Interview with Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ
Vasile SIMILEANU: Geopolitics, as a science, was challenged after the World War II. After 1989, it became part of the new world order.
Please tell us about your activities in the field of geopolitics!
How do you define geopolitics?
E wa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ: After 1989 geopolitics became a part of the new world order but much more from the U.S. perspective rather than other Western European countries. However, Eastern European countries like Poland and post–soviet countries and previous members of the Warsaw Pact, e.g., (Estland, Lithuania, Latvia, and others) were willing to join NATO so quickly and, in 1999, became a part of the most prominent security and defense organization in the world. Western European nations, like Germany or France, did not fear Russia so much as Eastern European countries did be-cause, first, they were already joining NATO for many years; second, they were geographically speaking “far away” from the Russian territory and its potential “military aggression,” third, they were longing for economic closeness with Russia, because of its cheaper natural resources, like gas, iron, gold, titanium, copper, platinum and more. More importantly, Western Europe saw Russia as a potential economic partner and did not view it as a potential threat; Eastern European neighbors, on the other hand, saw the opposite if it came to Russia; they saw (understandably based on its history) a danger to their security, integrity, and sovereignty. That is why those countries began to increase their military capability and wanted to join NATO, which guarantees its safety and peace and provides a high defense level.
We all know that since World War II, the United States has been growing as an economic and military power worldwide and has increased spending for military purposes to ensure the Alliance’s military readiness.
After 1989, geopolitics started to play a significant role; as we see, geopolitics became part of the new world order. We still have countries looking for themselves, but it is almost impossible nowadays because of their connections as nations due to international treaties and agreements with the U.N., E.U., NATO, and others on bilateral,
multilateral, and other international levels. The countries understood that thinking on a national level and not globally would not solve much of the current crisis, e.g., instability in security policy, border-energy –, climate crisis, pandemics, terrorism, inflation, and more.
In the last ten years, I have dealt with analysis considering qualitative and quantitative research methods on foreign affairs, concentrating on the European Union and the United States regarding security, defense policy, and international relations between superpowers. For instance, in my master’s thesis, I concentrated on the need for change in the E.U. Security Policy to ensure long-term cooperation with the U.S. and what are the chances of collaboration between the U.S., Poland, and Germany. Moreover, gaining experiences from many levels of government and around the globe helped me develop a broad analytical knowledge of geopolitics and – strategies. In addition, my dedication to my passion, including Weapons of Mass Distraction (WMD) like Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear weapons of Mass Distraction (CBRN), counterterrorism, arms control, and NATO future, helped me to increase my knowledge. I conducted original and high-level proficiency research and analysis on the urgency of security stability at the legislative and defense level, especially regarding warfare, good leadership, and long-term collaboration with the U.S. allies. My attention also provided insight into relations between Russia – Poland and the U.S. – Middle East. Based on my knowledge and passion for international relations, I spent lots of time analyzing nations’ motives, influence on others, and willingness to “govern” the world. I also realized that geopolitics is a broad topic and can not be answered in one sentence, not in a single bachelor’s, master’s, or even dissertation. However, I can say that we should do more research and conduct more studies to understand better how geopolitics works. We should not only concen-trate on comparing two or three nations to discover similarities or differences but also on the globe as a whole. Only by viewing the world from a global perspective will we know how and why we face “new world orders” and why less powerful countries are becoming more robust, and those who were powerful become, e.g., economically weaker and less influential.
Geopolitics is a vast topic, and covering all information regarding my analysis in a short interview is almost impossible; however, I will try to concentrate on the main ideas based on research from previous expert’s analyses whose thoughts I share with, but I need to add something essential from my perspective to the definition of nowadays geopolitics, later on.
I concluded that geopolitics is even more than geographics and politics:
- First, it is crucial to know where the country is on the map, how long the borders are with other countries, which nation those borders are being shared with, which history has those both nations and how solid the bilateral or multilateral relationship has been built yet.
- Second, it is essential to know if the country, geographically speaking, possesses natural resources to be able to meet the needs and expectations of its population, like food, water, and other necessary goods, if the economy is growing, if there are good or bad weather conditions, considering climate, transportation of goods, infrastructure, public transport, etc.
