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  • Author: Michal Łuszczuk, Piotr Graczyk, Adam Stępień, Małgorzata Śmieszek
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Given the multidimensional transformation taking place in the Arctic, it is timely to redefine and develop Poland’s engagement in the region. Although Poland has neither vital nor direct political and economic interests in the Arctic, the state’s multi-faceted involvement in international cooperation in that region may improve national security as well as enhance Poland’s international standing, especially in the EU, European and transatlantic dimensions. A clearly defined and comprehensive Arctic policy should be the foundation for further Polish engagement in the region. How this policy should look may be determined on the basis of the previous achievements, current potential, and identification of key rationales and of the areas for future activities.
  • Author: Justyna Prus
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia’s use of history as a political weapon may have long term negative consequences. The manipulated narrative will be difficult to reverse and, could lead to an even more confrontational attitude towards immediate neighbours and the West. Western countries cannot remain passive. To counter Russian historical propaganda, they will have to adopt and effectively use the narrative based on truth and common values.
  • Author: Marcin Terlikowski, Anna Pochylska
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With the decision to select Patriot as its next medium-range air and missile defence system, Poland is launching a programme considered the most important one out of the $35 billion Armed Forces Technical Modernisation Plan for the years 2013–2022. The sheer value of the contract ($4–6 bln), its strategic and operational significance, and the technologies involved, are all enough to make it a hot topic in popular debates. But this programme is special also because it involves a U.S. contractor, which will be responsible for providing key technologies. While Poland has long been gravitating towards closer defence political ties with the United States, it has also been particularly anxious with regards to defence cooperation with Washington, even despite the fact that the U.S. became the top importer of Polish defence materiel. To make the most out of the AMD selection, and any other possible programmes that may be won by a U.S. contractor, Poland should drop unrealistic or simply false assumptions regarding defence industrial cooperation with the U.S. and push the envelope of collaboration, wherever it is possible, while limiting its ambitions where they are exaggerated.
  • Author: Pinar Elman
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While actively contributing to NATO exercises and operations that confirm Turkey’s commitment to the Alliance, Ankara has also actively avoided cooperating with the Western political and economic efforts to curb Russian aggression in Ukraine. Turkey’s low-level involvement, shaped by security concerns, economic needs, yet at the same time its consolidating dependence on Moscow, and its optimistic opportunism, increasingly raise concerns about possible prospects of a Turkish pivot away from the Euro-Atlantic community. But even while distancing itself from NATO, it may be in Turkey’s interests to rebalance its policy by supporting the stability of Ukraine and closer cooperation with the EU.
  • Author: Konrad Zasztowt, Justyna Prus
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The annexation of Crimea has been a propaganda gain for the Kremlin, helping to augment support for the ruling elites. However, the protests of minorities opposing the annexation—Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians—has prompted Russians to begin harsh repressions. On May 18, the Crimean Tatars commemorate the anniversary of the Stalinist deportation of their nation in 1944, which led to mass deaths among the deported population. Although the Crimean Tatars are a relatively small minority at the peninsula, they are politically well organised and will not accept the Kremlin’s praise of the Soviet (including Stalinist) era, or the current authoritarian system based on neo-imperial and neo-Soviet ideology.
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The revolution in Ukraine has shown that the difficult history of Central and Eastern Europe ended neither with the collapse of the Soviet Union, nor with the enlargement of the European Union to the east. Moreover, Russia's violent reaction in the form annexing Crimea and supporting separatists in Donbas has set in motion a number of political processes, which have not only shaken international relations in Central and Eastern Europe, but have also shown the countries in the region that stability in this part of Europe is not a given. Thus, these countries, the vast majority of which are members of the European Union and NATO, face a serious problem regarding the further evolution of relations with Russia, not only in the political or economic dimension, but also in the military sphere.
  • Author: Konrad Zasztowt, Teona Turashvili
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga set for 21–22 May, Georgia is seen as one of the most advanced EaP members in terms of adoption of European standards. The country is quite successful in terms of building a democratic and transparent state, which is both rare and sets an important precedent in the post-Soviet region. Still, such positive changes in Georgia are not irreversible, and many reforms are only at the initial stage. The EU should offer more support, and encourage the government in Tbilisi in reforming state institutions. Priority should be given to the justice sector, public administration, and local government in order to secure democratic governance and a fair political environment for further transformation. Moreover, the EU should also increase support for Georgia’s civil society, which is the most efficient “whistle-blower” in the event of bad practices such as corruption, cronyism or use of prosecutors and the judiciary against political opponents.
  • Author: Marek Wąsiński
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: he Paris Climate Conference to be held in December may be the last chance to deliver a global agreement on tackling climate change. One issue that could be a game-changer for the negotiations and one that is inevitable to achieve global climate goals is so-called climate finance. The existing framework does not provide enough predictability and capacity to limit global warming to a maximum of 2°C. A clear mechanism for gathering public funds from developed countries and the inclusion of private investments is needed to secure reliable post-2020 climate actions.
  • Author: Kacper Rękawek
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although Central Asian states are vulnerable to the activities of radical Islamic organisations due to the weaknesses of their political and social systems—marked by authoritarianism, corruption, nepotism, and ethnic and religious tension, as well as their poor economic circumstances—interest in ISIS among their citizens remains low. These states so far also have not become an area of interest for ISIS, although that may change. When some people in these countries do leave for Syria and Iraq, their decision is not rooted just in poverty but also in social exclusion and poor religious education. At the same time, citizens of far more affluent and often far less authoritarian European and Middle Eastern countries travel in higher numbers to Syria to join ISIS. Nonetheless, a potential increase in the popularity of radical Islamist factions will not only be a problem for the five countries of the region, where the authorities will try to use the phenomenon to strengthen their special services and raise funds for border protection, but also for Russia, especially since people from Central Asia are mainly recruited to ISIS on Russian territory and traverse it to reach the battlefields. Russia, therefore, will continue to support its neighbours in the fight against such organisations by helping to strengthen border control, support for local special services and by CSTO Rapid Reaction Forces. The European Union and the United States should offer not only intelligence support and assistance in protecting these borders against this threat but also economic programmes and development assistance that can be used to decrease the factors that may contribute to the radicalisation of those living in Central Asia.
  • Author: Borta Górka-Winter
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: After more than a decade of international military assistance in Afghanistan, the newly created Afghan National Security Forces are still facing several daunting challenges, including the need to stabilise a still volatile security situation and sustain a sufficient level of manpower. The latter, in particular, may prove to be extremely difficult, as statistics show that the ranks of the Afghan National Army (ANA) are shrinking dramatically. On the one hand, many independent assessments show that the ANA has reached a high level of maturity and efficiency in combating the insurgency (as demonstrated by the ANA recently when parliament was attacked by the Taliban). Moreover, the armed forces also receive a level of social support unprecedented in the modern history of Afghanistan. On the other hand, the unstable political situation, a potential loss of financial support from donors, and the re-emergence of militias that, under the command of warlords, act as parallel security forces in Afghanistan, may result in the progressive disintegration of the ANA, depriving it of the strong mandate given to it by the Afghan population.