Post Ukraine War, Poland will be Europe’s Future

A new democratic order is already in place

Shankar Narayan
7 min readMar 28, 2023
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The aftermath of wars have a huge bearing on all the parties involved in the war. It changes the trajectory of the direct actors, while tangentially affecting the spectators. The rise of America and the Soviet Union as global powers in the 19th century can be traced all the way back to the end of the second world war.

Before the second world war, there was an America, and after the war, there was another America. Before Hitler unleashed his mechanized killing machine, American politicians were content to play a quiet role in international affairs. They weren’t isolationists who insisted on not stepping out of their country, but they weren’t overly interested in global intervention.

But the onset of the Second world war and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor made it explicitly clear to America that even if she was interested in staying out, tyrants who wanted to destroy the democratic order to expand their empire, will not allow her the liberty. First, America offered military supplies and other assistance to the allies, but when the conflict became intense, she joined them.

“The arsenal of democracy that Franklin D. Roosevelt called into existence when the United States entered World War II proved to be a valuable investment in the American economy. By 1945, the United States was manufacturing more than half of the produced goods in the world. US exports made up more than one-third of the total global exports, and the United States held roughly two-thirds of the available gold reserves.

The sudden onset of this new position of economic power presented the United States with a number of new responsibilities. The actions of American leaders would no longer only affect citizens in the United States. Such actions proved to have long-reaching repercussions across the globe.”

America’s effort in helping the allies defeat the Nazis and Imperial Japanese did not go unrewarded. The United States played a major role in the creation of the democratic institutions after the second world war. The United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank all have their headquarters in the United States.

Whenever the Russia-Ukraine war ends, the countries that helped defeat the Russian autocrat will carve out a special place in the new democratic order.

There are several nations that support Ukraine, but Poland is going to be the one that stands out as the winner. There was a Poland before the Ukraine war and there will be a Poland after the Ukraine war. And it deserves every bit of that because no other country has imbibed so much pain today in order to create a better future for everyone.

The Awareness

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was preceded by unprecedented confusion as no one knew whether to take US intelligence reports that Russia was amassing troops at the Ukrainian border with the intention of attacking.

In the weeks following the invasion, the west quickly concluded that Ukraine would lose the war. The west asked Zelensky to flee. But he shot back saying “I need ammunition, not a ride.”

Only Poland openly expressed its faith in Ukraine. They dreamed of the light while everyone else wondered about the darkness. Within 24 hours of the war breaking out, Poland was already sending weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. Estonia and Latvia also supported Ukraine.

Within a week of the war, Poland sought U.S. assistance in providing fighter jets to Ukraine. In its statement, Poland said at that time that it is “ready to deploy — immediately and free of charge — all their MiG-29 jets to the Ramstein Air Base and place them at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America”.

The United States immediately rejected the proposal.

Because Biden was given faulty intelligence that Russian military forces were super strong, he refused to provide Ukraine with high end military support. The United States was preparing to help Ukraine fight a long guerilla war against Russia. There were no plans to help Ukraine defeat Russia outright.

Poles were the ones who kicked off the formation of a coalition to support Ukraine’s effort to defeat Russian forces. After one year, we realized how important Poland’s support for Ukraine was. Poles and Baltics were the first to believe in Ukraine long before the western world realized their potential.

Ability to Sacrifice

Table created by author. Data from public sources

“On 4 March 2022, the EU ministers of interior activated the so-called Temporary Protection Directive. This allowed Ukrainian citizens and their family members to be granted temporary protection without an asylum procedure”.

Although Ukrainian refugees could have applied and moved anywhere within the EU, most prefer to live in Poland. Not just because of the language and proximity to their homes, but also because Poles have done their best to take care of them.

By June 2022, 5.3 million Ukrainians had fled the war zone, out of which, 3.5 million Ukrainians moved into Poland. Poland hosted 66% of Ukrainian refugees at that point.

Poland does not rank among Europe’s richest countries.

