Poland Elections – Political Analysis – an exclusive interview with max Kolonko on Poland, Russia, Germany, European Union and politics
By Max Kolonko | May 8, 2015
A convoy of American troops has just passed through Poland. A demonstration of force and a message for Putin not to feel too self confident. In your opinion should Poland count on US more than Europe for its security?
When someone threatens to burn down your house will you go ask for help a neighbor, who in the past, rammed down your fence with a tank or will you send an SOS across the river where a neighbor has a canon and everyone shits his pants which way it will fire? United States is the largest military power on Earth. Relying on help from Europe means relying on help from Germany and we don’t have good historical memories related to that. Moreover Germany has lands in Poland which it can consider its own just as Poland has its own in Western Ukraine and Russia in Crimea or Eastern Ukraine. Wroclaw (Breslau) used to be sixth largest city of II Reich just as Lvov was the third largest city of II Polish Republic. Why are we to trust Germans strategically and not draw scenarios in which a crisis in EU throws German nationalists into power and they start to organize plebiscites in Silesia (Slask) just like Putin did for Ukrainians in Crimea?
You don’t see the difference between the present Germany of Angela Merkel and Putin’s Russia?
German nationalism doesn’t differ much from Russian nationalism or Polish or Jewish. Netanyahu proposed a bill which on MaxTV I have called Isreal for Jews which eliminates a number of minority rights from the text of future constitution. In Europe it is the nationalism which sends people to voting booths. In EU parliamentary elections they received 30% of seats, They won in France and UK – the largest countries of the continent. In Germany NPD had exit polls on the threshold for first the time in history.
NPD is in the parialemnt of Meckelburg-Vorpommers land . and yes- the do demand return of Poland;s western lands. Mother of Chancellor Merkel hails from Gdansk – once a German city. I haven’t been there long but viewrs of MaxTV write me that Swinoujscie is today just lika any other German town. Wroclaw (Breslau) to this day has an olmpic stadim once called Goering Stadioium where – as I recall from my childhood- a speedway legend with a strangely to me then sounding name Henryk Glucklich raced for a title with Ivan Mauger. This collective memory is in us, Poles and Germans as well . That is why I say that Lwow used to be Poland’s just as Germans say Breslau or Stettin are German’s. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem that it is Putin who has to remind Polish politicians and journalists that Lwow used to be part of Poland.
Are you saying that Poland should take advantage of the turmoil in Ukraine and demand the return of Lwow?
Easy now , cause you will slap me with the title of this interview – Max Kolonko demands revision of borders.
It is you who in The Huffington Post article wrote that Europe’s border aren’t cast in stone.
Half a year before the annexation of Crimea I have also said on MaxTV’s Revision of Yalta about a concept of a “nation which comes back to its roots”. I argued that nations – and states with that – have a natural tendency to weigh in naturally towards it history and that the model is based on 4 elements: the presence of an ethnic minority, political climate, social unrest and economic incentive.
|NATION COMING BACK TO ITS ROOTS MODEL|
|1- ethnic minority|
|2- political climate|
|3- social unrest|
|4 – economic incentive|
Germany has its own minorities in Poland. Poland has its own ethnic minorities in Eastern Ukraine. Russia in the Western Ukraine. Kiev – as Putin reminded long before the invasion – is Russia’s holy city where the heart of Russia beats as it is the cradle of Russia’s Christianity. An Ukrainian newspaper write about me after that program as of a “journalist who cut out a portion of Ukraine for himself.” Half a year later Crimeas was gone. It is only then when the media Putin annexed Crimea based on the model of the nation which comes home to its roots. Only then the media began drawing maps where Russia reaches the Atlantic. In politics a tremendous role plays timing . It is not about reaching out to grab Lwow. It is about a possibility of grabbing Lvow and the willingness from Lvov to be grabbed.
So with a proper timing Germany can demand the return of Breslau from Poland? Shouldn’t Poles be the last ones to demand revision of borders?
