Editor’s Note: Contributor Peter S. Rieth has transcribed below his interview with Michal Krupa, the deputy director of the Polish National Party, concerning relations among Poland, the United States, the European Union, France, and Russia.
Peter S. Rieth: You hosted President Trump’s candidate for the US ambassador to the EU, Dr. Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, in Poland recently. Not long after, the Wall Street Journal and other papers reported he was never a candidate for US ambassador. What should we make of this?
Michał Krupa: These are the same news papers which spent 2016 lying to the American people about Donald Trump, which have lied to the American people at least since the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq fiasco and if you want to believe that these newspapers have stopped lying instead of continuing to lie in order to damage President Trump and his allies abroad, feel free.
Peter S. Rieth: How would you describe the current status of US-EU relations?
Michał Krupa: The current status of US-EU relations, so far as I can see, is a love-hate relationship. On the one hand you have the EU elites, especially Mr. Juncker and Mr. Tusk, making idiotic statements and wild suggestions about the results of the recent presidential election in the United States. Mr. Tusk at one point in a letter to twenty-seven EU leaders, mentioned the Trump administration as part of an external “threat” to the bloc alongside China, Russia, radical Islam, war and terror. How deranged is that ? Mr. Juncker is no better. He even went as far as to threaten the US with supporting secessionist movements in America if the new administration did not become more pro-EU. Ridiculous statements coming from ridiculous leaders. On the other hand, there is a need to hype the so-called Russian threat and so in that case Washington all of a sudden becomes indispensable for the European free-riders. Conciliatory and reassuring statements coming from the State Department notwithstanding, I think the EU leaders truly harbor a hate for and fear of Donald Trump. I do hope, for the sake of Europe, the West and Poland, that Donald Trump continues to disappoint these utter losers and “low energy” buffoons.
Peter S. Rieth: How do you see Poland’s role in the political geopolitics of US-EU relations?
Michał Krupa: In my humble opinion, Poland should be at the forefront of what I might call the New Sovereigntism in the European Union. I also think bold leadership requires not whining on the part of Warsaw whenever Berlin—pardon me—Brussels, sidetracks Poland on major issues and treats us like a neo-colony of sorts, but rather it requires firm and assertive statements, as well as actions aimed at the real deficiencies of the EU. For example, in light of Brexit and the rise of populism in Europe, I do not see how the narrative of “we want to be in the EU, but we want a different EU”, which is a flipped version of the liberal mantra “we want more Europe”, can be a sustainable policy in the long-run. How exactly is Poland able to reform the EU when we are treated not only like a backward pariah, but our influence on real potential change is practically zero ? Are we really that timid to propose if not a POLEXIT than at least a discussion on a potential geopolitical realignment which will undoubtedly take place in the next decade as the world becomes even more multipolar, and western EU nations more irrelevant and, dare I say, islamic? The Trump presidency, abstracting from its shortcomings and mistakes, is a clear rebuke of globalism and supranational institutions, as Dr. Malloch made very clear in Poland. The Polish government should take this signal seriously and give up on the notion of trying to reform something supranational which has shown itself to be immune to change. There is life outside of the European Union. Let’s stop trying to make the EU great again, and start focusing on making Poland great again.
Peter S. Rieth: You took Dr. Malloch to Jasna Gora, where (amongst other things), you discovered then-Senator John F. Kennedy’s historic signature in the guest book. What was the significance of Dr. Malloch’s visit there – what can an American learn at Jasna Gora?
Michał Krupa: Americans, who visit Jasna Góra, as many have in the past, including the Kennedys, Jack and Bobby, can learn what is the essence of Polishness. One of Poland’s greatest political thinkers and statesmen, Roman Dmowski, wrote in his book The Church, Nation and the State (1927) the following words: Catholicism is not an addition to Polishness, coloring it in some way, but is a part of its essence; in large measure it defines its essence. Any attempt to separate Catholicism from Polishness, to separate the nation from religion and from the Church, threatens to destroy the nation’s very essence. And that, I think, is the what Jasna Góra can teach people, including Americans, who try to grasp the essence of Poland and Polishness. We are a nation and a state founded on the basis of the Cross and the Gospel, Catholicism is in our blood and genes, even in those of us, who are not fervent Catholics, but still retain many aspects of a culture influenced by Christian Civilization. When you understand this, it is much easier to grasp the Polish heart, the true Polish spirit and the reason why we fight. In a world of chaos, relativism and decaying moral norms, Jasna Góra reminds us that there are eternal truths, eternal norms, that never change, just like the unchangeable love which a mother has for her children and which we clearly recognize in the the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Poland.
Peter S. Rieth: In an interview with Polish media, Dr. Malloch was very diplomatic about the new French President, but it is obvious that Polish-French relations are on the verge of collapse and Western Europe will no doubt soon begin the process of pushing Poland out of the Union or at the very least vying to change the Polish government. Is the fact that Dr. Malloch was a guest of the only political group openly calling for Polish withdrawal from the Union a sign that the United States might be probing a closer political alliance with Poland should the European Union fall apart and result in a distinct Western and Eastern European block?
Michał Krupa: Pushing us out, you say? Why, that would be wonderful news! However, I think our timid government will want to remain at least for some time on this sinking ship, throwing around terms, such as “European solidarity,” which nobody really cares about. I do look forward to any moves by the Trump administration, which would weaken the EU and cripple the power of its incompetent elites. I think the fight over the Paris Climate Accord will be the opening salvo of this battle. As was said many times by Dr. Malloch, the orientation of the current administration in Washington is making bilateral “deals” with concrete nation-states and not supranational entities. It is hard to say what will come after the potential collapse of the EU. This task in and of itself is a mighty endeavor. However, if Donald Trump were to contribute something to this process and as a result we might finally have a chance at building a Europe that echoes the vision of the great Charles de Gaulle, then I think we would be justified in erecting a monument to the current President of the United States somewhere in Warsaw.
