The Polish President Said Kiev Isn’t Doing The West Any Favors & Its Counteroffensive Failed

Yves here. If you’ve been following the Ukraine war, you may have noticed the disconnect between reports touting the idea that Poland might be prepared to intervene militarily or find some pretext for a less aggressive takeover of parts of Western Ukraine versus Warsaw and Kiev trading barbs. Note that the reports pressing the idea that Poland might Do Something also overlook that the Polish military was reported as being not keen about intervention. Polish voters are also souring on Project Ukraine, due among other reasons to the refugee influx hitting a level where Poles are reported to be worried about dilution of their culture.

But Ukraine is its own worst enemy. Ukraine officials has been constantly whinging for more support as if it were a matter of right and being openly dissatisfied about what they are getting. That posture led Biden to rebuke Zelensky privately a while back.

At the start of August, a Polish presidential aide complained that Ukraine was not grateful for the support it was getting. That led Ukraine to take the high-handed step of Ukraine summoning the Polish ambassador for a dressing-down (this sort of thing is usually reserved for more serious and substantive rows). As Euronews points out, Polish unhappiness about Ukraine grain undercutting Polish farmers is another source of tension:

Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania have all seen their domestic grain production and relative compatibility in the EU single market – which they belong to and Ukraine does not – suffer due to copious amounts of cheaper grain flooding the market.

The UN brokered a deal between Russia and Ukraine in July of 2022…

Soon after, farmers in EU nations bordering Ukraine complained that the grain was making its way into EU markets and that their locally produced grain – which is subject to EU regulations, taxes and other mechanisms and thus automatically more expensive – was being cast aside.

As a result, these countries independently imposed a ban on importing Ukrainian grain in April.

Unilateral import bans risk violating the principle of a common EU market…

In response, the European Commission adopted an exceptional measure which replaced the national import bans with an EU-approved ban for the five…

The measure is due to expire on 15 September.

However, Poland has said it will not lift its individual ban if the EU chooses to not extend this measure.

The Andrew Korybko post below has more details on the progress of the spat.

By Andrew Korybko, a Moscow-based American political analyst who specializes in the global systemic transition to multipolarity in the New Cold War. He has a PhD from MGIMO, which is under the umbrella of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Originally published at his website

Casual observers might be shocked by the Polish leader’s candidness, while Kiev’s supporters might accuse him of “betraying” their regime after becoming the first Western leader to debunk its top two lies nowadays, but his words weren’t unprovoked nor said in a vacuum. The background is that political ties between these wartime allies have tremendously worsened since late July after both sides finally began prioritizing their contradictory national interests.

Two of Kiev’s top propaganda narratives nowadays are that it’s selflessly sacrificing itself for the sake of the West by fighting Russia instead of surrendering and that its ongoing counteroffensive is succeeding in pushing that country’s forces out of Ukraine’s pre-2014 borders. The first largely remains above official criticism or skepticism since those who dare to doubt it risk being “canceled”, but the second has suddenly begun to be debunked by the Mainstream Media as proven by the following articles:

* NBC News: “Is Ukraine’s counteroffensive failing? Kyiv and its supporters worry about losing control of the narrative

* CNN: “Western allies receive increasingly ‘sobering’ updates on Ukraine’s counteroffensive: ‘This is the most difficult time of the war’

* CNN: “Why a stalled Ukrainian offensive could represent a huge political problem for Zelensky in the US

* CNN: “‘We expected less resistance’: Ukrainian troops on southern front learn not to underestimate their enemy

* The Hill: “Alarm grows as Ukraine’s counteroffensive falters

* Washington Post: “Slow counteroffensive darkens mood in Ukraine

In the face of this rapidly shifting narrative that threatens to topple one of the pillars of Kiev’s Western-directed propaganda, Zelensky’s senior advisor Mikhail Podolyak lashed out at critics in a tweet thread here where he demanded that they “be patient and closely monitor” his side’s progress. Polish President Andrzej Duda has been doing precisely that since the NATO-Russian proxy war in Ukraine began, however, and he’s concluded that Kiev isn’t doing the West any favors and its counteroffensive failed.

