diet coke for breakfast


Saturday, May 31, 2003

Posted by Matthew
No more Polish jokes

Today's opinion journal has a nice (and reletively unremarkable) little article by a former polish defense minister talking about their role in Iraq, as a peacekeeping force in general, and hopes of being a diplomatic bridge with the U.S.

The reason I posted it was to remark on how the media really hasn't covered our "other" friends (besides UK) that really went to bat for us and supported us in Iraq. We shouldn't forget that a "new world order" really is developing here and the players aren't going to be the same ones from the previous "paradigm". That several other countries sent troops to Iraq is acctually just a small sign of what's happening. The post cold war shift has left the US as essentially the world's police force and, despite the incredible pain in the arse it is, its not such a bad thing. We're the biggest and the strongest, but we also strive for a certain degree of morality and justice in the world. The only thing is, we aren't really beholden to anybody except our own population (as we should be) and realistically speaking we'll always be looking out for our own best interests (also as we should be), even when we're just doing something as mundane as keeping two sides from slaughtering eachother. Realistically, we'll need help. Not merely to bare the costs of conflict, but to mediate and in someways check our own impulses. "Multilateralism" is a buzz word, but its still essentially true. We need that if we want this era of American ascension to last. (of course, WE know that the Iraq war was multilateral, just not omnilateral which is quite logically impossible, but it hasn't stopped people from complaining). Now we see it in several smaller countries eager for participation in the world stage. As the article suggests, the Poles are eager to jump right into peacekeeping missions, diplomatic conflicts, and nation building. In this way they take some of the burden from the US and in return get elevated to the "short list" of "friends who we acctually like."

Also interesting is the apparent military model Poland is taking for this new era. Reading between the lines in the article leads me to think that Polands ultimate "goal" in terms of its military is to build a sort of modern, mobile, easy to deploy force that can get right into peacekeeping missions around the globe. All the while building strong ties with the US so that should anyone even think of invading Poland, the US military will jump right in to protect them. If they can count on us, then its really a brilliant plan. Surrounded by other militarily stronger countries, Poland would have a hard time defending itself from a determined invader and would need a strong ally. So rather then focus on their own defense, they are building up a force that can fight alongside the US in various peacekeeping actions. A complimentry force if you will. In this way, they'll make themselves invaluable to us, and thus guarentee our attention. And that of course is why Dubya is going there first on his trip.


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