Polish Watergate Hits Radar Screen
Nikolai MALISHEVSKI | 01.07.2014 | OPINION

Polish Watergate Hits Radar Screen

Here we have ruckus raised. The hullabaloo story is called Poland’s Watergate Scandal. Wprost weekly published a transcription of conversation between top officials expressing their views on internal and foreign policy of the country. 

The relationship with the United States and the role of Great Britain in the European Union are standing out. Radoslaw Sikorski, Foreign Minister of Poland, was a British citizen till 2006 is believed to be an Anglophile. In the mid-1980s, Sikorski worked as a freelance journalist for publications such as The Spectator and The Observer. In 1986, he travelled to Afghanistan as a war correspondent for The Sunday Telegraph. There he rubbed shoulders with Al Qaeda fighters. In 1989, he became the chief foreign correspondent for the American magazine National Review, writing from Afghanistan and Angola. He is known to be under the influence of English speaking countries, but in the bugged private conversation he allegedly said that the Warsaw’s alliance with the United States was «worthless» and «complete bullshit» in a private conversation. «We Gave the Americans a Blow Job, ' Got Nothing!» he is quoted as saying, adding, «There is no doubt that the policy pursued by the prime minister and the defense minister is wrong. You know that the Polish-American alliance is worthless. It is even harmful, because it creates for Poland a false sense of security». (1) The second voice asks why. «Complete bulls**t», says the first, adding that in the event of a conflict with the Germans or Russians Poland will mistakenly «think that everything is super» because of the close relationship with the Americans. «We are suckers, total suckers», he continues. «The problem in Poland is that we have shallow pride and low self-esteem». 

Actually the minister appears to argue that Poland is wrong to anger Germany and Russia by always siding with America on foreign policy issues. Using highly undiplomatic language, Sikorski denounced Poland’s foreign policy planners as «complete losers» and accused them of having a «slave mentality» in their dealings with American diplomats. He also described British Prime Minister David Cameron as an «incompetent» politician who «believes in his stupid propaganda» about the European Union. Transcripts of the conversation, which allegedly took place between Sikorski and Poland’s former Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski, were published last week in several increments by Polish newsmagazine Wprost.

US Ambassador to Warsaw Stephen Mull responded coolly to the revelations, tweeting: «I'm not going to comment on alleged content of private conversations. As for our alliance, I think it's strong». In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf would not comment directly on the tapes, but said «the United States and Poland have an incredibly strong relationship ... based on shared values. It's a key part of our alliances in that part of the world. And the crisis in Ukraine, I think, has made that even more the case, where we're confronting a shared threat together», Harf said. (1)

The publication gives testimony to the fact that in private conversations Polish officials unambiguously express their attitude towards the alliance with the United States and the situation inside the country. Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, Minister of the Interior, believes the budget situation gets Poland in deep trouble. No matter that he allows himself to meddle into the internal affairs of Ukraine. For instance, it has been reported that the mercenaries of private military contractor Sienkiewicz founded some time - ASBS (Analizy Systemowe Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz) Othago - are operating in Ukraine. 

Tomasz Nalęcz, the presidential advisor on humanitarian issues, admitted the fact that the bugged conversation leaked to the media and its content is of scandalous nature. Talking about the relationship with the United States he repeated the words said by Foreign Minister Sikorski – «bullshit».

This spring Polish media sang praises to the pro-US foreign policy. The Foreign Ministry website published victorious reports and excerpts from European press: Europe Recognizes Poland as an Expert on Ukraine and Russia (Le Soir), Minister Sikorski Deserves Nobel Peace Prize (La Libre Belgique). Polish Gazeta Wyborcza and Czech weekly Respekt (the front page of the last edition offers a map with the word cholera written on the territory of Russia) wrote that Radoslaw Sikorski is the new leader of Europe who is going to change the European politics and history. The authors of Polish outlets are serious when they say that the events in Ukraine make Poland a growing European power, the fact confirmed by the intensification of its foreign policy efforts. 

Now it becomes known that instead of changing European policy and history Poland is a sucker doing a blowjob to serve the United States. They act like Monika Lewinsky without getting anything in return except problems in the relations with the neighboring states. The new European leader admits it, though he is the one who put Poland into this position especially when it comes to Ukraine. Now he is following the example of hard-mouthed Ukrainian diplomat Andrei Deshitsa. 

