Poland refuses to join NATO's military campaign against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya because of what Prime Minister Donald Tusk calls Europe's hypocrisy and inconsistency over human rights.
Mr Tusk, whose country assumes the European Union's rotating six-month presidency in July, told the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper that Europe risks creating an impression it intervenes only when oil supplies are at stake.
Syria, Yemen and Bahrain have sought to stamp out pro-democracy unrest by force, but there is no talk of Western intervention to protect civilians there.
"If we want to defend people against dictators, reprisals, torture and prison, that principle must be universal and not invoked only when it is convenient, profitable or safe," Mr Tusk said.
Poland sent soldiers to Iraq and still has 2600 troops in Afghanistan. It says no national or NATO security interests are at stake in Libya.