‘US needs Poland just as a base area through which to threaten Russia’
Caleb Maupin is a radical journalist and political analyst who lives in New York City. Originally from Ohio, he studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College. In addition to his journalism, analysis, and commentary, he has engaged in political activism. He is a member of the Workers World Party and Fight Imperialism – Stand Together (FIST). He is a youth organizer for the International Action Center and was involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement from its planning stages in August 2011. He has worked against police brutality, mass incarceration, and imperialist war. He works to promote revolutionary ideology, and to support all who fight against the global system of monopoly capitalist imperialism.
On June 22 the Washington Post published a leaked conversation between the Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and Jacek Rostowski, an MP and former finance minister. According to the publication, Sikorski said that Warsaw’s alliance with the White House is worthless and even damaging as it “creates a false sense of security in Poland”. He has also compared his government’s stance to giving oral sex to the US and receiving nothing in return.
RT:This scandal is dominating news in Poland, yet the government refuses to comment. Why's that?
Caleb Maupin: I think the main reason is that with that kind of obscene and somewhat racist words it articulated what a great deal of the Polish people probably feels. Poland supported the US when during the attack on Iraq George W. Bush called on “the new Europe”, but yet they've got nothing out of it. The Polish people are suffering under extreme measures of austerity and now there are US troops piling into their country, using it as a place to threaten Russia. There is probably a great deal of resentment among a lot of Polish people, not just high up in the government but also throughout the country. I think that this phone call that was leaked revealed that the anger is widespread and that maybe why. It’s also interesting to point out that in light of this and the recent Victoria Nuland tapes and a lot of instances, the public officials while they may speak to the public in very clear and articulate words, behind closed doors their personal reactions can be quite obscene and it’s a very different personality than what we see in the public.
RT:So now that's out there. What will the damage be, do you think?
CM: It shows that there is a real awareness among the circles of power in Poland as to what the relationship with the US has really brought them, and it is nothing. It was the US bankers that facilitated the destruction of Poland when it was a socialist country, it’s the US banks, the IMF and Western European banks that are now overseeing the austerity that is going on, it is the US military that is piling into the country. US military corporations are making a great deal selling Poland weapons. But in the end the Polish people are not doing that great. Their life is not getting better. As much as Bush called it the “new Europe”, the life of people in Poland is not increasing, things are getting worse for the average Polish person. So this relationship with the US is clearly not a mutually beneficial relationship. I think that it is something that is widely understood even among the powerful and the leading political figures who may not say it to the public, but they know it. Polish people know in their bones that the US is not helping them and that is the reason this tape has gone to such a wide circulation.
RT:If Poland's relationship with the US is as fruitless as Sikorsky believes it is, why is it so central to Warsaw's policies?
CM: The US really needs Poland as a base area through which to threaten Russia and it has been using it for that case. The fact that the US troops are pouring into Eastern Europe, especially into Poland right now, the US is very threatened by Russia’s rising power on the world economy. The US simply cannot allow competitors in oil and natural gas. We are seeing the US military being used to threaten rivals of the US on the international markets. Poland is a base area. Again, is it in any way helping the Polish people to have soldiers pouring into their country to threaten rivals of the US in the international markets? Is that helping the people of Poland? Certainly not. But it certainly something that leaders of the US and the wealthy bankers feel that needs to be done. Does it help people of Poland? I think a lot of people of Poland do not think it is.
RT:Sikorsky said all Poland gets is an illusion of safety. What does he mean by 'illusion'? Poland is a member of NATO, what's illusionary about that?
CM: NATO has been marching eastwards. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union NATO has only been expanding and it is expanding all throughout Europe. I am sure it is very frightening to a lot of people, the fact that NATO is so rapidly expanding. A lot of people throughout Eastern Europe were convinced that by moving closer to the US and to the West the life would get better, but the result was instead increasing poverty, suffering, sex trafficking, drug addiction – all kinds of things that are the result of being financially linked to the US and Wall Street.
The impression that some people had that it would be different, but that has been a result of financial domination of the US over Eastern Europe, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But even prior the Polish socialist government was put into debt by US banks, and they really facilitated the destruction of Poland, they even backed a violent political movement called Solidarity, which was a violent political movement and they used workers there who made agreements to attack the government and create instability. The Polish people have been really harmed by the US over the course of the last several decades and especially now amidst this austerity and cutbacks. They really feel that. The government may continue to mouth support for the US, but people realize what’s going on and the tape revealed that.
RT:What should the public believe - the official statements of the politicians or the remarks the political allies make about each other out of public view?
CM: It is very interesting. To the public, politicians like Victoria Nuland and other figures; they speak very clearly and articulately, everything they say is very planned and staged and sound so nice. But when you hear them out of character, when you hear them off camera, when you hear what they are really like, they may not be the people you particularly care for. Politics has become very much a work of theater and drama, where people dress up and tell us things we want to hear, and the real decisions are made in the back room. This recent example of the obscene and racist language used by this political figure in Poland, it really a kind of reveals that the politics is not exactly what the Western media like it to be. There is a whole different sphere of decision making that don’t really need a public eye.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.