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"To understand Poland you must understand Frederic Chopin" (Stratfor Friedman)


Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,769
6 Dec 2010  #1
I'm no fan of Friedman and he wallows in clichès and stereotypes with the occasional
wrong fact thrown it but that is for the Poles to decide.

Read for yourself:

To understand Poland, you must understand Frederic Chopin. First listen to his Polonaise and then to his Revolutionary Etude. They are about hope, despair and rage. In the Polonaise, you hear the most extraordinary distillation of a nation's existence. In the Revolutionary Etude, written in the wake of an uprising in Warsaw in 1830 crushed by Russian troops, there is both rage and resignation. In his private journal, Chopin challenged God for allowing this national catastrophe to happen, damning the Russians and condemning the French for not coming to Warsaw's aid. Afterward, Chopin never returned to Poland, but Poland never left his mind.

stratfor.com/analysis/20101202_geopolitical_journey_part_7_poland
jwojcie 2 | 763
7 Dec 2010  #2
I've read it before and have mixed feelings about it. I mean this intermarium aliance idea is unrealistic in the first place. The main idea behind this article is: Poland is f..ked because of geopolitical position sooner or later... If that is the case the only obvious and logical conclusion would be to get some nukes, many of them not some fragile aliance...

But what strikes me the most in Friedman thinking is kind of archaizm in it. I'm almost sure that this guy reads some stories about ancient nobility and knights and their dominions before he goes to sleep. Of course if something is archaic it doesn't mean it cann't happen. I just think that the internal dynamic in the systems made of modern countries is entirely different than it was the case between even XIX or early XX entities runed by nobility or some kind hard dictatorship. What I mean basically is that as long as Germany, Poland and Russia will have reasonable per capita and literacy levels and high trade turnover then there is no way either Germany or Russia will be able to turn its societies into full scale war with Poland, because regardless of how fast it would take to conquer teritory, pacification would be long, bloody and costly especially considering how easy is today to become a terrorist. As I'm writing this it becomes clear to me that oversimplification in Friedman analysis lies in thinking about Poland, Germany and Russia as a separate blocks. The current reality is different though. So to recreate world fit to Friedman view we would need total impoverishment of societies, total halt in trade and demographic boom, ie. pre WWII conditions. What we have is stability or growth in terms of HDI, growing trade and what is more important interconnection between economies, and demoghrapic decline. Maybe economic decline can be rapid, but demography is hardly movable object. So I think we don't have to worry to much for a couple of decades especially if we add Asian rising powers pressure on Russia far east.
wildrover 98 | 4,452
7 Dec 2010  #3
"To understand Poland you must understand Frederic Chopin"

Who...?
OP Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,769
7 Dec 2010  #4
But what strikes me the most in Friedman thinking is kind of archaizm in it.

!

As I'm writing this it becomes clear to me that oversimplification in Friedman analysis lies in thinking about Poland, Germany and Russia as a separate blocks. The current reality is different though.

Absolutely....
I don't know in what world Friedman lives in but it's not mine nor yours!

But what struck me positively was that he hadn't found much support for his generic, archaic thinking by the contemporary Poles he spoke with. He was dumbstruck by that!

Maybe him commenting from far away America might have something to do with it...
rychlik 41 | 373
7 Dec 2010  #5
I like Friedman actually. He says good things about Poland sometimes but he is a bit of a fear monger. I thought the article was interesting although I don't like how he believes Poland only had a horse cavalry at their disposal during the war. Very simplistic comment from him.

I kind of agree that you can't help a country militarily if it can't even help itself. Poland's gotta nuke up I think eventually. Remember who the neighbors are.

Do you guys think it's true that the Northern European plain will never truly be a place of perpetual peace (as he claims)?
OP Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,769
7 Dec 2010  #6
Do you guys think it's true that the Northern European plain will never truly be a place of perpetual peace (as he claims)?

Sometimes I think he talks wishful thinking, seriously.
I doubt he wishes for us to live in perpetual peace. He is decidedly anti-european, he wishes for
Europe to split...