He dropped both bombshells, the first of which debunked the claim that Kiev is selflessly sacrificing itself for the sake of the West and which hitherto hadn’t ever been officially challenged by any Western leader before, in an interview with the Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen from 1 August that was published nine days later. The relevant excerpts will be republished below for the reader’s convenience before analyzing them in the context of this conflict and evolving Polish-Ukrainian ties in particular:

“Q: At the NATO summit when President [Volodymyr] Zelensky criticized the [leaders’ joint statement about Ukraine’s prospective membership], there was criticism of him that he was ungrateful for all the help [given to] Ukraine. That suggests that our help to Ukraine is charity. Is our help to Ukraine charity, or is Ukraine really doing us a favor by giving its children, its lives to defend us against the Russian threat?

A: I would say it this way: I don’t see it in these categories — neither that we are doing an act of charity for Ukraine, nor that Ukraine is doing charity for us…We are sending them arms. Why? Because we want to support them in defending their own territory.

We Poles have many reasons to supply Ukrainians with weapons. … But the whole democratic world also knows that any aggressor who violates the borders of a democratic state in the 21st century in Europe must be stopped.”

Q: Could Poland fight a combined arms operation without long-range weapons and without air power? Because that’s what we’re forcing the Ukrainians to do today. What does Ukraine need that it’s not getting today?

A: Ukraine has been supplied with long-range artillery, and it is being supplied with long-range artillery to this day. … One could go as far as to say that Ukraine now has much more modern military capabilities than Russia.

The question is: Does Ukraine have enough weapons to change the balance of the war and get the upper hand? And the answer is probably no. They probably do not have enough weapons. And we know this by the fact that they’re not currently able to carry out a very decisive counteroffensive against the Russian military. To make a long story short, they need more assistance.”

Casual observers might be shocked by the Polish leader’s candidness, while Kiev’s supporters might accuse him of “betraying” their regime after becoming the first Western leader to debunk its top two lies nowadays, but his words weren’t unprovoked nor said in a vacuum. The background is that political ties between these wartime allies have tremendously worsened since late July as was documented in the following analyses:

* “Poland & Ukraine Are Arguing Over Grain Once Again

* “Ukraine’s Ungratefulness Is Finally Starting To Perturb Poland

* “Kiev’s Prediction Of Post-Conflict Competition With Poland Bodes Ill For Bilateral Ties

In brief, each side finally began prioritizing their national interests, which resulted in public tensions due to the absence of any pressure valve for dealing with sensitive disagreements such as those over agricultural cooperation and historical memory. Moreover, each side has self-interested political reasons in escalating rhetoric against the other: Ukraine wants to distract from its failing counteroffensive while the ruling Polish party wants to rally its nationalist base ahead of mid-October’s elections.

It was against this backdrop that Duda did the previously unthinkable by telling one of the US’ most influential Mainstream Media outlets that Kiev isn’t doing the West any favors by fighting Russia and that its counteroffensive failed. Granted, he conveyed these two points in a “polite” way that signaled his continued support for NATO’s proxy war on Russia through Ukraine, but it’s still an unforgivable offense from that regime’s perspective.

NBC News warned earlier this month that Kiev and its supporters are worried about losing control of the narrative, which has now come to pass after what Duda just said. He and his country are much more popular and less polarizing among average Westerners than Zelensky and Ukraine, plus nobody doubts their anti-Russian credentials due to widespread awareness of Poland’s difficult history with that country. These observations mean that his words will likely have an outsized impact on reshaping the narrative.

As for the future of Polish-Ukrainian relations, it’s looking dimmer by the day due to their spiraling disputes becoming self-sustaining at this stage. That’s not to suggest that Warsaw will cut Kiev off from arms and other forms of support, but just that the trust which used to characterize their relations since February was finally exposed as illusory. This could complicate their reported plans to form a joint military unit and could lead to Poland acting unilaterally in Western Ukraine in the worst-case scenario.