- Third, the most important, in my opinion, is to know which kind of political history manifests the specific country, which political system they follow, and which type of political regime (meaning which sort of form of government or social norms did they set up), and finally, which kind of sets of rules, cultural and religious standards regulate the operation of government and institutions in a specific nation. Does rule in this nation a democracy, an autocracy, or a totalitarian regime? Are they Christians, Moslems or Islamistis? How do they understand morals and ethics? Do they com-promise with other countries and are willing to find peaceful solutions? The list can go on and on.
Nevertheless, in my view, the most significant is the power of a specific nation or the cooperation of countries. An excellent example of a more stable, healthy collaboration between nations is the European Union, which can compete with other larger nations regarding military or economic capability. Not only concerning the size of their territory, its population, or the armed forces, it is less significant how many of them are on active duty, but more importantly, if their armed forces are well equipped, if they use modern weaponry systems and continuously develop the newest, better and more precise technologies. Do they have a stable and growing economy if other countries are willing to invest, import, and export their goods and make monetary deals without corruption?
All that I have said before describing geopolitics plays a massive role in under-standing this term better. For example, which nation or nations are becoming more influential as Global Players? Which country can per se dictate its own beliefs, and political ideas, spread ideologies, and change other countries’ decision-making process through imposing sanctions?
Big Global Players are hungry and struggle to control geographical entities with international / global dimensions and new challenges, often using such entities for political and economic advantage.
How do I define geopolitics? So, I would say that if a nation or bond of countries wants to pressure other nation / nations to change their course of governing, the way of doing business, and their codependency, and forcing them to find a way to solve not national but global problems. The term geopolitics is more connected to globa-lization. Globalization would be much more the new term to explain geopolitics, from my point of view, which could mean, e.g., integrating the world’s economics and politics. It describes how trade and technology have made our world smaller, connected, and co-dependent.
First, this is very dangerous; second, it is too much to handle; and third, this is very tricky because we all are connected and co-dependent like “domino” countries, and that is why we are in an era of a new world order in which not only one or two countries (as we know from the past) but the entire globe is involved. If one country, e.g., Germany, will economically collapse, the economically weaker and dependent states on German export / import could also collapse; if the U.S. economically collapses, the entire E.U. member states could collapse.
Another threatening observation I have made is that politicians follow the advice of the reach entrepreneurs (lobbyists), who influence their decision-making processes, not their citizens. Elected officials care less about citizens’ needs, fears, health, and uncertainty. Still, they care more about influencers who bring the “money to the table” and who have visions, sometimes “economically destructive” ones, e.g., the Great Reset and Green Deal which could destroy their grown, solid economies and put them in a position of weaker more vulnerable states. We could have only two options, either stick together and find solutions to the new global issues together (which is going to be very difficult if not impossible), or split and do politics only on bilateral levels, meaning country A with country B but excluding country C. Both solutions seem impossible because of the complexity and different commitments with countries from A to Z.
From my perspective, those examples can give a glimpse of what geopolitics is today, how it has changed over the last decades, and how it is changing the new world order in the 21st century.
V.S.: Geopolitics has become of impact in all analyses of political, military, social, economic, cultural and diplomatic developments. Do you think that the classical theories of the geopolitical schools are still relevant?
Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ: Classical theories in geopolitics are still relevant, probably more than ever. Geopolitical schools using the classic theories of geopolitics and geostrategy are more visible and present in a military and diplomatic environment. Classical geopolitics also formed an essential analysis element for military, history, and sub-disciplines of political science, such as international relations and security studies.
From my perspective, the international system is a competitive arena where Great Powers still play a disproportionate role. In particular, classical geopolitics emphasizes two significant elements; first, power, known as a political, economic, social, cultural, military, and diplomatic influence, and second, space, known as a territory and soil.