Who says about demands? It’s the communists who set up catapulting- words for Poles. When one starts talking about Lvov in the context of historic continuity of Poland – is tstigmatized as a craze who “demands revision of borders”. This is how the communist government used to catapult those unfitted into oblivion. The communists adopted Poles to the comforts of a poor life in the prison of the iron curtain . This is how homo sovieticus was born about whom I write in my book. A type of a humble politically correct Pole whose security of communal apartment and a tiny Fiat is defended by MAD doctrine. Today the communism is gone but the old thinking remained. A Pole doesn’t “demand” revision of borders but cannot live in an illusion of the conviction that one who trims your lawn today won’t put a bullet in your head rape your wife and take over your house tomorrow. In our lifetime we’ve seen the collapse of the Soviet Union, collapse of Yugoslavia, birth on new states, the unification of Germany, rebirth of Caliphate. The geometry of Poland’s eastern border resembles some American states cause it was drawn by Stalin’s hand and désintéressement of the allies. Lands were divided but people lived on those lands. Poles form Vilno and Lvow automatically became ethnic minority.W ith Potsdam agreements Poland’s western border did the same with Germans from Stettin or Breslau. Repatriations changed numbers but not historical memory of nations. Poland’s borders are – in my opinion- the most confict-proned borders of contemporary Europe. Germany recognized them as late as in 1991. Conviction that these borders will last forever is an intellectual folly and and an inheritance of the communism. In Germany you need only an economic crash for the nationalists to take over power just like the crisis of the great depression of the 30s allowed Hitler’s national socialists to gain power in Nazi Germany,- and demanded the return of western lands of Poland – which is what many in Germany does already.
But Chancellor Merkel doesn’t assemble German troops at the Polish border like Putin does at the border with Ukraine. Should we be afraid of German nationalism more than Russian nationalism?
Paraphrasing Roosevelt’s words – the “only thing the Polish nation should fear is… fear itself.” We shouldn’t be afraid of nationalism. We don’t have to be afraid of dictators . We don’t have to be afraid of Putin. Hitler was a nationalist. Lincoln – a separatist. Washington was a dictator. Kolonko is also a nationalist in the sense that just as the nationalists I believe in the Polish nation – its strength and power. There ‘s nothing wrong with that. A bad connotation was given to the word by history and liberal media. Nationalism can be a constructive force just as a is dictator like Putin cherished by Russians but who was also Washington – the first American president – who took over the power, reconciled divided states, straightened up the economic and political system and gave up the power to the people – the Congress.
So Putin the dictator is better than some western style democracies?
For Russia – yes. Poland thouh should have a positive dictator American style rather than a democracy modeled on Germany. Democratic systems in politics can be unmaneuverable. In Polish parliamentary democracy it’s like some mass seppuku. After all it was democracies which dismantled Poland in history whereas dictators put the split nation together. A Pole knows what is a strong and just ruling hand. A Pole can submit to such power as he trusts it historically.
Question is – does the nation want that?
Why no one asks the nation about it? Poland should have a different political system – presidential not parliamentary . The system of democratic parliamentary democracy in Poland is a foreign idea imported by Gdansk liberals of Donald Tusk who – when they began their reign in the beginning of the 90s – set up the political system of the III Republic on a European model as everything they had in their heads was – neither left no right but straight ot Europe. It was a huge mistake for which Polish nation pays to this day with emigration, growing social discontent, fights in the parliament, nepotism everywhere, crooked business deals squabbles in opinionated news programs and finally – a miserable life of a 3rd category European. Why no one asks the nation what it wants? Whether politicians of a parliamentary democracy and proliferation of political parties which names and programs the electorate can’t tell? A democracy of elections in which votes are thrown down the basements like garbage? Or presidential democracy in which the responsibility for the lives of the people – the nation entrusts a statesman who answers before the nation God and history?
Do you see such person among current candidates for the president of Poland?
I wouldn’t like to comment on chances of the presidential candidates just before the elections. Let the nation answer the question itself.
Summing up – democracy bad – alliance with Germany bad, surely EU bad – But shouldn’t Poland have any allies in Europe beside the US?