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  1. NN Cassandra

    I wonder if partial reason for Ukraine officials seeming ungratefulness isn’t that back in April 2022, when West told Ukraine to drop the tentative peace agreement and fight, they promised them basically unlimited money, weapons and everything so Ukraine can beat Russia and achieve great victory. And now, when Zelensky can see he was duped and for the West he is just cannon fodder, he is a little bit testy.

    1. Benny Profane

      “And everything” could only mean a full on shock and awe NATO attack from the west. If Zelensky thought anything less would succeed, he deserves to be hung from the highest building in Kiev for criminal stupidity.
      I suspect that Biden’s people (Biden, ahem, never does business ) and Boris Johnson delivered major amounts of cash in various bank accounts belonging to Zelensky and his generals to keep them focused on the project. The trick is getting out alive. Better stay away from those decision making centers.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        First, as Douglas Macgregor explained for some time, only a very few nations in NATO would have been up for Ukraine adventurism and that number has shrunk from its low level to maybe Poland and the super Russia hating UK and the US. Of course the US might browbeat some like Romania to send a toke force.

        Second, the Ukraine war has attrited NATO weapons stocks. There’s not a lot of “shock” left ex nukes.

          1. Kouros

            Romania attacked the USSR together with germany, because USSR has invaded and appropriated two historically Romanian teritories in 1940, Bessarabia (now R of Moldova, while the south is in Ukraine), and Northern Bucovina (now part of Ukraine). It lost, but it lost maybe the least among Germany’s allies, because it change sides when the situation became clear, and then lost 250,000 soldiers fighting Germany.

        1. Kouros

          US might browbeat some Romanian politicians – sooo easy to blackmail, but that would really, really, really piss off the population there, especially after seeing the bombing of Izmir and other ports just accross the Danube, in Ukraine…

    2. Feral Finster

      “And now, when Zelensky can see he was duped and for the West he is just cannon fodder, he is a little bit testy.”

      Zelenskii doesn’t care how many Ukrainians are slaughtered. Didn’t care then, doesn’t care now.

      If it comes down to it, he’ll just do a Ghani and bunk off to his villa in Italy or his Miami penthouse.

    3. Kouros

      This is my feeling too. In my view, Ukraine is entitled to ask for the sky from USUK, because I think this is what it was promised. However, the Ukrainians have forgotten that the Americans are not agreement capable, and the Americans now don’t like to see this publicized..

      1. cosmiccretin

        No one apart from the actual parties to it – namely Zelensky, Johnson and his US puppet-masters – is privy to what were the promises, exactly (or even inexactly, ie purposely left vague/ambiguous) which induced Zelensky to rescind his previous acceptance of the draft agreement initialed in Istanbul in late March 2022 (which would have ended hostilities, at least for a time and perhaps permanently).

        But what everyone – except according to him (if he is to be believed) Zelensky himself – knows full well is: – that UKUSA is demonstrably, incontrovertibly, “agreement-incapable” and that therefore WHATEVER promises or guarantees (as in Biden’s repeated declarations that the USA would help Ukraine “for however long it might take” to expel the Russians from pre-2014 ukrainian territory) were completely worthless – sheer bombast.

        Their fulfilment was predicated on the assumption that the sanctions alone could be expected to lead to Putin’s speedy fall from power and the disintegration of the Russian Federation, without the necessity for anything more than a walkover military victory by Ukraine’s NATO-ised

        Evidently Zelensky (from having won the presidency on a platform promising the exact opposite – ie rapprochement with Russia) was so foolish as to believe that sales-pitch – more fool he. The rest is history.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I agree with the latter part of your comment, but people very close to the action have leaked enough that we have a good idea of what Johnson said to Zelensky to get him to drop the tentative deal. From Responsible Statecraft:

          Russia and Ukraine may have agreed on a tentative deal to end the war in April, according to a recent piece in Foreign Affairs.

          “Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement,” wrote Fiona Hill and Angela Stent. “Russia would withdraw to its position on February 23, when it controlled part of the Donbas region and all of Crimea, and in exchange, Ukraine would promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.”

