1. Reflections on Poland’s Alliances
Alliances like NATO are built on interests, not values, and they’re never eternal
by Jacek Bartosiak
Once again, on the Vistula River, we are worried about security guarantees in the wake of a U.S. election. Politics is a dynamic, not a static, condition. The competition never ends.
U.S. officials often comment on American leadership in Europe. But platitudes about how America intends to stay in Europe to support its allies are unconvincing. Geostrategic alliances are not about favors but about interests. U.S. alliances exist to serve the interests of the United States – that is, to maintain the advantageous position of the United States in Europe and Asia. This is the real glue of the alliance. If the United States ceases to need its position in Eurasia, or is no longer able to sustain that position, American commitments and presence will disappear.
Moreover, alliances are never eternal, despite what many people think. Alliances also are based not on historical and cultural ties or shared values, but on geostrategic interests in development, security and power. Mistaken notions that alliances are about identity give rise to errors and misperceptions, including the erroneous impression that one’s partners are doing them a favor in the alliance. Poles used to think this too often. International relations don’t work this way. Real alliances require real commitments and costs, and anything else is irrelevant. Without common interests and goals, sentiments about common values evaporate like the morning fog. So when the United States starts to leave Europe, it will be because it no longer shares interests with its former allies.
…countries have to make difficult choices and sacrifices every day to shape the world around them so that they remain safe or become safe and prosperous. These countries must prove that they can stand independently, without looking to another core area for protection. Even remaining in an alliance with the U.S., Germany or the European Union, it makes sense for Poland to strive to consolidate and develop its own core area. Alliances are fleeting, but nations are resilient.
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2. Is Nordstrom 2 Penance for World War II
by Andrew Roberts in Hoover Institute
Military history burst onto the news last week with the statement of President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany justifying the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany as an apology for Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s invasion of the USSR in 1941. “June 22 will be the eightieth anniversary of the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union,” the German head of state said. “More than twenty million people of the former Soviet Union fell victim to the war. … We can’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Yes, we now live in a time of difficult relations but there was a past before that and a there will be a future after it.”
Because Nord Stream 2, which will carry 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from Russia to Germany and on into central Europe, goes down international waters in the Baltic Sea, it will cut out Ukraine, which makes $1 billion a year in transit fees from the Russian pipeline that presently crosses its territory.
The Ukrainians, who suffered monstrously at the hands of the Nazis in World War II too, reacted with predictable fury at the German president’s statement. Andrij Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassador to Berlin, said that Steinmeier’s “dubious historical arguments” had “cut us Ukrainians to the quick,” adding, “It’s cynical to bring the atrocities of the Nazi reign of terror into play in precisely this debate, and what’s more to ascribe the millions of victims of the German war of destruction and enslavement solely to Russia.”
Nor was Melnyk alone in drawing comparisons to the World War II era; a Polish minister has compared the new Russo-German rapprochement, which will leave Germany dependant on Russia for 35% of its energy needs, to the Nazi-Soviet Pact, which, once signed by Russian foreign minister V. I. Molotov and German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop on August 23, 1939, led directly to the German invasion of western Poland one week later, and the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland that October.
Acutely sensitive and painful historical analogies such as these would not be being bandied about by senior European politicians and diplomats were Nord Stream 2 not such a monumental new geopolitical factor in European politics. The consequences are huge, including for the United States which has tried hard, but seems to have failed, to prevent Nord Stream 2 from ever being built.
With Germany becoming ever more energy-dependant on Russia, the Biden Administration might soon be needing a more trustworthy leading ally on the other side of the Atlantic to take the place of Germany, perhaps one that has recently left the European Union and thus regained control of its destiny. The United States might even choose a partner who was on the same side as her in the conflict that these Central Europeans keep referring to.
3. An Interview with Matthew Tyrmand
Just returned from a trip to Europe, journalist Matthew Tyrmand sat down for an interview with Chronicles to discuss his work and thoughts about the future of America after the 2020 election. He was informed by officials on re-entry to the U.S. that the Department of Homeland Security had revoked his “Global Entry” status, which speeds the way through customs. Tyrmand believes he’s one of many people, including conservative journalists and former Trump administration officials, who have had that privilege revoked now under the new administration.
Tyrmand, who is the son of Chronicles Founding Editor Leopold Tyrmand—the anti-Communist, Polish ex-patriot writer, critic, and jazz musician—is a board member of Project Veritas, deputy director-at-large of the government transparency nonprofit Open the Books, and an investigative journalist who reported on alleged pay-for-play corruption by Hunter Biden and his associates.