According to the bugged conversation, the Polish Foreign Minister believes David Cameron has «fucked up» his handling of the EU by resorting to «stupid propaganda» to appease Eurosceptics, according to an expletive-laden transcript of secretly taped conversations. Sikorski replies: «It's either a very badly thought through move, or, not for the first time, a kind of incompetence in European affairs. Remember? He fucked up the fiscal pact. He fucked it up. Simple as that. He is not interested, he does not get it, and he believes in the stupid propaganda, he stupidly tries to play the system». To which Rostowski says: «His [Cameron's] problem is that, is that isn't his objective, just a short-term propaganda effect». Sikorski is quoted as criticizing what he sees as the British leader's attempt to appease British Eurosceptics with soundbites: «You know, his whole strategy of feeding them scraps in order to satisfy them is just as I predicted, turning against him; he should have said, fuck off, tried to convince people and isolate [the sceptics]. But he ceded the field to those that are now embarrassing him». The politicians voice their concerns about Britain leaving the EU, with Rostowski saying that a «Brexit» would be «not especially good for us, generally bad for us, because we would like for Great Britain to stay. I think it'll be the case that [Cameron] will lose the elections. Great Britain will leave». He then appears to imply that he believes Britain will keep its borders open to EU migration: «Once they do, they'll keep open borders. Not for beggars […] in the sense that they won't let in Gypsy beggars».

The foreign offices of Russia and the United States have already commented on the Sikorski’s statements. Now it’s the turn of the European Union to say its word. The events in Ukraine do not unfold the way Berlin, Paris or London wanted them to. The West European neighbors of Poland can have no scruples showing those who are responsible for shameful debacle the European Union suffered in the east. They’ll point the finger at Poland and its chief diplomat Mr. Sikorski. 

Endnotes: 

1) wprost.pl/ar/453226/Rozmowa-Sikorski-Rostowski-Mozna-zac-PiS-komisja-specjalna-ws-Macierewicza. The original transcript in Polish «Polsko-amerykański sojusz to jest nic nie warty. Jest wręcz szkodliwy, bo stwarza Polsce fałszywe poczucie bezpieczeństwa. Bullshit kompletny. Skonfliktujemy się z Niemcami, z Rosją, i będziemy uważali, że wszystko jest super, bo zrobiliśmy laskę Amerykanom. Frajerzy. Kompletni frajerzy… Problem w Polsce jest, że mamy płytką dumę i niską samoocenę. Taka murzyńskość». Murzyńskość is a racially-charged derogatory term that could be translated as «thinking like a nigger». The Polish government declined to comment on the leak, saying it may do so after full transcripts are made available. But it didn’t challenge the authenticity of the transcript. Sikorski issued a tweet which, without commenting on the authenticity of otherwise of the leaked tape, attempted to argue that the term murzyńskość did not mean «thinking like a nigger», but was instead a reference to the fashionable anti-colonialist concept of «negritude». 

2) The United States faced the same thing some years ago. Back then Sikorski said that US president Obama had Polish roots as his predecessors ate a Polish missionary. In November 2008 Poland has conceded that its foreign minister Radek Sikorski made a jibe about U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s grandparents being cannibals. Mr. Czarnecki, a Member of the European Parliament, quoted the foreign minister as saying: ‘Have you heard that Obama may have a Polish connection? His grandfather ate a Polish missionary.’ A spokesman for the Poland foreign office confirmed that Mr. Sikorski did make the controversial comment, however denied that he had intended to insult Mr. Obama, whose father is Kenyan.‘Mr. Sikorski did not tell a racist joke,’ Piotr Paszkowski, the spokesman, told the Daily Telegraph. ‘He was only giving an example of the unpalatable and racist «jokes» that surround President Elect Obama.’ That sounds like a pretty lame excuse, but apparently it worked because it’s six years later and Sikorski is Foreign Minister. Sterling was actually doing something like that, judging from his remarks about how badly blacks are treated in Israel, but it’s pretty arbitrary and contingent what you can get away with. Now the words about «sucking» appear in US media outlets. For instance this is the caption used by Newsweek for a piece devoted to the row in Poland - We Gave the Americans a Blow Job,' Got Nothing, Says Polish Foreign Minister

Tags: NATO  Eastern Europe  Poland  US 

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