          The news highlights the impact of former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s efforts to stop negotiations, as journalist Branko Marcetic noted on Twitter. The decision to scuttle the deal coincided with Johnson’s April visit to Kyiv, during which he reportedly urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to break off talks with Russia for two key reasons: Putin cannot be negotiated with, and the West isn’t ready for the war to end.

          Recall that Foreign Affairs is far and away the most prestigious US foreign policy publication.

        2. kam

          Zelensky was promised many, rebuilt knives and wooden sticks for a gun fight with Russia.
          I think most Ukrainians, upon reflection, would prefer to exchange a Zelensky Seppuku for a return of the thousands of dead, innocent Ukrainian men, sent on another useless, British “Light Brigade”, Dunkirk mission.

    4. Hubal

      Cheated??? Ha ha ha ha! Do not make me laugh! The roles were written from the very beginning – from 2014. Only someone without a brain could have been ignorant of the situation and intentions of the Yankees towards Ukraine. This is Yankee politics in all its glory. Falsehood, lies, hyperhypocrisy, sticking your nose into other people’s problems and the insatiable greed of a plunderer. Those who in their naivety believe any assurances of the Yankees are unworthy of sympathy.

  2. Wæsfjord

    “any aggressor who violates the borders of a democratic state in the 21st century in Europe must be stopped.”

    Where did this nonsense about countries’ borders being inviolable come from? Borders are made by fighting wars and winning or losing them. Everything else is noise. Compare the Countries of Europe before and after the world wars. Gee, how did they get like that?

    The collapse of the Soviet Union left a lot of unsolved contradictions that need to be resolved. “International law”, whatever that is, is not going to stand in the way of these tectonic forces anymore than King Canut could hold back the tide. Ukraine is going to be divided into its constituent Russian/Ukrainian parts and that’s it. There will be lots of tears in the West until the next big thing comes along.

    1. Donald

      I noticed a different point— he said “democratic” countries have inviolable borders, meaning that the “ democratic” countries can violate the borders of official enemies if they choose to do so. No, he doesn’t spell it out, but he doesn’t have to— it’s clearly how Western elites think.

      1. Polar Socialist

        I noticed first the emphasis on European borders being inviolable. I guess one has to thread carefully when one has created a moralistic narrative filled with double-standards.

        1. upstater

          It is a “garden” as we all know, even if Europeans and their offspring have exhibited the most jungle-like behavior at homecand abroad for 1,000 years and counting.

      2. JohnnyGL

        Also, he said 21st century. Messing around with Yugoslavia was in the 20th century, so it’s cool…

      3. NN Cassandra

        It’s always good to remember that Poland was, along with US & UK, participant in the initial unprovoked (as kids says in these days) aggression against Iraq. And Ukraine, while not joining the initial attack, participated in following occupation, btw.

    2. spud

      bill clinton upset that apple cart in yugoslavia. when he did it, i said look at the bag that idiot just opened.

  3. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    In the early hours yesterday, the BBC World Service featured an interview an interview with Polish politician and former minister Radek Sikorski. He was at pains to stress the righteousness of Ukraine’s cause and the barbarism of Russia, not just Putin, and pleaded for patience over the counteroffensive and more support.

    He briefly mentioned the Polish forces being deployed along the border with Belarus and Ukraine and implied Poland’s readiness to step in. I wondered if his two sons, borne by Anne Apfelbaum and educated at Eton and Oxford, are at the front. Sikorski claims kinship with WW2 general Sikorski, part of the Ruritanian BS he maintained at Oxford and in the Bullingdon Club, all at UK taxpayers’ expense.

    Mum reports another influx of Ukrainian children, after a pause in June and July and two waves in May, and they being given priority for school places next month. As government schools outside London are oversubscribed and the refos don’t want to stay in urban areas and prefer the Chilterns, Cotswolds and Downs, it has been suggested they be placed in private schools. The Thames valley counties, ex London, have 60 local government employees devoted to supporting the refos. There are many more in Whitehall and from NGOs.

    1. digi_owl

      It is increasingly interesting how the trendy practice of women retaining their maiden name upon marriage obscures familial links in politics, business and media.

      And thinking about it, was there not some bruhaha years ago about someone acting as a go-between thanks to sharing boardrooms with various individuals.

