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I believe you can agree with me that the usual word choice "partners" is only for public consumption, and suspect that you think you have a more positive interpretation of "vassal" than mine, but could you please spell it out?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 04:04:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Poland was a vassal of the Soviet union, forced into the Warsaw pact, not being able to choose its own destiny.

Today Poland is a sovereign democratic state, free to do whatever it pleases and enter whatever international treaties or organizations it wants.

Poland is a sovereign state. Not a vassal.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:25:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Today Poland is a sovereign democratic state, free to do whatever it pleases
Then Poland sovereignty is defined by its (new) elites.

The rest are free to do whatever they please within their economic game-theoretic options - only nominally for the sake of the country.

And after all, the feudal agreements were all between consenting rulers and vassals, right?

by das monde on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:40:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't even understand what you are trying to say here. This is what sovereignty means, from Wikipedia:

"Sovereignty, in layman's terms, means a state or a governing body has the full right and power to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.[1] It is a basic principle underlying the dominant Westphalian model of state foundation."

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 06:03:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Greece now meaningfully sovereign in the the power to govern itself without any interference? It may need to try to enforce the sovereignty by no less desperate measures than Hungary 1956 or Czechoslovakia in 1968.

The difference between sovereignty of post-WWII Western and East European countries was large - if Op Gladio did not represent a more supreme authority.

With the financial power pyramid of today, the sovereign entities comprise a small club.

by das monde on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 06:51:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you abandon your currency by joining the euro, you surrender a considerable part of your sovereignty.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:17:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My view is that Poland exchanged its situation as a constrained vassal of the Soviet Union for a situation as voluntary vassal of the US. It can't be denied that Poland has been unfailingly loyal to the US in foreign policy, even to the detriment of its supposed loyalty to an EU line, agreed between peers.

This respects the feudal notion; being a vassal does not necessarily involve constraint. In many circumstances, an aristocrat was able to choose his overlord. It was, in the final analysis, primarily a military relationship.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 06:49:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no such thing as a "voluntary vassal". Either you are subservient, or you are sovereign. Stating it in the terms you use is quite a blatant revisionist view which understates the extent of Communist and Soviet oppression, and cheapens the value of freedom and national independence. I find that very queer, especially given the situation we have seen in the European periphery, where the price of reduced sovereignty has been quite clear indeed.

Poland has acted in ways that she believes is in her best national interest. No more, no less. Obviously Poland has acted in a supportive way for the US on e.g. Iraq, because she thought she would get something in return. Sweden did the same thing on Afghanistan. This does not impair our sovereignty. Indeed, it's quite the opposite - a negotiaton or trade situation between two sovereign powers.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:24:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The feudal had obligations to vassals as well. Generally, if an agreement between sovereign parties turns out to be very skewed, is the depressed party still sovereign?

Poland's modus operandi is simple: annoy Russia. That's about all it wants to do with sovereignty.

by das monde on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 07:43:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think vassal means what you think it means.
Vassal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A vassal or feudatory[1] is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held as a fiefdom.[2] The term can be applied to similar arrangements in other feudal societies. In contrast, a fidelity, or fidelitas, was a sworn loyalty, subject to the king.[3]

It is perfectly clear, historically speaking, that Poland (and other Visegrad countries) felt an imperative need for military protection from any future domination from the east. That is the basis for Poland's voluntary vassal status with respect to the US. Being a vassal means you contribute troops to your overlord's military adventures, as you describe, in return for his military protection. Being militarily dependent on another country is obviously a partial renouncement of sovereignty, as is the renouncement of an independent foreign policy.

I'm not denying that the Soviet bloc vassal status was much deeper, because it was constrained and because it implied strong control of internal affairs in Poland.

The notion of absolute national sovereignty is a recent concept, and like most ideals, is very unevenly applied.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 09:26:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With all due respect you don't know what are you talking about regarding the supposed "Communist and Soviet oppression" I am a Bulgarian, and have well informed opinion of Bulgaria before and after 1989. There is simply no comparison! While Bulgaria benefited immensely from the USSR after 1945 in every aspect, after 1990 it was reduced to captive colonial market; in demographic sense it was devastated; and the country is sovereign only on paper - all important decisions in the economic, military, foreign relations, and fiscal domain are taken outside Sofia; the function of the government is only to implement them, and police what remains from the population. Did I mention the country got an American base (there was never a Soviet military stationed in Bulgaria); and by sheer irony a succession of US ambassadors modelled themselves after the Third Reich ambassador Beckerle who constantly meddled and directed the country affairs.
by Ivo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 01:47:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But then if we compare Bulgaria and Poland, in spite of Katyn, the Red-Army-supported Bulgarian Communists achieved a more thorough elite elimination after the end of WWII than in Poland.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 02:17:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please note that "3 regents, 8 royal advisors, 22 former cabinet ministers, 67 MPs and 47 army officers" did not constitute "the elite of the nation"

