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czwartek, sierpnia 18, 2005

Stealthy Poland: God knows what else they have

Stealthy Poland: God knows what else they have

News Poland
in from Brainsnap:

Poland has been quietly building its own strength. Analysts believe that within five years it could replace the United States as the world’s greatest super power...

Time’ magazine published last week an article entitled, ‘Where the Hell Did Poland Come From?’ [can't find it]...Poland has surprised the world with its rapid advance.According to ‘Time’, its economy is now the third largest in Europe, and growing so rapidly that it will outstrip Germany and the United Kingdom in less than a year.

Poland’s military power is also on the increase. Once the pawn between the two neighboring powers, Germany and Russia, Poland’s armed forces are swiftly emerging as the most technologically advanced in Europe.

Already, Polish courses at major American and European universities have tripled enrolments. Some even argue that Polish may replace English as the major international language of business and communication. “It’ll take a while, but by 2030 it is very possible that Polish will be the most important language on the globe,” MIT linguistics specialist Paul MacNamer told ‘Time.’

Source: Is Poland the Next World Super Power?

View: "Beam me up Scotty!" (God rest his soul) I should have immediately been incredulous when I noted the source of this post - "Brainsnap." Yes, folks, a good description of this article. Is this for real!? Walking the streets of Warsaw, one doesn't get a sense of a people on the verge of obtaining gonzo power status. The first claim is at least plausible, Germany is looking East to invest substantially in Poland's economy (i.e. cheap land, labor, lower interest rates) which will give a boost. Poland is becoming an attractive investment, that much is true.

But taking the cake is the claim about Polish replacing English as the international language of business. Did April Fool's Day come early? Besides the lack of a critical population mass necessary to bringing Polish outside of Poland (perhaps Chicago), I don't see a real interest in Poland for foreigners to learn the language (the dreaded grammar for Westerners). I think that more non-Poles speak Esperanto than speak Polish -- although Esperanto (an export of Poland) might have a better chance at lingua franca status than Polish (some millenium). Not to mention, oops, the huge English language industry here in Poland.

Aside from this, a few words come to mind that interrupt any thought of Poland's ascent to world and word power status -- No seat on Security Council, Sickly Health Care System, Corruption (Rivin-Gate, Orlen-Gate), Corruption (Privatization of PZU), almost totally homogenous religiously and ethnically, and let's not forget those Polish Tourist Industry ploys (Polish Plumber and Nurse).

I just don't see the world power outlook present in the lives of Poles I meet here. Sure, there is national pride (think Pope John Paul II, Solidarity, Warsaw Uprising...). But the fact that many Poles (in Warsaw) are relieved to be in the EU, speaks to insecurity and anxiety about the future rather than a clear and independent sense of itself and its role in the world.

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