It’s been hundreds of years since Poland was a major power, and it’s making a comeback just in time for geopolitical analyst Robert Kaplan to declare mass migration is returning Europe to medieval divisions. Were I a Pole, I would be delighted.
Between May and October of 2015, Poland underwent a seismic political shift to the right just as Angela Merkel almost single-handedly flooded Europe with a multi-million man army from the Near East. A May presidential election resulted in a victory for Andrzej Duda of the “national conservative” Law and Justice party. A few months later, Law and Justice won an outright majority of parliamentary seats (the only time a party has done that since 1989). The same election resulted in the ousting of all left-wing MPs from the Polish parliament (the Sejm). Jacobin Magazine laments:
There is not a single left member of parliament in Poland, by any definition of “left” you care to choose. There is no social-democratic party, no radical left party, no green party, barely even a social liberal party. Nothing. In the European Union’s fifth largest country, the Left is simply nowhere to be found.
The opposition became another large right-wing party, Civic Platform, that shares a European Parliament group with Austria’s Freedom Party and Hungary’s Fidesz (though, admittedly, also Germany’s CDU – though that may not last very long). In 2009, the Civic Platform government approved mandatory castration of pedophiles, “sparking criticism from human rights groups.” You can probably guess that the rest of their positions on social issues would get them excoriated and disavowed by Republican or Conservative politicians in the USA and UK.
Even Poland’s Bernie Sanders-tier youthful idealist party is right-wing: punk musician Pawel Kukiz’s party won 42% of the 18-29 vote in October and promptly handed over five seats to the far-right National Movement, which cooperates with Hungary’s Jobbik.
Politics in Poland, much like in Hungary, has become a two-sided duel between very right-wing and very, very right-wing parties. And these are no impotent or unaware right-wingers.
Poland’s newly-appointed foreign minister explained to Germany’s Bild:
Under the previous government a specific left-wing policy concept was followed with which the world must move in only one direction, the Marxist model – to a new mix of cultures and races, a world of cyclists and vegetarians who only focus on renewable energies and fight against any form of religion. This has nothing to do with traditional Polish values.
His counterpart at the defence ministry was denounced in the Western press for giving a past interview in which he said he read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and argued that “experience shows that there are such groups in Jewish circles.” A few months ago the government pushed through laws that extended their control over Poland’s public media and Constitutional Court. This also irritated the usual suspects. Three days ago it was reported that the government abolished a public body named the “Council Against Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance,” even “amid the increasing number of racially motivated attacks and rising xenophobia” described by “human rights Ombudsman” Adam Bodnar. Just yesterday the head of Law and Justice declared that Poland will accept no “refugees” from the EU, and will refuse to pay any fines imposed for doing so.
With all this in mind, it may be natural to assume Poland’s government has a pro-Russian stance (like Hungary’s does) when it comes to foreign policy, or at least a neutral stance. But that assumption would be totally false. Despite the huge gulf in opinion & policy between Poland’s government and the bureaucratic classes that run USG, the EU, NATO, etc., Poland maintains a strongly anti-Russian stance, to the point of deploying 46,000 Polish troops to the Polish-Russian border, demanding a larger NATO presence (that means U.S. troops and U.S. tanks) in Poland and the Baltics and suggesting Putin’s Russia might have territorial ambitions to the West of Crimea.
You may ascribe this to residual anti-Moscow sentiment from before 1991, or even deeper anti-Russian sentiment stemming from wars and occupations going back to Tsarist times. That was certainly my first thought. Further examination reveals a more compelling conclusion, however.
Back in February 2015 I predicted that, as the West entered its terminal phase, the geopolitical fight in Europe would unfold between Russia and Islam. I imagined it would begin with proxy war between Moscow-funded nativist groups and Riyadh-funded Islamist groups, with both serving as pawns for far-off foreign powers fighting for the scraps of Western civilization left remaining after the full achievement of equality, diversity and tolerance. In light of the sudden rise of Poland, it is time to reassess this view.
Why would Poland assume a strong anti-Russian position just as Obama and Merkel issue diktats requiring subservience to Brussels and unrestricted Muslim settlement in Poland? Poland isn’t run by the American Janissaries who rule tiny states in precarious positions like Latvia. Warsaw’s closest ally in Budapest has understandably found Moscow a more natural ally than Berlin, Brussels or Washington. Why hasn’t Warsaw?
It’s probably not an unthinking reaction. More likely is that Poland’s government has observed the geopolitical playing field and concluded that they do not need Russia to survive the EU/USG/Islamic onslaught. This is a momentous development in a world where the only three discernibly sovereign countries are Russia, China and the “International Community.” Poland may soon be the fourth sovereign country, or, to be more accurate, the “Visegrad Community” of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic may soon be the fourth sovereign country. The four have already done an outstanding job resisting EU directives, and Poland’s program of centralization and de-democratization was just a rehash of what Viktor Orban’s Fidesz has been doing in Hungary since 2011. Orban famously stated he wanted to recreate Hungary as an “illiberal state” in the images of Russia, Turkey or China.
It would be a mistake to view Poland’s involvement in NATO as evidence of Polish dependence. For the moment, Poland is getting the benefits of Western military cooperation without the downsides of adopting Western policies on the media, immigration, national sovereignty, and so on. That does not indicate Poland is dependent, rather that Poland is calling the shots. Poland just secured membership as the first Central or Eastern European country in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China’s answer to the World Bank. Poland is getting its cake and eating it, too. It is antagonizing both Russia and the Cathedral to its West, while remaining independent. This is a sea change for a country whose history since the 18th century has been as a battlefield for nearby powers – Poland has been partitioned at least 7 times since 1772.