I don't trust him.
convex 20 | 3,978
8 Dec 2010  #7
If there is anything to take away from all this, it's that no developed countries will ever enter conventional warfare again. The bomb kept the US and the Soviet Union from going to war...
OP Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,769
8 Dec 2010  #8
If there is anything to take away from all this, it's that no developed countries will ever enter conventional warfare again

Well..that's exactly what Friedman denies.

He is quite sure the next Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is only a matter of time because we can't help it...being neighbours on the great northern plain, it's our fate!

Gah!

What crap!!! :(
Crow 138 | 7,646
8 Dec 2010  #9
"To understand Poland you must understand Frederic Chopin" (Stratfor Friedman)

Polish and Serbian Ministries for culture, Zdrojevski and Bradic, at the new statue to the Polish Frederik Shopen in Serbian capital Belgrade
rychlik 41 | 373
8 Dec 2010  #10
Sometimes I think he talks wishful thinking, seriously.

From what I know about him: He's a Hungarian Jew who immigrated to the USA as a youngster. His mother was from Bratislava and his father from Uzhgorod (Ukraine I think). I have his book, "The Next 100 Years". I think he genuinely wants Central Europe to do well, especially Poland. He believes with American military aid Poland can achieve great things. He believes Russia will become unstable and break up even more. I don't know how realistic this is at the moment. He has analyzed how much Europe has changed since the year 1900 (20 years by 20 years and so on to the year 2000) and promotes the idea of "expect the unexpected". He is definitely a person that thinks outside the box.
OP Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,769
8 Dec 2010  #11
I think he genuinely wants Central Europe to do well, especially Poland.

Maybe...but then he should stop talking about Polands impending, inescapable doom.

He believes with American military aid Poland can achieve great things

Maybe...but then he better stop talking about Polands failure in believing in far away countries alliances and help. He himself agreed that Poland can't be helped from far away...

promotes the idea of "expect the unexpected".

Actually he doesn't! He talks more about the "same old". As if WWII would be upon us again, totally ignoring the groundbreaking changes which happened.

He is definitely a person that thinks outside the box.

Maybe....but if he only would stop selling his fantasies and personal opinions as "analysis"!

(We have better analysts here on PF)
joepilsudski 26 | 1,389
8 Dec 2010  #12
The Chopin music I have heard is very ornate and flowery, with a lot of chromaticism. This can make the music sound overly busy.

Stravinsky said that music, of itself, does not imply any specific emotion. It is an abstract.

Therefore, it could be stretch to attribute to music a description of a particular historical period,
or rage, or despair.

I don't completely agree with Stravinsky, as certain musical devices can evoke emotions, feelings...I know this as a player and a composer.

These pieces of Chopin's have very specific titles referring to certain historical events...I would have to listen to them closely.

Sometimes critics can get carried away with their own imaginations.

Interesting topic however...I think that certain sounds, rhythm and inflection can paint a you a mental picture of certain times and places, but you need some kind of reference point...The feeling conveyed is the important thing.
Harry
8 Dec 2010  #13
condemning the French

An interesting take, given that Chopin was half French and spent most of his adult live choosing to live as a Frenchman.
Nathan 18 | 1,363
8 Dec 2010  #14
The Chopin music I have heard is very ornate and flowery, with a lot of chromaticism.

I have never really listened to Chopin or much of classic music in general, but this summer me and a friend of mine stumbled on a Chinese guy playing some Chopin chords from a piano practice set and Wow..I was really amazed. Powerful. So, maybe, he is not that flowery, Joe :)

condemning the French for not coming to Warsaw’s aid.

The French had a revolution of their own in 1830 and very busy with economic and political instability. I don't see any sane reason for them to cross the German states (who were burning with love to the French after Napoleon's successful battles just two decades before)in order to fight with Russians. Completely unjustified expectations. Again another example - weaken your potential allies and then cry for help across the oceans - ridiculous.

I don't completely agree with Stravinsky, as certain musical devices can evoke emotions, feelings...I know this as a player and a composer.

