Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Polish Patience Runs Out

State of the Union: European unity was, and remains, a historical and unnatural accident.

Credit: yoshi0511

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said yesterday, “Ukraine is like a drowning person who can pull you to the depths. If a drowning person causes harm and drowns us, he will not get help. We have to look after our interests, and we will do it effectively and decisively.” Poland, alongside Hungary and Slovakia, is planning to implement protectionist policies to safeguard their farmers from Ukrainian grains flooding the market. Poland also is currently refusing to send any further weapons to Ukraine. 

It is darkly comical. Socially-conservative Poland has always been an enemy of Western liberals and neoconservatives, but the Ukraine war temporarily changed that, given Polish antagonism towards Russia, another socially conservative power. It might change again soon. 

The history of Polish–Ukrainian relations is, however, long and cruel. Ukrainian nationalists sided with the Nazis to commit pogroms and massacre both Poles and Jews. All that bad blood cannot be swept under the rug. The Nazis among the Ukrainian population remain a sore issue between the two countries. Recently, Ukrainian missiles killed two Poles, which Ukraine continued to deny, bizarrely, given that NATO can track flight patterns and coordinates. Ukrainian entitlement, on the other hand, continues, even against its strongest backers, such as Britain

The wartime unity has always been about to collapse, given diverging interests between Ukraine, European countries, and the United States. But a greater point sticks out.

European unity was and remains a historical accident. It is unnatural and essentially a result of benevolent American conquest. To maintain it would necessitate a true imperium. One should let nature take its course, allow a natural equilibrium to return, and only intervene in extremis. George Washington’s Farewell Address should remain a guiding star for American policy. Europe has a set of interests alien to America’s interest (or even survival). Unless the continent is threatened by a single hegemon that is not just willing but actually capable of taking over the entire continent, threatening the Atlantic and the sea routes, it’s best to leave them alone with their historic grievances.