From this perspective, classical geopolitics based on space and power can explain Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 or Ukraine in 2022 and its aim to become a great power. It also shows that European Union and even the U.S. became economically weaker after the covid19 pandemic; their currency, EURO, and USD are currently not solid and stable as they were, the energy supply chain collapsed, the refugees-crisis in 2011 (Libya), 2015 (Syria), 2021 Afghanistan, 2022 (Belarus), 2022 and 2023 (Ukraine), weak leadership in the E.U. (recent corruption within the European Parliament), weak leadership in Germany (in the most important economically nation within the E.U.), weak military (often old weaponry systems, not enough new technologies developed, China is trying to take the lead over the U.S.), not enough spending for security and defense purposes (Germany or other Western European countries that are not spending 2 percent of their GDP although they agreed on it during the NATO summit in Wales in 2014).
The Great Power of BRICS is the following example of a classical theory in geopolitics that is still very present nowadays. The BRICS (Alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) is trying to harm the European Union and the United States. BRICS currency will be the most significant economic threat to the West, to the USD, and EURO because it will be hard for the U.S. to use its financial power to exert political pressure on other countries, the same with EURO. If this happens, we will have a (altogether) New World Order with Leaders of fast-growing economies. This alternative to international financial and political forums could destabilize our Western political and economic system. In the second decade of BRICS existence, 19 other countries want to join them and establish so-called BRICS+ or BRICS2.0. New currency and rapidly increasing economic growth could, in consequence, lead to geopolitical upheaval. More importantly, in current BRICS countries live, more than 40 percent of the world’s population. I also should mention that while in the 80s, a share of the world gross domestic product within G7 countries (the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Japan, Canada, Italy, and France) was 50 percent, today is only 30 percent. In the meantime, the BRICS countries increased from 10 percent to 31.5 percent. I am afraid, but we need to admit, that thus the purchasing power of the BRICS countries has already overtaken the G7.
These examples from the above show that classic geopolitics is also a bit different now than they were decades ago and utterly different from hundreds of years ago when new countries were discovered. I would say that the typical classic geopolitics was based on soil, shifting territories from the geographical perspective. It began in Greece and continued during the Roman Empire, the 19th century, World War I, and World War II. The Cold War was a typical example of classic geopolitics based more on power than territory.
Until World War II, classical geopolitics was seen as (a geographical space) that had to be fought over to gain more land and expand borders to get more territory, crops, and land. Later began the ideological struggle between the West and the East (NATO and the Warsaw Pact).
In the classic theory, military power significantly influenced geopolitics and geostrategy in previous decades.
In the 60s, for instance, the U.S. spent almost 9 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on military security and defense, in the early 90s, 5.6 percent, in 2000 only 3 percent. It shows that the U.S. did not want to play the leading role of the often-called “world’s police”. That is how North America had been seen by other Western European countries, especially by Germans. Nowadays situation changed drastically, now Eastern European countries increased their spending because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and according to Statista, Poland 2023 is leading by 3.9 percent on defense costs of NATO countries as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), followed by the U.S. with 3.5 percent and more interestingly by Greece by 3 percent. As a South European country, Greece is exposed to the Mediterranean Sea, through which refugees from Syria and Libya could reach their land and the European Union countries. Increased spending on those purposes is understandable because Greece faces different threats that can destabilize its economy and security.
Analyzing Poland’s spending on military purposes is based on its geographical position on the map and the current threats coming from the Russian site. The Suwalki (Suwałki) gap or Suwalki corridor in the northeast area between Poland and Lithuania between Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad Oblast with a length of over 60 km (40 mi), the choke point that became of exceptional strategic and military importance since Poland and the Baltic States joined NATO. Moreover, on the east side, the Polish-Ukraine border is over 500 km (over 300 mi) long, and Belarus-Poland is over 450 km (almost 300 mi) long. From Poland’s perspective, the closeness of those borders became even more critical after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea (Ukraine). Poland realized that Russia could still invade a sovereign country, harm its territory and cause a potential threat to others based on its history and willingness to establish a Russian Empire, or to threaten other countries, like NATO, or only to show the United States their superpower and military strength, and to destabilize the NATO, E.U. also economically after the Covid19 pandemics.
According to PowerIndex statistics considering the 2023 Military Strength Ranking, the nations of the world based on quantity, financial standing, logistical capabilities, and geography, the United States is number one, followed by 2. Russia, 3. China, 4. India, and 5. the U.K., Ukraine now is placed at number 15, Poland 20 from 145 nations worldwide.
