Commenting a NYT article on Poland, Dr. Chodakiewicz points out that the decisions of the new government in Poland are based on the same premises as those taken in America after the presidential election in 2009.
On November 21 2015, Dr. Chodakiewicz has given a lecture entitled Polish Freedom and Democratic Traditions in Anglo-Saxon Perspective for the Polish American Business Club. The event was held at the Cornell Club in New York and discussed the matters of freedom and security in the Intermarium both in the historical and the contemporary perspective.
The lecture may be watched here:
Questions from the audience are here:
On Saturday, November 14th, The Eight Annual Kosciuszko Chair Conference took place. Topics discussed a number of questions related to the past and the contemporary reality of the Intermarium as well as its closer and more distant neighbors.
Topics and speakers included:
“Poland for the Poles!” Recent Research on Christian Nationalism
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies, IWP
China in the Intermarium: The Ukraine and Belarus Connections
Dr. Paul Coyer
IWP Research Professor, Contributor to Forbes
Jews and the Polish Underground: A Book to End History?
Active Measures and the Smolensk Investigation
Dr. Chris J. Cieszewski
Professor, University of Georgia
Free Expression in Contemporary Poland
Deputy Director, American Transparency
Grupa Azoty and the Information War
by Timothy Krol
On August 6th, 2015, the government of Poland swore in its new President Andrzej Duda, who firmly beat the former President Bronislaw Komorowski in this year’s election. Mr. Duda, who faces a considerable challenge in regards to foreign policy as he takes office, is working to implement policy ideas that were shared at IWP’s Kosciuszko Chair Spring Symposium this past April.
In his inaugural address to the Congress of Poland, President Duda spoke mainly about a major foreign relations problem for Poland: the current conflict in Eastern Ukraine, where Russian intervention is worrying for Poland due to its history of often being a victim of Russian aggression. To counter this threat, Mr. Duda outlined his “four pillars” of defense for Poland, which include the expansion of defense capabilities, further modernization of the armed forces, cooperation with NATO, and deeper defense integration within the European Union.
These plans echo the suggestions made by experts on the region at the recent Kosciuszko Chair conference, which was entitled “Between Russia and NATO: Security Challenges in Central and Eastern Europe,” and took place on April 25.
During this event, Dr. Sebastian Gorka called for greater NATO involvement on the eastern flank of NATO countries, and noted that the flexing of NATO muscle in the east is a way to show Russia that the organization is serious about its “attack on one is an attack on all” policy. Moreover, President Duda’s new policy includes a key element that, as Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz noted at the conference, has been neglected by the countries of Central Europe throughout the history of the region: greater defense cooperation against a common enemy. Dr. Chodakiewicz pointed out that in the Interbellum period of the early 20th century, the countries of Central Europe focused their defense policies on small regional squabbles rather than the looming threat of Soviet Russia. Uniting these nations, which are now part of the European Union, is an integral part of Europe’s defense against any possible Russian aggression.
Mr. Duda seems not to be repeating the mistakes of his predecessors by making deeper partnerships with EU and NATO countries a core component of his new foreign policy. It seems that Mr. Duda has taken these suggestion to heart and is focused on making both Poland as well as NATO a more secure, and unified front against foreign aggression.
On Sunday, May 24, the second round of the presidential elections in Poland saw the victory of Andrzej Duda, the candidate of the largest opposition party (Law and Justice, or “PiS”) in the country, over the liberal post-communist incumbent, Bronisław Komorowski. This political shift in the Central European nation prompted The New York Times – which has a long record of biased and skewed coverage of events in Poland – to mislabel Mr. Duda’s party as “right-wing,” thereby implicitly accusing Law and Justice of extremism. To correct this distortion, Dr. Chodakiewicz wrote a letter to the daily’s editors. Since the paper chose not to publish his comments, we are posting the text of Dr. Chodakiewicz’s letter below.