They are eight places away from the top. They still accept monetary assistance from the European Union. Their size and economic state could have prompted Polish politicians to try and induce the millions of Ukrainians to move to other European countries. Or they could have at least complained about the overwhelming number of Ukrainians moving to their country.

But the Poles did not. They led the way in helping Ukrainian refugees. Poland kept its head down and showed there is a way to help without screaming from the rooftops.

As of January 2023, Poland still remains the number one country in terms of hosting Ukrainian refugees. France reportedly has 118,994 Ukrainian refugees. Poland has 1.56 million. Ukrainians prefer poor Poland over rich France.

Refusal to Accept a No

Whenever Ukraine was stuck between Russia and indecisive western leaders, Poland helped steer support in its direction.

After scoring a series of victories between September and December 2022, the Ukrainian army was stuck. Their weapons were insufficient to attack the Russians hiding behind the defensive barriers built to protect their troops.

The Ukrainians were growing restless. They desperately wanted the leopard tanks. They were the best in the world, and there were more than 2,000 available in Europe. But Germany refused to send them to Ukraine.

Working in cohesion with the United Kingdom, Poland broke the German resistance.

On January 14th, 2023 the United Kingdom announced they would be the first country in the world to export tanks to Ukraine. Ten days after the UK announcement, Poland requested Germany approval to send Leopard tanks in its possession to Ukraine. “Since the tanks are manufactured in Germany, it must provide permission for their re-export.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had been in the spotlight for some time. On January 25th, 2022, one day after Poland formally requested Germany permission to export its tanks, Germany announced that it will permit the poles to send their tanks, while adding that it would also help Ukraine by sending tanks from its own stocks.

The sequence of the events unfolded in January 2023 makes it explicitly clear how the western world dropped its objections to supply the much needed offensive weapons to Ukraine.

The western world has struggled to take another decision since the beginning of the war. Poland and Slovakia announced two weeks ago that they would send fighter jets to Ukraine. By sending their own jets, Poland and Slovakia have made it easier for western leaders to emulate them.

Everything from weapons to ammunition to humanitarian aid to refugees. Throughout the Ukraine war, Poland has stood resolutely by Ukraine. Because one country stepped forward time and again to assume most of the difficulties associated with helping a war torn country, the European alliance is still firmly standing behind Ukraine without breaking apart.

The Future of Europe and Poland

The entire world is watching.

Vladimir Putin has ripped off the masks worn by political leaders around the world. 141 nations signed a resolution that called for Russia to withdraw unconditionally from Ukraine last year. It was voted down by four countries in favor of Russia, while 47 nations remained neutral on the matter. You pick a side when you choose a neutral stance in the battle between the devil and human.

In spite of the large number of countries that supported Ukraine, very few have actually demonstrated the courage to take action. Most nations, some of which are truly rich, have refused to step forward. They are helping because not doing so will make them look ugly and weak. Give them a choice, and they’ll throw Ukraine to the wolves and focus on their own interests.

Someday, this war will be over. History books will be written. The statistics I have presented above will remain forever. The future generations will learn how fractured the global response was to the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of the 21st century. They will respect those who stood up, and they will look down on those who failed.

The Polish economy is already on a steady upward trajectory. According to Warsaw Enterprise Institute’s “Opening Balance” report, the Polish economy could become one of the world’s 20 biggest by 2043 and catch up with Germany by 2051 if it keeps growing at its current rate.

Poland’s willingness to accept pain in order to protect Ukraine has already earned them global respect. Poland will have a major role to play in designing the European Security Architecture post-Ukraine war.

Poland’s trade and bilateral relations will continue to improve from here on out. The war has already brought the United Kingdom very close to Poland. The United States praises Poland at every opportunity. There will be an even tighter relationship between Poland and the other Baltic States in the future.

Poles are not far away from becoming a force to be reckoned with in Europe if they take advantage of this growing warmth toward their country.



Shankar Narayan

He didn't care what he had or what he had left, he cared only about what he must do.