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Romney's Blunders Give Poland a Boost! (Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland)


"Let us not be picky – we found ourselves at the center of America’s spotlight and came out with flying colors. This has value regardless of the outcome of the U.S. elections in November. Thank you, Mitt! ... Romney - particularly after his earlier blunder-filled foreign experience - can be happy with his visit to our country. And we can be happy, too, since he brought us such good publicity."


By Mariusz Zawadzki



Translated By Halszka Czarnocka


August 1, 2012


Poland - Gazeta Wyborcza - Original Article (Polish)

Kazimierz Pulaski: Mentioned by Mitt Romney during a speech in Poland, Pulaski was a nobleman known to history as 'father of the American cavalry.' Pulaski fled to America after taking part in an uprising against Russian domination of his native land, which was then a Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. He is reputed to have saved the life of no less than George Washington, before being elevated to general in the Continental Army.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Mitt Romney ends his overseas tour in Poland, which suggests that he might be a 'spikey, undiplomatic' president, July 31, 00:25:14RealVideo

Perhaps the greatest benefit of Mitt Romney’s visit was the great publicity it brought us. Poland is not often discussed in America. A year and a half ago, when President Bronisław Komorowski visited the White House, American newspapers barely noticed and TV channels almost completely ignored it.


But over the last two days it was different - with Poland being mentioned a lot and mentioned well both in speech and in writing, as one of America’s three most reliable allies (sic!), together with the U.K. and Israel. And not as a supplicant. On the contrary - America owes it a debt of gratitude (which President Obama sometimes seems to forget). Romney could have spoken just a little more about Poland’s dynamic development and the fact that it has coped relatively well with the financial crisis, having transformed over the last 20 years into a modern country, etc. He spoke about this - but not enough.


But let us not be picky – we found ourselves at the center of America’s spotlight and came out with flying colors. This has value regardless of the outcome of the U.S. elections in November. Thank you, Mitt!


Paradoxically, we were helped by Romney’s catastrophic blunders in Great Britain and Israel. America was listening with heightened interest to news from Warsaw, wondering whether the extraordinary black series would continue. Nobody expected Romney’s first foreign visit to be such a blow to his image - he literally managed to conjure bad emotions out of nothing, even in circumstances which usually generate only good ones, like the Olympics. A day before the opening of the London Games, he was on TV expressing doubt about the preparedness of its hosts, which brought ridicule and mockery on his head, both from Britain's media and politicians.


In Jerusalem he proffered - on his own, nobody asked him! - a shocking opinion that the because of their culture, Israelis are economically prosperous as compared to the Palestinians.


“It is a racist statement,” said an indignant Saeb Erekat, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority. “This man doesn’t realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation. He lacks information and vision! He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about Jewish cultural superiority over Palestinians!”


As Romney flew from Jerusalem to Poland, his critics and mockers wondered what he might say while visiting us that would be equally idiotic and offensive. For example, would he lecture Putin and threaten him with a return of the Cold War? Several months ago Romney said that Russia is America's "greatest geopolitical enemy.” Ultimately, however, his Warsaw speech [watch below] turned out to be a boilerplate enumeration of the virtues and merits of the heroic, freedom-loving Polish nation, starting with Pulaski, through the Polish pope’s world-changing “Do not be afraid,” to the "simple electrician who toppled communism" and gratitude for help in Iraq and Afghanistan.



Nothing controversial this time.


Nevertheless, the fact remains that Romney’s vision of the world, as outlined in his previous statements, is anachronistic, as if it were borrowed from the Cold War era. One must hope that this is largely a picture drawn for the election’s sake. We will only know for sure if the Republican candidate wins in November. Then the conversations in Gdańsk and Warsaw will have proven invaluable – not only will Poland be America’s friend, but Polish leaders will be among the first foreign friends and advisers of its president.


And yet we cannot stake too much on such a friendship, since foreign policy takes second place in an America mired in economic stagnation. And Romney, despite his high-sounding statements, is unlikely to change the course initiated by Obama. Just like Obama, despite his high-sounding statements, failed to reverse and in some cases even went beyond the policies of his predecessor, for example by reviving the war in Afghanistan while still holding prisoners in Guantanamo. But Obama isn't taking new ones, since he kills every terrorist suspect without further ado - with missiles fired from drones hovering over Pakistan and Yemen. His “reset” with Russia is probably the only major change - although Bush also tried a version of “resetting” with Putin when he “looked into his eyes and saw his soul.”


Not that the current direction of American foreign policy requires - from the Polish point of view - any major corrections. It is true that with America’s new problems, transatlantic relations are not as important as before, but to say that Obama neglects them is an exaggeration. NATO is still the most powerful military alliance and Americans keep reassuring their allies about security guarantees. Obama visited Warsaw a year ago and is sending a squadron of American Air Force pilots to be stationed in Poland.

Posted by Worldmeets.US


The truth is that - if one sets rhetoric aside - Romney and Obama agree on most foreign policy issues. Both campaign staffs are desperately seeking nuances by which to distinguish their candidates. Romney accuses Obama of neglecting Poland and Europe, but on Romney's Web page there is not a word about NATO or the European Union! On the other hand, there is plenty about Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan …



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Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Obama's Lesson: Poland Can't Count on the United States

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Poland to Give Obama an Earful on Ending U.S. Visa  

Le Figaro, France: Obama Superstar: 'Mission Accomplished'

Der Spiegel, Germany: Poles Feel 'Alienated' After Obama's Visit

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: On Obama's Visit, Dresses are Lost in a Sea of Suits

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Poles Have Questions for President Obama!

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland: Polish Jews Express Gratitude for Obama's Visit

Rzeczpospolita, Poland: Bin Laden and Why America is Stronger than Poland


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Romney came to Gdańsk and Warsaw and provided us with a ton of good publicity - but not because his heart is set on eliminating visas for Polish visitors or building a large base for U.S. troops in Poland. He came because Obama canceled Bush's promise to build an anti-missile shield and because Obama didn’t want to offer Lech Wałęsa a private meeting as one Nobel Prize winner to another - but only one with a group of former dissidents. And Romney came because not long ago, Obama made a gaffe, mentioning “Polish death camps,” for which he sent anodyne apology through a spokesperson.


Against this backdrop, Romney was counting on making a positive impression, counting on making the hearts of Polish-Americans in the battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin swell with pride upon seeing his picture with Wałęsa. This plan has been achieved 200 percent: not only did he get the photo, but American media decided that the "legendary Solidarity leader backs Romney in the election.” (Wałęsa told a different story to Polish journalists, but that has yet to reach America).


That is why Romney - particularly after his earlier blunder-filled foreign experience - can be happy with his visit to our country. And we can be happy, too, since he brought us such good publicity. And what can be expected for the future of this mutually-calculated relationship? The forecast, as in all loveless relationships, is short of enthusiasm. Nevertheless, sometimes such relationships succeed.





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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Aug. 6, 8:09am]






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