I completely disagree with him. If music is abstract, then what is emotion? Concrete tangible thing? No, you cannot touch it or measure. So, if both are abstract, then why one cannot be represented or caused by the other. National anthems stir emotions, for example.
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
8 Dec 2010  #15
I'm no fan of Friedman and he wallows in clichès and stereotypes with the occasional
wrong fact thrown it but that is for the Poles to decide.

The Chopin bit is correct, as for Friedman you know my opinion of the guy, he's an idiot who either does not know his history or willingly lies and spins it about, in the long run its 2/3rds bullsh*t.

He's 100% spot on about EU and Germany though.
OP Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,769
8 Dec 2010  #16
The Chopin quote wasn't by me...the mods put it in there.
I don't have a problem with Chopin...but with Friedman! ;)

He's 100% spot on about EU and Germany though.

Well Sok, you can't have it both ways....he is wrong on the EU and Germany too!
He is consistently wrong...not only on certain topics! ;)

He is the Ambrose Pritchard of the geopolitics. Whenever I read economy "wizard" Pritchard I know I only have to take the exact opposite of his opinion, analyses and predictions and I will

be mostly right! :)
(I do that for years now)
Friedman is to take similiar! ;)
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
8 Dec 2010  #17
I don't have a problem with Chopin...but with Friedman! ;)

He's not stupid, his analysis of EU, german and polish situations is spot on, however i dont believe we could benefit from an alliance with US, US is unwilling to invest money in us regardless of how much Friedman masturbates over our so called friendship.]

The Germans and Russians are not monsters at the moment, nor do they want to be. But as Chopin makes clear, what we want to be and what we are are two different things, a subject to be considered in my concluding essay.

Awesome quote, and true.

Well Sok, you can't have it both ways....he is wrong on the EU and Germany too!

Which bits according to you is he wrong about?
OP Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,769
8 Dec 2010  #18
his analysis of EU, german and polish situations is spot on, however i dont believe we could benefit from an alliance with US, US is unwilling to invest money in us regardless of how much Friedman masturbates over our so called friendship.

That what I mean...there is personal bias and whishful thinking and then there is objective evaluatation.

That you declared Germany dead for as long as I have known you is no secret either. Of course you will like those parts of Friedmans "analysis" which fit you where you will deny others.

That's also only wishful thinking and personal bias. Don't mix them up!

Which bits according to you is he wrong about?

Okay...gimme some time...I'm giving you the quotes
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
8 Dec 2010  #19
That what I mean...there is personal bias and whishful thinking and then there is objective evaluatation.

Absolutely but i still agree with him in many points and i'm nowhere near as biased as he is.

That you declared Germany dead for as long as I have known you is no secret either.

Dying, physically, you're going to lose over 15-20 milion Germans and gain 6-8 milion Turks in the next 50 years, how do you call that if not dying?

Of course you will like those parts of Friedmans "analysis" which fit you where you will deny others.

You didnt even read his arcticle BB jump down from your high horse, he claims Germany can and will have all the power as EU goes south which can be bad for Poland, i completely agree.

That's also only wishful thinking and personal bias. Don't mix them up!

What? Do i wish for EU to fall apart, Poland stop getting the money and Germany revisiting its genocidal tendencies? Your helmets cutting of the circulation BB...

The guy essentially says that if EU goes down which it seems to be than Germany will survive since it has the economy to give it a large margin error, at the same time Poland between Russia and Germany and developing is going to be caught naked in a sh*tstorm, whats not to agree?
OP Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,769
8 Dec 2010  #20
Where Friedman is wrong:

From the point of view of Germans — and the least interesting views are expressed by the increasingly weak elite — the European Union is turning into a trap for German interests

Crap! The EU is darn good for german interests! We are an export nation which flourishes on open borders, free movement, one currency!
Most of our export is with the EU...it's been GREAT for Germany!

But the period in which EU subsidies will flow into Poland is coming to an end, and problems with Poland’s retirement system are looming. Poland’s ability to maintain its economic standing within the European Union is going to be challenged in years to come. Poland could then be relegated to the status of client.

