Thursday, March 22, 2007

Poland and Europe

A foreign affair?
Mar 22nd 2007 | WARSAW
From The Economist print edition

The Polish government realises it needs a foreign policy, but doesn't yet have one

A FLURRY of interest in the outside world might not seem odd in one of the European Union's bigger members. But when it comes from Poland's president and prime minister, the twin brothers Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, it is a pleasant surprise. The prime minister, Jaroslaw, visited the Netherlands and Denmark last week. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, visited Poland, meeting the prime minister, speaking at Warsaw University and spending a day at President Lech's house on the Baltic coast.

This almost counts as a love-in. Polish foreign policy has been introverted, incompetent and marked by hostility to Germany since the Kaczynskis came to power in late 2005. Ms Merkel showed the value she places on improving German-Polish relations by bringing her husband, who rarely accompanies her abroad. Her main aim was to persuade the Poles to drop their resistance to this weekend's Berlin declaration celebrating the EU's 50th birthday, and to be more open to reviving the EU constitution. Poland had held out for a mention of God and the Christian tradition, but it has given up—though it will still be awkward on the constitution.

Ms Merkel seems to have persuaded the Poles that she is a sympathetic friend, not a revanchist and bullying neighbour. Her experience under totalitarian rule in communist East Germany helps. But she has also showed sensitivity to Polish concerns. The anti-ballistic missiles that America wants to base in Poland did not spoil her talks and her seaside stroll. The Polish president also avoided the knee-jerk issues of German atrocities against Poland. He made no mention of plans by a group of Germans deported from Poland after the war to open a museum. Nor did he whinge on about the planned pipeline that will pump Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

Closer ties with Germany are welcome, but not enough. The Polish government's foreign-policy woes stem largely from prejudice and ignorance. Not only are the Kaczynskis untravelled and monoglot; they distrust cosmopolitans. They have sacked or intimidated any advisers or colleagues who showed too much knowledge of, or interest in, the abroad. One result is more clashes with the EU, some unnecessary, others badly managed.

The Kaczynskis are sceptical about the euro, and so of the reforms needed to join it. Their method of communication has annoyed the EU: the economics commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, recently complained that the Polish government simply didn't inform him of its economic policy. One reason is that finance ministers change with alarming frequency (the incumbent is the fourth in 18 months). The foreign minister is a close Kaczynski chum, who sees her job as relaying his views bluntly, not building diplomatic alliances.

Poland's image is worsened by the antics of the League of Polish Families, a minority coalition partner. One of its leading lights is campaigning against the teaching of evolution in schools. The party wants to ban abortion in Europe. This week the European Court of Human Rights awarded a Polish woman damages of €25,000 ($33,250) for being refused an abortion that could have saved her eyesight. The party leader, Roman Giertych, who is education minister and deputy prime minister, wants to restrict what he terms the “promotion” of homosexuality in Polish schools. To secular liberals in the rest of Europe, all this makes Poland seem a bastion of medieval barbarism.

Other issues are more substantive. The Poles are being taken to the European Court for building a motorway through a conservation area. Their insistence on sticking to the voting system agreed in the Nice treaty in 2001, rather than the new one in the draft EU constitution, grates in Brussels—and Berlin. But Poland's leaders seem to have realised that a country wishing to have any influence needs a functioning foreign policy. All they must do now is formulate one.


Kuba said...
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Kuba said...

The Polish government's foreign-policy woes stem largely from prejudice and ignorance. are telling porky-pies, again!
This is viscious bullshit; what 'prejudice'??
If the word still means 'forming an opinion beforehand or against proper examination' - where is this 'beforehand' and 'against examination' present in Polish foreign policy of today?

Your whole article is based on a living-room idea of foreign policy:

Ms Merkel brought husband they all talked nicely with L.K, who was unusually calm and did not jump to no throats so she persuaded him not to bug about God in the constitution any more and that she was all friends - not revanchist...

