Daniel Szwec | @szewc_daniel
Historically speaking, the Baltic-Black Sea isthmus, currently occupied by the Polish and Ukrainian states has always experienced extremely strong policical forces, ones set on uniting the region into a single political entity. From having a monopoly on the non-Scandinavian geopolitical European Rimland’s border, to being the crossing of trade routes from North to South, and East to West, the region was already in a political union, in the form of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, during which the region enjoyed enormous prosperity and had the largest aristocratic class in all of Europe. What’s more, the geopolitical longing for uniformity may be seen as one of the major causes for the first world war- the region was split in between the Entente and the central powers- Western Poland belonging to the German Empire, the East of Poland and the Ukraine belonging to the Russian Tsardom, and Galicia belonging to Austria-Hungary.
Because of the modern states not fulfilling their aforementioned geopolitical roles after the first world war, the power vacuum was filled by first the Soviet Union and its puppet theatre in the form of the Warsaw pact, and then by Russia, who had a major influence on Ukrainian politics until the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution. From then on, Russia has been trying to restore its regional power. The Belarusian president/dictator Alexander Lukashenko recently stated that he is ready to “unite” with Russia. It is rarely the case that a dictator happily hands over power, and therefore many believe that this decision was neither spontaneous nor autonomous. This is further signified by Belarus’s stronger relations with Poland, and Lukashenko himself saying that he wouldn’t want such a union as recently as in January.
Not only is the unification of the two countries needed in itself, but they must also unify under the Polish state. Why is that? Well, Ukraine is in none of the European structures, such as the common economic zone or the Schengen area of free movement across Europe. Nor is it in NATO, which it badly wants to become a member of. If Poland was to annex Ukraine, as “the Reporter”, a Ukrainian news site proposed a few months ago, the people and the territory would suddenly become part of the EU and NATO, giving more security, more opportunity and ensuring the citizens that corruption will be severely cut in the structures they are used to.
Another alternative could be the same sort of unification, but with a scenario more acceptable by the Kremlin. The main difference would be that Poland exits NATO, as well as the European Union, whilst staying in the common market and the Schengen area, similar to Norway. The exiting from the EU’s structure would be necessary too, because for years there have been plans to create a pan-European army. Many suspect the new army to be a potential tool of Germany, since it is the de facto leader of the EU, and fear the historically profound imperialism of Germany. These plans are considered more and more seriously in the wake of Brexit- a chance to expand integration much more than the UK would have ever allowed if it was staying in the Union. This would create a strong buffer zone between NATO and Russia, allowing for the tensions to relax between the two parties of the emerging Second Cold War.
The annexing of Ukraine by Poland would also benefit the USA by allowing the Trump administration to completely neutralize the status of Central and Eastern European countries since Poland stretching to the Black Sea would be enough of a powerhouse to enforce stability in the region. Of course, this would be the case if Belarus was to join this buffer as well, which would surely be a more attractive option for them in contrast to being swallowed by Russia. With European matters handled, America could concentrate on its proxy war with China, dealing with “Europe first, Asia second”, as President Franklin Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill had decided during the Second World War.
The similarity between the Polish, Belarusian and Ukrainian people had until the First World War, been religious at most. The peasant classes in the three countries didn’t have their own nation until the Second World War. During the clashes in the 1940s, between the “Polish” and “Ukrainian” neighboring peasants, each side was identified as either being Catholic (Polish) or Orthodox (Ukrainian). Because Catholic and Orthodox churches were interlaced on the map, and because the linguistics were not standardized until the introduction of the radio to the region, one’s identity shifted slowly from “Polish” to “Ukrainian” all the way from Western Subcarpathia in modern-day Poland, to near Kiev, the capital of today’s Ukraine. Formerly though, all of the aristocracy and elites in Poland, much of Belarus and most of Ukraine identified as parts of the Polish Crown, during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and after the creation of a more unitary state in the constitution of the third of May, 1791. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a stretch at all to reunite the people under one country, certainty keeping the rights of the other people groups at the highest standards- as was the tradition during the years of the Commonwealth.
The potential of Poland annexing Ukraine should not be dismissed, since those creating a stronghold in Central-Eastern Europe would allow for the easing of America’s role in the continent, and would snatch hegemony in Europe from Germany’s hands, whilst keeping Russia content with NATO’s borders moving further away from theirs.
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