The Poland-US agreement has turned out to be a cover for the rescinding of Polish sovereignty. Under the agreement’s terms, Poland will no longer be allowed to inspect American vehicles and aircraft, will allow American commanders to restrict access to new US bases at will, and will allow unrestricted temporary on-demand access to both state and privately-owned land and buildings.
And for this privilege, Poland will graciously foot the bill.
A comparable situation exists on the island of Okinawa – except that in the case of Japan the country was defeated in World War 2. The local authorities of Okinawa oppose the US bases there, both because they have cut through the island’s pristine environments and because the US soldiers have a long history of drunken rapes which have fuelled resentment amongst the local people. (Anti-US rage: rapes, murders, accidents, and now this in Okinawa, South-China Morning Post, January 2018)
The signing of the Polish treaty shows once again that the imperialists (and US imperialism in particular) do not care about democracy, freedom or human rights– they are interested only in power; in domination. The signing of this treaty was greeted by a media blackout in Poland, as its contents would create a scandal if they were widely known. Poland has been transformed into a puppet state.
Comparisons with the Soviet era
The new Poland-US agreement contrasts radically with the much maligned Polish-Soviet agreement of 1956, which was concluded to cement fraternal ties between the two socialist countries but traduced in the west as supposedly reducing Poland to a satellite state.
Under the US agreement, American soldiers will be excluded from local jurisdiction and will be tried only by American courts. The Americans are infamous for refusing to allow their soldiers to be tried by international courts – which is the reason the US never ratified the Rome statute. It has even created a law, nicknamed the ‘Hague Invasion Act’, which will ensure the US invades the Netherlands before it sees one of its hired killers tried for international war crimes. (US: ‘Hague Invasion Act’ becomes law, Human Rights Watch, August 2002)
By contrast, the terms of the agreement regarding the postwar presence of Soviet troops on Polish soil are circumspection itself – as witness, for example, Article 9.
“The issues of jurisdiction related to the stay of Soviet troops on the territory of the Polish People’s Republic are regulated as follows:
“In cases of crimes and offences committed by persons belonging to the Soviet army or their family members in the territory of the Polish People’s Republic, as a rule, Polish law is applied and Polish courts, the prosecutor’s office and other Polish authorities competent to prosecute crimes and petty offences operate. In cases of crimes committed by Soviet soldiers, the competent authorities are the military prosecutor’s office and the military judiciary of the Polish People’s Republic.”
Polish government cowardice reminiscent of WW2 nationalists
For a government that talks endlessly about “Poland rising from its knees and regaining its dignity” it has managed to negotiate a deal that really does do for Polish sovereignty what the Soviet Union has been falsely accused of doing.
Whenever Polish nationalists have come to power in recent times they have displayed a unique cowardice. The nationalist government (and the nationalists prior to 1989) would often raise a hue and cry that the Soviets used the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact to ‘invade Poland’, ignoring the fact that Poland repeatedly refused a collective security pact with the Soviet Union.
Polish nationalists (alongside the anticommunist west) would like to rewrite history. They and their American masters love to talk as if Stalin and Hitler jointly and cynically divided the unfortunate Poles. This shibboleth has become part of the Polish nationalist psyche.
But Winston Churchill, then first lord of the Admiralty, said in a broadcast on 1 October 1939: “The Soviets have stopped the Nazis in eastern Poland; I only regret that they are not doing it as our allies.” A few weeks later, on 26 October, prime minister Chamberlain himself rather sourly admitted in the House of Commons that “It had been necessary for the Red Army to occupy part of Poland as protection against Germany.” (Anna Louise Strong, The Soviets Expected It, 1941, p164)
What is conveniently ‘forgotten’ is that the lands the Soviets ‘invaded’ had been parts of Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus before Poland unilaterally annexed them in 1920 during Poland’s attack on Russia. Poland had then submitted those lands to apartheid regimes with the locals treated as second-class citizens and their languages outlawed in an attempt to Polonise the areas.
Through the Warsaw government, which they dominated, the landlords treated their peasants more brutally than had the Russian tsar. In an effort to Polonise the territory by force they settled demobilised soldiers along the frontier, often by evicting entire villages. For 20 years League of Nations reports indicated that eastern Poland had one of the most brutally handled ‘minority problems’ anywhere in Europe. (Ibid, p165)
During World War 2 the Polish government was uniquely irresponsible. No other government acted toward its people as the Polish government did. Many of the countries conquered by the Axis powers had governments that continued to fight against the Axis in exile. Only the Polish government interned itself in a neutral country (Romania), stripping itself thereby of the ability to govern (since Romania was keen to avoid any unwelcome attention from the Axis).
