Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Russophobia is not simply creature of the right. In fact,  before the USSR it was a left wing talking point. The current Russophobic talking points are straight from that left wing playbook (not that most of those using them are aware of that).

 In Poland the right tended to actually be rather accomadionist towards RUssia, and some still are - they hate the godless masonic neoliberal judeo-marxist spirit that runs Western Europe, and the heretical (Protestant) neo-liberal judeo-capitalist spirit that runs America. Plus they believe that Poland's big enemy is Germany, that the EU is basically a German empire and want a close alliance with Russia against the German threat. This is part of what makes the anti-Atlanticist camp so weak in Poland. FIrst it's very much a minority, and then it's split three ways between fascists, leftists, and nostalgics for the old regime. The first and the third might be willing to uneasily cooperate, as might the second and third, but that's it.

by MarekNYC on Wed Aug 20th, 2008 at 09:42:30 PM EST
This is really interesting, thanks for your insights. It seems the Poles have lots of enemies, and manage to keep their friend sufficiently far away, across the Atlantic.

Still, how come France has managed to get into the business of repairing its relations with Germany right after WWII (Adenauer, de Gaulle) ?
Is there any hope that Poland will one day realize it's time to work towards having friends in Europe ? Is it on the agenda for anyone over there ?

by balbuz on Thu Aug 21st, 2008 at 10:13:17 AM EST
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There's been a lot of work in repairing relations with Germany. There are three catches. First is the large viscerally anti-German segment of the Polish population, which includes the twins - so that sort of didn't help things. The issue of how the Germans treat the history of the postwar expulsions is another - and there's blame on both sides of that dispute, with German political pandering to the Vertriebene lobby and Polish nationalists objecting to any commemoration of what was a horrible tragedy for the Germans.  Finally, the issue of German relations with Putin has recently caused problems, particularly under Schroeder. But overall, it's not that bad.

On Russia, with the current mindset of the Russian elites, not a chance. You would need a Russia willing to consistently and strongly express regret and apologies  for 1939-41 and 1945-89 while treating the break up of the Soviet Union and it's East European empire as a clearly positive event. I don't mean that they can't express regrets at the turmoil and suffering that accompanied it, but the actual loss of empire itself has to be seen as a good thing by the Russian elites. At the moment they are doing the reverse. As long as that is the case, the Poles will treat the Russians the way any former colony would treat it's former imperial masters who clearly see the loss of the colonial empire as bad, and believe that they deserve a certain deference in their former colonies.

by MarekNYC on Thu Aug 21st, 2008 at 10:54:43 AM EST
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Well, I was talking about Russophobia in America.  Today it is alive and well on the left (if you click on the link to Timothy's site, you can find more of my thougts on that) but even before the turn of the century in America, the leftist socialist trade-unionist movement in America was associated with Russia.  I just finished a book based on the case of a man in Chicago who was murdered by police in 1908, ostensibly for being an anarchist, on the sole basis that he looked like a Russian Jew. And then of course there was McCarthyism.  

There seems to be little or no association left in American between the left and Russia, as there was in the early to mid 20th Century, thanks to a combination of blacklists over here and Stalinism over there.  What's noteable now is how the neo-cons use tenuous arugments like civil liberties and democracy for demonizine Russia, and the left plays right into their hands, buys it hook line and sinker, even though the neo-cons could give a hoot less about civil liberties and democracy.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Aug 21st, 2008 at 10:48:15 AM EST
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I wouldn't call it playing into their hands, anymore than complaining about US abuses is playing into the hands of various human rights abusing critics of the US abroad. Just because the North Koreans and Cubans criticize certain things doesn't mean that the critiques aren't valid, ditto in reverse for the neo-cons.
by MarekNYC on Thu Aug 21st, 2008 at 10:57:17 AM EST
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I don't know about valid.  Valid would imply we actually give a f* about human rights abuses.

Insincere, inflated, manipulative and distorted - yes.  It's a Trojan horse of concern.  It's like the SNL skit with the killer shark and the candy gram.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Aug 21st, 2008 at 11:09:14 AM EST
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