A few corrections:

- closer ties with G. are not made by strolling beaches and dragging prime-ministerial spouses along;
Ms Merkel may be personally a nicest of persons and yet it affects the marrow of our mutual relations to a minimum extent
- you are silent on the real issues:
a.) German siding with Russia's pressures on Poland in relation to anti-missile shield (recent Steinmayer's statement that it should be re-thought so as to incl. Russia as a partner in its construction!)which are a serious violation of the NATO's core-values

- also in this context: German opposition to elements of the shield being in Poland in fact amounts to depriving Poland of its NATO-membership principal right to be embraced by the same safety guarantees as other members since some NATO countries (Germany, not the least!) do have thousands of American troops on their soil, which in real terms is the best insurance policy...

b.I don't know why you and your paper has been prsistently silent on the case of Polish halves of once mixed Polish-German couples who have filed a suit against Germany with the Eurpean Court of HUman Right - for forbidding them s to talk Polish to their children?!?
Is it not medieval barbarism to your secular liberals?

Kuba said...
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Edward Lucas said...

Hi Kuba

I am not Oxford-educated, by the way.

I interviewed Marek Edelman recently. He had some very harsh things to say about the Kaczynskis.
I am glad that the Kaczynskis are behaving in a more sensible way towards Germany and I hope it continues. Are you really saying that Fotyga is a good foreign minister. I talked at length to a recent visitor--a west European politician who is a great friend of Poland going back 20 years--who said it would have been more useful talking to his cat.

Why is it so hard for you to accept the simple fact that Poland's foreign policy under the Kaczynskis has been a disaster? They simply don't understand what diplomacy is about, and make elementary errors (not preparing the ground for their initiatives by telling their friends what they are going to say before they say it). Even countries that are really well-disposed towards Poland find this maddening. Sorry, but it's a fact. Try talking to some diplomats in Warsaw if you don't believe me. I doubt you will find one who regards the past 18 months as anything other than a foreign-policy disaster.

That's not to say that Poladn doesn't have legitimate interests and grievances. Germany has behaved badly eg on the pipeline. France's policy towards the CEE region is atrocious. Britain is dithering, Italy is appallingly pro-Russian. There is lots to complain about. But that is no excuse for blithering incompetence of the kind they have shown.

What possible good does it do to tell your staff to arrange a phone call with a foreign head of state or government--and then not come to the phone when it is arranged? That has happened on several occasions.

Or take the time when the Big Six meeting was happening in Warsaw and Poland cancelled it at less than 24 hours notice--when the Italian and Spanish foreign ministry political directors were already in town?

or the next Big six meeting where Poland simply didn't show up, with no explanation?

Remember that the Big Six was created entirely in order to give Poland a seat at the "top table".

Kuba said...

1.if you have managed to read my now deleted post, I can only say that I meant every word of it - it does not matter if you are Oxford-educated yourself...anyway, you know what i meant- (I'll post it again so that everybody knows what we are talking about)...
Let me avail myself of the occasion, however, to let me express highest of regards to your Father - I only recently (and accidentaly) have learnt you are related, although I have been aware of His eminent work for quite some time...

2.I am exasperated - maddened, if you like - at your manner of answering reminiscent of Mad Hatter's tea party - you respond with stuff that's a seat further (and a little to the right or left) than the spot where its expected - if you know what I mean - so that you're taking me 'round the table and eventually we'd be back where we started.

If someone wanted to deduce my questions from your answers - which usually is very simple - he'd arrive at something completely different than what I actualy said. It's a litmus paper of a dispute gone wrong underneath. I could, in fact, offer you a semantic model for it, Jacobson-style. Instead, example:

Edelman...did I say that E. had praised K's or approved of what they do? Did I? No!

I said that he had been critical, but nonetheless it was obvious for him that they are "enlightened people" - something you couldn't even get through your lips.

Edelman said: "It is surprising that they can stand the company of [Rydzyk] - enlightened people that they are" - and repeated: "because they are enlightened" -

Why did he say so? Because both K. are waay above even decent university average in their demeanour as much as in their thinking - and it would be hard for you to actually bring anyone, even from among his fiercest and best educated and poliglot and travelled opponents, to say that it is otherwise. Ask Rokita, ask Gowin, ask Saryusz-Wolski- if you prefer nearer to the ground - ask Kwasniewski - on the off-the-record basis asked if the short characterisation I've just given fits the K.s - they won't deny.

