In the grip of paranoia, Poles live every day believing the Russian invasion could come at any moment
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
I have never been to Poland. But I know it is a country where Russophobic paranoia runs deep - perhaps more than any other country. The Poles and the Russians have been fighting each other for over 1000 years, going back to medieval Rus.
Even Ukraine does not compare, for it has historic, cultural and blood ties to Russia that - despite the extremist anti-Russian veneer artificially imposed on the country - still generate a natural affinity toward Russia on the part of millions in Ukraine.
One infamous Pole, Zbigniew Brzezinski, managed to worm his way into the halls of power in Washington DC and has been injecting Russophobic venom into US foreign policy for decades. He cannot help it. It is in his genetic code.
Yet I didn't realize how gripped Polish society was by paranoia until I chanced upon this report from Vice News on the 80,000 private militiamen training hard in Poland for war with Russia. That is on top of Poland's 120,000 strong standing army.
These men (and women) believe Russia could launch a full blown ground invasion at any moment.
I maintain an interest in firearms and gun law in various countries. All the information I had seen heretofore was that gun control was relatively stringent in Poland.
Yet apparently, these militias are permitted under Polish law to equip themselves with military-grade hardware - armored vehicles, assault rifles and other small arms.
So great is the danger posed by the Russian "aggressor."
Here is a quote from one Mateuz, a member of one of the militias interviewed for the program:
How do I know that these things won't happen in my county, like they did in Ukraine? There is the saying, if you want peace, prepare for war.
Si vis pacem, para bellum - no argument here. But against whom? Is there a Russian army group massing in Kaliningrad? That is the only border Poland shares with Russia. And since Kaliningrad is an exclave separated from Russia proper, any attempt to mass ground forces there would have to come by sea (and some by air). In any case, there would be plenty of advance signs for NATO intelligence to pick up on.
And what exactly could happen in Poland which happened in Ukraine? Will the Poles overthrow their constitutional government, murder thousands of their own people, abandon the rule of law for the rule of the gun, and launch a genocidal campaign against the population of a region in their own country?
All of that Ukraine has managed to do to itself, with no help at all from Russia.
Again and again throughout this documentary, Poles can be heard saying they are doing it because they are "patriots." The same refrain is heard from those in Ukraine who burn their neighbors to death and lob artillery shells at schools. Truly, patriotism really is the last refuge of scoundrels.
Take a look at this quote from Waldemar Jakson, mayor of Swidnik, where one of the military drills took place:
Now it is no longer Poland but Germany that has the flank of NATO and the Poles are convinced that the military bases of the Americans in Germany should be in Poland.
Indeed. Such is Polish patriotism. Such is their concept of "independence." Having ejected the Soviet army, they now earnestly desire to join the Germans in being military occupied by the Americans.
Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against militias as such. The militia system proved more than sufficient defense for the United States until the 20th century, when it chose to adopt the role of superpower. A militia system has proved more than sufficient defense for Switzerland for 700 years. An armed people is a free people.
What is not only greatly disappointing, but highly alarming, is that in Poland all this is being done in the guise of fighting a threat that does not exist - so great is Polish paranoia toward Russia.
Poland is a conservative, religious country where heritage and moral values are still important.
All that is still true of Russia. It is no longer characteristic of Western Europe.
It is not Moscow which today threatens Poland's sovereignty and independence. It is Washington and Brussels.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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