Georgia vs. Poland’s interest

Czeslaw Ryszka

Russia has recognised the independence of the two separatist Georgian republics: Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Informing about that fact the Russian President Dmitri Miedviediev said perversely that it was the only possibility to prevent ‘a genocide’ of the Ossetian and Abkhazian nations by Georgian forces. The presidents of both rebel republics called Russia’s ‘help’ a historical event. They promised to be at ‘Russia’s side’ forever. These are the facts. The Russian aggression against Georgia shows that Moscow has not accepted the new map of the region after the fall of the USRR. One can expect that this invasion is only a step leading to further expansion. Let me remind you that the provocative tensions occur in the enclave of the Upper Karabakh in Azerbaijan, which is mainly inhabited by Armenians. Various conflicts, stirred by Moscow, occur in Moldova, Kirgizia, Tadzikistan and first of all in Ukraine: the conflict concerning Crimea and the Back Sea fleet is literary in the air. It is true that protests are being sent to Moscow from all parts of the world; that the extraordinary EU summit took place and it was to consider possible economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia. Moreover, at its nearest session the Polish Parliament is going to take a resolution about this issue as an expression of our national solidarity with the Georgian nation. It is good that we are living in the 21st century; that one cannot silently partition a sovereign country as it happened to Poland in the 19th century. But does Russia show any consideration for the West and its criticism when it was the West that has assured Russia to follow such a policy? It was the West, including the Polish government, that recognised the new state of Kosovo, sectioned from the territory of Serbia, ignoring the international law. Most certainly this fact encouraged Russia to create puppet quasi-states in its former republics. Is Poland safe in this situation? In some sense it has already been attacked since our energetic independence has been attacked: oil and natural gas pipelines from the Caspian Sea run through Georgia. In brief, the Russian aggression against Georgia stopped the Polish project to build a pipeline Odessa – Brody, based on the natural resources transported through Georgia (for weeks the Georgian oil terminals in Batumi, Kulevi and Poti, where oil was transported from Azerbaijan by train, have not been working). In a word, Russia has proved to be able to use all means to control oil and gas transports in the territories that it recognises as its own sphere of influence. In this context, one can see clearly how dangerous the Northern Pipeline, built on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, is for Poland and Europe since it will make the West completely dependent on the Russian natural resources. If Germany and other European countries had drawn conclusions from this war Berlin should have withdrawn from the project of the pipeline or at least the German government should have stopped supporting the project. To end the policy of nice gestures of the West towards Russia – will it happen? At present, it has turned out who the government of Leszek Miller, that broke the agreement with Norway concerning gas delivery to Poland, served and what a vermin the government was. Continuing this thought it was good that we had connected our safety with the Western countries and that the military agreement with the U.S.A. concerning the missile defence shield was signed. It was certainly a good choice. We are allied to the United States; we are in alliance with NATO and obviously we count on the support of our allies in case of attack. The old Latin proverb says, ‘it you want peace prepare for war.’ We do not mean provoking enemies but we mean a responsible approach towards state’s security. In a word, in the name of preserving peace one should be always prepared to have good alliances and be able to defend oneself. Therefore, at the moment the American basis in our country has two important goals: a military one and a symbolic one. The former means a long-term protection from the American side against potential threats in the future and the latter means our ever better integration with the West. However, one cannot forget that every alliance or pact creates serious dependence. This is possible if Poland accepts the Treaty of Lisbon, which is directed towards a European superstate. Should the very way of introducing this treaty not evoke fear in those who appreciate sovereignty of national states? The present pressure to repeat the referendum in Ireland is meaningful. In a word, being in the EU we use our membership but thanks to that are we richer or are we being perceived in a better way in the world? We must do more to protect our interests, guard our possessions and achieve everything by our own efforts. Many a time we have seen that the big and strong Western countries have treated Poland as a country of economic expansion, a market for goods; they have done colossal businesses in our country, ignoring our national interests. Where are the Polish banks, steel works, factories…? Now we can helplessly watch the fall of our shipyards. Furthermore, following the EU order we must privatise our power plants, post offices, hospitals…– in a word, we must make our country and society more dependent on external factors. It is worth remembering other threats, including the cultural and moral ones, which attack our national community and family. Is the moral revolution – promotion of homosexual relationships or abortion – leading to a demographic catastrophe not one of such threats? Facing the conflict in Georgia, the thing is not to see Russia as one big opponent of democracy and freedom in the world. It is time to come to our senses in many other issues. May it not be too late.

"Niedziela" 36/2008

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: