Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I was despairing to have the opposite point of view!

Actually, I am quite sympathetic to the Polish position viz. Russia, and I am NOT happy at all with Chirac and Schroeder's shameful coddling with Putin, for a number of reasons, including:

  • it brings nothing to France and Germany (there will be no serious alliance between Russia and "Europe" against the US, and no trust between Russia and "Europe" in any case; "Europe" doesn't even exist as far as the Russians are concerned)

  • we shamefully let Putin wage genocide in Chechnya and play his power politics in other regions, including the Baltics and the Caucasus;

  • we rightfully and needlessly piss off and/or scare central Europeans

  • it makes no difference whatsoever on the energy front.

But Poland is still wrong to play the pipeline card because (i) it perpetuates the cycle of mistrust that you mention and (ii) it pisses off both the Germans and the Russians and (iii) it doesn't work.

The argument that Russia could cut off gas to Poland and not to Germany and the EU would not react is not serious. Cutting gas to Europe, to any country, is an act of war from Russia, let's be very clear about that, and it will be treated as such, unless it's seen as being part of silly underhand games by squabbling local oligarchs allied with various Russian factions, in which case it will be tolerated until it has a macroeconomic impact on the country or a political impact anywhere else.

The gas pipelines are not an asset for oligarchs to play with if you want to be taken seriously as a European country. Get rid of Bartimpex and his boss Gudzovaty, for instance, before blaming the Germans.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 at 05:41:25 PM EST
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