Duda's mission: recover Pilsudski's Intermarium and Giedroyc's commitment to Ukraine

We bring to your attention the estimates of the evolution of Polish politics after the presidential election that it made our associate expert Katstsulani Matteo, who is now in Poland.

The President Elect of Poland proposes an alliance of European Union member states of Central Eastern Europe and a greater commitment of NATO in the region. Jozef Pilsudski and Jerzy Giedroyc the models that inspired the winner of last Polish Presidential Election.

 Warsaw - No changes in the priorities of Poland's foreign policy, but a more assertive role aimed to reorientate Poland on the international scene from being a close ally to Germany and France within the European Union to become both the leading country of Central Eastern Europe and a core member of NATO.

 This is what, at least for what concerns global issues, the President Elect of Poland, the conservative Andrzej Duda, is expected to realize during his Administration -which, de facto, started with Duda's electoral win over the incumbent President, the moderate Bronislaw Komorowski, in the Polish Presidential Election, on May 24.

 Duda, a member of the conservative Right and Justice Party -PiS- understood the demand of change of the Polish voters. By proposing the use of European Funds to create new jobs, help families with children, and support the rural sector, Duda, a young MEP of the group of the European Conservatives and Reformists -ECR- succeeded to gain the centrists' vote too. He also evolved his PiS party into a modern conservative-wing political force more similar to the British Tories than to the old 'clerical' PiS led by former PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

 In addition to proposals on internal issues, Duda also advocated the need of a new diplomatic strategy for Poland, a "Duda's doctrine", based on a more assertive role of Warsaw within Central Eastern Europe and NATO. In his doctrine, Duda also supported a lower integration of Poland within the European Union as well, in particular on the monetary point of view.

 In particular, Duda argued the necessity for Poland to strengthen tights with those member states of the European Union which share the same problems, history, culture and worries that Poland does, such as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Rumania and Sweden. According to the Duda's doctrine, this countries are Poland's natural partners and should form with Warsaw a common alliance within the European Union.

 Moreover, the Polish President Elect said it is necessary for Warsaw to urge NATO to set up permanent bases in Poland, in order to ensure both military and national security of Poland and other NATO member states of Central Eastern Europe in so doing.

 With respect to Ukraine, Duda urged Poland to return to be the main advocate of the fast integration of Kyiv within the European Union. Duda also proposed to take advantage of the membership of Poland within the EU as an opportunity to lobby within the European Institutions in favor of Ukraine's admission into the Big European Family as soon as possible.

 In his doctrine, Duda is strictly tight with two of the most important doctrines of the history of Polish diplomacy, such as the Intermarium strategic alliance and Parisian Kultura's commitment to the Ukrainian cause.

 The Intermarium strategic alliance was conceived in the 20's by the Polish Leader Jozef Pilsudski as a federation of states of Central Eastern Europe under Poland's aegis. Intermarium, that according to the Pilsudski's conception should have been composed by Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and Yugoslavia, was planed to preserve the independence of all Intermarium member states from the military warfare of USSR.

 

A more modern version of Pilsudski's Intermarium, which eventually failed because of the opposition of Lithuania, Ukraine, France, Germany and the USSR, was recovered by former Polish President Lech Kaczynski in 2008, in order to oppose the Russian military aggression to Georgia.

 Once he understood that Moscow's invasion of Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia was nothing than the beginning of a larger-scale military activity by Russia in Central Eastern Europe, Lech Kaczynski -to whom Duda openly takes inspiration, in particular on global issues- built up a coalition of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Ukraine committed to politically support Georgia and advocate Tbilisi's integration within the EU and NATO.

 

Another Poland's traditional doctrine of foreign politics recovered by Duda to elaborate his "doctrine" is the commitment to the Ukrainian independence and liberty promoted since the 70's by Parisian Kultura, the magazine of the liberal-orientated Polish diaspora of Paris. On Parisian Kultura's pages, far-sighted columnists Jerzy Giedroyc, Juliusz Mieroszewski and Bohdan Osadchuk argued the need for Poland to support the independence of Ukraine. They also postulated the need for Poland to maintain with Ukraine a tight relationship based on brotherhood and mutual understanding, in order to guarantee Poland's independence and ensure Polish national interest on the years to come.

 On the contrary of Intermarium, which was applied in reality only by Lech Kaczynski, the Parisian Kultura's commitment to Ukraine became a cornerstone of Polish foreign politics for all the Presidents of Poland since the end of the Cold War.

 Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarity and the Polish democratic opposition, actively endorsed the rise of democracy in Ukraine after the fall of communism and the disintegration of USSR. By his turn, the social-democrat Aleksander Kwasniewski openly supported the "Orange Revolution", a non-violent move that, in 2004, evolved Ukraine into a modern western democracy.

 After he was elected the President of Poland as the candidate of the moderate Civic Platform -PO- Komorowski too, thanks to the outstanding commitment of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski, gave an important support to Ukraine during the "Revolution of Dignity", a new nonviolent move that overthrown the autocratic President Viktor Yanukovych and restored democracy in Ukraine in 2014.

 However, under the Komorowski Administration, the governments of Donald Tusk moved Poland to strengthen political, economic and financial ties with Germany. In so doing, Komorowski and Tusk succeeded to evolve Poland to become one of the leading states of the European Union despite of Poland's non-membership into the Euro zone.

 

A "doctrine" difficult to realize

 Although Duda's diplomatic plan does not have any substantial divergence with the traditional priorities Polish foreign politics -euro-atlantic integration, promotion of Democracy, Liberty and national Independence in Ukraine and Eastern Europe- the Duda's doctrine is very different from the diplomatic strategy adopted by Komorowski during his 5 year-long Presidential Administration.

 On the other hand, the Duda diplomatic plan for Poland's foreign politics is in continuity with the one of former President Lech Kaczynski, who was a member of the PiS Party too.

 However, as well as during the Lech Kaczynski's era, Duda's doctrine could be very hard to be realized because of the staunch opposition of Germany, France, Italy and other pro-Russian Western European countries of the EU to any unilateral initiative taken by any country of Central Eastern Europe.

 Moreover, the realization of the Duda's doctrine could not be so easy to do, at least immediately.

 In fact, within the same Central Eastern Europe pro-Russian countries, as Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, openly oppose any initiative proposed by Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine and Georgia to counterbalance Russia's military warfare.

Matteo Cazzulani, Centre for Global Studies "Strategy XXI", Warsaw

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