      1. Revenant

        Only a trendy practice for WASPs. Iberian cultures have coped for decades in business and politics with husbands and wives having different surnames, and their children carrying one of each.

  4. Stephen

    The blame game.

    If Boris Johnson and the Collective West had not intervened last year then the war would be over. My recollection is that he promised support on behalf of Biden if Zelensky stopped negotiating and threatened to stop paying Ukrainian pensions and public sector salaries if he continued negotiating. Uncle Sam and the EU pay the bills. They can pull the plug whenever they choose. Claiming that Ukraine is not a western sacrifice to fight Russia is quite disingenuous.

    It is 100% consistent though with a scenario of impending defeat. In such a case it cannot be “our” war in the public narrative. Because if it is then “we” the omnipotent collective west will have lost. No one ever admits that, even if the Global South are all smart enough to know. But western publics are expected to swallow the propaganda. So a narrative that we have helped Ukraine in “their” fight but it ultimately was not enough and that is their fault that it was not enough seems like the direction this will take. No doubt a story along the lines of “Lions Led by Donkeys” will be the one chosen. Ordinary Ukrainians let down by their leaders.

    Zelensky knows the truth though. One can understand why he may be bitter. Without of course seeing him as a helpless victim. Biden chastising him for lack of gratitude reminds me though of the expression in “The Outlaw Josey Wales” when Clint Eastwood says: “do not p%%% down my back and then say it is raining.” If Zelensky knows what is good for him though he will shut up about it. Mansions in various parts of the collective west await but assets can also easily be seized these days too.

    1. JW

      I just can’t see Zelenskyy surviving. If I was a Ukrainian soldier I would hunt him down. I think the most charitable thing you could say about him is that he was a stupid idiot to fall for the US/UK bait to be used as a battering ram against Russia.

      1. TimH

        Remember the Panama Files? Zelenskyy had a lot of money, in the $100Ms as I remember, in his account. Zelenskyy didn’t “fall for the US/UK bait”. He was paid.

  5. Lex

    I still think Poland has its eyes on Galitzia but have never thought that Poland was about to enter Ukraine in force to fight Russia. Poland retaking Galitzia will also turn into a violent tragedy. Few seem to remember that modern Ukrainian nationalism of the Bandera sort was originally about polish rule.

    But there’s something bigger here. Ukraine doesn’t have any actual allies. The nations supporting it are using it for their own goals, and Ukraine is doing the same. However, grievance is baked deeply into Ukrainian nationalism. It will be turned against the current supporters of Kiev and Poland will be the first target. The “stabbed in the back” propaganda will be powerful (and generally correct). Ukrainian nationalist hatred of Russia won’t disappear, but Poland and the EU will be softer targets and an easy argument that Ukraine could have won if only the “friends” had supported it fully.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Lex: Astute comments:
      –“But there’s something bigger here. Ukraine doesn’t have any actual allies. The nations supporting it are using it for their own goals, and Ukraine is doing the same. However, grievance is baked deeply into Ukrainian nationalism.”

      Not having any actual allies. I never thought of it that way. Yet that explains the endless attempts to jump the line to get into the European Union, which till recently wouldn’t even have considered Ukraine. As I often write, with regard to the EU, I will wait till they let the long-suffering Albanians in. Then we can talk Ukraine (well, after Turkey).

      Likewise, because Ukraine has no local or adjacent allies (Poland? Hungary? Belarus? Romania?), the government is desperate to jump the line into NATO.

      As I keep repeating, the Western elites have no strategy and no tactics. After years of looting Ukraine, Joe (dad of Addled but Lucrative Hunter) Biden is the only “ally” Ukraine has. Joe’s allyship largely derives from stealing from Ukraine and his own obvious personal resentments.

      In short, what a strategic and tactical disaster. With some 300,000 dead Ukrainian solders. Time to end this mess. Would that we had a justice system that would place Regime Change Karen, Banality of Evil Blinken, and Joe Biden in the slammer.