European Union IS bad but that’s a different issue. Europe considers us a partner only when it has a political interest. When it ends, the paper alliance ends too. And Poles are left isolated and kicked in the butt from all sides. Out history is such that you want to cry when you read it. But Poles can’t draw a simple conclusion from all this – that only strong economically Poland is a partner for true alliances.
The only time in history when the US fought in the name of article V it was after 911 attacks – not on German, nor Poland but on the US. America will never fight Russia over steps of Podolia or palm trees in Crimea. On the other hand entire Europe is full of graves of various nations and Europe’s history is a history of local conflicts. America doesn’t have such problems. America regards geopolitics of Europe like you regard a dress in a store you don’t really care about. I mean you only care enough as long as it can be useful to you. America doesn’t think about Poland and the world emotionally but pragmatically. Pragmatism in politics is a very interesting factor but it has one fault – its predictable , one can this way more or less foretell direction of such politics and use the pragmatism for its own purpose.
The Russian Gambit. A marked opening of Poland on Russia. A new president invites Putin to Warsaw. A week later he pushes several divisions to the Polish – Ukrainian border – in order to protect Polish minorities in Lwow– and you will see what happens. Obama will make the call the next day. We propose the implementation of American nukes on the territory of Poland as we fear Russia, but at the same time we build a nuclear reactor for energetic purposes with Russia’s help. Poland begins economic cooperation with Russia’s Eurasia Union whose member is Poland’s neighbor Bielorus. Poland is a go-between between both unions- European and Eurasian. Poland opens on Asia being in the center of Europe and we profit from both unions from both sides. 170 mln consumers in the East and a brisge to Asia’s 500 million consumers in the West. Poland does what France and Germany can’t cause of geopolitics. We now have a protective American umbrella but we do business with Asia. We use Ukraine for political purposes threatening with political goals and with a possibility of annexation of Lvov we keep German nationalism at bay. Against EU carbon directives we bet on Polish coal and pack it into containers in Polish shipyards as Poland has access to the sea. Poles are a nation of entrepreneurs – small business blossom – first billionaires are born. Poland is independent economically within a decade. Poles pay up their credit card debts in Swiss Francs, PLN or Vanuatu currency, travel across Europe without food in the trunk and scout properties in Florida as they like to see the ocean from the window. We invite Germany’s Chancellor to yearly yodeling contest in Bydgoszcz. Write Xmas cards to Obama Yes we can – Happy Kwanzaa . This a propos president Komorowski who was snubbed at the White House when he asked about wisa waver program and the US president thanked him for a nice Xmas gift. But to do so Poland needs to have a dictator in the presidential palace and not a muppet for handing out orders of merits.
An attractive vision but based on false premises. First – Poland can send in at the most several battalions only as 80% of our 100 thousand soldiers strong army – are bureaucrats. Second. Polish minority in Ukraine supports Maidan revolution and is anti-Russian so there wouldn’t be much of a pretext…
I agree but only with that about the Polish Army. According to EDA (European Defense Agency) Poland has only 5 000 troops capable of conducting sustained military operations. This can and should be changed. Paper soldiers is a bad syndrome not only of Poland but of the entire contemporary Europe. EU spends half of its military budget on non military personnel and has twice as many bureaucrats than UK troops. In my opinion, if you add non governmental agencies, Europe has twice as large an army of people with a paper in the hand than soldiers with a firearm on the shoulders. Ukraine claims 250 000 troops on paper but – as Poroshenko has just admitted – a third ran as soon as Russians fired a shot. Fired a cannon.a salavo. Russia on the other hand reformed their military. They came to Crimea armed like US special forces – even our experts couldn’t believe their eyes. Russia is the second arm exporter behind the US and has the largest conventional bomb – three times as large as America’s Daisy Cutter. Russian soldiers drinking on the job you can see only in old Hollywood movies. It’s a good soldier and I’d be afraid of them – but they won’t come to Poland cause Putin is not crazy. Putin in my opinion is one of the greatest contemporary politicians and I say that as a political science major. Ukrainian gambit surprised Obama’s America completely. Is Polish minority in Ukraine anti Russian? We don’t’ really know what’s the minority like how large it is and what it really feels as we don’t ‘take care of it properly. The government cares more about our Ukrainian brothers whose grandfathers murdered our grandfathers . Tusk wanted us to light up a candle for them. Now he sits in Brussels with a job paying $500 000 a year. Sikorski who negotiated Kiev agreements operates a microphone in the parliament and it is Germany France and Russia which decides about Ukraine and Poles living in Lvov.