Peter S. Rieth: The French have signaled that they intend to pursue sanctions against Poland, and there is talk in Brussels that Poland will not be invited to the negotiations on the subject of the next EU budget projection from 2020 onwards. In case of open political conflict between Poland and the Western European establishment–Do you think President Trump will support Poland?
Michał Krupa: I think President Trump has more important things to worry about on the home front. He was elected by the American, not Polish people. I think Mr. Macron was trying to act tough when he proposed sanctions. Euroscepticism has been on the rise in Poland during the last decade, with the exception of continued enthusiasm for the stream of Euros which Poland receives from time to time. The immigration crisis has only intensified this skepticism. If Macron wants to maintain the current EU and combat nationalism, placing sanctions on an already relatively Eurosceptic nation would be the dumbest thing he and Angela Merkel could do. On the other hand, sanctions could be a sort of felix culpa, in the sense that Jarosław Kaczyński might finally come to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, this behemoth of a project called the EU is not reformable after all? And that maybe it is better to build the pillars of a future world with countries that respect our sovereignty, Christian culture, interests, rather than with those that want to bribe us with billions of Euros and then tell us to put up or shut up when it comes to such issues as the killing of unborn children, LGBT and Gender ideology propaganda, refugee quotas or the wiping out of entire industries. If Kaczyński will be slow in grasping this, I firmly believe some other political force will be more than happy to take up the standard of Polish independence.
Peter S. Rieth: Moving on–while it is true that controversies surrounding the Polish constitutional court are its’ internal matters, Poland has in a sense invited censure on the part of the EU. It has also demanded European solidarity in the face of what it has called a Russian threat. Can Poland’s current government really be surprised that the French and other Western countries have now become hostile towards Poland? Polish democracy is faltering – so why should the West defend it against Russia? Poland has reneged on its promise to buy French helicopters, yet has demanded that the French forego arms sales to Russia? Has Poland’s government created its own crisis?
Michał Krupa: The level of incompetence of this current government in many areas is truly comical. For example, I do not understand why we feel compelled to seek support for our potential membership in the UN Security Council in Africa? Would it not be easier to organize a grand Trump-Putin summit in Warsaw and use such an event to get the backing of these two major players in the UN, while at the same time holding serious discussions with the Chinese in the context of the New Silk Road? If you have the backing of Russia, the United States and China, then you are guaranteed a seat at the UN Security Council. But our government seems to think that any and all high-level contacts with Moscow are tantamount to treason and moral betrayal. Think about it, in the last two years there have not been any high-level, presidential or ministerial Polish-Russian meetings. This despite the fact that Washington talks to Moscow regularly, most of the EU countries continue to openly dialogue with Moscow. Even Petro Poroshenko, our supposed strategic ally, has met and talked with Vladimir Putin over the course of the last three years. And so, I think, our government, especially our foreign minister, has to always keep in mind the wise words of JFK: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” Poland’s government has in a way created it’s own crisis. By not picking its battles wisely, by still clinging to a manichean and Cold War-like mentality and by general incompetence (for our American readers, just google Edmund Janiger and Bartłomiej Misiewicz), we seem to be executing what seems to be mix of good intentions, naive views and a general lack of initiatiave and nuance in a world which more and more demands creative thinking.
Peter S. Rieth: You and I were amongst a very small group of Poles who believed from the beginning of the Maidan revolution that Poland should have taken the political route of Belorus – and offered to mediate the conflict rather than take sides. We have also advocated for closer Polish-Russian ties. Did Dr. Malloch suggest to Jaroslaw Kaczynski that perhaps Polish and Russian leaders should finally meet to iron out their differences under American mediation? Do you think they should?
Michał Krupa: Although I am not at liberty to discuss the substance of the discussion between Jarosław Kaczyński and Dr. Malloch, I do believe that we need a serious reset in Polish-Russian relations. Less and less people believe in the “Russia is responsible for all evil in the world”mantra pushed by all sorts of cranks and pundits in the Western media and echoed by many so-called experts in Poland. The main point is this: you do not have to love Vladimir Putin, to talk to Vladimir Putin. Diplomacy is not about sentiments and emotions. Diplomacy is about strategy, adaptation, learning from the mistakes of the past, an open mind about future prospects, an ability to foresee, the constant reminding of oneself, that alliances are not eternal, and, I think, the most important element of any diplomatic undertaking, is the ability to try and see the world from the perspective of your interlocutor or adversary. Personally, I do not think we need and we should not seek anyone’s mediation in our talks with Russia. However, if that’s what it takes to finally get us to the table with the Russians, then I am fine with such an outcome. It would be the biggest paradox of history, if the nation that we expect to protect us from supposed Russian aggression, is the one that makes it clear to us that it expects us to act like adults vis a vis Moscow. I do think a Trump-Putin reset could push us in that direction and I also would like to stress this—many of Donald Trump’s supposed “fans” in Poland, many of whom a few months back were openly deriding him and hoping for Crooked Hillary, dread the idea of US-Russian reset, because their entire political and business enterprise, based to a large degree on Russia bashing, would come crashing down. President Trump is such a titanic figure, that criticizing him for advancing the interests of the United States by some political sect, which makes its money selling the idea that “little green men” are on the verge of invading Poland, would look pretty ridiculous.
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Editor’s note: The featured image is from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, and is licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.