This Monday, the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, delivered an important speech at the University of Heidelberg, in Germany.
In his speech, Morawiecki warned about the consequences that a Russian victory would have in its criminal invasion of Ukraine. The full speech can be read here. For your interest, here is the part where the Polish Prime Minister spoke about the war in Ukraine:
"I will discuss the importance of Ukraine’s struggle from the point of view of our common European values. Moreover, I will set out what conclusions we should draw from it.
What are Ukrainians really fighting for today?
For what are they willing to risk their lives?
Why did they not immediately surrender to the world’s second strongest army?
The struggle of Ukrainians for the right to national self-determination is yet another heroic manifestation of the defense of the nation-state and freedom.
But in order to have the will to fight, one must really believe in what one is fighting for.
Today, Ukrainians are fighting not only for their own freedom. Since February 24, 2022, they have also been fighting daily for the freedom of all Europe. And it is also our future that depends on how this war unfolds. The defeat of Ukraine would be the defeat of the West. Indeed, of the entire free world. A defeat greater than Vietnam. After such a defeat, Russia would strike again with impunity and the world as we know it, would dramatically change. A long series of dangerous unknowns would follow. The defeat of the free world would likely embolden Putin, just as the appeasement of the 1930s emboldened Hitler.
Putin, like Hitler at the time, also enjoys huge public support. It is not an exaggeration to say we are facing the threat of World War III. The way to avoid this outcome is to stop feeding the beast.
History is unfolding before our eyes.
When our children read their textbooks, they will ask did we do enough to ensure a peaceful future for them. Did we think about them and the long-term good of our countries or only about short-term comfort and the postponing of difficult decisions for later?
Have we learnt from the mistakes of the past or will we keep repeating them?
Now, a couple of remarks on:
Why this is a turning point in European history?
Until just before February 24, I had heard that Putin would not attack Ukraine.
Many politicians in Europe preferred to believe this, hoping it would be possible to continue the "Wandel durch Handel" with Russia at the expense of Central Europe.
In this context, let us return to the question: what are Ukrainians fighting for?
Were they focused solely on material goods and not united by their sense of community, they would have given up long ago.
This is what Putin was counting on. He believed that Ukrainians would choose peace over freedom. But he was wrong.
Why? What was the Kremlin's mistake? Putin is not a madman, as many of those who have been doing business with him for 20 years would have us believe. Putin was blinded by his own vision of the world. He was unable to see that Ukrainians are a nation.
And now they finally have their own nation state - though it may be far from perfect- they are willing to sacrifice their lives for it.
Russian propaganda claims that there is no such thing as a separate Ukrainian nation. We all know the saying: ‘if the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.’ That is why Russia is trying to explain to Ukrainians, by force, that they have no right to a national identity.
And yet it is the grandchildren of the soldiers who today risk their lives for a free Ukraine that will one day proudly say in school: my grandfather fought near Kherson! And mine repulsed the assault on Kyiv! My grandfather died in Mariupol.
And today's soldiers, these future grandparents, know that they are also fighting so that their grandchildren can live in a free country.
Let us remember: A nation is a community of the living, the dead and those yet to be born.
Today, Europe is witnessing crimes committed in the name of an anti-national ideology. This is what motivates Putin: the desire to eliminate all difference, destroy all national identities and melt them into the great Russian empire. Into Russkij mir.
Russian propaganda, has repeatedly made the false accusation of Ukrainian fascism.
This is exactly what Stalin said: "Call your opponents fascists or anti-Semites. You just have to repeat these epithets often enough."
It must be said clearly: a fascist is someone who wants to destroy other nations. It is someone who violates human rights and tramples on human dignity. The fascist today is Vladimir Putin and all accomplices of Russian aggression. As Europeans, we have a duty to oppose Russian fascism. This is what European identity is all about.
What lessons should we learn from the war in Ukraine?
Ukrainians today remind us of what Europe should be. Every European has the right to personal freedom and security. Every nation has the right to make key decisions about the future of its territory.
Democracy can be implemented at a municipal, regional or national level, wherever there are ties based on a common identity. Therefore, a vote in which 140 million Russians would vote "for" the incorporation of Ukraine into Russia and 40 million Ukrainians would vote "against" would not be democratic, would it?
What other lessons can be learned from more than a year of war in Ukraine? One thing is clear to me: The policy of ‘making deals’ with Russia is bankrupt.
Those who for decades wanted a strategic alliance with Russia and made European countries dependent on it for their energy, made a terrible mistake. Those who warned against Russian imperialism and repeatedly said not to trust Russia were right.
Those who, for many years, financed Russian war preparations, disarmed Europe and imposed a partnership with Russia on those weaker than themselves, bear political co-responsibility for the war in Ukraine. And for the current economic and energy problems facing hundreds of millions of Europeans.
Putin behaved like a drug-dealer who gives the first dose for free, knowing the addict will come back later and agree to any price. Putin is cunning, but he isn’t brilliant. Europe succumbed to him so easily mainly because of its own weakness.
This weakness was the pursuit of particular interests at the expense of other countries.
If the individual nations of the European Union seek to dominate others, Europe may fall prey to the same mistakes of the past. And all decisions to stop the Russian aggressor can be reversed again. This will happen if a few of the largest countries decide that it is more profitable for their elites to do business with the Kremlin, even at the cost of blood. Today it is Ukrainian blood. Tomorrow it may be Lithuanian, Finnish, Czech, Polish, but also German or French. We have to prevent this from happening."
Photo: Mateusz Morawiecki.
Don't miss the news and content that interest you. Receive the free daily newsletter in your email:
The mail subscription service to Counting Stars will allow you to receive in your mailbox a daily email with the new posts published in this blog. It is a free service. Once you have entered your email in this box and press the "Click to subscribe" black button, you will receive a confirmation email in your mailbox to activate your subscription. If at any time you want to unsubscribe, you only just have to click the link that you will find at the bottom of each newsletter.
Comment on this post: