In crises, the true character is revealed - of people as well as of nations. In any case, Poland has grown into a true leading Western power. Not only when it comes to supporting the neighboring country invaded by Russia. Warsaw has also done more quickly and extensively what Germany is still waiting for: namely, not only to talk about the turning point and the need for its own rearmament, but actually to do something.
While Germany continues to suffocate in timidity and bureaucratic inertia when it comes to upgrading the Bundeswehr, Poland has already placed extensive armament orders in the past year and has even had some of the heavy equipment ordered delivered, such as tanks and self-propelled howitzers from South Korea.
In view of this, it is not surprising that Poland is now pushing ahead again and becoming the first country to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine. Four Soviet-made MiG-29s are due to be delivered this week, with another eight a little later. These aren't the modern western jets that Ukraine desires.
However, they are immediately ready for use and can be flown by Ukrainian pilots without further training. And they can help to bridge the time until other western nations finally decide to supply modern western combat aircraft for their part, for which Ukrainian soldiers would then also have to be trained.
This decision is important for Ukrainian combat effectiveness. Equally important, however, is the political signal that Warsaw is sending to its western partners. Because Poland is breaking an almost incomprehensible taboo that has so far prevented Western countries from delivering fighter jets.
Of course, Warsaw would have preferred to move in concert with others, preferably with the leading power, the USA. But since Washington lacks leadership on this issue and there is little movement in other European capitals, the Poles are now leading the way, as they did with the main battle tanks.
In Warsaw one hopes to set a precedent and draw other states along with it. Because so far the West is doing just enough not to let Ukraine lose, but not enough to help it win. The countries on NATO's eastern flank realized much earlier than other partners that this was not a successful strategy in the long term.
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