Someone in the Polish leadership or security services has calculated that, rather than requiring Russian support against Western encroachment on national sovereignty, Poland will be able fend off Merkel and the rest of them all the way down to the point that USG and the EU completely collapse under the weight of their own leftism. At that point, Poland would prefer to already be on a solid anti-Russian footing, and would prefer to be a power in its own right rather than a beneficiary of the Kremlin. Hungary might have been pursuing a similar path if not for the fact that Poland has access to the sea, an influential diaspora, and is 4x larger than Hungary in area and population.
Time might lead to a rapprochement between the Visegrad Four and Russia on account of Hungary. It may also lead to a veritable rebirth of Central European civilization – the Mitteleuropa that was maimed in 1918 and shot in the head in 1945 – under the combined leaderships of Warsaw and Budapest. With the accelerating liberalism of the current Pontiff, such a leadership may even split off its own branch of right-wing, nationalistic Catholicism.
There is other evidence for a Polish power in Europe, too.
Back in 2010, George Friedman, the founder of the private intelligence firm Stratfor, published The Next 100 Years, detailing his predictions for world developments of the 21st century. Among other things, he predicted that Poland and Turkey would become European powers by virtue of their military support from the United States and ability to weather the 2007-08 financial crisis.
Friedman cited Israel and South Korea as examples of small U.S.-backed countries that became very powerful. While I would question these comparisons, I would not argue that American support has hurt Poland, or that Poland’s economy has proven lackluster. Investment and money have been flowing into Poland from the West even as bodies and brainpower have flowed East out of Poland. Drab, communist Poland now has a middle class.
The outflow of labor and talent which likely dampened Poland’s economic rise (though didn’t prevent it) hasn’t been all bad either, as it has led to the formation of one of the largest and most powerful ethnic diasporas in the world. Can you think of another rising power with a large and potent diaspora?
Martin Jacques was already writing about China’s powerful diaspora in 2008 in the context of worldwide demonstrations in favor of the Beijing Olympics – and against Tibet. Demonstrations are a popular display of power by those who already have it. By that standard, China has power centers all over the globe. In fact, the 45 million or more “Overseas Chinese” make up significant minorities in many Asian and Western countries and have totally occupied neighborhoods in the centers of most major Western cities. San Francisco’s Chinatown is probably the most famous, but there are copies in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and a litany of other places, including most cities in Britain, Canada, and Australia. Just in America, this diaspora has helped the Chinese government steal U.S. military secrets as well as provide a base for Chinese organized crime to enter American civil society and electoral politics.
There are some 40 million Poles in Poland, but perhaps another 20 million or so people of Polish descent living outside Poland. Unlike the descendants of German or Italian immigrants to the United States, Polish immigrants – even third or fourth generation ones – often still speak Polish and remain heavily tied to the Polish community, even as they speak English in perfect Midwestern accents. There are 10 million in America alone. Much like Chinatown is often the safest neighborhood for white hipsters and yuppies in American urban centers, Redfin listed the Ukrainian Village in Chicago as the hottest neighborhood in the country. Apparently both the old Polish downtowns in Chicago and Brooklyn are now hipster neighborhoods. Polish ethnic preference may become a very valuable thing for deracinated whites in a collapsing, violent, Third World America. The Polish-American community isn’t the most strategically important one, however. That distinction would go to the Poles living in Western Europe.
There are more than 2 million Poles living in Germany, 1 million living in France, 600,000 in the United Kingdom, and smaller populations numbering in the tens or hundreds of thousands in Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Austria, Spain and other countries. These more recent groups send close to $3 billion USD in remittances back to Poland each year. In the UK especially, these Polish emigrants have formed nationalist émigré groups that have already caught the attention of the media for their shenanigans. As Britain, Germany and the rest of Western Europe degenerate into a semi-Islamized multicultural salmagundi, you can expect more Polish nationalism abroad, not less.
A rising Poland will inspire these emigrant patriots, but it is not necessarily going to lure them back. After all, it is not Poles in Britain or Germany who have a stigma against ethnic solidarity and homogeneous communities, but the natives. Poles can survive diversity by banding together. Brits and Germans haven’t learned how to do that yet, and are more likely to simply leave for Australia and never look back. More likely is that in 20-30 years you will have a powerful Polish state cooperating with Polish emigrant groups and Polish organized crime across Europe to send intelligence and money to Poland and influence politics and other affairs in Poland’s near abroad.
The website Global Firepower, which lists and compares the military strengths of various countries, puts Poland at #18 worldwide, above Iran, Taiwan, Spain, Australia, Canada and Saudi Arabia. Poland comes out above Ukraine, which is more populous but currently losing a war with Russia in Donbass despite extensive aid and management from the U.S. State Department. Poland does not have nuclear weapons, but it has plenty of citizens and co-ethnics who live and work in countries that do. Wink wink.
A Visegrad bloc led by Poland could become a formidable geopolitical force with a determined leadership and careful planning. More importantly, if that bloc can outlast the Western DC-Brussels axis – and all indicators say it can and probably will – the Visegrad bloc will be a resurgent Russia’s only competition in Europe. It will be smaller and less powerful, but an effective counterweight with greater ties to the region than Russia. Whatever proto-Caliphates are being dreamed of by Muslims in Europe right now (looking at you, Sadiq Khan) may soon be seen as comical as a flood of Polish and Russian power displaces the current American-Islamic pincer that dictates European life from the top and bottom, respectively.
Forget “Eurabia” – that is only valid so long as the current regime is around, and said regime is too incompetent for its own good to survive for very long. American withdrawal, native revolt (with Russian instigation, one would imagine), financial collapse or a sudden Emirate of Europistan would all be enough to end the current system and send millions of Third Worlders fleeing back home. Once the pot boils over, it’s all over for Merkel. The Polish-Russian tangle that comes afterwards might be the defining event of European history in the 21st century.