More importantly the whole linked comment is distorted and ahistorical. In 1945 the communists did not rule Bulgaria; the country was ruled by the antifascist Fatherland Front, a broad coalition dominated by the Communists, and not unlike every liberated country in Europe. Even more importantly, Bulgaria was an Axis ally actively involved in the war, the Holocaust, and the looting of the occupied Greece and Macedonia. The political life of the country since the beginning of the 1930s was single-handedly managed by the king who suspended the Constitution; every subsequent parliament and government ministers were personally hand-picked by the palace. Therefore it is not exactly suprising that after the FF took power there were prosecutions of the former elite.

by Ivo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 04:42:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's special, however, that the trial and the executions took a single day, and at the end a doctor who volunteered to confirm the deaths was executed (without trial), too. I read somewhere the claim that the whole action happened on direct orders from Moscow, but I wish there would be an English-language source quoting original sources on this.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:31:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please bear in mind that from the 1990 on countless millions poured in Bulgaria from various NGO to finance anti-communist literature with the ultimate aim to sully the past and discredit any left/social project. In contrast to the country economy in general this industry of rewriting the history boomed. I often come across of pseudo-historical accounts in the Bulgarian press with such lurid minutiae details that verge on the impossible. Such detailed first account narratives rarely exist even for much more recent events.
by Ivo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 02:49:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Btw, I never intended to compare Poland and Bulgaria - they are very different countries indeed. I just cited Bulgaria because (1) it was another member of the Eastern block; and (2), I am well familiar with it's recent history.
by Ivo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 04:48:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To lament the post-1944 trials and executions in Bulgaria is akin to lament the executions and violence in post-1943 Italy... Bulgaria had the strongest anti-fascist resistance of all German allies.
by Ivo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:04:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't lamenting, my point was that (if these executions were on Stalin's orders) there was some quite heavy Soviet influence on Bulgarian sovereignty early on and, unlike in Poland, it left no right-wing forces of significance that could maintain a widely held sense of national victimhood. (And the executions were several months after the Fatherland Front took over.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 05:41:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, this is a vast subject and a source of endless discussion. Suffice to point out, however, that contrary to the simplistic propaganda cliché Stalin wasn't the kind of micromanaging maniac as is often caricaturally portrayed. In the grand scheme of things what make you think that he personally engaged with the fate of some disgraced insignificant political figures from a former small German satellite? I find the notion highly improbable, and there is not a single shred of evidence to imply that. Since 1941 there was armed anti-fascist  resistance in Bulgaria, and by 1944 it is estimated that those actively engaged in it were in the realm of 20000; no need to tell, thousands were killed either in combat or by rapid military tribunals (the fact that the communist party was illegal for several years goes without saying). Taking the whole context into account there was no need for external pressure on the People's Tribunal - from one side it could be said that it continued to perpetuate the violence that marred the Bulgarian society; from the other it served justice to some of the people who actively brought Bulgaria into the war. It is not an accident that during the first part of the 20th century Bulgaria was infamous as the "Prussia on the Balkans" due to it's aggressiveness and militarism.
by Ivo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 02:37:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is surely a difference of a couple of orders of magnitude between this purge and Katyn, which was closer to a Khmer Rouge-style elimination of an entire social class.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 03:13:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, no. The quoted event constituted the elimination of the top, within a purge with at least 20,000 killed summarily or executed. Katyn was similar in numbers in a much larger country, but it was heavily focused on army and police officers and a significant part of the elite escaped into emigration. Such purges were executed in all other Soviet-occupied countries and earlier in the Soviet Union itself, what the Khmer Rouge did was more extreme.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 13th, 2015 at 02:46:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With the Warshaw pact parallel, you do indeed choose a way too limited definition of "vassal".

vassal - definition of vassal by The Free Dictionary

1. A person who held land from a feudal lord and received protection in return for homage and allegiance.2. A bondman; a slave.3. A subordinate or dependent.

Words do indeed have a meaning. Whether one views NATO membership for European states as a genuine provision of security (as you seem to view it) or as a means to perpetuate dependence and inhibit own initiative (as suggested by Zbigniew Brzezinski), the dependence and subordination part remains, and the armies fighting the wars under the NATO umbrella were pretty much organised along feudal principles.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 10:32:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are we not using the term "Sovereignty" in an all to absolute way? No country, with the possible exception of the USA in a unipolar world is absolutely sovereign, and even the USA feels constrained to construct "alliances" through which it conducts many of its affairs - with all the compromises that can entail...  Yes there is a debate in US foreign policy circles about the merits/requirements for unilateral or multi-lateral action in various situations. But generally the USA seeks the later and countries which fail to achieve significant multi-lateral support generally fail in achieving their objectives and optimizing their national interests.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 12th, 2015 at 03:02:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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