This also was in Edelman's voice, when he repeated it, as if to say:

"I do not approve of them, but it is no reason for anyone to deny their rarely high class, because it is worthy of frustrated fools and easy to peddle as it is -just distorts the image" -
Next time you have the chance to see him, do ask him if he would subscribe to this - I bet he would, because he is also a class of his own and does not need to downgrade a person instead of adressing the problem.
In fact, he indirectly expressed w a no-go to the type of primitive practice you - I am sorry to say this - are addicted to.

Why did you omit it in your answer to my question?
And most of all: why have you not answered my questions?

Where is intimidation of well educated aides (preposterous!)?

Where is ignorance...?

...and where prejudice?

Never mind the pipeline - what about German subversive collusion with Russia even though we re supposed to be allies?

I still refuse to believe you actually think what you write - I think you are playing a game, but I will respond to it taking it at face-value:

You've yet to prove that you have any notion of what foreign policy is; for now, anyone with a little bit of reason in him would laugh you off. For one:
...if western diplomats are unanimous in criticism (which by the way is laughably petty) - it is perhaps the best guarantee that the government has it the right way!
Its so so obvious!
...if diplomats go vocal - complaining to the press is going vocal, even if it is one journo, all keep it up - when they should shut the f&*$k up - they do it for a very good reason - but, Mr Lucas, it is their reason - and quite obvious, too! There is no place for 'friends' in diplomacy or being 'well-disposed' beyond clear and externally generated insructions.

...And that is so far the best of substance you could bring to make me "just accept the simple fact"...

Let me tell you, frankly, it just giggles when you repeat all that over and over again with 'friends of Poland' here and 'well disposed' there...

Mr Lucas, I am not saying the K are flawless but compared to the practises of last ten years of which I can spin the wheel for long winter evenings - they and Fotyga are Talleyrands-meet-Metternichs! ...You put a mild smile on my face with that talk so save it for housewives and students. I see (through) you!
ps. long again, sorry

Kuba said...

by the way, I ve just remembered:
why did you not react to my post some few days ago in which I outlined directions in which it might be interesting to develop your Putin-bashing article?
I thought you had specifically asked for it...
Don't get me wrong! I am not in the least offended, really, but there's another aspect to it:
it kind of amplified the impression of being just a smokescreen, not least to prove my previously voiced doubts ungrounded, that there was a double bottom to the sincerity of your claims that the blog is there for the benefit of your articles from critical input of your readers - I begged to doubt, because you were clearly oblivious of the fact that your texts first get published in a million-copy circulation of the E. and only then land on your blog... which is more likely to act as a wavebreaker if criticism swells and generaly as safety impact-consuming zone....

Edward Lucas said...

I am glad we agree that the Kaczynskis are not flawless. Edelman was indeed disappointed with them, so yes he did think well of them in principle, but condemned their manoeuvering.

As I said in my survey last year, the Kaczynskis are probably the most honest people to have ruled Poland since before the war. I praised them for that at a time when other media (eg FT) were already slamming them for incompetence etc.

Please answer my points about cancelled meetings etc: a shameful lack of competence that even Polish diplomats don't bother to defend.

Your point about the sequence of publication is absurd. I write the articles close to deadline. Then they are edited, fact-checked, proof-read and published. Then I put copies up on the blog. What else do you suggest?

Kuba said...

I am glad we agree that the Kaczynskis are not flawless.
....who says they are?? it

Edelman was indeeeeeeed disappoooo wiii them, sooo yees he...e.. are beside the point again. The point was - and still is -
that you have been indulging in the despicable art of smearing from behind what you could not scratch in front

i.e - you have been painting a personal caricature of both Kaczynskis - so vile and hateful that it makes a Jew of Nazi propaganda look like David Hasselhof - because you have been impotent in bringing any upfront falsifiable argument

Edelman -as I cited him - was making it know on the margin of his criticism that he denounces such practice - rather obvious, isn't it

that was the point.