To call Poland’s Law and Justice party (PiS) “right-wing” is a stretch (as you did in your coverage of the recent presidential elections). It is a statist party, combining many traditions. Its leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, himself is a pragmatic who sprang from the progressive, left-wing milieu of Warsaw’s radical intelligentsia with cosmopolitan Odessa roots. In addition to its mild anti-Communism, PiS has evolved to combine a strong “social justice” message, an appeal to patriotism, a pledge to strengthen the nation’s defense, a record of lower taxes, opposition to “unbridled capitalism,” and an avowed social and cultural conservatism. In many ways, PiS reflects the legacy of Solidarity’s grass roots, but not some of its globalist elites. The closest domestic analogy would be American blue collar trade unionism in the 1980s under Lane Kirkland, I guess, or “Reagan Democrats.”
IWP holds Fifth Annual Kościuszko Chair Spring Symposium
On Saturday, April 25, the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies – currently held by Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz – hosted its Fifth Annual Spring Symposium: “Between Russia and NATO: Security Challenges in Central and Eastern Europe.” This year’s event was held at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, just across the river from Washington, D.C. The conference was made possible through the generosity of Mr. Jan M. Małek and the Polish-American Foundation for Economic Education and Development (Polsko-Amerykańska Fundacja Edukacji i Rozwoju Ekonomicznego, PAFERE).
The symposium consisted of six panels and was moderated by Dr. Sebastian Gorka of IWP, who also delivered two presentations and the closing remarks.
Dr. Gorka’s first talk addressed “U.S. Interests in Central/Eastern Europe.”
The panel on “Foreign and Defense Policies of Central and Eastern Europe” consisted of lectures by Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz and Mr. Žygimantas Pavilionis, the Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania. Dr. Chodakiewicz emphasized that the Intermarium has suffered from a lack of unity and called for solidarity between the nations of Central and Eastern Europe. Ambassador Pavilionis spoke about what he sees as insufficient US engagement in the region, including the woefully inadequate nature of US public diplomacy and broadcasting in the region.
Dr. Ariel Cohen and Dr. Łucja Świątkowska-Cannon addressed the “Strategic Implications of Economic and Energy Conditions in Central/Eastern Europe,” both pointing out that such impediments as onerous regulations and heavy taxation (“gas tax Sepuku,” in the words of Dr. Cohen) constitute serious obstacles delaying the ability of such countries as Poland and Ukraine to exploit fully their large shale gas deposits, thereby gaining energy independence.
The panel on “Russian Foreign Policy and Military Developments in Central and Eastern Europe” consisted of four lectures. Prof. Andrzej Nowak from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, provided a historical survey of imperialist continuities in Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet thought. Dr. Jack Dziak spoke about Spetsnaz operations, active measures, and the “new hybrid warfare,” which — as he pointed out — was by no means “new.” The real problem was that the US government closed down the means we had at our disposal to counter these threats during the Cold War right after the Soviet implosion. Mr. Chris Zawitkowski focused on post-Soviet Russia’s military doctrine, which continues to view the US and NATO as its main “enemies.” Dr. Phillip Petersen of the Potomac Foundation, in turn, explained the nature of the post-Soviet “new hybrid warfare,” which the Russians call simply “new generation warfare.” Dr. Petersen’s PowerPoint presentation can be found here: Petersen, New Generation Warfare
During the “NATO and Central and Eastern Europe” Dr. Phillip Karber (Potomac Foundation) emphasized the highly intensive nature of Moscow’s proxy war in the Donbas and offered practical policy advice on how to most effectively help the Ukrainians defend themselves. Shifting towards first things, Prof. Joseph Wood’s presentation anchored our understanding of America’s role in NATO in natural law and transcendental moral values.
The final panel, “U.S. Foreign Policy Options,” featured the speeches of Dr. John Lenczowski and Dr. Sebastian Gorka.
On Saturday, April 18, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz took part in the Second Polonia Forum, a Polish-American conference held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Częstochowa in Doylestown, PA, and was sponsored by the Smolensk Disaster Commemoration Committee.
