True, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki /ma-TEH-oosh maw-rahv-YETS-kee/ has studied history, but he is sort of oblivious to history’s lessons.
Well, he and the whole Polish establishment (of which some others have also studied history!) are, first, very much belligerent in their relations with Russia, and, second, they have put unlimited trust in the protective powers of the United States, NATO and the European Union. That is to say: Poland is flexing its muscles as if nothing bad whatsoever might happen to her. This is very strange both from the common sense point of view and – as mentioned above – from the lessons that history should have taught Poles (and apparently it hasn’t).
Consider the last one hundred years. Subsequent to World War One, central Europe saw the emergence of a number of more or less national states that sprung up on the ruins of the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy, on the debris of the Russian Empire and slightly at the expense of the defeated German Empire. Central Europe was thus carved up between Poland, Czechoslovakia, (territorially reduced) Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia. There also emerged the three Baltic states: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The existence and independence of all those new political entities located roughly in between Germany and Soviet Russia was guaranteed by the Treaty of Versailles and the accompanying treaties, by the League of Nations and a couple of international agreements, especially between France and Czechoslovakia or France and Britain on the one side, and Poland on the other. (As an aside: the interbellum in Europe was full of treaties, pacts and alliances, all guaranteeing the signatories territorial integrity and political sovereignty.) How effective were these guarantees?
In 1938 Czechoslovakia was dismembered by the consent of the then European superpowers (the Sudetenland was annexed by Germany, Slovakia was torn away) and in 1939 the rump state of Czechia was incorporated into Germany; in 1939 Poland was attacked and devoured by Germany and the Soviet Union, despite the guarantees from Paris and London, which pledged solemnly to defend it. Before the war erupted, the Polish authorities would have posters placed in cities and towns that showed the might of Poland’s allies: both France and Great Britain were depicted against the background of the whole globe with all their colonial and dependent territories in Africa and Asia and America. The pictorial message left no doubt: not only the United Kingdom and France, but also almost all of Africa and almost all of southern Asia along with Australia, New Zealand and Canada that were formally parts of the British Empire presented an overwhelming power as compared to the speck of land occupied by Germany. In a word: a tiger and a mouse.
Soon it transpired that there was no force strong enough to stop the German steamroller, with France – a World War One victor from twenty years earlier – being crushed by the Teutons within the length of time comparable to that taken by Germany to conquer Poland. Did that teach the Polish elites a lesson? Not in any way!
During the Second World War the Polish government in exile operated first in France and then in the United Kingdom, again cherishing hopes that with the aid of the superpowers – this time Great Britain soon to be joined by the United States – Poland would regain its prewar territory and preserve its political system despite the advance of Soviet armies! Polish soldiers were sent to fight in Norway, in the skies over England, in North Africa, in Italy (Monte Casino), in France and the Netherlands. A large number of the Polish soldiers hailed from the eastern territories of prewar Poland that would soon be annexed to the Soviet Union, leaving them no place to return to. One might understand that common soldiers could not figure out how world politics operated, but how about higher officers, generals, the members of the government? Did they really believe that Great Britain and the United States were so powerful that Joseph Stalin, the Soviet Union’s leader, would tuck his tail between his legs and withdraw his troops from prewar Poland, leaving its territory to the Polish government in exile? Did they really believe that the United Kingdom and the United States would declare war on Soviet Russia in case Joseph Stalin refused to comply with their demands regarding Poland? If they did, then they were not quite in their right senses. If they did not, then why did they enter into all those alliances? Why did they sacrifice the blood of Polish soldiers, why did they demand that the Polish soldiers be killed, injured, maimed somewhere in Africa or the Netherlands? If those soldiers could not go back to their homeland, and many did not, why fight and die in the first place? In the name of what?
Today’s Polish elites resemble their prewar predecessors. They face a formidable neighbour – this time Russia rather than Germany – and they recklessly provoke him, they recklessly poke the bear in his backyard. Why? Because they feel safe because, first, Poland is allied with the United States, second, Poland is a member of NATO, and third, Poland is a member of the European Union. Today’s Polish elites might as well have posters placed in towns and cities – resembling those from prewar Poland – showing the powerfulness of the Western world. People in their vast majority would fall for the trick, just as they believe in all the talk about the righteousness of our side and the wickedness of the Russians.
The question arises: why are the Polish elites operating the way they are? Do they not know recent history? Most of them certainly do not, but some of them – as mentioned in the opening of this text – have studied it, so it would be impolite to suggest that they don’t. If they are aware of the past, then why are they taking the risk of having Poland overrun by the formidable neighbour? Why do they believe that the collective West will (ER: or even can) stand up for Poland when push comes to shove? Even those who do not know history (the majority of the ruling class) can still hark back to events within their living memory: the withdrawal of Americans from Afghanistan, the incapacity of Americans to effectively oppose Russians in Syria and MOST IMPORTANTLY the current, unfolding fate of Ukraine! For years Kiev has been offered guarantees of support, security, aid – you name it – and look what has happened to the country!
Ukraine’s 1991 population of 50 million has dwindled to at least 25 million, its economy is in tatters, its population keeps living in duress caused by the hostilities, and the country has lost huge chunks of territory. If the missiles with depleted uranium are eventually applied there, Ukraine will have had vast swaths of territory contaminated by radiation. Can’t the authorities in Warsaw – and in Prague, Bratislava, Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn – see this destruction, this annihilation, this obliteration that are visited upon Ukraine DESPITE the West’s help? Do they really think that Ukraine will win this war? Do they really think Americans or the French or the British will send their soldiers to stand up for Ukraine or Estonia, or Latvia, or Lithuania, or Poland if the formidable enemy advances West? Are they not aware of the fact that Americans only get militarily involved when they oppose a very weak and politically isolated enemy – Iraq, Yugoslavia – when victory is served them on a silver platter?
Why do they pursue a policy of confrontation with the formidable neighbour? Do they not care what will happen as a result? Is it so hard to imagine the outcome of a possible confrontation? Perhaps they already have their families far away in a western country and so they don’t care…?
It is not the first time that the Polish elites act as though they were in the pay of Poland’s enemies, i.e. as though they were acting to the detriment of their own nation. The same goes for Ukrainian elites and the elites of the Baltic States (all these elites without an exception tormented by a deep-seated inferiority complex towards the West and everything western to the effect that they are willing to forfeit the interests of their nations for… a stay in Paris or a trip to Venice or a Western grant or award). They can easily visualize the fate of their countries if Russia invades: they will be provided with weapons by the West while Russia will suffer a hundredth wave of sanctions and they will have their countries turned into a battleground. If the elites have no power of imagination, then let them look at Ukraine, for goodness’ sake!
What has Ukraine gained from relying heavily on the West? Was it all worth the price that the country and the nation is paying now? Could Ukrainian elites really not foresee what had been looming large at least since 2014? How irresponsible must one be to act like that? To think of it: they all – in Poland, Ukraine, the European Union, and the United States – shoot their mouths off about how they want to make the world a better place to live, a place where each individual can develop his potential to the full. What world have they created for the tens of millions of Ukrainians? They should all – the managers of the United States and the European Union – have a very troubled conscience, i.e. if they had a conscience in the first place. Chances are they have none, for if they had, they would long have worn sackcloth and sprinkled ashes over their heads.
As it is, they rescue INDIVIDUAL Afghans or Somalis and do not give two hoots about the lives of MILLIONS of Ukrainians which they have purposefully ruined only to spite their nemesis: Putin’s Russia.
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