In that context what does it matter that you said they were honest?

a.) Nazis also gladly admitted that Jews were industrious - in fact, all anti-Semites love to underline their admiration for this or the other aspect of Jewishness - I don't think it won them any points at Nurnberg, though...
b.) even if you could multiply - you and your ten clones would not have been able to fake that they were honest.

...other than this glorious merit, you have called them 'wierd', 'ignorant', 'paranoid', 'vengeful' accused them of 'intimidating' their subordinates 'if only they showed too much interest in the abroad' (sic!you are talking to me about absurd?...)in your squinted eyes they: 'loved to pick fights' 'had visceral loathing', were 'provincial' 'backward', 'homophobic' 'monoglot', you quotted with delight their 'likeness' to Lukashenka ("its an exaggeration, but..."), Putin"("its shade absurd, but..." - only a shade, right?)etc. etc.

.."enlightened people that they are" - said Edelman of the very same brothers Kaczynski. And added: "because they are enlightened..."

I praised them for that at a time when other media (eg FT) were already slamming them for incompetence etc.
...that's hillarious! it's really worthy of a blue ribbon in any pig competition...

Please answer my points.... - you have still left mine unanswered, but why not?
Ok. Here it is:

.. cancelled meetings?...let me put it bluntly: so f*&^ing what?...

first of all I take it there must have been a good reason for that,

but even if there was none and if it was careless? What happened afterwards? Did the Red Sea part again? Dogs were born with double heads? or at least locust?

well, I guess that means you'll all have to get used to Poland having its ways like a 40-million ever-richer nation should - bye bye to the philosophy of the kind: "it was specially created so that short-legged Poland could seat at the top table"...

It is like this in this brutal world of realpolitik:
if we have the clout, we will be sitting wherever we deem it of benefit - even on the European Commision's face - and I assure you the next morning European Commission will just wipe the mug and drink cheers to us - if we have clout...
if we don't - no-one else, no honorable and benevolent group is ever going to give us real place at the top table
- did it ever occur to you that if someone offers to have you seated at the top table, it is
a.) presumed you are not capable of climbing there yourself and
b.) that if you were fool enough to gratefully accept - all you are going to get will be warmth of your benefactor's hand holding you firmly by the handle?...go figure

ps. Please, satiate my curiosity: what was that with four finance ministers in 18 months? Are you on smth again?

Kuba said...
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Kuba said...

Well, it looks like E.L's decided its time to play dead for a while...or maybe I am being unfair and just went to finally figure it all out...

In the meantime, I am going to answer his last question:

Your point about the sequence of publication is absurd(...).

Is it...?

...Juxtaposed here beneath are two excerpts from your posting.
Let us leave it for the readers to decide if they see hypocrisy in it:

I write the articles close to deadline. Then they are edited, fact-checked, proof-read and published. Then I put copies up on the blog.

The main reason that I bother to put all my articles on this site is so that the readers can help spotmistakes, omissions, nuances that have gone adrift, so that the final picture is more complete.

...Ed - its corny!

The thing is that your articles get published in a million of copies worldwide ...and only then you bother to put them on this site where they are polished and perfected ...for whom?

... the twenty to fifty other readers to come next...?

Given the facts above, I would say that if anything here smacks of absurd, it is your assertion that you in fact your putting articles on the blog in pursuit of truth and perfection!

It would be enough to re-arrange your iron 'publishing sequence' in the 'I-write-close-to-deadline' part!
Write articles a little earlier - put them on the site - read reactions - review them (at this point you can easily cut out all you want, anyway!).
And then proceed with the rest...ah, wait: 'fact-check' needs reinforcement, too!

what else do you suggest?

That is all I suggest...

ps.: Ed, try to make some sense or...don't bother!

Kuba said...

Ed, does your lying have a limit ?:
The Kaczynskis (...) distrust cosmopolitans. They have sacked or intimidated any advisers or colleagues who showed too much knowledge of, or interest in, the abroad.

what kind of a man writes this kind of cosmic bullshit?!?
What do you mean intimidated?
Apart from being a preposterous lie, it is a grave accusation?

F#@*k your anonymous sources; you stop that hate-mongerring now, because you are spitting in the face of every-one of your readers who trust you!!!

How much more of this viscious slur can you produce??


I'll be damned if you aren't thinking of Mr-s Krawczyk and Sikorski.
Let's shine some light on these two:

- Krawczyk had to go a.)because he was a snitch* b.)because he was miserably lousy at his job.
- Sikorski apart from looking good and speaking English likewise was as miserably lousy at his:

- he endorsed corrupt purchases of crappy equipment for our Afganistan-bound troops and delayed its propper testing;

- he was promoting a misguided reform of military higher education system disregarding unanimous objection to it voiced by all of the military education top brass;

- he was - at least - turning a blind eye on the so-called "Operation Kandahar" carried out by the late WSI, which has been proven without a shade of doubt to be the cover for money-laundering and drug-smuggling courtesy of commonwealth of ex-spooks (Makowski)and their still active chums - now effectively cut in half by Mr Macierewicz - your fav hate-figure whose only crime has been diligent public service;

-lastly; Sikorski's was so bent on showing every-one he had not been pro-American that his way of handling the anti-missile shield talks was was propelling negotiations to a halt....


...where is the alleged too much knowledge of, or interest in, the abroad.? How spaced-out is that??

Edward Lucas said...

Hi Kuba

Just because I am not posting here does not mean I am hiding. I have a day job, family, shopping, friends etc.

There is no contradiction between the two sentences you cite. I fit the writing of my articles into the Economist's production cycle. It would be crazy not to, given that they pay me. It would certainly not be allowed to post articles that are the paper's intellectual copyright on a private blog, prior to publication. You may not think that my articles are any good, but collectively with my colleagues, they are the reason that people buy the paper.

However, being the masochistic and pedantic fellow that I am, I do like to give readers a chance to comment directly on my articles, and give a fuller picture than is possible in the format of a printed magazine. I may not agree with your comments about Poland, but I think it is probably interesting for readers of this site to see what the range of comments is that my articles produce. Sometimes it is the line of argument that is contested, sometimes the veracity.

Please bear in mind that I am the only Economist journalist out of nearly 100 who does this. So it seems a bit harsh to be picking on the format and timing.

I am not going to name my sources, but I assure you that there are plenty of people in Warsaw, including quite a few who work for this government, who would agree that an enthusiastic and well-informed knowledge of world affairs does not inspire trust in the Kaczynskis, and often the opposite.

It is preposterous for you to say that I am prejudiced against the Kaczynskis. Let me remind you that in my survey I summarised the criticisms of the PiS government thus

According to the critics, the government is either sinister or pathetic. It understands nothing of foreign policy or economics, is obsessed with the grudges of the past and pursues only its own bizarre, confrontational agenda. But have the critics got it right?

I then noted

One reason for the controversy over Law and Justice may be that the party has got some bad people rattled. Polish politics is dirty, and Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his government are, for the first time in the country's democratic history, making a real effort to clean it up. For all the criticism levelled against the government, there is no evidence of any personal greed or corruption on the part of Law and Justice. “These people are living in the same grotty flats with the same grotty wives and drive the same grotty cars as they were 15 years ago,” says one acute observer of Polish politics. “Compare that with the mansions, Mercedes and mistresses that their political opponents manage to afford on their official salaries.”

and continued

Raw honesty is a refreshing change in Polish politics; and it is arguable that neither Jaroslaw Kaczynski nor his government deserve the ridicule heaped on them. For a start, Poland is a strongly Roman Catholic country, where polls show clear support for socially conservative values. Regarding homosexuality, abortion and euthanasia as sinful may strike liberal-minded city-dwellers (and many foreigners) as wrong-headed. But it is not scandalous in itself that conservative Catholic politicians should represent their voters' values. Despite its dire image abroad, the government is well liked at home.

and then

on some issues of substance, Law and Justice has had good reason to behave as it did.

However I concluded

the danger is that dysfunctional old institutions will give way to dysfunctional new ones as sleazy old communists are replaced by new zealots and coalition kooks.

You can read the whole thing here

That survey was regarded as one of the most positive things ever written in the international media about the PiS government. I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that honesty is not enough. You may justify it as "realpolitik" but the sad truth is that Poland needs friends, and the current foreign-policy approach simply doesn't work.