The government could, in fact, have remained in Poland – if not in Warsaw then in eastern Poland. It surely would have lost some territory but not all of it. A rump Poland could have then negotiated a collective security agreement with the USSR – the type of pact that the Soviets had many times tried to organise in the years preceding the signing of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact, but which the British, French and Polish kept rejecting.
New documents, copies of which have been seen by the Sunday Telegraph, show the vast numbers of infantry, artillery and airborne forces that Stalin’s generals said could be dispatched to defend the Polish border, if Polish objections to the Red Army crossing its territory could first be overcome. (Stalin ‘planned to send a million troops to stop Hitler if Britain and France agreed pact’, Telegraph, October 2008)
The final attempt by the Soviets to sign a collective security agreement with western powers was made just one week before it signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Britain and France had indeed sent junior diplomats to the Soviet Union, but they were authorised only to ‘talk’, not to sign anything.
Molotov was to remark on the signing of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact:
“On the one hand, Great Britain and France stressed the importance and gravity of the negotiations for a pact of mutual assistance and demanded that the USSR should treat the matter seriously and settle all questions relating to the pact without delay.
“On the other hand, they themselves displayed extreme dilatoriness and treated the negotiations very lightly, entrusting them to minor individuals who were not invested with adequate powers. It is enough to mention that the British and French military missions came to Moscow without any definite powers and without the right to conclude any kind of military convention.
“More, the British military mission arrived in Moscow without any mandate at all and it was only on the demand of our military mission that, on the very eve of the breakdown of the negotiations, they presented written credentials. But even these credentials were of the vaguest kind, that is, credentials that were not up to par.
“Just try to distinguish between this light-minded attitude towards the negotiations on the part of Great Britain and France and a frivolous make-believe at negotiations designed to discredit the whole business.
“Such were the intrinsic contradictions in the attitude of Great Britain and France towards the negotiations with the USSR which led to their breakdown.
“What is the root of these contradictions in the position of Great Britain and France?
“In a few words, it can be put as follows. On the one hand, the British and French governments fear aggression, and for that reason would like to have a pact of mutual assistance with the Soviet Union, inasmuch as it would strengthen them, Great Britain and France. But, on the other hand, the British and French governments are afraid that the conclusion of a real pact of mutual assistance with the USSR may strengthen our country, the Soviet Union, which, it appears, does not answer their purpose.
“It must be admitted that these fears of theirs outweighed other considerations. It is only in this light that we can understand the position of Poland, which is acting on the instructions of Great Britain and France …
“The decision to conclude a pact of non-aggression between the USSR and Germany was adopted after the military negotiations with France and Great Britain had reached an impasse owing to the insurmountable differences I have mentioned. As the negotiations had shown that the conclusion of a pact of mutual assistance was not to be expected, we could not but explore other possibilities of ensuring peace and averting the danger of a war between Germany and the USSR.
“If the British and French governments refused to reckon with this, that is their lookout. It is our duty to think of the interests of the Soviet people, the interests of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” (Molotov’s statement in the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on the ratification of the Soviet-German Pact of Non-Aggression, 31 August 1939)
Why is this important to modern-day Poland?
This history is important to understand because Poland has created its present-day nationalist identity on the basis of a distorted view of the outbreak of hostilities in World War 2 – a view that is imbued with anti-Russian sentiment and amplified by anticommunist hysteria.
What’s more, the Polish nationalists are repeating the same mistakes regarding foreign policy that they did in World War 2. During that war, Poland, an antisemitic fascist state, hated the Soviet Union and the communists with every breath, preferring to place its security in the hands of Britain and France,which only a year earlier had cynically divided up Czechoslovakia. Poland,in fact, partook in that division, taking the opportunity to annex the Zaolzie region.
Having rejected any kind of alliance with the USSR, Poland instead placed its security in British hands. But the British, completely cut off from accessing the country and having other priorities, were never going to be able meaningfully to defend Poland. Do Polish nationalists really believe that the US would meaningfully defend them today?
During that a 2014 phone call, a secret recording of which was obtained by a Polish news magazine, foreign minister Radek Sikorski told a colleague: “You know that the Polish-US alliance isn’t worth anything …
“It is downright harmful, because it creates a false sense of security … Complete bullshit. We’ll get in conflict with the Germans, Russians and we’ll think that everything is super, because we gave the Americans a blow job. Losers. Complete losers.”
According to the transcript, Sikorski called Poland’s attitude towards the US“murzynskosc”, a racially charged word which translates as “thinking like a Negro”.
“The problem in Poland is that we have very shallow pride and low self-esteem,” he added. (Poland foreign minister Sikorski: ‘We gave United States a blow job’ for nothing, IB Times,June 2014)