Poland: A Delicate Balancing Act Between East and West

YET AGAIN AT A HISTORICAL CROSS-roads, Poland today faces a double foreign policy challenge. Squeezed between the European Union and NATO on one side and Russia on the other, Poland must gain the trust and dedication of the former while successfully reworking its relations with the latter. The two goals are not unrelated. EU and NATO member states would not be happy to admit into their ranks a country with an ongoing dispute with Russia, so Poland must avoid any quarrels with its powerful neighbor. Still, the goals are not fully compatible, either: Russia has at times expressed resentment of the decisively pro-Western inclination of nearly all of Poland’s post-1989 governments. Hence, push- ing forward on Polish accession to the EU and NATO must be delicately balanced with forging a new relationship with Russia. In the final analysis, Poland’s relations with its Eastern neighbors will be adjusted according to whether they would aid or obstruct the primary foreign policy objective of integration with Western structures and institutions.