radoslaw sikorski Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Sikorski Doctrine

After almost four years of rule by the Law and Justice party, with its fantastical notions of national honor, Poland has become increasingly isolated. But a new book by the country's longest-serving foreign minister since 1989 shows how Poland once played a significant role beyond its borders – and could do so again.

WARSAW – Radosław Sikorski served as Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs for seven years, longer than anyone else since the transition from communism 30 years ago. During his tenure, Sikorski faced many serious challenges, from the 2010 plane crash at Smolensk that killed then-Polish President Lech Kaczyński to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea in 2014. Now, he has published a new book, outlining his philosophy of Polish foreign policy.

In Polska może być lepsza (Poland Can Be Better), Sikorski picks up on a 300-year tradition of Polish romanticism, only without all of the accompanying pathologies. His evident fascination with Polish history – even Polish mythology – is a welcome departure from the soulless Realpolitik that dominates so many political memoirs nowadays.

Through tales of hosting foreign guests at his manor in Chobielin to his retelling of Poland’s great military victories in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Sikorski proves always willing to defend Poland’s good name. It was Sikorski, after all, who first campaigned against use of the term “Polish death camps,” though he did so more skillfully than the current Law and Justice (PiS) government.