The historical evolution and current revival of the concept of geopolitics shifted. Nowadays, geopolitics include global issues; energy security, the nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the War on Terrorism, democracy promotion, pandemics (zero-covid19-strategies), Green Deals (transformation of energy supplies and the supplies chains), new space technologies, cyber-crimes, etc.
V.S.: At university level, please tell us how geopolitics is reflected in the university curri-culum (undergraduate courses, masters, doctorates)!
What research institutes, NGOs and other formats are developed for geopolitical studies?
Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ: In the university curriculum, undergraduates, graduate courses, doctorates, institutes, and NGOs in Western European countries do not use the term geopolitics as a topic of study. For the U.S., Russia, China, and the U.K., at some point in France and Scandinavian regions, geopolitics, and geostrategy are significant topics visible at the universities. In Western Europe (and I want to concentrate more on Germany, where I live and have studied in Augsburg near Munich) and Berlin, geopolitics as a faculty of study barely exists. Because of Germany’s history and the meaning of geopolitics to Germans, even today, it did not change so much. They still view geopolitics and geostrategy as something scary to learn about because it would mean they also need to go back to the time of a Nazi Germany and go deeper into geopolitics from this uncomfortable geopolitical perspective.
Maybe that is why the universities do not offer studies on that topic. What you can study is political science with international relations, meaning: polity (structures), politics (processes), and policy (contents). Regarding international relations, their studies concentrate more on bilateral relations like; Germany-France, Germany within the E.U., Germany-Russia, Germany-U.S. They also focus more on the similarities and differences in their governmental systems, different regimes, and economy, less on history, very little on geography and culture, and not at all on the whole com-plexity of the entire world.
However, some institutes and NGOs are going much further and trying to offer more opportunities for those interested in geopolitics. Those classes or studies are usually very expensive or available to selected groups like armed forces, diplomats, public service employees, etc. Hopefully, it will change soon; there is one new institute in Germany, in Kiel (Kiel Initiative in Geopolitics and Economics IfW Institut für Wirtschaft) that offers Advanced Studies Program (ASP) in International Economic Policy Research and Summer School (KISSEP). But still, this institute has the name of geopolitics but deals much more with the economy and not with a whole spectrum of geopolitics and its strategies. However, in the U.S., it looks different; they offer many classes, courses, summer schools, fellowships, and studies in that sector, such as Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), CATO Institute to America First Policy Institute (AFPI), Brookings Institute, Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), and more. We need more institutes on geopolitics and think tanks in Europe or to find a way to connect with those existing ones.
V.S.: Do you think that there is a need for a better visibility of this geographical science in research environments worldwide? Through what forms and means?
Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ: Yes, I see the need for more visibility of geographical science in research worldwide, especially in Germany, because it barely exists, as I mentioned before.
Through what forms? I think there must be a variety of offered programs. Professors and experts should establish new think tanks that are not connected with their national governments but are much more financially independent from them. Sponsors and memberships should fund those institutes and not governments that will regulate the research and analysis pressures. Those new institutes (think tanks) should avoid any involvement of national governments in their research, analysis, and interpretation of their findings. Only in that way can those NGOs prosper in a “healthy” way, delivering solid and not manipulated information to the public and the governments.
V.S.: Should geopoliticians and their theories be made more popular in the media and social media? What about in relations with partner structures in other countries?
Who do you work with to promote geopolitics?
Should an international organisation be set up to promote the interests of this science?
Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ: Yes. As I have said before, geopoliticians should become more present to the public and independent from governments in their research and analysis.
An international organization that is not promoting its interests but showing its findings, explaining, “teaching,” and offering in-person and online classes, fellowships, and studies is a fantastic opportunity to inform young people about what is happening worldwide. I work on a national / regional level, so implementing geopolitics is irre-levant (from the politicians’ perspective). At the federal level, let’s say in the German Bundestag; it would make more sense because they are much more focused on foreign affairs. I would recommend, for example, that institutes like this could be established near U.S. military bases because it would benefit both sides. Experts could have panels with generals from U.S. bases. They could easier conduct surveys and also gain more information and knowledge. In Stuttgart, Germany, where four U.S. bases are present, an institute should work closely, at least at Kelly and Patch Barracks, with EUCOM (European Comand) or AFRICOM (Africa Command).
