Year because indeed, this is a team effort. U.S Mission Poland is over 600 colleagues, all of whom work day-in and day-out to drive forward this relationship, to make sure the American-Polish relationship doesn’t just work, but thrives.

Don Arleth, TVP World: And in the time since you’ve become Ambassador, can you speak a little bit about how that special relationship has really taken off?

Ambassador Brzezinski: Sure. Well in the last 20 months, I’ve seen five different dimensions of security lift off in ways that maybe others wouldn’t have predicted. So, what are they?

First, in terms of hard military security. Today, we have over 10,000 American soldiers in Poland, and we have American equipment — the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art technology on the way here: Abrams tanks, Apaches, HIMARS, F-35s, Patriots, and others – to make sure that the Eastern Flank of NATO, every square inch of Poland, is safe.

[Second,] humanitarian security. Something that not everyone would have approved predicted is the incredible humanitarian embrace of Poland, of all the millions of refugees who have come here, and that’s what we have seen. There’s a banner that hangs over the train station in Przemyśl, Poland that reads, “Tutaj jesteście bezpieczni,” “Here you are Safe.” What a great, great message for a refugee to receive on their fifth day of travel, just arriving in Poland.

Third, business security. Poland is open for business; that doesn’t always happen on the edge of a war zone, and yet it is happening here. Poland is a stable, economically filled with opportunity, pregnant with potential, context. That’s what American businesses [see] here. They say, you know, Polish workers are “bardzo pracowity,” very hardworking, and “bardzo lojalny,” very loyal. They are, and American companies have taken notice.

Fourth, what I would call the continued shared work on democracy, equality, and rule of law in all of our countries. As President Biden put it in Poland when he visited in February, America is working on its democracy, and Poland is working on its as well. And it’s important to make visible the fact that there’s a linkage between where American troops are deployed and values that are protected, because American troops go where the values are the same as we as Americans emphasize and embrace: democracy, rule of law, equality.

And I would say, fifth, the people-to-people connectivity between America and Poland has never been stronger. Your audience would appreciate that with adding of Poland to the Visa Waiver Program, we see travel from Poland to America like never before. That’s welcome; we want to see our special friends, the Poles, visit us in America, see what we’re doing, enjoy our land, just as we come to Poland.

Don Arleth, TVP World: Absolutely. I just took one of those direct flights to Miami, so I can attest to the increase in travel, and that’s obviously something we want to blossom. Now on a personal note, if you will, how have you found your time here in Poland? Your father is obviously a legend, not only in America, but also here in Poland. How has the experience been?

Ambassador Brzezinski: Well, you know, Don, the experience has been profoundly moving. My father was a Pole. He was cast on America’s shores by World War II, but Poland was always his North Star. It wasn’t by accident when he became National Security Adviser, I think the very first country President Jimmy Carter visited abroad was Poland. Do the math. But Poland was always his North Star. And I came here first with him, in 1990, to visit his family’s former house in Przemyśl, Poland, because he was from Przemyśl, Poland. And I think that he would be so damn proud of the work, the sacrifice, the Poles have made to make progress over the last 30 years. Poland is a totally different country than it was 30 years ago. Thirty years ago, it was an insular country, just opening up to the West. Today, it is globally oriented, and I meet young people like here at Karpacz, but all over Poland, who speak great English, who are very interested in the world and filled with ideas and hopes for being part of the West.

And so, I think that for me, every day that I am here I see a little bit of my dad, I see a little bit of my mom, in the faces of the Polish people who I meet. Sorry to get a little moved there, but it is very personal to me.

Don Arleth, TVP World: Well, it’s absolutely fantastic. Mr. Ambassador, I know many Poles that really, simply adore you.

Ambassador Brzezinski: Thank you.

Don Arleth, TVP World: And, I’ve heard only good things. You’re such a hard-working man and really have done so much to help [the Polish]-American relationship. Mr. Ambassador, thank you once again for being my guest today.

Ambassador Brzezinski: Don, thank you for having me. Appreciate it.