Dr. Chodakiewicz’s lecture, which was part of the panel on “the Katyn Crime 75 Years Later,” was entitled “the Legacy of Hopelessness: Katyn and Smolensk.” It addressed the historical and political contexts of the Katyn Forest Massacre (spring 1940), the genocidal Soviet extermination of 22,000 Polish officers (and other members of the national elite), and the suspicious Smolensk Crash (April 10, 2010), which saw the deaths of Poland’s president, the late Lech Kaczyński, and 95 additional members of his entourage, who constituted Poland’s patriotic pro-Western elite. More specifically, Dr. Chodakiewicz spoke about the feelings of helplessness that these two historical disasters engendered and the ways to remedy them. We are reproducing his speech below:
Ladies and Gentlemen:
In the case of Katyn and Smolensk, we have both good news and bad news. The good news is that, eventually, the truth always surfaces. As far as Katyn is concerned, no one today — except for liars and Stalinist fanatics — denies that the crime was committed by the Soviets. How is this possible? Well, in short, we eventually gained access to the documents. The longer answer is: memory. We remembered Katyn, regardless of the consequences and circumstances.
What is memory? It is whatever we chose from the present to salvage it from extermination by time. Thus, we preserve the crumbs of past experiences which are important for various reasons. There are two kinds of memory: a collective one that is public and group-centric; and an individual one that is private and family-based. Collective memory is often expressed through symbols. Characteristically, the Crucifix frequently functions as such a symbol, itself being a symbol of suffering and victory. The crying injustice of Katyn, which is commonly referred to in Poland as the “Golgotha of the East,” is often expressed through the Cross or the Virgin Mary. Smolensk — the symbol of post-communist and post-Soviet pathologies — was also commemorated by the Cross.
Public memory only appears to be abstract, theoretical, and symbolic. In reality, it coalesces with individual, personal, and family memory. For me, for instance, Katyn also means Second Lieutenant Symeon Kazimierz Chodakiewicz and Rotamaster Jan Fuhrman. The former was my grandfather’s cousin, the latter was the godfather of my uncle, Stasiu Wellisz. Smolensk, in turn, brings to mind Janusz Kurtyka and Andrzej Przewoźnik, both of whom were historians. I recall Janusz Kurtyka particularly warmly, for he was one of the few professional historians to help our efforts to debunk the false and malicious narratives surrounding the history of the National Armed Forces. We remember people and create symbols. In the short-term, that is very little, but in the long-term, it is the foundation.
And now, the bad news. In the short-term, memory is insufficient because remembering the victims does not translate into political compensation or atonement. After all, the victims weren’t strong enough to resist the aggression, and their heirs weren’t strong enough to obtain justice. Moreover, the mighty of this world did not want to hear complaints. This is an experience that is universal and does not apply solely to the Poles. For example, right after the Second World War, practically no one cared to hear about the Holocaust. The doyen of Holocaust studies in the US, Professor Raul Hilberg, was criticized sharply by his dissertation advisor and other professors. They warned him that delving into the extermination of the Jews would spell the end of his career. For almost ten years no one would publish his opus. The topic was eventually popularized only because of his strong will, meticulous research, discipline, and strategy. It also helped that a Jewish philanthropist not only financed the printing of the book but also purchased the entire print run. The breakthrough occurred only during the 1960s. It is unrealistic to expect immediate success without any effort or support. The same applies to Polish issues.
The geopolitics and geostrategy of foreign powers call for permanent Polish impotence. Why? Because the mighty prefer to cut deals among themselves. The Poles, however, irritate everybody with their importunity and constant search for truth and justice. After all, it is clear that both the US and Britain knew about Katyn, but the governments of the two countries did not want to know about it. Winston Churchill told his personal secretary: “For God’s sake, let’s not talk about it in public, but it is clear that the Bolsheviks murdered the Poles.” US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent his friend as a private emissary to Europe to deal with the Katyn issue. After returning home, he informed FDR that the Polish officers were shot by the Soviets. The president ordered him to keep his mouth shut, but when his friend threatened to expose the truth in the press, FDR had him impressed into the military and sent off to Samoa. The Poles were, quite simply, an inconvenience. Their interests did not matter; the alliance with Stalin did. The Red Army was fighting and, although Soviet troops were dying as well, they kept killing and pushing the Germans westward. Hence, the Western Allies did not have to pay a high price in blood. Furthermore, FDR hoped especially that Stalin would become his future partner in the postwar world government known as the United Nations Organization. Thus, it was convenient to consider the Katyn case closed and to agree with Stalin’s version: the Germans did it.