V.S.: In the new global constructions, determined by geo-strategic actions, how do you perceive geopolitical pressures on your state?
How should state actors react to pressures from non-state actors? Is there collaboration between geopoliticians and business?
Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ: In general, non-state actors (NSAs) often play a significant role in foreign affairs. Non-state actors can be international trade associations (e.g., German Chamber of Commerce and Industry), non-governmental organizations (e.g., Agora Energy), corporations (e.g., Daimler), or even influential individuals (e.g., Oprah Winfrey). NSAs often want to seek an influence on the state’s policies and pressure them to change them. In my opinion, it is dangerous because, first, they gain more power, and act behind the scenes, can act manipulative and harm political decisions that should be made for citizens and not against them. For instance, AGORA wants to make money with solar and wind energy, producing electric cars, setting up wind turbines, etc.
Germany is still striving to be an economic leader in the international arena wanting to implement it into their policy. Doing so, Germany wanted to become an economic superpower, increasing sales, production, and exports and strengthening the German economy. Germans thought other countries would buy products “made in Germany” (that always had great value), and the perfect business could run. However, nowadays, the German government has forgotten its central role: to make life easier, better, and affordable for millions of its citizens. The result of this kind of influence I mentioned before has an opposite effect. Citizens are struggling financially because of the instability in the energy sector; the “New Green Deal,” so-called; “Clean Energy,” is expensive. Above all, only rich people can afford electric cars, and the middle class not anymore. Moreover, there will not be enough energy from renewable energy because it will never cover the whole country and its industrial and societal needs.
States should react strongly and not lean on those NGOs (lobbyists) who want to pressure them and get a financial benefit. Think tanks should concentrate on bringing knowledge and advising governments but not pressure them and implement their ideas only for their profit. Think tanks should also not be established through governments because they will never conduct research objectively and free from a specific ideology. Is there collaboration between politicians and businesses, for example, in the country where I live? Of course. For Germany, Russia was, in recent years, the very closest business partner; however, it was not being seen very positively in other European countries, especially in Poland.
V.S.: What are the geopolitical and geo-strategic challenges of impact and how are they reflected in the strategies promoted by your state?
Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ: I will concentrate on geopolitical pressures on Germany. Germany was unprepared for catastrophic events like pandemics, energy crises, and accelerated militarization. As a consequence of these events, like the energy crisis, Russia’s war on Ukraine changes German’s focus on geopolitics.
Now Germany has begun to perceive its role in the world differently than before. Why did it happen? Not long ago, billions of cubic meters of Russian gas went through the pipeline Nord Stream 1. These fossil fuels from Russia comprised a vast share of Germany’s energy consumption. Nowadays, Germany cut those sharing down almost to zero. “Cold, much colder,” such an effect of pursuing a policy dependent on Russia led Germany to severe problems and new considerations in geopolitics and geostra-tegies. The economic crisis associated with it is growing in this country daily. Germany seems to have miscalculated regarding energy security because long-term dependence on gas from Russia may lead to a complete collapse of the German economy in the following years. The governments in this country had a grand plan, from Chancellor Schröder, backed by Chancellor Merkel, to the current Chancellor Scholz. That plan was to construct the “controversial” Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which the Germans finalized. However, Russia’s attack on Ukraine and sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union (E.U.) thwarted the plans of several years of efforts by their governments and politicians who cared about cheap gas, guaranteeing energy security on the one hand and the other hand, parties enabling economic growth, which has been declining since the crisis related to pandemic.
It is essential to mention that the energy situation in Germany before the Russian invasion of Ukraine was very stable and promising. German companies invested EUR 7.4 billion in the construction of Nord Stream 2. On September 10, 2021, the structure was put into operation. Still, the joy of the German government, including NordStream AG, did not last long because immediately after the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24, the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 became a big question mark. It has imposed sanctions on Russia, which after great persuasion, among others, the United States, Baltic States as well as Poland, the German government was forced to take drastic measures to cut off from the Russian gas supplier. This situation has only deepened the German energy crisis. It has become clear that this country will no longer be able to count on cheap gas from Russia and is still facing a significant challenge.
