August and September are months littered with tragedies in Polish history. It is best to remember them in order to learn from them. It was on Aug. 23, 1939, that Ribbentrop and Molotov signed a pact that was to erase Poland from the map of Europe through Russian and German totalitarianism.
Today, we see Germany and Russia once again exercising aggression against Poland. Manfred Weber is doing it politically by interfering in Poland’s elections, while to the east, mercenaries funded by Putin and Lukashenko are ready to pounce. We are again facing a potential pincer movement.
Poland is paying the price for German humiliation at the start of the war in Ukraine. Germany was counting on the Russian version of the blitzkrieg being successful so that the world could get back to business as soon as possible. Poland defied them and helped Ukraine to wake the West from its slumber.
Weber is a political ally of Donald Tusk. Interestingly enough, Tusk has not said anything about this war apart from picking on some imagined mistakes made by the current government. He has not visited Ukraine since the start of the war. As before, when he was in office, Tusk wants to avoid conflict with Russia at any price, even the price of Poland’s national security.
But he did find time to suggest that the presence of the Wagner Group in Belarus politically helps the ruling conservatives in Poland and that they are hyping this presence for their own political ends. Maybe Russian influence is still being exerted on him, as it was during the time of the ‘reset’ in 2008.
The pincer movement Poland is facing today isn’t as deadly as that of 1939, but the diplomatic efforts surrounding the Polish elections show how much is at stake. We will find out if foreign powers will once more be allowed to dictate the course of events in Poland. Donald Tusk backed by Weber and Lukashenko, who sees him “as a man he can do business with”, is their emissary.
The election on Oct. 15 may or may not bring the Weber-Wagner pact to a halt. A lot will now depend on the self-discipline of the ruling conservatives and, of course, on luck. But luck favors the brave.