      1. OIFVet

        “Not having any actual allies. I never thought of it that way. Yet that explains the endless attempts to jump the line to get into the European Union…Likewise … the government is desperate to jump the line into NATO”

        I really don’t think it’s a matter of having, or not having, allies. Rather, Zelensky and Ukraine have now come to believe their own BS and have developed a sort of Ukrainian exceptionalism which they feel gives them the right to demand whatever they dream up the night before. Think of how entitled they sound every time they demand something, it’s just like the US demanding whatever it wants.

        The funny thing is, the US and the EU have only themselves to blame. They mythologized Zelenski and gave him ready access to lecture parliaments and governments at will. Likewise, they mythologized Ukrainian fighting prowess and mettle, which only further pumps up egos already inflated by a certain virulent ideology. It’s a toxic combination and the US and Europe will have to live with the results once Ukraine starts to look for scapegoats, as it won’t under any circumstance looknitself in the mirror and accept any of the responsibility for having delusions of grandeur while being no more than a pawn.

        1. Lex

          Agreed on Ukrainian exceptionalism. That’s going to be problematic when it’s time to reconcile it with the coming abandonment by its current sponsors. And unless something changes, the Ukrainian nationalist movement will likely reconcile the disparity with violence.

      2. spud

        you have to reach back as far as 1993 to round up the free trading idiots that have destroyed the world.

        they must be made a example of, so that at least the world can regain some of its civil societies back, till the next rise of the cranks appears again.

    2. OIFVet

      “However, grievance is baked deeply into Ukrainian nationalism. It will be turned against the current supporters of Kiev and Poland will be the first target.”

      It would be just deserts for Poland.

    3. Raymond Sim

      Perhaps it’s lack of imagination on my part, but I don’t see how suppressing the Banderists does not eventually become a Polish national security imperative. And I think it likely that all other parties will accomodate them in doing so, chaos being the alternative. US ruling circles do seem to be chaos fans though.

    4. Feral Finster

      I cannot imagine that Poland would want a large, well-armed and fractious population that are not only by no stretch of the imagination Polish, but also have a history of ethnic cleansing and genocide directed against Polish people well within living memory.

      1. Lex

        Nor I, but it appears that Polish leadership does. It makes no sense to me why Poland would be supporting Ukraine as it is now given the issues you raise, but it is. Duda can’t even get Kiev to apologize for the ethnic cleansing and genocide. And the Poles will be the ones Ukraine blames most for the stab in the back, whether Poland gets a slice of its “historical territory” or not.

    5. Kouros

      Ukraine had real allies in Russia and Belarus. It chose to antagonize them – burning alive Russians and bombing for years Russian civilians of Ukrianian citizenship.

      Now the Ukrainians are being cut down to size, deservedly so.

  6. The Rev Kev

    Up until recently, Polish President Andrzej Duda has been gung ho on this war to the point that thousands of Polish ‘volunteers’ have been killed in this war so far. God knows how much military gear he has sent to the Ukraine or what will be the cost of the new Polish army that he wants to build up will be. But based on bits and pieces that I have been reading the past few days, I think that no matter how much he wants to fight Russia, the Poles themselves do not want to sign up for that lunacy and come October 15th, there will be an election that he will have to win. Obviously he will have to watch what he says.

    But here is the thing. Project Ukraine is on its last legs so what happens then? The US, EU & UK want to keep this war going – especially Biden as he wants it to go to November of next year – but if the Ukraine folds, another replacement for them will have to be found. A large one with a good military. One that is both near the Ukraine and Belarus and is not a tiny country like the Baltic States. One whose troops could be thrown into battle in the Ukraine to ‘weaken’ the Russians. Duda may be many things but he is not an idiot and probably has a fair idea which country will be the lucky candidate selected in Washington & Brussels to be the next one to join this war. Brzeziński must be spinning in his grave at the thought of what might happen.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This suggestion doesnt translate into a foreign policy victory for Biden. Biden is first and foremost a classic bully. His problem is the low hanging fruit was taken off the board by Shrub and Obama. If Biden had a clue, there wasn’t going to be a NATO no fly zone, he wouldn’t have said the word Ukraine in public even to protect his business interests. I imagine the White House wants an “African led” assault on Niger where Biden can order troops to seal the deal. I think this is why ECOWAS is running their mouths despite the difficulty of actually deploying troops they expect US intervention if they get the ball rolling. Niger is Biden’s best bet to look tough for domestic audiences without an immediate risk of embarrassment for Biden.

