Sunday, 24 August 2014

Like tomorrow doesn’t exist…

Was curious to hear yesterday in the radio about an article in Gazeta Wyborcza by its correspondent to Riga, capital of Latvia. The piece of writing mentioned in the press review turned out to be a just short story with quite astounding purport.

To sum up, as the author claims, Riga, this year enjoying the status of the European Capital of Culture. One event follows another, the carnival goes on, the Latvians live it up and make the most of the life, before a disaster aborts the festival. Inhabitants of Riga are deeply convinced Putin’s fifth column waits round the corner, ready to intrude into Latvia, as they invaded the Ukraine. The journalist argues an equation mark between Latvia and Ukraine is illegitimate since Latvia, unlike Ukraine, is a member of the EU and NATO and Putin would not dare to attack the military alliance because deep down he and his administration realise they would be defeated by united armies of NATO. Such arguments do not persuade the Latvian interlocutors who point out the Russian president is immensely unpredictable and ingenious and Russians as a rule do not let up.

Whenever hearing about Russian minorities in Baltic countries when the Russian parliament enacted a law entitling the Russian authorities to take every step to defend rights of mongered Russian minorities beyond the borders of Russia, contingency of Russian army stepping in to Latvia seemed incongruent. I had in mind the same argument – Putin would not dare to attack NATO, as it would mean a suicide for him. A few months later, after the Malaysian civil airplane was shot down and given how situation in Eastern Ukraine unfolded, I have changed my mind. Putin might come to a point when, after losing the battle for Ukraine and after suffering other prestigious defeats, he might have nothing to lose. In such situation, i.e. when you are bound to lose everything when you give up but if you take action you may either also lose everything or win something back, placing a dicey bet is economically justified.

The article draws a parallel between what goes on in Latvia and the summer of 1939 in Poland. Three quarters of century after the outbreak of WWII I wonder how it felt like in Poland in August 1939. The war was in the offing, its onset was just a matter of time. There was something in the air, probably the gut feeling something was inexorably about to end soon. Would anyone share the memories of their parents or grandparents?

Let’s figure out how people behave when they realise the end of something draws near and is inescapable. As the history proves they try to relish on every moment, cherish the life and quite frequently indulge in debauchery. Oddly enough, this sinful picture grossly contrasts with Christian commandments. For some reason, God-fearing people rarely pray, go to church to confess their sin ask for penance or beg their fellow men for forgiveness for the harm they have done them. Conversely, they push salvation away from themselves…

If I were to face such situation, from today’s standpoint, I would keep on living the way I do. I have no influence on what the fate brings. Orchestra on sinking Titanic kept doing its job until the very end. Business as usual, one would say and this strikes a chord with me.

Oddly enough, five years ago Mr Tusk and Mr Tusk strolled down the pier in Sopot before commemorations of 70th anniversary of WWII. Today relations between Poland and Russia are, to put it mildly, tense, but just like five years ago I am glad in have the luck to live in peace.

1 comment:

Alexander said...

Dear student,
This analysis is muuuuuuuch too easy.
Yes, Poland will fight Russia. The middle of Europe will fight Russia. The British MIGHT fight Russia.
There are a lot more burning fuses in the world today. A certain religon that you can not be name without being called a racist is causing tense situations in a lot of African and Asian countries. ISIS got to the number one spot from nowhere in a few months time.
Last Friday a Chinese fighter jet almost collided with an American jet. The Chinese are a big force too and claiming for example Taiwan.
The rich euro countries / NATO partners, will the fight ? France is supplying Russia with state of the art arms. Germany with communist Merkel is also more interested in money. France and Germany were also very close with the republic of Vichey. And the issue of the punch the euro countries can give. Holland no tanks for example. This shows with the response after 200 EU civilians got shot by Russia: nothing serious.
Even EU fanboy Tusk knows his EU friends will do nothing, and those friends will cost him the next elections.
Next will NATO member Turkey with an extremly islamic government fight for a Christian country, with a few countries at war at its borders.
And there is the issue with a lot of people from that certain religion, that are in great numbers in a lot of western countries like Britan. Will they fight for Poland ?
And there is the weakest US president ever, who is more interested in playing golf and not leading the world.
But on the other hand, Poland fought and won from the Sowjets in 1921.
Best regards, Alexander