What Explains Poland’s Massive Amount Of Military Aid To Kiev?

The massive Polish military aid to Kiev complements the equally massive socio-economic aid that it’s giving the millions of Ukrainians that it’s welcomed into its territory to create a Ukraine-centric domestic and foreign policy that amounts to the de facto merging of these two countries just like what briefly happened when Poland occupied Kiev for a couple of months during the Polish-Soviet War.

Polskie Radio reported that Poland supplied Kiev with half of its tanks, 200 out of 400, since the commencement of Russia’s ongoing special military operation in that former Soviet Republic. Other equipment includes drones, artillery, anti-aircraft systems, and missiles. It’s a massive amount of aid that raises questions about why Poland is so heavily invested in the outcome of this conflict. The country is clearly playing the largest and most active role in it apart from Russia, the US, and of course Kiev itself, which suggests that it’s pursuing a larger goal. The purpose of this piece is to explain precisely what that might be with the aim of better informing those observers who are wondering the same thing.

Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller said last week that the $1.6 billion worth of weapons that Warsaw admitted to sending Kiev was “to defend Ukrainian, Polish and European sovereignty”. From Poland’s perspective, US-led NATO’s proxy war on Russia through Ukraine is a matter of “sovereignty” for it, which isn’t surprising. This Central European country and aspiring regional leader has always viewed Ukraine as falling within its “sphere of influence”, which is one of the reasons why Russian spy chief Sergey Naryshkin’s warning last week that it’s plotting to occupy and annex Western Ukraine should be considered credible even if it’s not in Poland’s objective interests to do so as was argued here.

The ruling “Law & Justice” (PiS according to its Polish abbreviation) party is openly Russophobic and actually boasted about this in late March when Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki proudly claimed that his country set the global standard for this form of fascism (he of course didn’t describe it that way though it can nevertheless be seen as such). Grey cardinal Jaroslaw Kaczynski is pathologically Russophobic since he clings to the conspiracy theory that Russia killed his brother, former President Lech Kaczynski, during the 2010 Smolensk plane crash tragedy despite there being no evidence of this. Under such leadership, it was a given that Poland would maximally support Kiev against Russia.

There’s also an historical precedent too, which isn’t lost on Polish policymakers who consider themselves keen students of history, especially that which transpired since Poland won back its independence following 123 years of occupation by its three neighboring empires. Warsaw supported Kiev immediately after World War I in its war against Revolutionary Russia that eventually evolved into what became the Polish-Soviet War that culminated in the so-called “Miracle on the Vistula”. Following that conflict, Western Ukraine was incorporated into the Second Polish Republic with the West’s approval despite the USSR claiming it as its own due to its connection with ancient Kievan Rus.

Going back even further, Ukraine was a battleground between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (which was an undeclared regional empire) and the Russian Empire centuries ago too so contemporary Poland’s participation in US-led NATO’s proxy war on Russia through that country actually follows an historical logic from Warsaw’s perspective. Returning to the present day, the Russophobic Polish leadership seems to have convinced itself that their hard-earned independence can only be defended through achieving the greatest “strategic depth” possible in Ukraine, which also extends credence to Naryshkin’s warning about Poland’s potential plot to annex Western Ukraine.

The problem with that logic, however, is that there’s no contemporary basis for it after Poland joined NATO and came under the US’ nuclear umbrella. There is absolutely no realistic scenario where the US would idly stand by if Russia commenced military action against its regional ally. All parties understand that it would likely lead to a nuclear exchange between those two Great Powers and thus probably end life on earth as everyone knows it when all’s said and done. Poland therefore doesn’t need to achieve any “strategic depth” in Ukraine through military means but attempting to do so plays into PiS’ ultra-nationalist historical-political fantasies of restoring its long-lost regional empire at Russia’s expense.

About that, the ruling party’s Russophobia isn’t just pathological, but is also politically self-serving since it’s being aggressively propagated throughout society in order to serve as a distraction from PiS betraying its conservative-nationalist principles by welcoming millions of Ukrainians who are actually treated as first-class people at the expense of Poles themselves. This radical liberal-globalist policy of literally Ukrainizing what had been Poland’s post-World War II largely monoethnic society is driven by the ulterior motive of leveraging this expat community to expand Polish influence in Ukraine (or whatever’s left of it after the conflict finally ends) but could cost it billions of dollars a year in perpetuity.

The massive Polish military aid to Kiev therefore complements the equally massive socio-economic aid that it’s giving the millions of Ukrainians that it’s welcomed into its territory to create a Ukraine-centric domestic and foreign policy that amounts to the de facto merging of these two countries just like what briefly happened when Poland occupied Kiev for a couple of months during the Polish-Soviet War. While the Polish leadership seems to sincerely regard this as a so-called “proactively defensive” policy, it can also be described by critics as regionally hegemonic. In any case, it’s costing the Polish people the entire post-World War II fabric of their society and an increasingly large amount of their country’s budget.

Ukraine is essentially becoming a Polish client state that’s also backed up by NATO, which supports this scenario since its American leader regards it as “sharing the burden of regional leadership” in their joint proxy war on Russia through that country. What’s so controversial about this grand strategy is that the same Polish people who it’s most directly affecting in socio-economic and possibly soon political ways weren’t ever asked whether they wanted to “share this burden”. Many sincerely sympathize with Ukrainians and Kiev’s military cause, but it remains unclear whether they want to continue having their taxes subsidizing the millions of refugees in their country, arming Kiev, and likely rebuilding Ukraine.

By Andrew Korybko Via https://oneworld.press/?module=articles&action=view&id=2804