Will Poland’s new President, Andrzej Duda, come to a practical appreciation of the fact that the Western enemies of the “dictatorship” of Vladimir Putin are screaming with equal alarm about the “fascism” overtaking Hungary and the “anti-democratic” character of the vision of the dearly-departed former Polish President, Lech Kaczyński, of a fourth Republic of Poland*?
When the well-known Western Russophobe, Mrs. Anne Applebaum, re-tweeted a post about “internet trolls” who supported the new Polish President, Mr. Andrzej Duda, one could not help but note the fact that Mrs. Applebaum happens also to use the same word to disparage “Vladimir Putin’s trolls.” Mrs. Applebaum’s subsequent tweet says it all: “question I am most often asked here in DC: ‘Is the new Polish President going to be as bad as Victor Orban or worse?’”
One gets the impression that every patriot from the East may find themselves labelled a “troll” if he or she stands up to the Atlantic Empire. It is quite obvious that one cannot judge the totality of a writer’s thought on the basis of a few tweets. That said, Mrs. Applebaum has acquired quite a unique reputation insofar as Poland is concerned. On the international arena, she is a passionate critic of Russia. On the domestic arena in Poland, she is a passionate critic of the conservative Law & Justice Party from which the new Polish President was elected. President Andrzej Duda ought to pause to consider this apparent paradox.
This is an interesting set of facts, insofar as there appears to be a coincidence of both interests and sympathies between the Polish Law & Justice Party and the partisans with whom Mrs. Applebaum makes common cause. Both groups appear hostile towards Russia, both appear convinced that American world hegemony is necessary. What then is the source of the great hostility between these two groups?
By agreeing that the term “trolls” was appropriate when used against the supporters of Poland’s new conservative President, and by wondering whether Polish President Duda would be “worse” than the Prime Minster of Hungary, a nation which has a long history as Poland’s greatest European friend and ally, Mrs. Applebaum must surely be aware that those who follow her political thought will have noted that she has always used the word “troll” in a very precise manner.
For Mrs. Applebaum, a troll is not someone who irritates others or uses foul language online. For Mrs. Applebaum, a “troll” is someone who accepts money from the Kremlin and is a member of some dark, insidious web of lackeys in the service of Vladimir Putin. Whoever has been following Mrs. Applebaum’s political rhetoric over the course of the last year understands quite well that the word “troll” has a very precise definition for her.
It should come as no surprise that Mrs. Applebaum does not accept the existence of authentic supporters of Poland’s new conservative President, just as she simply does not accept the existence of authentic supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. To Mrs. Applebaum—they are all just trolls. The new Polish President’s supporters are, in Mrs. Applebaum’s view, equal to Mr. Putin’s “army of trolls.”
Even Mr. Norman Davis, apparently forgetting that he was a guest in Poland, and not the host, not long ago announced that the supporters of the conservative Law & Justice Party were part of a “cult.” It seems that amongst some of Poland’s Western friends, a sense of superiority is predominant. Mrs. Applebaum apparently believes that since the average Pole has not won a Pulitzer Prize for a book about “Eastern Europe,” then clearly he or she knows less than Mrs. Applebaum about their own country and its national security interests.
Contrary to the ignorant musings of much of the Western press, the Polish Law & Justice Party represents the indomitable Polish spirit which long ago made so much trouble for the Marshal of Two Nations. Just as this indomitable Polish spirit refused to accept Marshal Rokossowski as its own, so too it will never accept Anne Applebaum as its own—particularly since unlike Marshal Rokossowski, Mrs. Applebaum has practically nothing to do with Poland beyond her marriage.
Despite its anti-communism, the Law & Justice Party reflects a particular sort of culture which grew on Communist soil: a very unique culture of Christian solidarity with the Other; a unique culture which simply has no Western equivalent because—paradoxically—it could have only come into being through the common experience of Communism. This culture of Solidarity is foreign to Mrs. Applebaum and foreign to American imperial thought.
Whether someone likes it or not, the Polish Law & Justice Party reflects the thoughts and sentiments of a vast plurality of the Polish nation. The party’s Polish opponents believe it reflects the worst of Polish thoughts and sentiments, but none of them consider Law & Justice to be an alien agent. The most heated domestic opponents of the Polish Law & Justice Party believe that the party simply reflects the greatest vices of the Polish nation and of Catholicism.
The voters who back the Law & Justice party are a mixture of leftist advocates of Workers and Farmers rights in the spirit of the Solidarity Trade Union and rightist advocates of Catholic politics, united in common cause by Polish patriotism. The comportment of the Polish Law & Justice Party towards Russia is a function of authentic Polish fears of Russian domination, which stretch back over generations of history and of naïve Polish hopes of Anglo-American salvation which stretch back to the first and second World War.
Every Pole and every Russian who wishes to improve relations between these two nation-states understands that the basic condition for any improvement is to address these Polish fears (and analogical Russian fears) rather than pretend that they are the ravings of “trolls.” No permanent rapprochement between Poland and Russia is possible if the concerns of voters who support the Polish Law & Justice Party are not taken seriously.
With this in mind, the question arises: in whose interest is it to demean the sentiments of both Poles who support President Duda and Russians who support President Putin? Who benefits from telling people in the West that these Poles and Russians do not in fact exist, that they are just paid “trolls” writing what either the Kremlin or Law & Justice leader Mr. Jarosław Kaczyński order them to write? Who benefits from prolonging the Polish-Russian conflict and subsequently marginalizing Polish national interest as expressed by President Duda?