I also should mention that the energy situation during the ongoing war in Ukraine has become dramatic. German companies that have invested considerable funds in the construction of Nord Stream 2 are waiting for compensation from the German government. One is the gas company (Wintershall Dea), which is still trying to regain its invested money. For example, BASF- a subsidiary company (Wintershall Dea), invested 730 million euros in Nord Stream 2 and is also waiting in line for compen-sation that should be obtained from the government of Germany, i.e., from taxpayers. It is also worth mentioning that the entire construction of Nord Stream cost the companies around EUR 7.4 billion 30 percent of all costs were covered by the companies’ funds, and the remaining 70 percent was in the form of loans. The German economy may not survive this winter. Will Germany be able to guarantee its citizens energy supplies?
From my point of view, geopolitical pressures on Germany began right after World War II. After the trauma of World War II, unleashed by Germans, German’s foreign affairs policy was based on the premise that war should never again originate from German soil. After WWII, Germany sought to regain former enemies’ trust and extended their hand to them, allowing them into the global fold. Lord Hastings Lionel Ismay (first Secretary General of NATO) famously said: “Keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” That better explains the current Germans’ position in international relations considering going back to militarization and their hesitation towards military support for Ukraine (at the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine). And because Germany is one of the significant economies in NATO countries, and because Germany could increase its spending for its defense and security and speed up this process; what they did not do, and that is why they got pressured by other NATO member states; especially from the Eastern Flank. The pressure would not be so visible if Russia’s aggression would not develop into a war against Ukraine. Until then, they probably would sit and wait, as it was when Russia attacked Georgia (2008) and annexed Crimea (2014). I am sure that if those events did not occur, Germany would not be pressured in that way and could have continued its agenda with Russia.
V.S.: What impact do geopolitical theories have on the decisions of your country’s leaders?
Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ: Geopolitical theories have an extreme impact on leaders’ decision-making processes in Germany. Those are visible right now in Berlin. After the NATO and European Union countries, including Germany, imposed sanctions on Russia due to the attack on the sovereign and independent Ukraine, Russia decided to “retaliate economically” against Germany. Russia is now “forcing” Germany to change its energy policy. Nord Stream 2 was supposed to be a safe gas supply chain between Russia and Germany, and it became unstable for its industries and citizens. Consequently, energy prices are skyrocketing, and there is still no deal for this upcoming winter.
The consequences of the energy crisis on the German economy will be felt in Germany and throughout the European Union.
The reason will be further explosions in energy prices, which the citizens of these countries will not be able to cover themselves with. High-energy prices also mean high production prices, and thus of all products. For example, the waiting time for a new car in Germany varies from 6 months to 1.5 years. Shelves in stores indicate a drastic price jump that the lowest and middle social classes cannot afford. We are already seeing a problem with gas supplies in Germany, even from Nord Stream 1 (Jamal), because he was banned in September, which turned out to be an even more severe blow to Germany. We can not forget that Germany’s current and future problems are also problems of the E.U. countries, which counted on the continuity of the flow of cheap gas, enabling them (including Italy, Hungary, and Austria) significant economic profits while reducing production costs. Producers of cars and their suppliers account for 37 percent of gas consumption in Germany; this is probably an insurmountable blow to the car industry. It is worth mentioning that the largest BMW car production plants in Munich, Audi in Ingolstadt, or V.W. in Hannover may come to a complete standstill. The following consequences of the energy crisis that will affect the German economy are the closure of nuclear power plants in Germany, which was caused by the actions of green parties demanding the so-called “Green Deal” and what is behind it; “Big Transformation.” An example of pressure on Germany took place in the 1970s when lobbyists began to influence governments in Berlin regarding the then-hidden Green Deal quietly.