I recently had lunch with a senior Polish diplomat, who had been instructed to rebuke me about the tone of my articles. After 40 minutes of vigorous discussion, I was not surprised to be told "Actually Mr Lucas, you are in my private opinion correct in your criticism of past mistakes".

However I would like to say that I do think things are improving a bit. So perhaps at some point, dear Kuba, you and I will reach agreement about the present, if not the past.



Kuba said...


it will be long, again, but please endure and read it - Edward Lucas and all who might come and be reading this line.
In reference to your ‘positive’ message in the closing remark – I must say that a metaphor implicit to it - of a movement toward positive evaluation of situation in Poland under Kaczynskis which as you said will hopefully get you to meet me at some point - is misleading. Regardless of changes in real-life, political or any other - you have not moved an inch in real terms since I have been posting here for a round year.

I think ca 100 posts (I did not care to count exactly) – mine and yours – over a year - is a substantive enough base of evidence to form conclusions on, so I repeat:

You have not moved an inch in relation to reality simply because, in fact, you have not even tried to relate to it! In a plethora of ways, you have been showing instrumental approach to the truth.
Consequently and with some perverted skill, I must say, you have been trying to uproot truth as much through your practical magic of fact-making, as through indirect effort to undermine it, by way of repeated attempts to dismiss my fundamental concerns as to your being at odds with facts as just another equivalent, if different, opinion. To you, it seems, life’s matter is only as a reservoir of elements for further engeneering;
you make artifacts out of facts and then you build your version of reality where everything either floats or moves in viscious circles. The closest parallel would be to the craftman who stuffs dead specimens of animals to later place them in a still-nature exposition. There is as much life in your writing as in those animals – so, no – you are not moving….
I have taken notice of the kind of changes in your attitude you are most likely to summon here– those “However, I do see some positive change” “However, I came to a conclusion” in this direction or the other, in all their syntactic variations. Again, figuratively speaking - they indicate as much the real world as a glass, fluid-filled ball with snowflakes and a miniature New York indicates of New York proper.
Let us gloss over some examples starting with the most recent:

- what exactly do you mean : ”things are improving a bit” ?
- what “things” ?
- have your dwarves told you Kaczynskis eased in their intimidating cosmopolitans?
- has their ignorance dispersed?
- If so, where exactly was this ignorance in the first place and even more urgently needed is your answer to this:
- where had you been able to observe facts of them intimidating anyone before this improvement occured?
- if such facts were mediated to you – never mind the names of your sources !- be so kind and relate them in fullest possible detail here!
- has prejudice vanished from Polish politics?
- if you’d say – yes: where was it traceable in the first place??
- or maybe both Kaczynskis have expanded their minds through travelling a lot and learned their ABCs in foreign languages and are no longer “monoglot and untravelled”?
- if you’d concede that this was actually on your mind, tell me:
- where exactly – I mean facts – had you been able to observe the negative influence of their being “monoglot and untravelled”?

Further, let us go up to the level of meta-discussion:
- would you agree that in reality facts of knowing only your own language and limited traveller’s experience are by themselves incapable of containing any truth about a person that has not travelled and has not learned foreign languages – none whatsoever - other then these two facts alone?

Mind you both incriminated gentlemen are well over fifty and spent all their lives’ most acquisitive time in communist Poland where free travelling abroad was inconceivable, not just because it was politically reglamented, not even mainly because if it, but first and foremost – because the average pay (and in commie Poland average meant 90% of working population!) amounted to 20$ - literally!
You damn well know that!

So it wasn’t exactly like they had a choice now, was it?

Consequently, of language schools there was not exactly a plenty and learning in those that were available required a lot of self-motivation, since no practical aplicability was anywhere on the horizon.

