Ever since the crisis caused by Ukrainian grain flooding the Polish market and the attempts by Warsaw to deal with the situation, we keep hearing from those predicting the imminent end of the honeymoon in relations with Kyiv. Now another cloud has appeared on the scene, the history of the Volhynia massacre.
Both of these issues, along with the current war, demonstrate how both Poland and Ukraine are tied together by the force of geopolitics. As a result of the war, many Poles have decided that Polish policies towards the Ukrainians should be guided by magnanimity. The automatic expectation these days is that Poland should unquestioningly support Ukraine and make sacrifices on its behalf. This has led to anyone who says that Polish and Ukrainian interests may occasionally diverge being accused of betrayal. Any such views are cut down to size with the notion that “now is not the time for such discussions.”
It is time to abandon this kind of approach. Yes, it is in the interests of Poland to support Ukraine and to weaken Russia’s potential. That adds to Polish security, just as the Western orientation of Ukraine created new opportunities for Poland. However, we cannot ignore the fact that Ukraine will pursue its own interests and Poland must look not only at the benefits but also the risks involved, or our illusions could one day end unhappily for us.
Instead of Poland articulating and pursuing its own interests, too many want to participate in a beauty contest for who supports Ukraine more. This leads to oversensitivity about the behavior of Ukraine towards France and Germany and the desire to do even more to remain the leader in giving help to Ukraine. Instead of participating in a contest to be Ukraine’s biggest fan, it’s time we concentrated on pursuing our own policy ends.