Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on April 15, 2016 reported that Poland’s foreign minister foreign minister has said that Russia is an “existential threat” to European countries and is more dangerous than the Islamic State (IS) militant group. Excerpts below:
Speaking at a conference in Bratislava on April 15, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczkowski said “Russia’s activity is a sort of existential threat because this activity can destroy countries.”
The migration crisis and terrorist organizations such as IS, he added, are “not an existential threat for Europe.”
The comments come days after Russian warplanes buzzed a U.S. Navy ship that was conducting joint exercises with the Polish military in the Baltic Sea.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on April 14 said that the Russian pilots’ actions were “provocative” and “dangerous.” He said that under existing rules of engagement, the planes “could have been shot down.”
Comment: The greatest challenges to the West at present are Russia, China and Iran. The comments by Foreign Minister Witold Waszczkowski are justified. The Russian occupation of Crimea, its hybrid war in eastern Ukraine and ongoing war of disinformation is a form of new cold war. NATO needs to further strengthen its forces in eastern Europe. Both Russia and China are strong nuclear powers and Iran may soon have nuclear arms. IS can, of course, not be ignored but can be defeated fairly quickly if only the United States and Europe were willing to increase the military pressure. Arab countries must be persuaded to contribute ground troops in northern Syria for an attack IS strongholds. Such attacks must be combined with increased air raids by the USAF and allied air forces.