Do you know what did bright people in a closed country do in order to expand their minds, in the face of these facts? They read a lot – that is why average 50-year-old with higher education in Poland knows so much more about the world in general than his counterpart in the West (I exclude England). And so did Kaczynskis;
anyone who read at least one long of Jaroslaw’s speeches or read any long interview with either of them attentively will admit that they are erudite and amazingly versatile in their knowledgeability which allows them to formulate true sentences on relatively high level of sophistication in so many disciplines of broadly defined anthropology (sociology, economics, history, law – L.K is the professor in legal sciences, for God’s sake!) – sentences with which one may disagree, but which cannot be shrugged off as that of a diletante but demand opening a specialist discourse!

In a previous post I quotted Marek Edelman – their fierce critic in general – who said explicitly that they were “enlightened people”and repeated that (“Kaczyńscy to światli ludzie – jak oni mogli [z Radiem Maryja…]- bo to są światli ludzie, więc jak to możliwe!!” )
That said: what about ‘monoglot’ and ‘untravelled’ in the context of “Polish foreign policy woes stemming from ignorance and prejudice”?

I strongly insist that you answer all these questions and this below:

Are you going to deny that your choice of words reflects your loathing of both the Polish prime minister and the President?

I brought forward facts – what are you going to bring? Some more “I-have-been-informed-by-my-undisclosed-sources” kind of crap?

I do believe you had some jerk-offs tell you all that and more; however, having 20-year experience and if you respected reality, if you valued your readers who simply do not know the truth which you must know and which I but sketched out above, if your articles were indeed about information – why in the hell do you include this jerk-offs’ crap in your texts as valuable evidence??

Maybe they were right, maybe they were wrong – neither you, nor I can falsify such entry.

No objective test is at hand to prove these heavy ( intimidation?) and distortive (monoglot? untravelled? – are they a couple of villagers with dirty nails?) characterisations, furthermore;

Not even indirect evidence is available (or is it? – then bring it just once to the table).
The burden of evidence rests with prosecution, so I am all ears…?
Only don’t drag your habitual hear-say as evidence by witnesses whose credibility is to be trusted solely on the your word - the very same word of yours which has so far had toubles in proving its own –
it is, therefore no evidence at all, so don’t bother with it!

– whether I, or anyone else, believe it or not is completely null as an element of a dispute –


The same goes for hear-say evidence multiplied i.e (“I assure you there are many people who say so..” and the like; many people in Kentucky believe the Earth is flat, but what exactly does it prove and what exactly does it matter? Millions of Americans lend ears and credit theories as spaced-out as the one that claims Osama had been acting on behalf of Brussels, jealous of America’s might – and what? Does it affect reality? Is America busy getting ready to capture Barroso?!

Do not bring any more fake statistics conducted under circumstances which by themselves must incur these statistics’ heavy bias, ,vide: anti-missile shield – where people are asked if they approve of it when all they hear is threats, grunts, Cassandric visions and No information. What response would you expect? What good does quotting of such faulty probes do? Is exerting influence on public opinion, rather then obtaining information, not its sole conceivable aim?

I could go on for pages analysing your texts likewise as your every word is objectionable in this way or the other.

I ask you these and demand that you answer in all earnest!

Mr Edward Lucas, apparently you are not about information – you are certainly not providing it and you are not interested in it either;

By the same token, you are not about the truth –

You are not about communication, either here on your blog (skeptics – do the test I have described above plus you might like to compare E.L’s explanation why it is that he just cannot put his articles for public fact-wise participation prior to publishing with my post right below this one and see if I am right that it might, after all, be possible to surmount the obstacles).

What, then, are you about?

I am not mad, nor paranoid – I am doing this for the first time in my life! - neither am I even ardent Kaczynskis follower: if ,in fact, a serious dispute would miraculously occur, with a partner that would be genuinely well disposed – not towards me, not the Kaczynskis, not even towards Poland as such, but towards accepting the notion that such discussions have only one objective at the end of the day – some form of improvement (in understanding, functioning or whatever was the concern) and if that partner was not commited to any ideologized idea of truth – I would be eloquent on these governments failures and on what I see as its intrinsic flaws. They would constitute a list with no common points to the one you have been unfolding – but that is only to say that it is not the matter of different opinions that is the monkeywrench in this machine!
I have repeatedly tried to get you involved in a serious fact-based discussion by presenting my own thinking (among latest examples: Russia – no response at all, here, on Germany in rel to Poland, diplomacy, E.U – under the relevant articlwe on European values, I have provided publically known and falsifiable evidence – see above; against Sikorski) – clearly you are not about that either since your scarce answers were off target and even if I had accepted what you presented within as some form of opinion, they could have not met even the most relaxed standards of intellectual exchange and would have collapsed at the snap of fingers because you have never put even a slightest piece of sound reasoning behind them – all backed only by more ‘dwarves’ that told you this and that.

