The Poland of the United Right is in a state of chaos. And the government, instead of seeking allies and easing the situation, on each front only exacerbates the crisis.
Contrary to the announcements of the president of the National Bank of Poland (NBP), inflation is rising, which can be seen by everyone who does grocery shopping, refuels a car, buys construction materials, etc.
However, the NBP president preferred to pretend for months that there was no threat. Meanwhile, the government has announced further social spending despite the fact that – as indicated, for example, by a recent guest of Free Radio Europe, Professor Marek Belka – such decisions will only worsen the current situation.
Money from the European Union (EU) for the launch of the National Reconstruction Plan still have not arrived. And it is not known when they will appear, because PM Mateusz Morawiecki prefers to threaten with the outbreak of “World War III” to a compromise with the EU. And Zbigniew Ziobro announces further applications to Julia Przyłębska’s Constitutional Tribunal, which the European Commission rightly does not recognize as an independent court.
And so, these gentlemen are bidding for radicalism at our expense – precisely at the cost of EUR 1,000,000 a day, which the Polish taxpayer is already paying for the fact that the government refuses to respect the Polish constitution and EU standards.
The dispute with the Czechs over the Turow coal mine was also not resolved, which costs us another EUR 500,000 a day. Euro, let’s add, is becoming more and more expensive, which Polish importers know very well. The tragic situation in education and health care is a topic for a separate article, with chaos being an exceptionally mild term for the state prevailing in these sectors.
Finally, the allegedly adamant attitude to Lukashenka’s provocation and reluctance to cooperate with European institutions did not end the problems at the border. On the contrary – confusion seems to grow with each passing day.
And what is Jaroslaw Kaczynski doing? He adds fuel to the fire, comparing Belarusian provocations to a dispute with the Czech Republic over Turow and with EU institutions over the rule of law. In the weekly magazine Sieci, he argued that probably all these crises are “interconnected”.
He repeated the same thing on November 10, when he stated that Poland is facing challenges “on a part of our eastern border”, but also those “that come to us from the West”.
Elsewhere, he said that “many [as usual, he did not explain who it was about] on both sides of Europe do not want to accept our sovereignty”.
At the same time, Kaczynski understands sovereignty not as the freedom of the state to act, but the right of his people to do with the state as they please. In short, the chair of the Law and Justice (PiS) suggests that under his rule Poland is fighting on two fronts and is generally a victim of an international conspiracy in which Lukashenka, the Czechs, and the European Commission work together.
How then to explain the fact that the President of the Commission supports the Polish and Lithuanian governments in their actions on the border, saying that Lukashenko is waging a “hybrid war” against Poland, and European politicians are even calling for the help that the EU can offer?
Kaczynski does not explain this to us. He is not doing this because he clearly believes that by painting a picture of the besieged fortress and, de facto, comparing the European Commission to Lukashenka, he will improve his polls. I do not know how PiS voters will react, but I know that it will not help in solving the problems.
The Civic Platform (PO) has been repeating for a long time that in order to overcome the crisis on the border, it is necessary to cooperate with allies and internationalize the matter, i.e. to make other European countries aware that it is in the interest of not only Poland, but also their own, to stop Lukashenka.
The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) could help not only in verifying and returning those people who have already entered Poland and who do not meet the asylum conditions. It could also assist in sending officers from other countries to Polish borders. I have heard responses from PiS ministers, and even the prime minister, who claim that Frontex is only an office, that nothing can be done, and that help from other countries will be symbolic at best.
This is the standard response of PiS’s Europhobes, who see offices and bureaucrats everywhere in the EU. Of course, Frontex will not replace the Polish Border Guard, but it can help by sending equipment and officers, as well as coordinating the assistance of other Member States.
French, Slovak or Dutch border guards themselves will not defend the Polish border, but the point is that they should be here. It’s a bit like with American soldiers stationed in Poland. They will not win the war for us, but their presence makes the attack on Poland at the same time an attack on the Americans stationed in Poland.
The same is the case with clashes inspired by Lukashenka. The presence of services from other countries is expected to raise the costs of possible provocations.
It is similar with the presence of the media. The ban on working for journalists in the Polish border area means that the message going out into the world is based on what is happening in Belarus and on the statements of migrants on the other side. How is it possible that the authoritarian regime allows foreign press to cover the events, and the Polish government – supposedly still democratic – does not? Because it is afraid of people’s reaction to what is happening at the border.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski openly admitted this. The Vietnam War, he said in a recent interview with RMF FM, “was lost because journalists were very close to the front line or at the front line”.
Therefore, Kaczynski claims that when people see what the services and the army are commissioned to do by the government, they will stop supporting this government and these activities.
Let us stick to the historical analogy for a moment. Yes, the media reports from Vietnam caused terror and protests from some Americans, but it was not the protests and the media that caused the defeat, but the lack of an idea how to win this war. In Afghanistan, during the intervention of the Soviet Union, independent journalists were like a remedy, yet the Russians had to withdraw after a decade of fighting.
Since Kaczynski and his followers like historical analogies, I have one more for them. In the United States, the real political earthquake was caused not only by the Vietnam War itself, but also by the so-called Pentagon Papers.
These were the articles published by the New York Times on the basis of government documents, which showed how successive presidents knew perfectly well that they had no chance of winning, yet continued sending soldiers to fight and lied about the alleged progress. The Americans lost not because of media coverage, but because of wrong political and military decisions.
In a democracy, people have the right to know what the government is doing, especially in crisis, dangerous situations. This does not mean that every blogger or home-grown journalist has to be on the border. But accredited journalists should be able to do their job.
If Kaczynski is not convinced by the references to the rights of citizens in a democracy, he should be persuaded by the references to the interests of Poland. The presence of journalists on our side of the border will allow everyone to see the scale of the crisis faced by the border guards, which – if things look like the Polish government claims – not only will not hurt Poland, but will strengthen support for the actions of the Polish services instead.
I suspect that Kaczynski, however, does not want to see the internationalization of the conflict and the admission of journalists, because he is afraid that he will lose control over the message that goes out to the world. And here he is wrong again – it is precisely by not allowing foreign media, not talking to them, not explaining our actions, that we lose control over what people in the world think about the events on the Polish border.
Kaczynski likes chaos. He likes it when his opponents do not know what is going on or what he will do. But now he’s caught up in his own snares and is just twitching in them.
The article was originally published in Polish at: https://liberte.pl/kaczynski-lubi-chaos-ale-teraz-zaplatal-sie-we-wlasne-sidla/
Translated by Olga Łabendowicz