“May you live in interesting times,” is a Chinese proverb which gains a special meaning today during the coronavirus pandemic, which started in China. Indeed, we live in interesting times, at least because the European Union is behaving like a child which is telling its mother that it won’t do something “just because,” and later is forced to change its opinion anyway because it clashes with reality.
The EU has treated Poland, the Baltic states and in some cases other countries in our region as Russophobes who were exaggerating their “prejudices” towards Moscow. Years later, quietly at first and then increasingly louder, they admitted that we were right.
The case was similar when it came to migrants. The EU and several Western, Northern and Southern European member states admitted that Central Europe was right, but did so very quietly. After all, if they had admitted loudly, then they would have to strongly apologize towards their own voters to whom they have been lying to for decades about the necessity to accept migrants.
It is now known that Poland and Hungary were right on the topic of migrants and not France, the Benelux, Germany, or even the UK.
Now, the situation has repeated itself once more in the context of the border wall between Poland and Belarus. Poles want to build one, but the EU first opposed the notion, then declared that there were no funds to support such a project and finally announced a symbolic sum to be included in the 2022 budget. Spain was allowed to build such walls in its enclaves in Maghreb, but Poland was not to be given that same permission?
The feeling of once again being proven right is encouraging but also annoying in the long-term. Those who for years refused to admit that Poland was right, and who continue to refuse, are still unable to fully admit to their mistakes and are unable to suffer the consequences of their errors, omissions, or poorly conducted policy.
Meanwhile the unfortunate ranking of the countries with the highest numbers of coronavirus infections has changed: India has dropped out of the top and the UK has swapped places with the U.S. in the top three (the UK is now second with 36,500 daily cases and the U.S. is third with 24,000). For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Russia, a country neighboring Poland, has become the leader in the ranking.
The current situation on the Polish-Belarusian border is slightly drawing attention away from what is a permanent threat, which is the pandemic. What’s worse, we are beginning to experience a cumulative effect that could quickly produce a serious crisis.