Condi Rice’s Message for Poland

Last week I read a number of news articles which made reference to an important op/ed published in the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. I have finally tracked down a full translation of the piece, which urges the Poles to remain vigilant on the front lines of these disputes with the “more authoritarian” Russia. The article serves as a good example of the narrative of Washington’s strategy to engage with Russia’s European neighbors – one that already seems to have worked with the Czechs, who during the UNGA accused Russia of acting like a colonial power in its carve up of Georgia. Rice writes: “Perhaps more disturbing, though, is that Russia’s attack fits into a worsening pattern of behavior over several years – among other things, its use of oil and gas as tools of coercion, its threat to target peaceful nations like Poland with nuclear weapons, and its curtailment of law and liberty at home. The emerging picture is an increasingly authoritarian and aggressive Russia. (…) Whether Russia’s leaders overcome their nostalgia for another time, and reconcile themselves to the sources of power and the exercise of power in the 21st century, still remains to be seen. The decision is Russia’s, and Russia’s alone. And we hope that Russia’s leaders choose responsibly – for the sake of their people and the sake of the world.”