It is obvious that the American Empire is intent upon eliminating the power of political parties in foreign countries which have grown up from the culture and history of their nations. The condition for the hegemony of American democracy is the homogenization of political culture in vassal nations. Unlike the Russian policy of a multi-polar world, the United States does not really tolerate unique national cultures.
The apparent pro-Americanism of the Polish Law & Justice Party is in fact a knee-jerk anti-Russian sentiment which has existed in Poland long before the United States came into being. It is the result of Polish fears which themselves stem from the very difficult legacy of Polish-Russian history. The comportment of the Law & Justice Party to the United States of America is a reflection of a historical tendency of a large portion of Polish elites to seek a fast and easy solution to the most difficult Polish foreign policy issues, which in practice has always led Poland to become a useful tool in the power politics of other nations at the cost of the Polish national interest.
For the United States of America, the Polishness of the Law & Justice Party will be equally unbearable as the Polishness of the London government in Exile was for Winston Churchill. The West will turn its back on the Polish Law & Justice party’s President just as Churchill turned his back on Prime Minister Mikołajczyk. Poles already got a glimpse of this when the American President failed to make the effort to be at the funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczyński (while Russian President Medviediev did attend).
Mrs. Applebaum, in her suggestion that the supporters of the new conservative Polish President are “trolls,” has only expressed that general disdain of American democracy for the rest of the civilized world. It is a disdain best expressed by Undersecretary Victoria Nuland’s famous obscenities towards the European Union. This American disdain is a function of democratic hubris and ignorance.
Mrs. Applebaum, who despite a variety of circumstances speaking in her favor, is after all a guest of the Polish people, has allowed herself to take a step too far into matters which are not her business. She has no moral right to suggest that the supporters of the new Polish President are “trolls.” She has crossed a line reserved for native-born Poles, who have a natural right to bicker and quarrel amongst themselves, dividing themselves along partisan lines into “lemmings”and “mohair berets” only to come together on Sundays to share the Eucharist as Poles.**
A guest, even an honored guest, has no right to use such language to belittle the President of their host’s country. Such guests are themselves trolls. They cease to listen to their hosts because they think that a Pulitzer Prize puts them a class above the men and women in Poland and Russia who welcomed Mrs. Applebaum and gave her the opportunity to learn about their culture.
It remains to be seen whether the new Polish President, Mr. Duda, will recognize the fact that the language of venom used by Mrs. Applebaum towards the Polish Law & Justice Party from which he was elected is the same language of venom used by her towards President Putin and the Russian Federation. Will President Duda recognize that the Western Crusade against Russia taking place now in the Ukraine is coming at the cost of Polish national and economic security? Will he understand that the liberal West hates Russia for the exact same reasons that it keeps itself at a distance from the Polish Law & Justice Party and the sort of Poland represented by the Law & Justice Party?
Everyone who desires an improvement in Polish-Russian relations understands the dangers that may await us on account of a Law & Justice Party government in Poland. Nevertheless, President Andrzej Duda does have a the best opportunity to permanently renew Polish relations with its’ eastern neighbors. The dearly departed President Lech Kaczyński had the same opportunity. No one in Poland would have dared accuse him of submitting to Russia or of treason had he succeeded in establishing good relations with President Medviediev. Likewise, it is unimaginable that anyone could succeed in branding Mr. Duda as soft should he establish good relations with the highest echelons of the Russian Federation. In America, it is often said that only the patriotic anti-communist Nixon could go to China. Likewise, only the patriotic anti-communist Duda can go to Moscow and not lose face amongst Poles.
It is high time Poland stopped supporting Western revolutions on its’ eastern borderlands. Polish national interests should be the priority of its’ government. It is of top priority to Poland that the Polish government works to provide immediate and effective aid to the Poles left behind in Belarus and Ukraine after the close of the Second World War when Poland lost its’ eastern lands. The Poles living in Belarus and Ukraine do not need a return to the bloody wars and massacres of the XXth century—wars and massacres which the likes of Anne Applebaum have brought upon Ukraine. It is high time that Poland initiated a grand conference of all of the nations which were once members of the Warsaw Pact: a conference of former Warsaw Pact allies would allow Eastern Europeans to sit down and begin discussing solutions to Eastern problems amongst Eastern partners.
Poland’s new President, Andrzej Duda, has a historic opportunity to build friendship amongst free nations in Eastern Europe for the duration of the XXI century where there was once war and hostility for the duration of the XX century. Will the new Polish President take advantage of this historic opportunity? Will he learn from the mistakes of the dearly departed President Kaczyński—or merely repeat them? Woe be upon Poland if the limits of her political capacity lies between the Russophobia of Mrs. Applebaum on the one hand and the Russophobia of the Law & Justice Party on the other.
Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. This article was first published by Sputnik News Polish Edition.
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**In Polish political life, the derogatory partisan term for a supporter of the party of the outgoing President was a “lemming” (suggesting a blind follower who did not think for himself). Meanwhile, the derogatory partisan terms for a supporter of the Law & Justice party of Poland’s new conservative President was a “mohier beret”—because some of the most active supporters of the party in Poland are women above the age of 60, often dressed in mohier berets. To Polish liberals, who once led a campaign to “take your grandmother’s voting card away” so as to limit the conservative vote—it is the height of “un-Western not-cool” to be an old woman who goes to Church, thus liberals in Poland deride conservatives as “mohier berets”—in essence: “hah hah—you are like an old woman who goes to Church.”