Tyrmand: Yeah, turns out the Department of Homeland Security has been revoking global entry permits to Trump admin people and other conservatives, just out of pure spite. Wouldn’t give me a reason, but they hassled me at the customs kiosk about who I was and who I was with, what I was doing, all that rigamarole. So, welcome to America in 2021!
Q: That’s pretty scary… Tell us about how you got your start as a writer. You hadn’t intended to follow your father’s footsteps and actually spent your twenties working in finance in New York.
Tyrmand: Steve Bannon recruited me to write for Breitbart about what was going on in Poland and Central Europe, about the Euroskeptic movement that grew out of Nigel Farage’s UKIP movement pushing for Brexit. So we were trying to push our ideas past the mainstream gatekeepers, which the silent majority embraced, since they had seen what Bannon calls “the Party of Davos” taking over—those who don’t believe in borders or sovereignty, and who believe that technocratic elites should rule the world.
This topic appealed to me and I know it would have appealed to my father, so that’s what got me off the sidelines to start writing about Poland. Poland, like Hungary, was an early country to start pushing back against the globalists toward sovereignty, and of course it’s the countries that had recent memories of being under Communism that were fighting most vociferously for sovereignty.
The technocratic elites are people with multiple passports and no real national allegiance, but allegiance to capital flow and those multinational organizations with no accountability. I mean, nobody’s elected these people and yet they control so much. So this lack of true representative democracy that has unfortunately spread over the last two-to-three generations, it’s having a pendulum shift back—they went too far. If you look at the U.S., with the outsourcing of jobs to China in the name of reducing labor costs so that everybody benefits, well, go to Youngstown, Ohio, and you’ll see that not everybody benefits. Tucker Carlson made a great point when he asked, “Are we a country with an economy, or an economy with a country?”
I believe we are a country, a society, a culture, and we have a tie that binds us patriotically around the flag, which is a symbol, but it’s more than that. America as an idea is more than just a bunch of words on paper and the Pledge of Allegiance, it’s something bigger: it’s the total apotheosis of freedom delivered to humanity and codified in government. And that was weakening, and people started fighting back, first in Europe with Brexit, which paved the way for Trump—all these things are interrelated—and what happened in central Europe was a canary in the coal mine. People are not willing to let the George Soroses of the world build institutions which subvert their democracies.
So, writing about Poland opened a lot of doors for me, as did working with Project Veritas…
Q: So was there a natural progression for you to move from writing about European pro-sovereignty nationalist movements to tackle similar topics in the U.S.?
Well I’d already been starting to report on and investigate U.S. affairs with Project Veritas. All these things are so connected ideologically that it’s sort of a natural evolution between the pro-sovereignty movements in Europe and the rising populism in America.
Populism is not the dirty word that the leftist, globalist elites want to make it out to be, populism is the will of the people. Like Buckley said, “I’d rather be ruled by the first hundred names in the Boston phone book than the Harvard faculty.” I’m a huge proponent of that idea, because the ossified, barnacle elites are cloistered in ivory towers: academia, think tanks, and government. So they are incredibly disconnected from those blue-collar workers who have seen their wages stagnate for decades, and suffered from bad globalist trade deals where Americans get the short end of the stick because the progressivist elites want to move the world to a unified governance. Something like an Orwellian globe, or even a dichotomy like in H.G. Wells’ book The Time Machine, in which the Morlocks prey upon the Eloi—and I think that is ugly, unhealthy, and ultimately evil.
The people on the ground know it’s happening, because they can see it in society. They can see it in the bank bailouts in 2009. Wall Street levered up the national balance sheet and they did it in housing, which is the largest asset class, which touches everybody. And when it was time to pay the price for that, they got bailed out and the man on the ground got screwed. And so I’ve always viewed that global populist revolution was the direct result of what happened in 2009.
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4. Time: ‘Well Funded Cabal of Powerful People’ Saved Democracy
“They were not rigging the election. They were fortifying it.”
TIME magazine has published a lengthy article lauding “an extraordinary shadow effort” of a conglomeration of entities working together to ensure that the November election would be “free and fair, credible and uncorrupted.” TIME refers to the effort as “a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it.”
Citing “a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes” between “left-wing activists and business titans” that assured that “forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy,” TIME adds: “The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain–inspired by the summer’s massive, sometimes destructive racial-justice protests–in which the forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy.”
“Their work touched every aspect of the election,” TIME’s Molly Ball gushes. “They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time.”
It looks like Trump was right. There was a conspiracy. The culprits brazenly admit rigging the election, emboldened by their conviction that they were justified since they were “saving democracy” from “Trump’s assault on democracy.” All involved in the effort were ideologically on the left and against Trump. Yet, according to them, “They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it. … Democracy is not self-executing.”