Poland, one of the most loyal EU members, was just stabbed in the back by Brussels after the bloc initiated punitive Article 7 proceedings against it, proving that Warsaw’s unwavering loyalty to the West was worthless this entire time and thus giving Poles a reason to reconsider whether it’s time that they attempted to restore their long-lost Great Power status in Europe.
Many Poles were shocked to hear that Brussels had begun the process to sanction their country, despite knowing in the back of their minds all along that this was a very probable scenario. The EU had been warning Poland for months now that it wouldn’t tolerate the ruling Law & Justice party’s (PiS) judicial reforms, labelling them as “anti-democratic” in spite of the same envisioned changes already being in place in many Western European countries. All that PiS wants to do is make it so that judges are accountable to the people, not to one another, and break the backs of the communist-era clique that still controls the country’s courts. This is crucial in the modern context because PiS follows a EuroRealist ideology that aspires to improve Poland’s sovereign standing in the EU, a vision which is directly at odds with EU-hegemon Germany’s EuroLiberalism that instead wants all member states to be subservient to an unelected bureaucracy in Brussels.
EuroRealism vs. EuroLiberalism
The matter is an urgent one for Poland because PiS’ Civic Platform (PO) predecessors stacked the courts with their allies before leaving power after the ruling party won the first-ever post-communist electoral majority in the country’s history in 2015. PO’s former leader is the current President of the European Council Donald Tusk, and he and his organization are popularly regarded as Germany’s proxies in Poland. PiS, on the other hand, is allied with Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party, with which it shares a strident belief in the conservative ideology of EuroRealism. It had long been the case that EuroLiberalism was on the ascent in Europe ever since the end of the Cold War, but the 2008 global economic recession and the 2015 Migrant Crisis sparked a grassroots movement all across Central and Eastern Europe which has seen the rapid rise of EuroRealism.
Landlocked and tiny Hungary is structurally unable to affect any bloc-wide change in the EU, but its much larger Visegrad partner Poland is in a comparatively better position to do so, hence why Budapest passed the ideological baton to Warsaw in encouraging Poland to lead the “Three Seas Initiative” (“Intermarium”). Germany feels threatened by the Polish-Hungary Strategic Partnership and senses that the common people of Central and Eastern Europe under their sway are turning against Berlin, watching in horror as they reject the dangerous EuroLiberalism that threatens their national identities and instead embrace the EuroRealism that promises to protect them. The most powerful manifestation of this trend in practice is Poland and Hungary’s utter refusal to accept even a single forcibly relocated civilizationally dissimilar migrant into their countries, while their fellow Visegrad member of the Czech Republic has only admitted a dozen. As a result, all three countries are therefore being threatened with sanctions by Brussels on Berlin’s behalf.
It’s with this backdrop in mind that many people believe that Article 7 was initiated against Poland in order to punish it for being the most powerful and outspoken member of the “Three Seas Initiative” against the EU’s forced migrant relocation scheme, with Warsaw’s judicial reforms being used as a convenient excuse. The EU wants to make an example out of Poland after being utterly humiliated by its new Prime Minister Matesuz Morawiecki who pledged earlier this month to make Europe Christian again and mocked the bloc’s “values”. The ongoing Color Revolution unrest in the country hasn’t succeed in toppling the government after almost two years, and if anything, it’s been counterproductive because the authorities and their supporters exposed the connections that the PO-led movement has to Germany and George Soros and therefore strengthened their domestic support.
Poland Pushes Back
All that’s needed now for Poland to fully unleash its regional leadership potential is to reform the judiciary and preempt any “constitutional coup” from obstructing PiS’ plans to implement its historic electoral mandate, which is what President Andrzej Duda just did right after the EU’s Article 7 announcement. Proving that Poland won’t be intimidated, President Duda defiantly signed the most “controversial” pieces of legislation that he had previously been holding off on, thus putting the country on the path of ‘no return’. Warsaw formally has three months to respond to Brussels’ concerns about its ‘anti-democratic’ measures, but it’s highly unlikely that it will walk back its move. Therefore, the next step is for the EU to get 22 of its 28 members to issue an official ‘warning’ to Warsaw before trying to strip it of its voting privileges in the bloc. This unprecedented sanction can’t be implemented without a consensus, however, and Hungary has sworn to oppose it, even though this will predictably put Premier Orban in Germany’s Color Revolution crosshairs ahead of next year’s elections.
From Sociological Complexes To Geopolitical Contexts
Having explained the circumstances in which the EU’s first-ever use of Article 7 is occurring, it’s now time to describe the reaction that this unparalleled move has had in Poland. The country is chock-full of sociological complexes as a result of its history, with the most prominent being the instinctual eschewing of responsibility for all of its regrettable experiences throughout the centuries. One of the forms that this takes is the concept of “Russian Guilt”, whereby Poland’s eastern civilizational neighbor is always framed as an evil menace forever conspiring to undermine it, thus making it blameworthy for everything bad that’s ever happened to Poland and consequently subject to incessant guilt-tripping. The US skillfully manipulated this deeply held sentiment in Polish society in order to fast track the country’s incorporation into NATO for use as a springboard against Russia, which it all but admits in the Trump Administration’s National Security Strategy when the authors remark that Washington’s “European allies and partners increase [its] strategic reach and provide access to forward basing and overflight rights for global operations”.
As for the other manifestation of this sociological complex, almost all Poles have also made the concept of “Western Betrayal” an intrinsic part of their national identity, whereas the idea is that the Western Allies betrayed Poland by letting it fall to the Nazi onslaught in September 1939 despite promising to protect it in the event that Hitler attacked. Up until that moment, Poles had a naïvely trusting view of the West that was really nothing more than a radical ideological reaction to the equally extreme notion of “Russian Guilt”, but this ‘innocent’ idea was harshly shattered when the UK and France refused to help them and instead let the country languish under Nazi occupation for years. Hitler was thus allowed to quickly get to work in executing his “Final Solution”, eventually culling around a fifth of Poland’s prewar population and setting up the globally infamous death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Treblinka.
