The Warsaw Voice » Comments » Monthly - April 7, 2010
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From the Editor
Andrzej Jonas By Andrzej Jonas   
A journalist from a major Moscow newspaper a good-looking, worldly-wise woman who speaks immaculate English and is highly professional-wanted to interview me about Poland's attitude to Ukraine. Is it exclusively based on a fear of Russia? Why are we afraid of Russia? Can?t we see the changes that have occurred there? Of course, the interview had to turn into a conversation. She asked me, and I asked her. For example, I asked, "What kind of influence do liberals have in Russia?" She replied, "None." I: "And that worries you?" She: "On the contrary, I?m glad." And the punch line of the whole exchange was a sentence that she uttered-lucid, clear and simple, like a nail in the coffin: "If people want to be slaves, why force them into something else??"
Meat exports, Gazprom, the Northern Pipeline, Georgia, Yanukovych, Lukashenko? The list is almost endless.
Historical politics, Katyn, committees for difficult matters.
To a remark by a certain professor that Poland joined the European Union as a unifying force between the East and West, one Polish Euro MP replied, "There was an idea in Europe that the EU should be enlarged to take in nine countries, excluding Poland, because the costs would have been 53 percent lower. That's how much our country's accession in effect cost. But Guenter Verheugen [the EU commissioner responsible for enlargement] and many others thought that idea was completely pointless-precisely because of Poland's unifying role. And now? We accept Belarus, but without Lukashenko, and we accept Ukraine, but only if it's ?orange.? In Georgia, we thumb our nose at Moscow. In the event of any bilateral conflicts, we say that Brussels should deal with them. So, there are many in Brussels who think it's better to bypass Poland. Hence the Northern Pipeline, the so-called sea highways and so on. There may well be more such bypasses, in different areas."
Adults work on far more complicated jigsaw puzzles than children. It's an uphill struggle. It really is an art to maintain a tough but flexible stance, to say "no," while stopping short of severing contacts and retaining one's dignity and a sense of proportion.
We seem to grow from the same stem and have many similar impulses, passions and reactions. Quite often, though, we seem to come from different civilizations and find it hard to understand the sources of other people's attitudes.
Realpolitik has to embrace both our current needs and our roots, the present and the future, seen in the context of the past. We-together with that journalist from the Moscow newspaper-have to take those thin threads and weave a web that will bear the load of our common needs.