The Warsaw Network - Aktualności
Polexit, or the self-annihilation of Poland
The position of WEI on Polexit and its potential political and economic consequences. Should one day the tensions between Poland and the EU led to Polexit, it would be a geopolitical catastrophe.
The conflict with the European Commission and the initiation of the procedure under Article 7 of the Treaty of Lisbon gave rise to speculations as to whether this drama ends with Polexit, i.e. Poland's withdrawal from the European Union. This is not the goal of Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice). Quite the contrary, the ruling party rejects such an idea, but its radical supporters already are promoting a vision of their homeland outside the European structures on Internet forums. Should one day the tensions between Poland and the EU led to Polexit, it would be a geopolitical catastrophe.
Nothing whatso ever, no criticism from the Commission, the European Parliament or individual Member States, even unfounded scolding of Poland must not constitute reason for such considerations. The Union alongside NATO is one of the two foundations of our security. Good or bad, federal or not, kind towards Warsaw or not – it simply is one of those two foundations. There is no room for discussion or pros and cons analyses. Poland is not the United Kingdom, we do not have its location, nor economic and military potential, to allow any Polexit referendum at all, let alone to Polexit itself. It's “obvious obviousness”.
A Polish patriot may criticize the Union, he can fight in favor of a Europe of nations instead of a federal Europe, he can fight for the future shape of the EU by contesting its current systemic solutions. However, he must not question the membership of Poland in the Union. If he does, he is not a Polish patriot, his allegiance lies elsewhere.
In politics in general, and in international politics in particular, potential is the key element of the game – be it political, economic, military, cultural etc. There are no known cases of countries successful in the long term at pursuing a policy of punching above their weight, exceeding their potential. There will always be someone to say: “I call your bluff,” and rub one’s nose in it by means of sanctions, ostracism, economic blockade, or – worst case scenario – war.
Therefore, one ought to play on the international stage in accordance with one’s potential. If we want Poland to play a more significant role amongst other countries, we must develop our potential, not resort to grandiloquence unsupported by facts nor rooted in power. Our economy, GDP, the ability to build lasting alliances dominated by Poland, and finally the strength of our army, both in the qualitative and quantitative sense, do not justify the whim of independent functioning outside the EU. Membership in NATO alone is not enough, as the Treaty protects us solely against military threats, not against economic war or political domination.
The map, you fool!
Looking at the map of Europe should be one of the daily duties of both professional politicians and amateurs-enthusiasts. If only they had it in front of their eyes as often as possible, Polexit would have never come to their collective mind even as a purely theoretical concept, let alone a political plan.
In terms of geopolitics, Poland is located in the crumple zone. Our territory is the narrowest strip of land on the North European Plain, open to both the East and the West. It has been this way for centuries and this “transmission belt” encouraged many an army to attack our borders, hence in our genes, there are so many foreign admixtures. Moreover, on both sides of this “isthmus”, we have neighbors towering above us demographically, economically, and militarily. We would be able to afford complete independence only after we achieved their potential and could build our own sphere of influence competitive to the EU. However, we are not and will not be ever it seems if only for the demographic collapse. There is no chance for Poles to become a nation of 100 million.
For these very strategic reasons, we must have the support of the EU. Owing to this support, we find ourselves in the block of countries of Western civilization, standing next to or opposite the Russian, Eastern, Turanian civilization (as Polish historian and social philosopher Feliks Koneczny dubbed it), or however else we may call it. Our withdrawal from this block, even if we decide to remain in NATO, will open us to – if we may stay true to Koneczny’s terminology – the large steppe.
Accession to NATO and the EU were breakthrough moments in the history of Poland on the scale of centuries. It provided us with security unknown since the mid-17th century, when the Cossack, Swedish and Russian wars destroyed the potential of Poland to play the role of a Central Europe leader. We must not question these achievement, we must not misuse this window of historic opportunity and prosperity.
Let us criticize the EU, transform it if we can, block the solutions we view unfavorable if we can build a sufficient coalition for such a purpose, but let us never ever consider leaving the EU, even if the Union's reforms do not go our way and towards greater federalization.