Prime minister-in-waiting, Donald Tusk, has said that Polish troops - a thousand or so have been part of the what the hell-are-we-doing-there-anyway-coalition of the increasingly no- so-willing – will be out of the war-torn carnage in around nine months time.
A Polish Humvee ran into a landmine in Iraq, Friday morning, killing 31 year old Andrzej Filipek. He is the 28th Pole to die there. In a poll taken by CBOS this week, 81 percent are against the nation’s involvement.
It was interesting to see how the Iraq war crept its way into the election campaign last month. For much of the time since the war began, anti-Iraq war sentiment was left to the political extremes of the Roman Giertych, Andrzej Lepper, Radio Maryja and the New Left (dogs on pieces of string optional) alliance.
Tusk supported the war back when it started. It’s only recently he has taken up the peace mantle. In the election debate just before polling day with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, he questioned the purpose of continuing Poland’s presence in Iraq.
So will the Americans be upset by Tusk’s announcement? I doubt it. The Kaczynski government has put off getting the troops out a couple of times, now, and was leaving its options open to get out as soon as he could. So he might well have tried for a withdrawal next year, too.
And anyway – getting out of Iraq means they have all the more troops to get bogged down in the latest mess in Afghanistan.
Pro-US, or anti-Russian?
But Tusk is being a little more cautious on sounding too enthusiastic about being too subservient to United States defense policy. While the Kaczynski government seemed quite eager to accept the anti-missile shield on Polish soil, Tusk – in line with public opinion – says that he must be sure that Poland’s receives greater security from the base, and not less.
Kaczynski has also being saying that Europe is generally pro-European now, pointing to the new German and French governments as proof.
But he knows that the general public in France, Germany and Poland are a little more wary and distrusting of US policy. So why is he so enthusiastic for the ‘war of terror’ project?
Maybe it’s to do with Russia. The more a Pole fears Russia, the more enthusiastic he will how the protective arm of Washington. For Kaczynski, with Russia growing ever more economically powerful, the world is becoming bi-polar again, pro-Atlanticism is the only answer.
The rest of us aren’t so sure about the Good vs. Evil worldview.
What the new Polish government should be doing is asking itself some basic questions: as Pakistan looks set to become the latest state to be destabilized by the consequences of the reaction to 9/11 – the ‘war on terror’ – was a there a better way? Is the US’s defense policy part of the problem, not the solution? And is it worth getting involved in?
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Posted by beatroot at 11/04/2007