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At a time when the North Atlantic Council’s session in Brussels was still a distant prospect, an overwhelming majority of the security community  believed it unlikely to generate real thrills, and thought the political debate would be largely confined to the continued implementation of the 2016 Warsaw Summit decisions. Only later it turned out, the atmosphere among Allies was thickening  every single day despite the fact that most European countries  got used to Washington’s traditional rumblings about  defence spending. Actually, the North Atlantic Alliance has never been a gentlemen’s club avoiding money talks. The question of burden sharing – or, perhaps more accurately, the sharing of responsibility – was regularly raised up back in the time of the Cold War, when the menace of a large-scale conventional war was so much probable, and when successive U.S. administrations and Congresses regularly rebuked the Europeans for insufficient investments in their own military capabilities. This time, too, European leaders expected a ritual diatribe that Donald Trump had  spared them from the very beginning of his term at the White House. It looked as if he had exhausted all instruments of pressure on partners in the Alliance, the more so as he had not been given too many pretexts for using such instruments. Over the past two years, NATO has worked intensely and effectively on adapting its capabilities to address the latest threats – and the results are quite satisfactory, considering the growing pressure on the Alliance from the new (or resurfacing) conflicts and the armaments dynamics in countries such as China, India and Russia. This is particularly true when it comes to the trend of implementation of new technologies, which is difficult to follow by namby-pamby European bureaucracies. 

The second largest continent and home to 1.2 billion people, Africa lags far behind other parts of the world in terms of economic development. Its combined nominal gross domestic product  (GDP) of an estimated $2.2 trillion is lower than the figure for France alone. Measured by economic potential, individual countries of central Africa are comparable with Polish voivodships, or provinces. The nominal GDP of Poland, the world’s 23rd largest economy, equals that of 22 countries in central and southern Africa taken together – from Botswana to Ethiopia – populated by 500 million inhabitants. 

Prime Minister, we are talking on the eve of the 100th anniversary of Polish independence. In 1918, Poland reappeared on the political map of Europe, after 123 years of partitions by three foreign powers. Ever since then, for an entire century, we have struggled to keep or strengthen that independence, not always successfully. How should we strengthen it in the future? 
Panie Premierze, rozmawiamy w przededniu 100. rocznicy odzyskania przez Polskę niepodległości. W 1918 r. państwo polskie powróciło na polityczną mapę Europy po 123 latach rozbiorów. Ale przez całe stulecie, jakie upłynęło od tej chwili, Polacy nieustannie zabiegali o zachowanie lub umocnienie niepodległości swojego państwa – z różnym niestety skutkiem. W jaki sposób wzmacniać niepodległość Polski w przyszłości? 
21 August 2013: several hundred people die of sarin poisoning in Ghouta, Syria. February 2017: Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Koreas leader is killed with VX nerve agent while checking in at Kuala Lampur International Airport in Malaysia. 7 April 2018: dozens of people die in a chemical attack in the city of Douma which, according to Russia was staged by the enemies of the Syrian regime. March 2018: attempted murder of former Russian spy and his daughter with a Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury. Chemical weapons which, until recently, were associated (at least in Europe) primarily with the horror of gas attacks during World War I, have yet again crawled into the spotlight, with the media publishing drastic photos of its victims on a regular basis. Have chemical weapons been thrown away to the rubbish dump of history too early? Have international disarmament regimes failed? And will chemical attacks and chemical terrorism become a part of the new day-to-day reality of conflicts in the 21st century?
The hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I is being commemorated in an atmosphere of decadence of the liberal world order – an order created by the United States and maintained by it until the present day. Its main achievements are: democratisation of politics between nations; recognition of nations’ rights to self-determination; universalisation of international law together with the prohibition of unilateral use of force or a threat to use it as a foreign policy tool, as well as a cooperative approach to common security and trade liberalisation. These systemic achievements are reflected in institutionalisation of international relations.

Sławomir Dębski: It seems that European integration has been decelerating. It has become more and more difficult to achieve unity. Tensions between the United States and Europe have also heightened. Perhaps there is a trade war ahead of us. Many observers claim that we are witnessing the disintegration of the West. I believe they exaggerate. What is your opinion?

Ladies and Gentlemen! I would like to express my gratitude for the invitation and for the opportunity of presenting the modus operandi of the Bernese Group, diplomats who during the Second World War, in Switzerland, produced Latin American passports to save Jews from the Holocaust. As we know, such passports after 1942 saved Jews from immediate deportation to German death camps and gave their bearers a better chance of surviving the Holocaust. Diplomats from Bern and Geneva played a decisive role in this process. Among them were staff members of the Polish Legation (embassy), including my predecessor Aleksander Ładoś. That is why I requested a worldwide search for archival documents on this issue. I would like to express my gratitude and deep respect to our diplomats who have managed to find these materials. Some of them will, I guess, be new even to you, Holocaust scholars.

The message of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s address of 1 March was clear: those in power have no agenda to reveal before the country’s presidential elections.  It is then easier to discuss what will occur during the next presidential term, based not on speculation about the government’s potential actions but instead on what the government objectively will be compelled to do purely by circumstance. 

Chciałbym podziękować za zaproszenie i możliwość zaprezentowania sposobu działania grupy berneńskiej – zespołu dyplomatów, którzy w czasie II wojny światowej produkowali w Szwajcarii paszporty latynoamerykańskie, by ratować Żydów. Jak wiemy, w latach 1942–45 paszporty takie chroniły przed natychmiastową wywózką do niemieckich obozów i dawały znaczną szansę przeżycia Zagłady. Istotną rolę w tym procederze odegrali dyplomaci z Berna i Genewy. Ponieważ byli wśród nich pracownicy Poselstwa Polskiego, w tym mój poprzednik Aleksander Ładoś, jako ambasador RP w Szwajcarii zarządziłem akcję zbierania na całym świecie wszystkich dostępnych dokumentów archiwalnych poświęconych tej kwestii. Chciałbym bardzo podziękować swoim dyplomatom za to, że dotarli do materiałów, które nawet dla państwa, historyków Holocaustu, będą – jak mniemam – nowością.

ul. Warecka 1a
00-950 Warszawa

Redaktor naczelny:
Sławomir Dębski

Sekretarz redakcji:
Łukasz Jasina

Członkowie redakcji:
Łukasz Adamski
Karolina Borońska-Hryniewiecka
Adam Eberhardt
Jacek Foks
Mateusz Gniazdowski
Katarzyna Korzeniewska
Sebastian Płóciennik
Rafał Tarnogórski
Ernest Wyciszkiewicz

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