Thursday, September 17, 2009

Poland Cannot Trust the West

Poland Cannot Trust the West

The White House, caving to Russian pressure, announced today that the Bush-proposed missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic was being canceled. The plan had been fairly controversial, especially with the Russian leaders, as they viewed it as a threat to them, despite American assurances that it was to counter Iranian missile potential.

This proves once again that Poland can never completely trust the West.

Poland has a sad history of betrayal by Western powers.

In 1939, in the face of Nazi saber rattling, Britain and France gave Poland a guarantee that if Hitler invaded Poland, both nations would launch war on Germany. On September 1st, 1939, Der F├╝hrer invaded and the West did very little to hinder him. On September 17th Soviet Russia joined in, attacking Poland from the east. The Polish doctrine of two enemies (Germany to the west, Russia to the east) was proven true once again. A truly free and independent Poland disappeared until the fall of both Nazism (1945) and the Soviet Union (1989-1991).

During World War II, Polish troops formed a significant portion of Allied soldiery (one of the largest national contingents), contributing greatly in the Battle for Britain and the Italian Campaign. On the home front, the Home Army formed the largest (and most successful) underground resistance movement in Europe.

As soon as Poland itself fell to Nazi and Soviet aggression, the government-in-exile worked with Great Britain and other western allies to form a plan to reestablish Poland, when the opportunity presented itself. Headway was made, until the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union (through Polish territory), bringing the Soviets onto the Allies side - truly a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

From that point on, Polish "squabbling" over territorial integrity (Soviet Russia had annexed eastern Poland) irritated the British. Poland wanted their land back in its entirety, and the Soviet Union wanted Poland.

The preparations for Operation Tempest, the liberation of Poland and reestablishment of Polish government before the Soviets could take over, continued. The UK and US promised help in various ways; materiel, Polish troops currently fighting under British control, air drops and raids, et cetera.

While assuring the Poles of assistance, Churchill and especially FDR made concessions to Joseph Stalin. Without consulting their Polish allies, Churchill and FDR agreed that the Soviet Union could claim the Curzon Line as their mutual border with Poland, thereby giving the Soviets the eastern third of Poland (while "making up for it" by giving Poland some of eastern Germany). Churchill originally took a harder stance with Stalin, but after learning that FDR had privately agreed with Stalin on the Curzon Line, was forced to go along. All of this came out at the Yalta Conference.

The summer of 1944 finally rolled around. The Red Army had been pushing the Nazi Wehrmacht out of Russia, and entered pre-war Poland, hot on the Germans heels. With "Allied" troops now in Poland, Operation Tempest was launched. Initial contact with the Red Army by the Polish Home Army was friendly, but once the front line rolled past, the Soviet NKVD (forerunner of the KGB) viciously murdered or repatriated to Siberia most Home Army or government officials, and deported masses of civilians. Neither the British nor the Americans believed reports coming out of Poland, calling them "anti-Soviet".

Seeing what became of their comrades-at-arms, the Polish government-in-exile altered the objective of Operation Tempest. The aim was now to liberate Warsaw, the capital, and show the world that Poland was still by right a free land. The "Warsaw Rising" commenced on August 1st, 1944, with the Soviet troops within sight of Warsaw.

For two months the Poles fought in the streets of Warsaw, with little of the promised-British/American aid, and with no cooperation from the suddenly sluggish Soviets. The Polish paratroops were not sent as agreed, aid was limited (in part by Soviet AA fire at Allied planes), and pressure was not applied to the Soviets. Initially planned to only last a few days, the courageous Poles had fought for 63 days, and were forced to surrender only after losing nearly all the ground they had ripped from the Nazis grip.

The West looked the other way as brutal Nazi repression was replaced by even more brutal Soviet repression. The aforementioned Polish doctrine of two enemies was clearly proven again. One could say that the Germans systematically murdered and oppressed specific groups of people (such as Jews and ethnic-Poles), while the Soviets systematically murdered and oppressed all groups. After all, the Soviets had been running the Gulag well over a decade before the Nazi extermination and concentration camps were opened.

Poland, which gave so much for the war effort, was given over to Soviet rule without so much as a whimper from the West. This only changed with the ascension to power of President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who began to roll back past injuries by their support of the Solidarity movement. A free Poland finally emerged after decades of Soviet rule by Western consent.

After 9/11, President Bush courted Eastern Europe, and Poland in particular. Poland contributed to the liberation of Iraq. In light of the growing belligerence coming from Russia, Poland was glad to move closer to the United States. When President Bush proposed his missile defense shield as a safeguard against Iranian nuclear madness, Poland (along with the Czech Republic) agreed to host the facilities. Russia threw a fit, at one point actually threatening "military action" if the installations were placed.

Poland and the Czech Republic, our closest allies in Eastern Europe, took a great risk in defying Russia in this way, only to be thrown under the bus by President Obama. And to add insult to injury, this announcement came on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland.

Obama is acting a lot like another Progressive liberal Democrat President, bowing to pressure by Russia's latest Stalin wannabe.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, 1945 - Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, 2009

Unfortunately, Poland, the West continues to prove itself untrustworthy in regards to you.


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