by RAPHAEL BENAROYA
U.S. President Donald Trump is visiting Poland, where in 2017 he delivered his first major foreign policy address. Now is the time to re-examine and reaffirm the special relationship between the United States and Poland -- and why it serves both countries’ best interests.
A staunch proponent of transatlanticism, Poland is arguably the most pro-American state in the European Union. The two countries have a history of friendship, shared values, and mutual respect that goes back to the Revolutionary War. With America’s NATO allies discussing creation of an all-European army and many -- unlike Poland -- falling short of their financial commitments to NATO, a strong U.S.-Polish relationship has become particularly important. A committed guardian of the Atlantic alliance and NATO’s eastern flank, Poland now plays a crucial role in Western security.
President Trump’s visit will coincide with the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. The atrocities of the Nazi German invasion of Poland in 1939, and the ensuing 50 years of oppressive Soviet occupation, are deeply and indelibly etched in Poland’s national consciousness.
Little wonder that Poles view with alarm Russia’s resurgence and open aggression against Georgia and Ukraine, just beyond Poland’s eastern border. Similarly, it is not surprising that Germany should be a source of concern for Poland, for two reasons. One is Germany’s plan to source Russian gas directly, so as to displace Ukraine as a hub for Russian energy exports to Western Europe. The other is Berlin’s drive, sometimes through proxies in Brussels, to impose social and cultural norms on all EU member states. In particular, Poland and other Eastern European countries view Germany’s liberal policy toward migrants as threats to their national identity and sovereignty -- and to freedom.
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