February 21, 2003

KOSCIUSZKO WE ARE HERE!:

Arrogance of France boosts eastern Europe's admiration for US (Robin Gedye, 2/22/03, Daily Telegraph)
President Jacques Chirac's tirade against eastern Europe's fledgling democracies was the best news residents of the Polish village of Bidla Podlaska have had since the last Soviet tank rolled out of the nearby base nearly 10 years ago.

Hard against Poland's eastern border with Russia, about 100 miles out of Warsaw on Route 80, Bidla Podlaska is tipped to become the new American military headquarters in Europe if American forces relocate from the increasingly hostile German environment.

Equipped with a barracks for several thousand men and a hospital to treat front-line casualties, its airfield would provide the perfect headquarters for America's new army in a new Europe.

Poland believes that M Chirac's intervention has raised the likelihood of a move by several notches.

That would not create problems for the Poles. Their love affair with America, which endured covertly under communist rule, now flourishes. [...]

"What Chirac said was horrible, truly awful. It has above all served to encourage the Eurosceptics while reinforcing the Rumsfeld doctrine by speaking of a 'family' that was old Europe and 'candidates' that are new Europe."

When Poles were asked in a recent Wprost opinion poll to name countries they considered "friends", 50 per cent put America first, 34 per cent Germany and 25 per cent France. At the same time, 50 per cent considered Poland's greatest enemy to be Russia, 40 per cent said it was Germany and seven per cent Iraq.

And that was even before M Chirac's outburst. "We understand that the fact that when Poland dared to express its opinion, it caused some confusion," said Poland's foreign minister, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz.

"But the fact is that France and Germany did not consult Poland when they put out their statement.

"The letter [from eight European leaders, including Tony Blair, backing America's Iraq policy] that we signed was to underline the significance of the transatlantic relationship. It was not about America and it was not about Europe. It was about America and Europe, the most important relationship of the 20th century."


Ya' gotta love that 40% of Poles still consider Germany to be the enemy.

MORE:
Poles Cherish U.S. as Friend, Fondly Recalling Its Support (CRAIG S. SMITH, February 22, 2003, NY Times)
Anti-Europeanism in America (Timothy Garton Ash, February 13, 2003, The New York Review of Books)

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 21, 2003 11:51 PM
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