Jun 26, 2021
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Poland without compass

Warsaw’s foreign policy is getting nervous and chaotic

On June 21, the President of Moldova, Maia Sandu, paid an official visit to Warsaw. The two presidents, Polish and Moldovan, showered each other with compliments, spared no words of praise. Duda called Sanda a model of youth and openness and thanked him for taking care of the Polish national minority in Moldova, although there are slightly more than two thousand Poles in the republic, that is, negligible.

Andrzej Duda receives Maya Sanda.

Andrzej Duda declared his full support for the territorial integrity of Moldova. Maia Sandu did not remain in debt. She declared Rzeczpospolita “a very important source of security in the region” and did not skimp on praises for the Eastern Partnership and Troyemoria.

On the one hand, everything is clear in this exchange of courtesies: any anti-Russian leader is welcome in Warsaw. However, there is another side: Polish foreign policy is becoming nervous and chaotic. An example is relations with Turkey. Until recently, Warsaw was indignant over the fact that Erdogan blocked the adoption of NATO plans to defend Poland and the Baltic states, but now they have forgotten about it. At the end of May, Duda visited Turkey, and in Poland this visit was hailed as the most important one. Erdogan and Duda agreed to expand military cooperation; the first step is the signing of an agreement on the purchase of 24 Bayraktar drones by the Poles in Turkey.

Then on June 18, Turkish Trade Minister Mehmet Mush arrived in Warsaw, and Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau went to Antalya on the same day. On the shores of the Mediterranean, Rau remembered the Bayraktars, noting that these drones would significantly strengthen NATO’s eastern borders. Poles are confident that drones should scare Moscow. At the same time, Rau noted that the West (and hence Poland) does not need to increase tensions with China.

It is strange to hear such things from Polish officials about China. And then at the end of May, Rau visited Beijing, where he expressed his readiness to actively participate in the Chinese initiative “17 + 1” (the format was created by Beijing to develop cooperation with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe). The Chinese liked the proposal and praised the “Polish Order” – Warsaw’s new economic program. On June 9, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that Poland would build relations with China on the basis of pragmatism. At the same time, Lithuania, allied and neighboring with Poland, takes an openly anti-Chinese position: it sends vaccines to Taiwan, prepares to open a trade mission on the island, and announces the genocide of the Uighurs in Xinjiang. In Warsaw, they are silent about the Uighurs.

Zbigniew Rau and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang I.

Another twist in Polish foreign policy is the visit of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on June 17. The story turned out to be almost scandalous: an arrival was expected with Steinmeier and Merkel, but the chancellor did not go to Poland: she did not want to communicate with Moravetsky. Steinmeier met with Duda, but he behaved “not diplomatically”: he remembered the cultural values ​​stolen during the war years, demanded to ensure the rights of the Polish national minority in Germany. Then he said that the meeting with Steinmeier was by no means “candy”. Meanwhile, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany came to Warsaw to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Polish-German treaty on good-neighborliness and cooperation.

As a result, the German media stated that German-Polish relations had dropped to their lowest point. Proof of these words followed quickly. First, Ambassador to Germany Andrzej Przylembsky quarreled with German journalists, then a public skirmish with Ambassador Arndt Freytag von Loringhofen was arranged by Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Shimon Shinkovsky Vel Senk. In both cases, LGBT people were a bone of contention: in Germany they are sure that in Poland sex minorities are infringed upon, and Warsaw snaps. Polish experts also notice the government’s throwbacks. Piotr Buras, director of the Warsaw bureau of the European Council on Foreign Relations, writes that Rzeczpospolita has lost its compass.

The reason for Warsaw’s chaotic actions on the foreign arena is that after Trump’s departure from the White House, Washington has no time for an Eastern European ally. He was not spoiled too much before, but under Biden, Poland shifted to the periphery of American interests. On June 14, a NATO summit was held in Brussels. The Poles persistently pressed for Joe Biden to meet with Andrzej Duda. Dudu was accepted, but the conversation lasted several minutes and took place … by the elevator.

Because of the loss of Washington’s favor, the Polish leaders are rushing about.

One thing remains unchanged in Poland’s policy – anti-Russian orientation. In Warsaw, talk about the Russian threat continues, now an international scandal is being fanned there, accusing it of a major hacker attack. In early June, Chief of the Prime Minister’s Office, Michal Dvorczyk, announced that his email had been hacked and linked it to Russia. At the initiative of the Prime Minister, a secret meeting of the Diet was held on cybersecurity. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the gray cardinal of the Polish president and the shadow ruler of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, spoke. He openly laid the blame for the hacking on the Russian Federation. However, as I found out Gazeta Wyborcza, one of the employees of the Dvorchik was involved in the break-in, acting for personal reasons, and there was no external hacker attack at all.

Michal Dvorczyk.

The authorities categorically deny this, the chief of the prime minister’s chancellery demands a refutation from Gazeta Wyborcza, officials are stirring up hysteria. At first, one Dvorczyk was the “victim of hackers”, then there was information about an attack on 150 Polish deputies and ministers, and on June 22 another figure appeared – 4350 hacked mailboxes throughout Poland. This was allegedly done by the UNC1151 hacker group, associated with the Russian special services. Probably, after that, the Poles will be accused of the cyberattack of the legendary Petrov and Boshirov. The absurdity of the accusations does not prevent Warsaw from appealing to NATO and the EU. They react sluggishly: the issue was discussed by the North Atlantic Council and the secretary general of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, limited himself to assuring Poland of the solidarity of the allies. The Polish provocation is clearly not reaching its goal.

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