Espreso. Global

Why do Poles not consider themselves "cowards"?

29 March, 2024 Friday

I am amazed at how many adult Ukrainians are starting to use childish vocabulary in response to Poland's reluctance to be drawn into the war. It is an absolute natural reluctance clear for Poles

But Ukrainians begin to project their desires onto the actions of others, which leads to all the "cowards," "disgraced," etc rhetoric.

And the Poles do not consider their actions disgraceful, but ultimately, what matters most is the perception and opinions of Ukrainians themselves, right?

Yes, we would all like this war to be not only our problem. We would like Poland to get involved in the war, and the whole of NATO. This is our natural desire. But no more. And Poland's unwillingness to be drawn into the war is equally natural. This is absolutely rational behavior.

Poland did not shoot down the missile that flew into Polish airspace for 39 seconds. Poland saw that this missile did not pose a threat to Poland and the Poles. They were well aware that the missile had a target in Ukraine and would return there soon. And Poland proceeded from Poland's national interests when it decided not to shoot down the missile. Not from the national interests of Ukraine, oddly enough. It was their own.

What is holding Poland back from shooting down the missile? First, there is the risk of potential escalation. And yes, it may be small. It could be as low as 5%, for example. But it doesn't matter. When you don't have a war, even a 5% risk that there will be one is too much. And avoiding war is logical. It is rational. And Ukraine would behave in the same way if Russia was at war with Belarus and a missile accidentally entered its Rivne region for 40 seconds.

Without the war, we would never have taken the risk of provoking a war. And no democratic country would have done so. So calling it "cowardice" is not reasonable. It is an expression of the rational doctrine of a democratic country.

In addition, for the Poles, shooting down a missile over their territory is also a financial cost, because missiles cost money. And the risk that someone on Polish territory will be injured, because the downed missile debris could fall on the head of a farmer. And kill him. And when you don't have a war, it's too big a risk. Not to mention the fact that such a launch, a live-fire launch, would lead to a lot of bureaucratic work for all participants in the process, and no one wants that.

And it's strange that Ukrainians very often appeal to the experience of Erdogan, who was not afraid to shoot down a Russian plane. Although this example is not relevant at all.

Erdogan wanted to shoot down that plane. He wanted it very much. And he simply seized the opportunity. Erdogan was already in conflict with Russia in Syria. And so he wanted to show his power.

Erdogan is an authoritarian leader, and this is typical of him. He likes to compete with other leaders. And for him, a small risk of war was not a problem, and the NATO roof allowed him to understand that the risk of escalation was limited. He was willing to take it because he wanted to show Putin strength, because he wanted to limit the activities of Russian troops in Syria, because he wanted to shoot down that plane. Poland is a democratic country, and such tricks are unnatural for a democratic country.

And we can say as much as we want that such actions provoke Putin to go further and, perhaps, this will lead to an attack on Poland. This is just an extrapolation of our desires. This is not an argument for Poland to escalate and increase the risk on its own. Poland is preparing for potential aggression. It is developing its army. It is increasing defense spending. But it does not want to do anything that would increase the risk of this war.

And yes, 39 seconds is not a reason to change anything. And no, manipulative comparisons of this situation with the option of flying over Poland or attacking deep into Poland are completely inappropriate. For Poles, it is absolutely clear that the target of this missile was not in Poland, and that the missile's entry into Poland is more of a technical malfunction than an act of aggression. And until they receive ironclad confirmation that this is not the case, they will not escalate.

The stance of Ukrainians is dictated by the fact that we are already at war. And we have nothing to lose. The war has already come to us. And only to us. We are not defending the Western world, we are being attacked and we are defending ourselves. We do not have a goal to save the world. We have a goal to save ourselves.

And yes, for the Western world, Putin's victory is undesirable. That is why they are actively helping us. But it is undesirable because it creates potential risks of war with Russia in the future. And it would be very stupid of them to create these risks now. Because then the very assistance to Ukraine loses its meaning for the rational interests of these countries.

And yes, this is rational and cynical. But this is the way the world is. And not understanding this is a very childish position. As well as hoping that someone will solve our problems and voluntarily take on this burden. We did not make this choice. Putin did for us. And we would have preferred it not to have happened. And we would have avoided any escalation to the last.


About the author. Sehiy Fursa, investment expert, blogger.

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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