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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2003

 

I'll tell you where to put your Polish jokes...
The single country that I have gained the most respect for over the course of the entire Iraq ordeal is Poland. They have played their diplomatic cards beautifully and are reaping the windfall like few thought they would, and are positioning themselves to be a leading country in Europe in a decade or three.

By now, you've likely heard of the unlikely division of power in Iraq--three zones, one patrolled by the US, one by Britain, and one by Poland. Twenty, ten even five years ago, who could have imagined such a thing? Some are having trouble believing it even now, but it makes a good deal of sense to me. In a move nobody expected, Poland is becoming the liason between Europe--Germany especially--and the United States. And because of that they are, by default, becoming something of a leader:
Polish Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski told U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld this week that he wants German and Danish troops to join Polish forces in a multinational security force that will patrol the Polish-controlled zone. Szmajdzinski noted in an interview in "The Washington Times" that a Polish-German-Danish force already exists under NATO, so the proposed combination makes sense.

Poland is thus trying to act as an intermediary between the estranged allies Germany and the United States, to bring them closer again. But analyst Edmund Wnuk-Lipinski, of the Institute of Political Studies in Warsaw, is pessimistic on whether Berlin will accept the offer, for reasons of prestige. He notes Germany has long been a patron of Polish efforts to join the EU, and for Poland to suddenly play the lead role is unthinkable. "For Germany to be invited by Poland to join efforts in stabilizing Iraq is something that is hardly acceptable," Wnuk-Lipinski said.
I can see why this sort of leadership would bother all the nations that have invaded Poland in the last couple centuries (France, Germany and Russia off the top of my head). And yet, there's not a lot they can do about it, is there?

Meanwhile, the US and Poland are continuing their mutual back-scratching policy, the US providing the world with a glimpse of how generous we can be to our true friends, just as they are seeing how ice-cold we can be to those who pretend. Not only are we financing the Polish peacekeeping force, but we are quickly, but shrewedly, moving towards putting military bases into Poland. Check out this beautiful bit of diplomacy from their Defense Minister:
Before Poland could accept the stationing of U.S. troops, Szmajdzinski said, his government would need to consider legal and international treaty issues, and also consult with Russia and Germany on how such a move would affect relations with these critical trading partners. But the Polish minister made clear his country's interest in the idea.

"I can tell you that a number of local communities are very interested, and of course, a government cannot ignore the will of the people," he said.
It's very smooth operating, and I continue to be impressed. The economic shot in the arm that the bases will be have the potential to send Poland to a very good place economically. It may take quite a while to catch up to the rest of Europe in that respect, but diplomaticaly, they are already in a very good place.
Agree, disagree, have more information on the topic? Please, feel free to leave a comment. No profanity!
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