Polish and Australian think-tanks on Eastern policy

Relations between the West and Russia and the impact the Ukraine crisis is having on the geopolitical situation in the Asia-Pacific region have been the main topics of a video conference which brought together representatives of Polish and Australian think-tanks.
On the Polish side, the debate was attended by experts of the Centre for Eastern Studies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whilst Australia was represented by analysts of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Office of National Assessments, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the Australian Institute of International Affairs and the Australian National University Centre for European Studies. Organized by the Polish Embassy in Canberra, the video conference was a good opportunity to assess the international aftermath of the crisis in Ukraine.

 Speaking of the impact the Ukraine crisis is having on the policies of major powers in the Asia-Pacific region, Kyle Wilson of the Centre for European Policy Studies emphasized that the Australian example showed that regional security could become very important for countries that were geographically distant from the epicentre of the crisis. “The shooting down of the Malaysian flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, which killed 38 Australian citizens, has changed overnight the way the conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s aggression are viewed by Australians, which has in turn strongly influenced the policy of Tony Abbott’s government,” he noted.

According to the deputy director of the Centre for Eastern Studies, Adam Eberhardt, one of the key factors contributing to the destabilisation of and Russia’s intervention in eastern Ukraine was the fact that for many years the majority of Western countries had been accepting President Putin’s assertive policy.

Polish Ambassador Paweł Milewski, the discussion’s moderator, pointed out that  Poland and Australia share a similar outlook on threats to international security and order. He also stressed that Australia, which is one of NATO’s closest partners and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, makes an important contribution to and is involved in strengthening the existing international order.

Cyclic discussions at the expert level are a good complement to Polish-Australian relations and political consultations, which have become much more frequent over the past dozen or so months. This year’s visits by Australia’s top diplomat Julie Bishop to Poland, and Poland’s Senate Marshal Bogdan Borusewicz to Australia are testament to the new momentum in Polish-Australian relations.

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