Only if they mess it up...doesn't look like it now.

I completely agreed that the Germans do not covet Polish sovereignty. I also said that intentions don’t matter.

But what else does?

Yes, I know that neither Germany nor Russia intends Poland harm. But an elephant doesn’t necessarily plan to harm a mouse. Intentions aside, the mouse gets harmed.

What crap! What is he implying here? Poland the mouse is doomed whatever the neighbours do?
Just because they exist??? What does he mean with "harmed".

If Germany bets wrong on the European Union, it will survive. Will Poland?

More crap!
He likes to swallow in misty descriptions...what does he mean with "surviving".

Finally, the Poles must maintain their relationship with the global hegemon.

And out comes the american nationalists! We are leaving the time of the US as the global
hegemon...he seems to deny/ignore that development too!

But in the end, the United States has fought three times in the 20th century to prevent a German-Russian entente and the domination of Europe by one power, whether that be Germany, Russia or a combination of the two. These wars were not fought for sentiment; the United States had no Chopin. The wars were driven by geopolitics. A German-Russian entente would threaten the United States profoundly. That is why it fought World War I, World War II and the Cold War.

There are things the United States cannot permit if it can stop them. The domination of Europe by one power tops the list.

Absolutely crap on all counts!!!
This man is ridicoulous.

WWI was fought on behalf of GB and is seen as a big stupidity now by most. Also Germany
and Russia had been enemies then, no entente.

WWII was fought against the Nazis after they declared war on them. Russia had been
allies...no Russian-German entente then either!

He should read up about the most recent NATO summit in Lisbon where Russia is no longer the enemy but a partner and big cooperations are subscribed.

Also the US can very well live with a dominant power in Europe as long as this power is another democratic country. Or as Kissinger once asked so famously for a phone number to call in all things Europe.

They have no problem with a number in Berlin at all!

The Germans and Russians are not monsters at the moment, nor do they want to be. But as Chopin makes clear, what we want to be and what we are are two different things, a subject to be considered in my concluding essay.

Well...then what about your USA, dear Mr. Friedman. If you believe countries are beings which can't help themselves and are victims of a certain fate you surely would agree that the US can become a monster too, regardless of it's intentions...

Crap!
zetigrek
8 Dec 2010  #21
To understand Poland, you must understand Frederic Chopin.

It's another romatic sterotype of Poland. Actually I hate it. I would rather my counry to be associated with "positivism" tham "romantism" (both in literal and metaphorical sense)...
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
8 Dec 2010  #22
You're also the primary welfare giver, EU costs you more than you make on it for some time now.

Only if they mess it up...doesn't look like it now.

Spain, Greece, Ireland, yeah it looks like EU is slowly going south.

More crap!
He likes to swallow in misty descriptions...what does he mean with "surviving".

Economic and political sovereignty.

As for the US bits i absolutely agree its hogwash.
Torq 26 | 2,371
8 Dec 2010  #23
Poland the mouse is doomed whatever the neighbours do?

Poland has 38 million population, compared to German 82 million. Hardly the elephant-mouse
proportions. More like tiger (about 300 kg) and moose (about 650 kg), he he ;)
convex 20 | 3,978
8 Dec 2010  #24
You're also the primary welfare giver, EU costs you more than you make on it for some time now.

The increase in economic output more than makes up for it.

Economic and political sovereignty.

Yup, and that's the problem with the European experiment. Either full on single entity, or a huge freetrade/movement zone (which would make more sense...).
OP Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,769
8 Dec 2010  #25
You're also the primary welfare giver, EU costs you more than you make on it for some time now.

Look at Germany Sok...does it look as if we are on the brink of destruction??? Around us periphery states are breaking up, with us paying for them and still our economy flourishs, our consumer spending us up and our unemployment numbers are down like 18 years back!

Think!!!!

Economic and political sovereignty.

What is it! First he berates Poles for giving up economic and political sovereignity as being members of a german led EU but once the EU goes south they won't survive because they lose their economic and political soverignity???

My head hurts only from trying to follow Friedman!

(I need my helmet!)