Given such an ideological and geopolitical atmosphere, Soviet agents of influence had a much easier job, particularly since it had its tentacles even at the highest level of the US government: in the White House. Harry Hopkins, Harry Dexter White, and Lauchlin Currie all worked for Stalin. The last named was FDR’s personal secretary. It was this trio that provided the NKVD with all the details the Chekists wanted to know. One example was the presidential approach to Katyn, or, in general, all other Polish issues. Since FDR generally couldn’t care less, the Soviet dictator knew how to negotiate with him. The only concern was for all of this not to surface prematurely, lest the Polonia not vote for the Democratic candidate.
In the lower tiers of the US federal government, including the Office of War Information and other agencies, communist agents launched attacks against anyone who wanted to amplify the Katyn case. For example, Polish-American radio programs were the victims of such attacks; their owners were either threatened or the programs were simply shut down. “Dirt-digging” and character assassination [Rufmord] campaigns were routinely waged against people wishing to expose the truth about Katyn. The anti-Polish campaign hit its lowest point when the main newspaper of the US military, Stars and Stripes, published a caricature of a Polish officer “supposedly” shot at Katyn. Nota bene, one of the communist moles in the OWI then engaged in combating the truth about Katyn later resurfaced in the communist-occupied Polish People’s Republic and did the very same thing in the capacity of the editor-in-chief of the red Trybuna Ludu [People’s Tribune]. This time, at least, he was officially on the communist payroll.
Discrediting alternative narratives about Katyn and supporting Moscow’s propaganda line were routine in the US during the war. It is important to keep in mind these mechanisms and to verify if and how they apply to the Smolensk Crash. It will be a very interesting endeavor to test the validity of theories arguing that similar mechanisms of deception are behind both Katyn and Smolensk.
Let us look at the case of Smolensk in the West. The Poles are once again inconvenient. And yet again the Western powers fail to support Poland as a matter of official policy. Smolensk is considered a closed case, yesterday’s news. The White House has practically buried the issue: it was an accident, pilot error, and now let’s move on. It doesn’t matter that there was no serious, thorough investigation and that Russia is dictating the discourse. Without the President’s permission, or a presidential order, the intelligence community cannot conduct its own separate investigation.
Naturally, there are a few individual exceptions in the US. A handful of conservative Congressmen and Senators is interested in Smolensk. The intelligence community is unofficially gathering materials and hoping for a better political climate. Some of our professors from the Institute of World Politics have been helping for a long time as well.
What can we do to overcome helplessness? Napoleon used to say: money, money, and more money. But money is only a means to an end. We have to also know how to grease the wheels to get to the desired destination. Above all, we need three things: ideas, strategy, and cadres. The idée is “national,” and therefore the continuation of tradition in the new conditions of post-modernity. Strategy is required to ensure that our ideas win and to prevent our children from becoming victims. In other words, it is about might and power, i.e. “peace through strength.” The cadres devise the tactics, i.e. immediate maneuvers leading to the main objective. The cadres will take care of the logistics and will establish organizations, in addition to fundraising and communications.
Where would the financial backing come from? Everyone has $10 that could be donated monthly to a cause close to their heart. On the other hand, like my Californian Foster Mother likes to say: the Polonia has long tongues, which it wags constantly while chattering about Poland and other causes; but it also has short arms, which makes it incapable of writing checks to support vital initiatives. Thus, the Polonia has to be told bluntly: “Put your money where your mouth is. Put up, or shut up.”