The US needs Europe: former US Army Commander in Europe

"The US needs Europe and Joe Biden as president will dispel doubts about US involvement in NATO," said the former Commanding General of the US Army in Europe Ben Hodges. Poland’s Chief of the General Staff, General Rajmund Andrzejczak, emphasized the importance of relations with NATO's partner countries.

Hodges, a retired general, currently a CEPA analyst, and General Andrzejczak, as well as Norway's Deputy Defence Minister Tone Skogen and NATO's Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Baiba Braze from Latvia took part in the discussion on NATO at the Warsaw Security Forum conference on Wednesday.

"You can rest assured that when President Biden takes office, he will take a more traditional approach to diplomacy and international relations, and it will remove all doubts about the US commitment to NATO. You will see a greater willingness to cooperate," said Hodges.

He emphasised the importance of US allies and relations with Europe. "The prosperity of the US depends on the prosperity of the EU - our largest trading partner. Our success depends on whether Europe is stable and secure, no matter how much society spends on its own defense," he said.

He also noted that "the United States does not have the resources to do everything by itself" and added that "Even with the largest defense budget ever, with its armed forces and great navy, it is too small and too burdened to do everything that needs to be done."

Hodges expressed his conviction that the West had neglected to compete with China in the areas of diplomacy, information, and economics, as well as the development of road, rail and port infrastructure. "Competition of great powers prevents conflict between great powers," he noted.

In his opinion, "the United States will need a very strong European pillar" in order "to continue to deter the Kremlin." He emphasised the need for politicians to openly communicate threats to society. He added that if other allies did not trust the US, it would undermine NATO's cohesion.

Poland’s Chief of the General Staff, General Rajmund Andrzejczak, recognised Russia and terrorism as threats that the Alliance should focus on. He stressed that the assessments are consistent across the eastern flank, from the Baltic States to Romania.

Andrzejczak admitted that the coronavirus crisis will also affect the condition of the Polish budget. "The pandemic is a scenario we didn't expect," he said. He also expressed his satisfaction with the level of military readiness and efficiency of the military medical support system and added that "Covid is an additional mission. We do not want to make it a priority for our armed forces and change our priorities."

He added that the priorities of the Polish army had not changed. They include increasing the capabilities of the land forces, air defence and intelligence. There are also new domains - the cyber sphere and outer space.

The head of Poland’s National Security Bureau, Paweł Soloch, also took part in the conference. He emphasised that "NATO remains a key organisation that provides security primarily to allies, but also to our partners with whom we share the same values." He considered maintaining unity in the area of counteracting "threats in all their forms" the most important task for the Alliance.