Yet, is the German public aware of NATO’s crucial role for their country’s security? In the 2019 survey of The Berlin Pulse, most Germans preferred a nuclear umbrella provided by the French or the British rather than US nuclear protection. However, despite this skeptical stance towards the US, most Germans still have a favorable view of NATO – which is a positive sign for the future.
Poland - Sławomir Dębski, Director, Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM)
For several months, President Emmanuel Macron has been proposing a debate in Europe on how to achieve greater security independence on the continent. In this context, attention should be paid to some important issues affecting the attitude of Central European countries, including Poland, towards the French President's proposals.
Historically, Pax Americana has shaped the conditions for Central Europe’s optimal development. The US played a key role in extending the semantic meaning of the term "Central Europe", first by participating in Germany’s unification, and then by committing to the enlargement of the "whole and free Europe" towards the East in order to guarantee the well-being and security of the nations of Central Europe freed from Soviet domination. Today, Germany is part of Central Europe, which is why both its national security and its economic development are now determined by the specificity of this region; to the extent that the security and stability of countries located between Baltic, Black and Adriatic seas (members of the so called Three Seas Initiative) is today at least as important for Berlin as cooperation with France - and perhaps even more so. Therefore, no vision of a two-speed Europe, tearing Germany away from Central Europe and threatening the security of the region, would be appealing to the Germans.
Currently, the security of Central Europe, and de facto all of Europe, is significantly affected by Russia's use of force or the threat of using it - which has become a tool of its foreign policy. Thus, every vision dealing with the future of European security must tackle the question of guaranteeing stability and security in Central Europe. For now, only NATO, the institutional manifestation of the free world, can provide such a credible guarantee. We cannot ignore the fact that the American military presence on NATO's Eastern flank is part of their nuclear deterrence policy. Can Europe autonomously replace the US in this function? Perhaps, but it will take time. Meanwhile, Russia is conducting hostile policy towards the free world as we speak.