The third summit of the Three Seas Initiative will take place in Bucharest next week, and although this regional framework is still in its fledgling stages, the geopolitical ambition behind the Warsaw-led structure makes one wonder whether Poland’s moment has finally arrived. The Central European country has been pining for generations to restore its lost leadership in the region following the partitions of the late-18th century that conclusively ended its one-time hegemonic role there, and its last attempt at restoring its lost glory occurred during the interwar period under Marshal Pilsudski’s rule but never yielded any tangible results.
During that time, the Second Polish Republic tried to advance the so-called “Intermarium”, which was its plan to create a Polish-led integrational platform among the several countries located between Germany and the USSR that it envisioned eventually becoming strong enough to deter both of them and turn into a powerful pole of influence in its own right. It ultimately floundered for many reasons, but the Three Seas Initiative that Poland launched together with Croatia in 2016 is thought by some to be its resurrected 21st —century manifestation because it includes many of the same countries in this space and tacitly seems to have the same geopolitical goal.
Most of the world never heard of the Three Seas Initiative until Trump paid a visit to its second summit in Warsaw in summer 2017 as the first stop on his maiden tour of Europe, during which time he lavishly praised the framework and vowed that America would help it “strengthen energy security”, which signaled that the US sees the emerging bloc as a politicized front for countering Russian interests in the region. It’s not just Russia, though, but also Germany that the Three Seas might be trying to thwart too, and possibly with Trump’s support as well.
Many of the countries within this region recently voted for EuroRealist governments that are loudly advocating for national sovereignty and traditional values, both of which challenge the EuroLiberal model that Berlin has been trying to force upon the rest of the EU. Nevertheless, a sense of perspective is needed because the Three Seas is still in its infancy, though with heavy American energy, political, and even military support behind it, this emerging bloc might indeed serve as the vehicle for Poland to eventually regain its Great Power status so long as it can successfully strike a balance between all competing forces.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Adriel Kasonta, foreign affairs analyst based in London and Adrian Lonescu, romanian political commentator.
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