…thirdly – after bad memories with the missile shield I can’t see how Putin can agree on American nukes in Poland. Fourthly – today there isn’t a single reason to trust Putin in anything especially in keeping agreements . I can go on and on…
Of course that Putin won’t agree on American nukes in Poland – but there is a way that he could live with it . I won’t tell you how – since political advising cost money and I’m not gonna promote it here. I think that the first objection to the concept of nukes in Poland will come not from Putin but from Chancellor Merkel . On the other hand the term “trust” in politics doesn’t exists. I can respect Putin but it doesn’t mean I would lend him a dollar for half an hour. So I say it this way – the architecture of security in Euope since the cold war has changed. It’s the cold war which set both American military bases in allies German sector and 20 American nukes in Buchel or 350 American nuclear bombs in Europe. Poland is now the central flank of NATO in the East. In the new geopolitical conditions it is only natural to move this cold war architecture farther east. Especially since Germany doesn’t want American nukes – but Pentagon generals – do.
But we know what Putin wants – not business with Poland but rebuilding of the empire. Dividing Poland with its allies would be a great gift for Putin.
Agreed. Putin wants divided Poland as a divided nation is a weak nation. And Poland wants a strong and united Ukraine? Poland should keep Ukraine weak corrupted and wild – such it was since forever . A strong Ukraine will never return our lands – meaning – in the language of politics – it deprives us of the option of political leverage towards Germany I talked about earlier. A strong Ukraine marginalizes Poland economically and politically. It would be the second largest country in EU and 6th in population. A wonderful market for the weakening economies of Germany and France and still a poor country at that at least for another several decades. Like Mexico to America. Will we be building a wall on the border with Ukraine? They just want to bail from the country to Europe – just like Poles did in 2004. From Mexico to America comes crime corruption and prostitution . What will come to Poland from weak Ukraine? A cheap labor force will flow to Berlin and Paris. And Mexico doesn’t have Bandera nationalists but also has a leader who demands the return of California to Mexico. But a strong America is not afraid of that – Poland with its paper soldiers as well? Political interest of Poland and Russia about Ukraine is common.
In Poland’s interest isn’t rebuilding of the Soviet empire…
Putin doesn’t want the rebuilding of the Soviet empire but creating a Russian Union modeled on American Union . The Soviet Union collapses because of ethnic minorities . Putin knows that that’s why he is basing building of the Russian Union on Russian ethnic minorities. That’s how he annexed Crimea and that’s how in my opinion will take over the entire Eastern Ukraine. Do we have any significant Russian minorities in Poland? Somehow I don’t recall. Unless you count in those ladies walking the streets. So Putin and his concept of creating the Russia Union do not threaten Poland as his entire concept og the nation which comes back to its roots doesn’t have support in Poland. In the Huffington Post I wrote that a military intervention based on ethnic minorities in Putin’s terms is an old way to conduct war through other means. The history of Europe is a history of ethnic minorities . Sikorski who paid Polish homage in Berlin to Chancellor Merkel erred seriously when he based his speech on the assumption that Yugoslavia collapsed because of a different currency. The Union of Southern Slavs called Yugoslavia fell apart – just like all other unions in history – because of ethnic minorities just as ethnic minorities will collapse the European Union .
Max Kolonko- is a broadcast journalist and producer since 1988 living in the US. His opinionated news program on YouTube hits records of popularity. A new edition of his book Discovering America has just been published on MaxFanClub.com