      Anywhere else will be too obvious or risk US troop/sailor deaths. Biden is afraid of that. Libya more or less demonstrated the US is out for mayhem. There won’t be regime freedom fighters willing to risk comfy jobs for guaranteed comfier jobs when regime loyalists are removed because they can’t count on the US. People who might sit out know what the US brings.

      1. GC54

        Obama told Joe not to run for pres, IMO because O knew that B family corruption would eventually come out with scrutiny if US decided to involve itself more in Ukr. That scrutiny would reveal others too .

        Joe’s boast about dumping the Ukr prosecutor who was investigating Burisma and especially that prosecutor’s subsequent testimony (Greenwald System Update this wk) blew away the smokescreen.

    2. Feral Finster

      Nobody will ask Poles their opinion. Anyway, if the PiS government loses power, it will be replaced by the equally rabid but more “European mainstream” PO.

      1. Irrational

        The elections in October are for the Polish parliament. Results won’t affect Duda. Next presidential election is 2025 and he cannot stand, having served 2 terms already.

  7. Ignacio

    Galitzia is not in any way in a political situation similar or comparable to the donbass. It wouldn’t be a “breakaway” Republic but outright annexation. This was intended as a reply to a comments that no longer displays.

  8. NotTimothyGeithner

    In the West, they know they won’t escalate to that point, but they also know their political futures are at stake. Otherwise they aren’t worried about Russian troops in NATO countries. They’ve lost and likely know it, hence the new White House line “Russia has already lost because the lost Biden’s respect”, but they also know the first to say it will be the enemy of Azov types and “regime change Karens” (I saw this the other day).

    And as far as negotiations, the revelations about Minsk 2 effectively ended that. The end of the Ukraine state, a colonels coup in Kiev, effective surrender, or wholesale political changes as in President West or Kennedy are the options. Negotiations require reasonable parties. Switzerland effectively destroyed it’s international profile so Biden could announce a Ukraine accession to NATO for his reelection. This is where everyone is.

    1. Feral Finster

      I am not Polish, but I have lived in Poland and speak Polish and am related to Polish people by marriage.

    2. JonnyJames

      No, but I have worked with a couple of Polish academics and have had students from Ukraine. One polish former colleague was, IMO, a racist, hated Russia and all things Russian, and had some sort of Napoleon Complex. Of course, not all Poles are like him.

      One young Ukrainian woman student a few years ago told me she had finished her law degree in Ukraine. She also told me in a conversation that Nazi Germany was not the aggressor in WWII, that the USSR was. Germany was only defending itself from “Russian aggression”. She said that with a straight face.

      Another Ukrainian student who had a PhD in physics, told me that Russian was NOT a Slavic language and Russians were NOT Slavic peoples, that Russians and Ukrainians were different races.

      It seems the Ukrainian Nazi’s were allowed in by the State Dept. or something.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I have a good Polish friend who somehow got out in the USSR days and got a degree in econometrics at MIT. She has funny stories of an attractive fellow student making Paul Krugman very uncomfortable by staring at his crotch during lectures.

        Anyway she is not a normal Pole. Her family harbored Jews during WWII. She went to Moscow to open D&B’s office during the 1990s and joked she was the only person she knew who sued a Russian oil company, won in court, collected the money and lived to tell the tale. She clearly very much enjoyed that time and never said a single thing bad about Russians or Russia.

    3. hayek's heelbiter

      Seems to me these are all retrospective. Anybody else like me in daily and weekly touch with Polish and Ukrainian nationals?

  9. Darthbobber

    One thing worth mentioning is there’s a fairly large gap between Poland’s more bellicose poses since this war started, as well as peoples’ speculations about various aggressive actions the Poles might take, and its actual present means of military action.