What, then, are you about, Edward Lucas?

You once said that the reader is supposed to trust the author. Very well. I had been taking your newspaper’s credibility for granted for years, until you have rudely awoken me. Since then, all I have been doing was offering you occassions to correct and I have spared no effort in making sure those had not been mistakes of the ill-informed. I am sure now.
How can you shamelessly demand to be trusted when you fail to hold water even on such unambiguous topics as your misguided case of Ruch vs. small airport-based chain of press distribution, in which you promoted the latter (so insignificant that I cannot even remember its name!) to the former’s main – and winning! – competitor in what was your ideologically correct diatribe on superiority of the private over the state-owned in which you took no notice of Kolporter which happens to control almost exactly a half of the market, sharing it with the aforementioned Ruch, which, on its part, had been already privatised for some time even then! How pathetic is that? And it is! Tops to bottom and back again, including simplisity of the case you were thus making, resting on nonexistent evidence and employing obsolete notions as singular as if 200 years since Adam Smith have never happened!

I will be looking forward to your earnest answer and I will not stop asking them even if it takes to repeat them another 100 times! You see, I am Erin-Brokovich-type-of-motivated! Your stubborn upholding your evident failures with nothing but the ghost crowd of anonymous senior-post-holding voices, arrogant sense of impunity you most clearly enjoy looking down from your high stool and apparent lack of any restraints in slander have got me vexed and if you continue, expect me to enter phase 2: I will be devoting a great deal of time making it my hobby to persuade whomever I will deem instrumental in getting you off the stand to take a close look on your printed productions and see if they notice what I have noticed…

Still believe I might be unfair to you so you are most wellcome to prove me wrong!

Kuba said...

what follows below concerns the first part of your post - so as not to leave issues to dwindle unanswered :

(of course I know! I was teasing you, c'mon!)
as to your 'publishing sequnce' and such...:

I did not say the two sentences are contradictory per se: I said they do not get along smoothly and I explained why. I am afraid, your argumentation in this respect still fails to convince - here's why:
If there’s a will, there’s a way; you are high up the ladder – high enough, to make things happen.
The intellectual property issue could be resolved without either you losing your job or the Economist losing its ius prime noctis.
Consider the following:
1. make an announcement at an early stage of your intention to write, say, a survey of a country and invite your reader’s to suggest what they see as important.
You could, in fact, devote a separate section for the purpose, so that elsewhere on the blog the order remains undesturbed.
+ you would of course retain the full of power of choice according your fancy along with free hand to trash the rest
2. You could put articles up here as you do now – only with your own copywrite, which you would later transfer on to the Economist;
I am sure a legal routine could be worked out here
+ this seems natural
+ the Economist’s interests would in no way be infringed; given limited range of a blog in comparison to its own, the Economist would not have to worry it might spoil the surprise and would gain a lot of genuine credibility, not to mention PR wins.

These are just two that imediately came to my mind...
I think, you could do something along these lines, couldn’t you? ;)

but, truth be told, you might as well leave things as they are. As far as the format goes –it is quite ok, especially in view of much more important issues I found at fault with your practice.
Only then you would be well-advised to refrain from making unsolicited and somewhat overstated declarations like the one which provoked this – as I said – relatively unimportant topic. Otherwise, you may sound...corny…
I do, by the way, appreciate your revolutionary initiative of this blog – really. Only do not expect this fact to exempt you from criticism on this topic – I think what I have brought up was far from harsh of your motivations.

Kuba said...

...and sorry for spelling mistakes or odd punctuation and the like (in the long one before the last)- I have actually written it late at night - otherwise I wouldn't be able to do it at all...

If anything needs explanation, I'd be happy to provide it