Poland has 38 million population, compared to German 82 million.

Well..then the future looks bright! As Sok said there will be only 38 million Germans soon anyhow...:)

Either full on single entity, or a huge freetrade/movement zone (which would make more sense...).

Right now we are stuck in the middle..
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
8 Dec 2010  #26
The increase in economic output more than makes up for it.

I need to research it before i pick up the subject.

Look at Germany Sok...does it look as if we are on the brink of destruction??? Around us periphery states are breaking up, with us paying for them and still our economy flourishs, our consumer spending us up and our unemployment numbers are down like 18 years back!

My point is nobody likes to give money away, least of all people who hold them.

What is it! First he berates Poles for giving up economic and political sovereignity as being members of a german led EU but once the EU goes south they won't survive because they lose their economic and political soverignity???

Essentially, his point and a good one is that there's different kinds of dependancy, i'm happy that Poland is a german client (which it is) the way its happening now, you pay us good money, we bend over in a lot of matters we normally shouldnt and its a good deal, the question he poses, albeit in a rambling manner is what happens when/if Germany stops paying but demands Poland keeps letting itself be f*cked.

Well..then the future looks bright! As Sok said there will be only 38 million Germans soon anyhow...:)

65 milion german citizens to some 30 milion Poles, we're both losing pop at a same rate the problem Germany has its much farther beyond the return treshhold and then there's the Turks.

Right now we are stuck in the middle.

Which is somehow bad?
convex 20 | 3,978
8 Dec 2010  #27
I need to research it before i pick up the subject.

Now who is benefiting from the economic output...and the type of economic output...hell, lets call it the quality of the economic output, that's debatable..

My point is nobody likes to give money away, least of all people who hold them.

Paying vs. investing. But again, going back to the first point...

Which is somehow bad?

Terrible. You don't see the benefits of full sovereignty or the economies of scale of a single state (single government for instance).
OP Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,769
8 Dec 2010  #28
My point is nobody likes to give money away, least of all people who hold them.

Of course not! But knowing that every cent given away makes sure the Euros keep flowing they will pay!

but demands Poland keeps letting itself be f*cked.

How and why?
The problems with the Friedmans of this world is that they prefer to write misty and generalizing things. I prefer clear words.

65 milion german citizens to some 30 milion Poles, we're both losing pop at a same rate the problem Germany has its much farther beyond the return treshhold and then there's the Turks

Then make babies! ;)
The Turks are actually leaving more than they come and they get increasingly less babies the longer they live here...I don't see it so dramatically!

Which is somehow bad?

In the way that we have all the disadvantages of a transfer union and none of the advantages of a real union like...say...the United States of America.

Even as they also all together b*itch about the dumbos and arseholes in Washington as we do with Brussels, no citizen there talks of kicking out California or complains about supporting Idaho for example, as they feel as one country under one flag...a real union.

Europe is still far from a United States of Europe!
joepilsudski 26 | 1,389
8 Dec 2010  #29
National anthems stir emotions, for example.

Stravinsky would say a national anthem stirs the emotion because of the 'context': people associate it with feelings of dedication to country, patriotism, and the like....He would say THE MUSIC ITSELF has no such emotional content.

But, thing is, music cannot be seperated from certain reference points, including composer's spirit, what the particular music was supposed to symbolize, and the listener's reaction...

Stravinsky's mindset was a typical of a certain aloof 'cosmopolitanism' prevalent in cultural circles/critiques during the past 120 years or so...He may have just been running his mouth.
Nathan 18 | 1,363
8 Dec 2010  #30
Very interesting, indeed. I just remember when back in my ado years I listened to songs in English, knew nothing what they were about and still it raised various emotions, thoughts,.. Music is not detached as you said. It is a part of who wrote it as well as one who listens to it.

He may have just been running his mouth.

Seeing what times and regime he lived under it is not a surprise that he kicked the notion of emotions from his songs. Tawarishch cannot have emotions or thought besides the Party and Lenin - Stravinsky preferred, probably, to better have no thoughts to evoke in his songs.


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