Thursday, February 10, 2011

Faux pas or f--k you?

Check out that picture. President Bronislaw Komorowski commits what looks to be a major international faux pas. On a very rainy Warsaw morning, he brings only one umbrella, which is then chivalrously used for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Poor little President Nicolas Sarkozy is left standing in the rain.

Komorowski has shown a fine talent for gaffes in his first several months on the job. He managed to offend both women and US President Barack Obama during a recent visit to the states. His presidential campaign last June was so littered with blunders and slip-ups he probably even had former President George Bush rolling on the floor laughing his freaking head off.

But was Sarkozy really the victim of another Komorowski trip-up or is something more sinister at work?

The latter, of course, as always. Let's step into our time machine. (Whirrr.) It's suddenly 2003. Bush is cracking jokes with Rummy and Cheney and preparing to invade Iraq for, er, "democracy." Being the new kids on the NATO and soon-to-be EU block and being traditionally pro-American, Poland and other Central European countries are voicing support for the American adventure.

But French President Jacques Chirac refuses to accept such insubordination and brands as "childish" Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries. The perpetually diffident French president goes on to describe the countries' views as "dangerous" and their actions as reckless and misbehaved. "They missed a great opportunity to shut up," he hisses, warning that EU entry itself could be jeopardised.

Back to the future. (Whirrr.) France has in fact never been seen as positively in Poland as before Chirac's chastisement. Though history has probably somewhat vindicated Chirac's stance on Iraq, his treatment of Poland and the other CEE countries was completely uncalled for and I'm sure Polish officials vowed revenge on France.

How do you like them apples Sarko?