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The other day President Lech Kaczynski announced his intention to fly to Georgia. Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski publicly objected. When Kaczynski insisted, Sikorski showed up at the airport and invited himself along, over Kaczynski's objections.

Kaczynski in Tbilisi

Jesteśmy tu, by podjąć walkeWe're here to take up the struggle
-Jesteśmy tutaj, przywódcy pięciu państw, aby podjąć walkę. Nasi sąsiedzi pokazali twarz, którą znamy od setek lat. Ten kraj to Rosja. Ten kraj, który chce podporządkować sobie sąsiednie kraje. My mówimy nie! - mówił prezydent."We're here, the leaders of five nations, to take up the struggle. Our neighbours have shown the face we've known for centuries. That country is Russia. That country which wants to subjugate neighbouring countries. We say no!" said the president.

Tłum zaczął skandować "Polska, Polska, przyjaźń, przyjaźń".The crowd chanted: "Poland, Poland, friendship, friendship"
-Ten kraj uważa, że dawne czasy upadłego imperium wracają. Ale dziś sytuacja się różni, dziś jesteśmy tu razem. Świat musiał zareagować - powiedział Kaczyński. Jego słowa co chwilę przerywały owacje."That country believes that the days of the fallen empire are returning. But the situation is different today. The world had to react" said Kaczynski, his words constantly interrupted by cheers.
-Gdy zainicjowałem ten przyjazd, niektórzy sądzili, że będziemy się obawiać - nikt się nie obawiał. Wszyscy przyjechali. Bo Środkowa Europa ma odważnych przywódców. Chciałbym to również powiedzieć Unii - cały nasz region, i Gruzja, będzie się liczył -mówił prezydent. -My wiemy, że dziś Gruzja, jutro Ukraina, pojutrze państwa bałtyckie, a później może i mój kraj. Potrafimy się temu przeciwstawić, jeśli Europa będzie reprezentować wspólne wartości. Tu są cztery państwa należące do UE i NATO. I Ukraina, wielki kraj. Ale powinno tu być 27 państw."When I iniciated this trip, some felt that we would be scared - nobody is scared. Everybody came. Because Central Europe has brave leaders. I would also like to tell the EU - our entire region, and Georgia, will matter. We know - today Georgia, tomorrow Ukraine, then the Baltics, and later maybe my country. We are capable of resisting that if Europe represents common values. There are four countries here today belonging to the EU and NATO, as well as Ukraine, a great nation. But there should be 27 countries.

Było to autorskie wystąpienie pana prezydenta, którego treści MSZ wcześniej nie znał -powiedział "Gazecie" szef MSZ Radosław Sikorski, który przyjechał z Lechem Kaczyńskim. Jego zdaniem decyzja Tbilisi o interwencji w Południowej Osetii była błędem: -Radziliśmy gruzińskim przyjaciołom, żeby nie dali się sprowokować, ale dali się sprowokować."This was a personal statement by the President. The Ministry did not see the statement in advance" said Radoslaw Sikorski who came along with Lech Kaczynski, in a conversation with 'Gazeta'. In his view Tbilisi's decision to intervene in South Ossetia was a mistake. "We advised our Georgian friends to not allow themselves to be provoked, but they allowed themselves."

I've been following the most recent incarnation of Sikorski's career with some bemusement. He strongly pushed for the rapid withdrawal of Polish forces from Iraq, he has been rumored to be the leading voice calling for the avoidance of the US missile shield, and has sought to calm relations with Russia, and been very Europhilic, and by Polish standards relatively muted in his Atlanticism. For those who haven't followed his career, before this he was one of Poland's most vociferous Russophobes, and is a full on neocon whose home away from office is the American Enterprise Institute. The change actually began towards the end of his previous stint in office as Defense Minister in the Kaczynski government, soon before he was forced out. He subsequently switched parties and personas. Interesting factoid: in the eighties Sikorski spent a couple years as a journalist in Afghanistan with the mujaheddin. During that period it is credibly rumoured that he was also working for MI-6.

by MarekNYC on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 12:08:12 PM EST
So why is he joining the reality-based community? Did he have an epiphany, or is he just smarter than the usual US collaborators and hedges his bets against a decline of US influence?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 12:21:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, this is pure speculation, but I suspect a bit of both. He may be a neocon in DC, but in the end, he's a very nationalist Pole, whose views are determined by what he believes to be Poland's national interests. Plus there's his horrible relations with the twins - i.e. domestic political considerations. I get the impression that during his stint as Defense Minister he grew a bit disenchanted with the neocon line. He's since been purging the Foreign Ministry of some of the radical right wingers and PiS hacks that the twins installed after pushing out Stefan Meller, their first FM who was a longtime senior diplomat and part of the left-liberal camp which has dominated the ministry since 1989. Sikorski's appointments have tended to be a return to the status-quo ante.
by MarekNYC on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 12:31:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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