This article originally appeared on OneWorld.
The former Polish Minister of Defense accused Germany of conspiring with a few other foreign actors to replace the patriotic Polish government with Europhile puppets, arguing that the country’s latest political controversy over the date of its presidential elections is proof of an attempt being made to carry out regime change in this geostrategically positioned country.
Foreign Coup Or Fake Conspiracy?
Poles are often criticized for being “paranoid”, but given their history, it’s understandable why they’re perpetually concerned about foreign conspiracies to undermine their hard-fought independence. Such is the case with former Minister of Defense Jan Parys, who recently accused Germany of covertly working with a few other actors to replace the patriotic Polish government with Europhile puppets. He made his startling claims in an op-ed published earlier this month at a Polish media outlet and reported on in English by the Budapest-based Remix under the title “Coup in Poland: Moscow, Berlin and other foreign powers attempting to overthrow Polish government”. According to the former official, “PiS’s opposition to Brussels, support for the presence of U.S. troops in Poland, and its goal of energy independence from Russia – these are all motivation enough for a foreign-supported political coup in Warsaw.” He believes that the country’s latest political controversy over the date of its presidential elections is proof of an attempt being made to carry out regime change in this geostrategically positioned country.
Rubbishing Anti-Russian Accusations
He’s correct in pointing out how some European countries and members of the transnational elite have openly supported the opposition, but he’s being entirely speculative when he talks about Russia’s alleged involvement in this plot. No credible evidence has thus far emerged of Moscow playing any role whatsoever in recent events there, though he’s correct in opining about Russia’s dislike of the incumbent government. After all, PiS has torn down Soviet-era World War II monuments, vehemently opposed Nord Stream II, invited thousands of American troops onto its soil (even offering to pay approximately $2 billion to construct a so-called “Fort Trump”), and is trying to “poach” Belarus from Russia’s “sphere of influence” as part of its American-backed efforts to expand its own “sphere of influence” through the “Three Seas Initiative”. That, however, doesn’t mean that Russia is actively participating in this obviously German-led regime change operation even if it’s extremely close to Berlin and would predictably welcome such a development. It’s therefore much more relevant to discuss the interests of Poland’s Western neighbor instead.
Germany’s Hegemonic Agenda
As the de-facto leader of the EU, Germany is dedicated to keeping the rest of the bloc weak so as to maintain its economic dominance of the continent. PiS is a problem for Berlin precisely because it’s so patriotic and cares first and foremost about Polish interests as opposed to others’, unlike its PO predecessors. Former Polish Prime Minister and most recently former President of the European Council Donald Tusk is the sworn enemy of the country’s “grey cardinal” Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and Parys specifically notes how foreign actors have an interest in returning his people to power so as to rule the country by proxy. Poland used to be Germany’s “junior partner” up until the rise of PiS, and the ruling party has since struggled to complete the country’s full-spectrum liberation from foreign influence ever since assuming power. Germany spent the past two and a half decades investing in Polish media outlets and NGOs (which makes the latter more akin to GONGOs, government-organized NGOs than truly “non-governmental” organizations), which resulted in it obtaining unparalleled political influence over the country without ever having to fire a single shot, unlike during the two World Wars.
PiS’ Struggle For Polish Independence
PiS is doing its utmost to reverse that hegemonic process, but it’s been extremely difficult to pull off. Nevertheless, PiS won’t stop struggling for Poland’s independence, to which end its doubled down on the country’s post-Old Cold War alliance with the US. This was a brilliant strategic move from the perspective of Polish national interests since the Trump Administration is equally suspicious of Russia and Germany, Poland’s two traditional rivals. Accordingly, the US has a natural interest in facilitating the rise of Poland’s “Three Seas Initiative” so as to drive a pro-American wedge between these two Great Powers and thus limit the continental impact of their strategic partnership. Washington also wants to weaken Brussels’ stranglehold over its members and accordingly empower them to exercise more national sovereignty, which is fully in line with PiS’ grand strategic vision as well. With the most on-the-ground influence and behind-the-scenes levers of power, Germany is positioned as the vanguard of the anti-PiS forces, which is why it’s much more relevant to discuss its proven subversion of Polish national interests than to speculate about Russia’s role in this particular respect.
A Historic Crossroads
Considering the insight revealed in this analysis, it’s not hyperbole to state that the upcoming Polish presidential elections – which were recently delayed until August at the latest – will probably be the most important in the country’s post-communist history. Not only is the fate of PiS’ patriotic struggle for ensuring Poland’s independence from Germany up for grabs, but so too is the future of it and its American ally’s “Three Seas Initiative”. The incumbent party’s loss would probably spell the end of this trans-regional integration initiative, which was also noted by Parys himself when he wrote that “Poland will stop conducting its policy of maintaining a bilateral alliance with the United States and will base its security on the European Union. The Three Seas Initiative will be nothing more than a façade. Without Poland and a strong Three Seas, the US’s position in Europe will weaken.” He also believes that “Poland will take the position of a province ran by commissars from Brussels and overseers from Berlin”, which aligns with what I wrote back in November 2017 in my piece about “The Nation-State: Post-Mortem” which discussed the EU’s plot for a “federation of regions”.
Independent Poland vs. German Puppet
As I predicted in my February 2016 piece for the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, “Polarized Poland: The Identity Crisis Goes International”, Poland’s long-brewing domestic political crisis — which is arguably also an identity crisis — has finally grown to take on important international dimensions. Everything is approaching its climax, and the upcoming presidential election will greatly determine whether PiS is capable of continuing its pro-sovereignty mission or if the EU-controlled PO opposition will reverse its impressive gains in recent years by returning Poland under the German yoke. The latter scenario would certainly transform Poland from an influential actor in the Central European space to a politically insignificant one whose national interests would become German ones and would thus be much more likely to be bartered by Berlin with Moscow or whoever else that Merkel chooses. The choice facing Poland at this historic crossroads is a stark but very simple one, and it’s whether Poles aspire for their nation to remain independent (irrespective of whether they agree with the ruling party’s socio-conservative policies) or if they’d prefer instead to cozy up with a variety of foreign patrons (first and foremost Germany) in pursuit of their own personal interests at the expense of national ones.
Andrew Korybko @AKorybko