Nowadays, the German government, already imbued with the ideology of the lobbyists, wants to implement the Green Deal themselves, and they want to reset in Germany, of course under the pressure of the old lobbyists. Green Party and the left-wing want carbon dioxide (Co2) reduction to zero by 2050 and achieve total climate neutrality. At the same time, the European Union has committed itself to reducing Co2 emissions by at least 55 percent compared to 1990 levels in just eight years (until 2030). December 12, 2015, at the United Nations (U.N.) Conference on Change Act, the Paris Climate Conference (COP21), the first ever legally binding document on climate change, was signed on climate issues while replacing the Kyoto Protocol signed in 1997. It was related to the postulates of green parties, ecological movements, and organizations of climate-saving NGOs that adhere strictly to the Paris Agreement Climate.
However, in a growing energy crisis, the German government was even reflecting on reopening the nuclear power plant for the next few years. It is also considering coping with pressure from other E.U. countries and members of NATO countries that continue to press for the supply of offensive weapons to Ukraine. Lack of energy resources of gas and oil, consequently high prices, low compared to other countries, and investments in their own defense and security policy will intensify the economic crisis of our western neighbor. Germany’s energy policy, which has been unsustainable for years, is based on its Russian language “guarantor” of energy security. It turned out to have disastrous consequences, which cannot be resolved from one day to the next. Therefore, it can be assumed that Germany will be in the coming years forced to pursue a “warmer” policy with other countries, e.g., with Qatar, the E.U., Norway, and the U.S., “cooler” with Russia, of course, under pressure from other countries, and “cold” politics energy and economic development in one’s own country will last for many more years. May she not freeze for good?
V.S.: Do you consider it appropriate to collaborate with the Romanian GeoPolitica Magazine on these approaches?
We would be honoured to publish your analyses in the magazine’s pages!
Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ: Of course, it is a great magazine that allows experts and passionate geopolitics and international affairs to present their analysis, which can be beneficial for young people, students interested in geopolitics and geostrategies, and those who want to do research in the future to find new inspirations for research articles, books, analysis, etc. Thank you, Dr. Simileanu, for this great opportunity.
V.S.: New technological changes have led to the emergence of new geopolitical theories such as GeoIntelligence: the geopolitics of information, which we promoted in Romania in 2014, Geopolitics of Artificial Intelligence: the fifth dimension of geopolitics (2019) and Exopolitics: the geopolitics of outer space as the sixth geopolitical dimension (2021), theories that have been presented in the pages of GeoPolitica Magazine.
How do you assess these theories?
In the environment of an academic in your country are there such concerns?
Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ: In Germany, not so much, because Germany is at the beginning of thinking broadly and geopolitically. After World War II, they concentrated on bilateral and multilateral business relationships with other countries. This way of thinking is dictated from my perspective much more by the fact that Germany is still a financially strong country; all nations around are good partners for doing business, those countries are spending more for their defense and security, they are members of NATO and the E.U.
Until now, Germany, I would say, “was sleeping,” considering geopolitics and geostrategies and the global understanding of different new challenges in the 21st century. Why? Maybe because it has become selfish and self-centered, although they do not show it on the diplomatic level. There are a lot of good, calming words and lots of empty promises, etc.
In the environment of an academic in Germany, there are more concerns. However, it is still not enough because, as I mentioned before in this interview, at the university level, there is less concentration on geopolitics and more on comparing two or three nations in their policy, polity, and politics.
V.S.: Please specify the impact of geopolitics on your state’s international relations, military strategy, economy, energy resources and security!
Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ: I was talking before about the different impacts of geo-politics on Germany, where I live, regarding international relations on military strategy, economy, energy resources, and security. Maybe I did not mention that all those topics became more visible not only for the German government that now struggles with the new era of global politics, but also for their citizens. During and shortly after covid19 time, prices increased because products like food and medicine were not fully available in Germany. Germany’s dependency on other countries like China or Russia caused many cuts in the supply chain. As a result, they consume less and try to save more food and money. That causes another problem: the economy is growing less and could also significantly impact Germany’s economy; who knows?
Another example of the current impact of geopolitics on Germany demonstrates the harms of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The war changed not only the perception of its military strategy by Germany but also its security and guarantee of its energy supplies. This “new situation” showed Germany needed to do more for its security, become independent from Russia and China, and take new actions.
Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ, MA is a Legislative Aide at City Council in Stuttgart, Germany as well as Legislative Aide, Researcher, Analyst, Advisor at the BW State House of Representatives.