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Bulletin of the MRSU / Section "Politics" / 2019 № 2.


D.S. Bunevich

“STRATEGIC THANATOS” OF POLAND. In: Bulletin of the Moscow Region State University (electronic journal), 2019, no. 2, pp. 31-51.


UDC Index: 327(438)

Date of publication: 19.06.2019 Page: 31 - 51

The full text of the article

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This article examines the behavior of Poland on the international stage, specifically its interaction with the European Union, the United States, and Russia in the historical context using the psychoanalytic approach to memory studies. The author presumes that Polish foreign policy may be dominated by “strategic thanatos” – a historical practice of tactically meaningful but strategically destructive behavior which, while declaring the state’s sovereignty a supreme value, in the long run reduces the level of national security and increases international political tensions around Poland. The author suggests that Poland’s policy of building “privileged” relations with the United States and its activity in the post-Soviet space is a continuation of Poland’s interwar policy, whose historical implications have not been critically reconsidered by Polish political and intellectual elites. This policy has resulted in an objective deterioration of the strategic position of modern Poland. The author predicts that, amid the growing conflict with the European Commission, the ruling anti-liberal national clericals from the “Law and Justice” party will try to rely on the U.S. support and become the center of gravity for European rightwing populists. The proposals of French President Emmanuel Macron to deepen European integration and build new European security architecture together with Russia suggest that the European establishment is seeking for the reduce of the EU’s military and political dependence on the U.S. Brussels will therefore strongly oppose the Polish Fronde. The article also points out that Poland’s example shows to Russia that its hopes for cooperation with European rightwing populists are futile. The author concludes that Poland would make a big mistake if, relying on hypothetical American support, it tries to hinder the process of European consolidation and the normalization of the Russian-European relations.

Key words

Poland, Russia, the European Union, the U.S., historical memory, populism, nationalism

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