Has the USA simply found a supporter in Europe or has Poland lost its notorious pride?
This week Polish President Lech Kaczynski makes his first official visit to the United States as a head of state. He gave an interview to journalists last Friday and from this it is possible to deduce that Poland aspires to the role of being America’s main ally in Europe.
Furthermore, Lech Kaczynski has given his transatlantic ally a "present" by promising that he wouldl leave a contingent of Polish troops in Iraq until 2007. Former President Aleksander Kwasniewski has promised that he would withdraw 1500 soldiers by the start of this year but the situation now appears somewhat different.
The Polish President also said that his country did not have any secret thoughts when they took the decision to participate in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. If we are to believe what Kaczynski says, then Warsaw had only one objective and that was to remove Saddam Hussein from power and they had not considered the potential advantages when taking the decision. It would be fair to say that the Polish President understands that his country is counting on the fact that in the end the Americans will realize the true value of Poland’s continued support. Warsaw expects greater collaboration in military circles and in commerce. The President of the USA had foreseen this desire. On Monday George Bush announced that in 2007 as part of reforms of defense Poland will be given $30 million from the American budget. The sum is not too large but all the same it is significant.
The newspaper Washington Post has not failed to notice that 52% of Poles support the stance to the current American Administration. This is the highest level of support in Europe. It’s even higher than in the USA. It is worth treating these figures with a certain degree of skepticism since the poll was carried out last July.
However, Poland, judging by the current mood of the country’s leadership, intends as before to be a bastion of US-led politics in Europe. In Warsaw they think that their position in terms of their influence on European matters is more long-term. Firstly, as regards Central and Eastern Europe, Poland’s role in events in Ukraine at the time of the so-called “Orange Revolution” is well known. This took place during former President Aleksander Kwasniewski’s time in power. Now in a time when Poland is trying to become more democratic the people welcome his successor.
No great improvement in relations between Poland and Russia is envisaged in the near future. They have been poor and they will remain that way. Lech Kaczynski has already said more than once that he will not go to Moscow until the Russian President has paid a visit to Warsaw. The Russian leader is hardly going to be prepared to fulfill the wish of the politician who called Russia “Poland’s most evil enemy” during his election campaign.
Translated by Michael Simpson