Intermarium –


The Intermarium is an area between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas. It is not a country in the same way that Scandinavia, North America, Europe and Iberia are. It has many people with common concerns due to its geography. Over time those people formed tribes, nations, alliances, commonwealths, treaties, and eventually sovereign states, but you still see ghosts on the modern frontier.

Sponsored as Eastern Europe, it’s only fit for plumbers, but it’s become powerful and its 2020 incarnation offers the UK unparalleled foreign policy opportunities…and dangers.

Let me elaborate.

Jagiellonian Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

In 1395 Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and Jadwiga, Queen of Poland, became betrothed to each other and married a year later. This promise led to the Union of Craiova under the Jagiellonian dynasty in 1396 and finally the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569, founded in the Union of Lublin by the last male king of that dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus. That commonwealth lasted for more than two hundred years until it was dissolved in 1795. But the idea remains…

The century passed. Waves swept over the Commonwealth from west and east, the tides ebbing and flowing. Various Polish ministers such as Czartorsky and Pi?sudski tried to revive the idea but with little success. Intermarium slept. But one day a wall fell…

Schroder’s Strategic Partnership

Think about post-war West Germany at the end of the 20th century. It was protected by NATO but always felt a pull to the East, not just through its (ahem) history but by the simple fact of its location: it was on the side of the Warsaw Pact. To resolve this, it conducted diplomatic moves eastwards, including Brandt’s Ostpolitik, in which West Germany normalized relations with East Germany, Poland and Russia (Moscow Pact and Warsaw Pact 1970, Basic Agreement 1972) and continued throughout the Cold War.

When the USSR collapsed in 1991, Kohl saw the gap and befriended Yeltsin and began to adopt a “Russia First” policy. But it took their successors, Gerhard Schröder and Vladimir Putin, to take it to the next level. Schröder’s mannerfriendship with Putin (analogous to the Australian “mateship”) led to Schröder’s “Strategiesche Partnerschaft mit Rusland” and all bets were off. Trade, money and oil rights quickly followed, and there were increasingly difficult relations with Central European countries. One of them had a special plan…

Kaczynski’ Intermarium

As Germany moved toward Russia, the inevitable backlash occurred. In 2005 Poland elected the Law and Justice Party, led by the Kaczyski twins, Lech and Jarosz. Lech was president, Jaroslaw was prime minister. They immediately swung hard on an anti-German side and began contacting the United Kingdom and the United States. Lake was more presidential but Jaros was more hard-line and focused on domestic issues like homophobia. A purge of the diplomatic corps and neglect of their neighbors meant local relations deteriorated, and Jaros?aw was left alone when Lech died in a plane crash in 2010…

Scholtz’s turning point

Merkel’s chancellorship went to its exhausting edge, never challenging but spasmodic and reflexive. In 2021 the Germans went “no matter what” and voted for Olaf Scholtz, perhaps just for variety. He moved aggressively, but when Russia went into the second round of the Russo-Ukrainian war in 2022, a few months later, he was stirred into action. He announced that Germany would spend 100 billion euros on defense, the F35 was ordered, many things were promised.

After several years of drifting it was called the Zeitenwende (turning point) and the Bundestag went wild. But the promise dragged on and it became clear that something terrible was not happening. Years of bureaucracy, institutional inertia, pro-Russian positions and interests, and Scholtz’s own inexperience meant little delivery and delays.

Dudar’s Trimarium

Meanwhile, little noticed by the West, Poland began to get its act together. The election of Andrzej Duda as President of Poland in 2015 and his semi-detachment from PM Kaczynski, the most formidable of all notables, gave Poland an opportunity, and they took it. Duda was a velvet glove, able to form alliances and they multiplied: the Bucharest Nine, the Three Seas Initiative (Trimarium), suddenly neighbors were best friends. Kaczynski, with an iron fist, took a breather from the persecution of gays and began restructuring the army in 2016 with a strategic defense review.

When Russia retook Ukraine in 2022, Poland had better go non-linear, and they did. They plan to take defense spending to 5% of GDP and go on a spending spree: guns, helicopters, AFVs and tanks. Lots of tanks. all The tanks they have ordered will give them more tanks than the UK, France and Germany combined. combined. The new alliance (Lublin Triangle 2020) covered Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine and the formation agreement, the Treaty of Lublin, echoed the Union of Lublin that formed the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth centuries later. Poland put the band back together and things were stirring


Even if it wins, Ukraine will need help: its crops destroyed, children stolen, and its cities bombed, it will not be able to cope on its own for many years. But who can help them? Germany is on the back foot, and although this will help it will be little and too late. Poland is on the front foot, motivated, able to support and can scale. If the UK cannot intervene directly, it should at least support Poland, as Boris implied in his proposed “European Commonwealth” and the Tripartite Agreement of Truss.

If it works, Ukraine will be delivered safely into the arms of civilized nations, an absolute good. But in the long run a price will apply. When things settle, Poland will be Europe’s regional superpower and will be able to dominate local military spaces, much more so than the UK. I wonder how the UK will cope…