    A Polish military juggernaut is largely aspirational, and dependent on following through on very ambitious budgeting and procurement goals over the next half-decade plus. Whether those claimed ambitions will prove economically or politically sustainable remains to be seen.

    1. Benny Profane

      Politically sustainable is key. Poland, for all of its issues with the judiciary that have received the stinkeye from Brussels, is still a much stronger democracy than Ukraine. They would have to declare a martial law of sorts and go full authoritarian to start this proxy war, and it’s doubtful millions of Polish mothers and fathers would be happy watching their sons go off to fight for the Banderites.

      1. Feral Finster

        Goering’s words on getting the populace to support a war that in no way benefits them are most instructive.

    2. Kouros

      How long are Poland’s supply lines? I heard they go up to US and South Korea… This can never make Poland a military juggernaut, more like a giant with clay feet…

  10. R.S.

    A quote from the same interview (I surmise) is circulating on Twitter
    …I asked the leader of a populist conservative government in Europe why American conservatives should support Ukraine.

    “It is very simple,” Polish President Andrzej Duda told me last week. “Right now, Russian imperialism can be stopped cheaply, because American soldiers are not dying.” But if we don’t put a halt to Russian aggression now, “there will be a very high price to be paid.”

    And neither do Polish soldiers, I read. And those blue-and-yellow schmucks aren’t even in the equation. Blunt and candid as it is.

    1. Polar Socialist

      I guess the interviewer didn’t bother to point out that if it was just a question of cost, fulfilling the Minsk agreements would have been the cheapest option, so could the president explain why that path was not chosen?

    2. Ignacio

      I can hardly believe Duda was so stupid as to say that. The WP isn’t making any favour by publishing It. Does Duda believe that what he says for the WP is only seen in the US?

      Do 300.000 Ukrainians KIA so far come cheap? That was gross!

      1. John k

        You remember Albright said 500k kids were ‘worth it’ in Iraq, so 300k isn’t all that many.
        Granted, we didn’t get any of the oil Cheney wanted, and here we don’t seem to be weakening Russia much… in fact, Russia will get larger, have more population, and have the world’s most powerful military (x China?) when Ukraine sues for peace.

        1. Ignacio

          Supposed that quote of yours by Albright is true. Don’t you see here a slight difference? Duda here is talking about supposed allied friendly forces we are, again supposedly helping to defend. Friends, will be friends…

          Please, stop trying to be extremely cynical. Not a nice game to play. The words of a moron by no means justify the words of a different moron.

  11. Matthew G. Saroff

    I still say that the secondary driver (after hating Russians) for Poland is the desire to increase its power and influence over Galicia in western Ukraine.

  12. Feral Finster

    Long story short: Poles and Ukrainians do not really like each other all that much, to put it mildly. Take away Russia and they would be at each other’s throats.

    I lived and have some Polish education. so I know a lot of Polish people. I don’t think I know a single Pole who didn’t have a family member who suffered in in the Volhyn Massacres. These took took place well within living memory.

    Then again, take away Russia and Poland would go from America’s Special Little Buddy to a whiny midtier backwater satrapy, sort of a Colombia with delusions of grandeur but no cocaine.

    Take away Russia and Ukraine would go from The Beacon Of Muh Democracy to a pariah state that we would probably seek to bomb. Because reasons.

  13. Feral Finster

    Also, it is noteworthy that Biden is seeking another $24 billion in emergency funding for the Kiev regime, after previously assuring Congress that the last handout would last the little twerp through 2023 (plus another $10 billion or so in “accounting errors”, lol).

    Seems that they know the checkbook may not be open forever.

  14. PolarFleeced

    Say, Ukraine, that Galicia looks like it needs some protection from Russian aggression.
    We’ll just, uh, watch that for ya. Yeah.

  15. Groteu

    July 4, 1943 Polish general Władysław Sikorski died in the British military base in Gibraltar not by chance.
    On July 11, 1943, Bandera begins the slaughter of Poles in Ukraine.
    The British do not want to hand over to the Poles the documents that General Sikorski had with him.
    It is assumed that General Sikorski had with him an offer from Germany containing the benefits that Poles would obtain by leaving the British and joining Germany.

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