Poland Suddenly Realized That It Can’t Indefinitely Fund Ukraine & Its Refugees
The irony is that while Poland sought to colonize Ukraine, it was Poland itself that was just further colonized by the EU.
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The nostalgic, neo-imperial rush of reconstituting the long-lost Commonwealth through Poland’s recent merger with Ukraine into a de facto confederation proved to be short-lived after Warsaw suddenly realized that it can’t indefinitely fund Kiev and its refugees.
Everything seemed picture-perfect at first after President Duda and his Ukrainian counterpart Zelensky lavished praise on one another’s countries in late May while speaking before the Rada. They wistfully spoke about returning to the halcyon days when there were no borders between them and pledged to create a customs union to that end, among other comprehensive connectivity initiatives. This de facto confederation sounded good on paper but Poland quickly realized that its budget simply can’t afford this ambitious geopolitical project.
The first signs of trouble came just a few days later after Prime Minister Morawiecki demanded that nearby Norway immediately give all of the extra profit it’s made from energy sales thus far this year to Warsaw and Kiev. Oslo, of course refused, which was then followed by Poland complaining that Germany didn’t replace the 200 older tanks that Warsaw gave to Kiev with newer ones like it claimed its neighbor had promised. Berlin denied that any such deal was ever clinched, which ultimately left Poland in the doldrums after it finally dawned on its decision makers that they just got played by Germany into transferring half of their country’s tanks to that former Soviet Republic in exchange for literally nothing at all.
Upon panicking, Poland then demanded that the UN’s headquarters for Ukrainian reconstruction be based in its country instead of the one that the international community will purportedly try to rebuild, most likely through the scheme that Zelensky shared during the World Economic Summit in Davos whereby his partners can literally take control over “a particular region of Ukraine, city, community or industry.” Warsaw obviously wants to get the lion’s share of this or at the very least skimp some of the funds off the top for supposedly facilitating this process, which can in turn help it make up for the untold billions of dollars that it’s already spent on Ukraine, ergo why it wants to host that headquarters.
That demand, like practically everything else that Poland has asked for thus far, such as Duda’s earlier idea during his last visit to Kiev that the US-led West reinvest Russia’s stolen foreign assets into rebuilding Ukraine (which would serve to subsidize Poland’s de facto confederation with it), wasn’t enthusiastically embraced by its allies like Warsaw expected. It might still come to pass, even if only in part, but Poland now knows that it can’t continue indefinitely funding its geopolitical project with Ukraine to the same extent as it had expected. That’s why it’s suddenly slashing its generous aid to Ukrainian refugees, cutting off free fuel deliveries, and positioning itself as Kiev’s “economic hub”.
The ruling “Law & Justice” (PiS per its Polish abbreviation) party’s Ukrainization of Polish society was intended to weaponize these “new arrivals” as “agents of influence” in the other half of the de facto reconstituted Commonwealth. They expected this to be financed by Brussels via its promised refugee aid tranche of around €150 million, which hadn’t yet been disbursed as of last weekend. In any case, Poland is demanding billions more in aid, after which Politico reported in their latest article about the surging costs of that country’s refugee program that “Brussels also said Poland could tap €1.2 billion in unused funds from REACT EU…to support Ukrainian refugees.”
The EU also approved approximately €35 billion in grants and loans to Poland as part of a COVID recovery program yet is withholding this assistance until it complies with Brussels’ demands to reform its judiciary. In other words, Poland was played by everyone– especially Germany – into taking on the bloc’s leading role in comprehensively supporting Kiev and its millions of refugees, only to be left in the lurch without any substantial assistance until it unilaterally concedes on a significant issue of national interest connected to its strategic autonomy. The irony is that while Poland sought to colonize Ukraine, it was Poland itself that was just further colonized by the EU.
The lesson to be learned is that some countries’ leaderships can be easily manipulated by appealing to their imperial nostalgia, just like PiS was by its so-called “allies”. By pushing them to take the lead in “temporarily” shouldering the costs of what’s portrayed as a “multilateral effort”, external forces can get them to go so far that they can’t reverse their policies without incurring some serious cost to themselves, even if only reputational or connected to electoral politics. The manipulated leadership is therefore pressured to stay the course no matter what with the expectation that “just a little bit more” is all that’s needed to finally unlock the promised funds that might never come.
In an ideal world, everything would have gone according to PiS’ plan. The US-led West would have given Warsaw its billions of dollars’ worth of seized Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine in accordance with its desires. Norway would have been guilted to chip in, and Germany would have also already replenished the whopping one-half of Poland’s tank arsenal that PiS dispatched to Ukraine, while the UN would have unreservedly established its Ukrainian reconstruction headquarters in Warsaw. Brussels, meanwhile, wouldn’t have attached any political strings to its promised refugee aid to Poland. None of that has yet to happen, though, and instead, Poland is now forced to slash funding to Kiev and its refugees.
The Neo-Commonwealth project therefore isn’t off to a good start, having already been hated by genuine Polish conservative-nationalists from the get-go and now even possibly triggering the wrath of those liberal-globalists in society, who demand that everyone chip in to continue funding Kiev and its refugees to the same extent as before. Poland simply can’t afford that though. which is why it’s had to walk back its initially ambitious plans, though only after having already committed to merging with Ukraine into a de facto confederation, a game-changing development that it’s already too invested in to reverse.
All the while, the West is laughing at the “village idiot” that it easily got to do its bidding.
This article was originally published on OneWorld.
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