Although the Poles never forgot how much they suffered because of Western Betrayal, they soon found ways to ‘forgive’ or at the very least excuse their wartime allies because of the immediacy in which their country was forced to adhere to Soviet-imposed communism, thus rekindling the centuries-long concept of “Russian Guilt” and completely overriding whatever animosity most Poles felt towards the West. The Poles were therefore more than eager to shed Soviet rule and proudly become the first non-communist country in the Eastern Bloc following the 1989 Roundtable Talks and subsequent elections, which enabled the population to wholly embrace the West and begin the process of applying to its institutions. All throughout this time, however, the emotionally predisposed Poles by and large never conceived of either of their two complexes as being driven by geopolitics, instead preferring to perceive them through emotional lenses instead. Had they been more prudent, then they wouldn’t have been so heartbroken when the West betrayed them for a second time by sanctioning them.
The Real Western Betrayal
The complexes of “Russian Guilt” and “Western Betrayal” that pervade throughout all of Polish society are due to geopolitics, not any inherent hatred of Russians or Westerners towards Poles, which makes the second one less of a “betrayal” or more along the lines of Poland having been taken advantage of instead. That’s not to excuse what happened, but merely to explain it in its proper context, though the same can’t be said for what the EU just did to Poland. By sanctioning its largest, most loyal, and totally enthralled post-communist member, the West really did betray Poland this time. All Poles have been programmed to think that Russians are “bad” and their Western partners “good”, but that political preconception is now debunked because of Brussels’ utilization of Article 7. Even though some lingering suspicions may have remained towards the West ever since the “first” Western Betrayal, these were largely replaced with “Russian Guilt”, as was previously explained. The Poles might have “expected” something like this from Russia, but many never truly believed that their Western “friends”, of all people, would seriously consider sanctioning them.
Poland and its people did all that they could to ingratiate themselves with the West, demonstrating what could accurately be characterized as an intense inferiority complex that developed in reaction to the superiority one that they’ve traditionally felt towards Russians. They were the ultimate “fifth column” during the Cold War, playing a pivotal role in the dismantlement of communism, the Eastern Bloc, and in turn contributing to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in their own geopolitical way, but instead of being “rewarded” by the West, they’re now being sanctioned. Most Poles implicitly understand, whether they admit it or not, that their partnership with the US is mostly due to both countries’ shared anti-Russian foreign policies, and Poland’s patriot missile purchase is essentially a bribe to keep Washington on Warsaw’s side during its ‘war’ with Brussels. That being said, the overwhelming majority of Poles believed to some extent or another that their relationship with Western Europe was “more sincere”, though this illusion has now been totally dispelled among all but the most dogmatic Color Revolutionary EuroLiberals by the real Western Betrayal that just took place.
On The Path To Great Power Status
It’s not an understatement to say that Poles are a patriotic people, and their historical story has imbued them with the idea that their country is constantly being besieged from abroad. It’s this mentality that explains why the population overwhelming supports PiS rejecting Brussels’ scheme to forcibly relocate civilizationally dissimilar migrants to their homeland, and while the judicial reforms are much more polarizing, the fact that they’ve led to a direct and condescending attack against Poland’s sovereignty has raised the prospect that the majority-“moderate” members of the country’s opposition will break ranks with the Color Revolutionary movement in order to defend their country from this unequivocal asymmetrical offensive against it. It’s one thing for a person to have been misled into thinking that they’re partaking in the “Solidarity of their times” and “following in their parents’ footsteps”, and another to continue participating in an externally directed movement that’s acting as the fifth column for overthrowing their government on behalf of Germany after Brussels issued its clear declaration of Hybrid War against Poland.
It doesn’t matter if they hate PiS and what it represents or not –when the nation is under attack, Poles have traditionally come together to defend it, and in the instances when they let foreign-manipulated domestic divisions prevent that, they ended up losing their independence. While it should be taken for granted that a fair share of Poles (and especially the youth) might have been brainwashed by the EuroLiberal ideology over the past quarter of a century, the country’s distinct civilizational characteristics of traditionalism, conservatism, and especially patriotism are still widely present in society, meaning that most Poles will probably stand together with their compatriots in protesting against the external enemy of the EU. This doesn’t mean that Poles are “anti-Western”, but just that they are against the Soviet-like totalitarianism that the EU has come to embody. Instead of leaving the EU and Western institutions, they want to reform them through the “Three Seas Initiative” into becoming more respectful of national sovereignty and the other values that the Poles had initially been duped into thinking that they represented.
Poland’s long-awaited historical moment has finally arrived, and the country is beginning the lengthy campaign to restore its Great Power status in Europe by first becoming the continent’s ideological beacon. Warsaw is exercising principled leadership in the Central and Eastern European space by bravely resisting Berlin and Brussels’ bullying, and the latest – and this time, indisputably real – Western Betrayal was the red line that needed to be crossed in order to harness society’s support for taking this fateful step. An agitated minority in the country is hell-bent on misleading others and using this event as a tripwire for exacerbating their domestic destabilization operations, and Poland still has yet to free itself and the region from the economic chains of tutelage that tie them to Germany. No one should therefore expect that what Poland is trying to do will be easy or that it will yield immediate results, but the fact of the matter that should be focused on by all is that Warsaw has crossed the Rubicon in its relations with Brussels, and that nothing will ever be the same between them again.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.